Tag Archives: barbell training

One Tool, Multiple Results

Rack-less Progress.
 
You’ve probably read posts on here before about making progress without the need for anything more than one piece of kit.
 
Today we shall circle back around to the classic barbell & plates without the use of a rack.
 
(Could be fixed barbells as well)
 
In the modern world of programming sessions there are some people that have finally started to come around, or back to, the idea of movements first, muscles second.
 
The reason being that you’ll find by prioritising movement you cover essentially all of your muscles.
 
Some isolation/specific accessory work is cool, however for the majority of people it shouldn’t be their entire program.
 
As for the barbell, we shall be looking at the movement options and then put together ideas so that you can do more with less.
 
I reckon 2-5 for each section should be enough to get you started.
 
Okay, here we go.
 
Movement/Full Body:
 
– Clean & Jerk (or press/push press)
– Snatch
– Bent Press
– TGU (Turkish Get Up)
– Roll Out (kneeling or standing)
 
Loaded Carry:
 
– Zercher
– Farmers Walk (single arm)
– Waiters Walk
– Drag Curl Carry
– Spartan Carry
 
Hinge:
 
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
 
Squat:
 
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
 
Pull:
 
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
 
Push:
 
– Press (multiple variation, flat, overhead, floor, reverse, etc)
– Tricep Extension (multiple variation, overhead, flat, etc)
 
As you can see there is a lot of choice, and this is without even going into barbell complexes either.
 
This is an example three day training week using the movement premise above.
 
To make this a challenge worth your time you may only use 10-20kg plates when loading the bar or progressing.
 
Yep, no small plates, this will mean you put more emphasis on how to progress/plan things going forwards.
(You can of course change this based on your goal/needs, it’s not gospel, merely a suggestion)
 
Day 1 –
A1 – Snatch – 7×2-3
B1 – Floor Press – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Drag Curl Carry – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 2 –
A1 – Clean & Jerk – 7×2-3
B1 – Supinated Bent Over Row – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Waiters Walk – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 3 –
A1 – TGU x5-10 reps per side
B1 – Bent Press x5-10 reps per side
C1 – Hack Squat 5×20
 
Once you hit the rep goals (7×2-3 = 21 total reps top end), either choose to add load or change the exercise for that movement.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Is that weight too heavy for you?

A solid question, however the answer is not always the easiest thing to ascertain.

The other day I saw a cracking little video that displayed some new tech available on an app to measure bar speed.

I know right, it’s pretty cool.

Back in the day you could only track this with some elaborate contraption or a rather costly tend unit, now though we have a whole host of tool available for the cost of a mere tuppence, yay for technology.

All you need do is type in ‘Bar speed tracking app’ on the google’s and boom, endless options.

So, bar speed.

Do you know what it should be?

Based on the collective data (mostly from weightlifters) you want to me moving the bar at 0.8m/s to achieve optimal rates of force development.

*m/s=meters per second

Depending on what info you read and the context that comes with it you may see the bar speed range being 0.6-0.8m/s, however you’d do far better to aim for 0.8m/s.

Hitting this every rep would mean a high level of motor unit recruitment, a decent amount of muscle fibres hit (1,2 a/b etc), you can also find a lot of this linked in with the older work of Dr Squat (Dr Fred Hatfield, a great mind and damn strong lifter).

Tracking you bar speed and trying to keep in the 0.6-0.8m/s will yield some rather positive results because it means the loads are optimal.

How can this help you understand/track your strength?

As you get stronger you may find that in a set of say 6 reps at the start it looks like this:

1- 0.8m/s
2- 0.8m/s
3- 0.8m/s
4- 0.72m/s
5- 0.68m/s
6- 0.65m/s

That shows the loads was just about right, if the reps had dropped below the 0.6m/s, while you could have ground out the reps you’d be actively making yourself slower.

Louis Simmons of WSBB compares it to, Tow Truck VS Ferrari, one is slow and constant,the other is powerful, worth digging in to.

Back to the point.

If you get stronger over time the above set of 6 may end up looking like this:

1- 0.9m/s
2- 0.87m/s
3- 0.85m/s
4- 0.82m/s
5- 0.8m/s
6- 0.78m/s

Give the higher velocity overall adding some load to the bar would be useful.

How much load?

For arbitrary purposes I’d say one that takes off about 10% of your bar speed, so if it topped out at 0.9m/s about, then that would take the average down to about 0.8m/s again, you get the idea.

*Of course the opposite to the above is also relevant, if you can’t maintain bar speed then you should lower the load by around 10%, just as a starting point.

We have all these lovely tools at our disposal.

First things first though, know how to use them because once you do you’ll find your programming knowledge shoots through the roof.

There you go, a basic breakdown.

This is a massive topic and one that is well worth your time delving in to.

Any questions, pop them down below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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One arm, one barbell, one tough session

Unilateral barbell work.
 
A cracking way to progress that is very under-utilised.
 
If you were to add these movements to your training twice per week you’d see some rather impressive results.
 
All are done with a standard 20kg Barbell, you can load them if your wish, however you’ll do well to start lighter than you think. No, really.
 
– TGU (turkish get up)
– Overhead Press
– Bent Over Row
– Suitcase Deadlift
– Farmers Walk
 
By adding these you’ll achieve the following:
 
Postural balance, coordination, improved total body tension, stronger stabilisers, body awareness and strength.
 
The follow 6 points are key:
 
1 – Keep tension
2 – Control the movement
3 – Don’t twist excessively on any of the movements
4 – Start on your weak side, match those reps with the strong side
5 – ‘Pull’ yourself back to the starting position in the negative portion of the lifts*
6 – 3-5 reps seems to be the sweet spot (do as many sets as possible with good form, vary the total amount of work from session to session. Some days can be hard, others easy, a few in the middle of that)
 
*For example, in the overhead press, once it’s overhead, grip the bar even tighter and pull it down with your lat.
 
The length of the barbell will mean that you have to ensure that everything is in correct alignment, otherwise the lift will be very difficult if not unable to perform.
 
You will notice immediately if you’re not doing the movement right, the bar will tell you.
 
Add this in to your training and watch your strength, balance and body awareness improve.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6-10 week protocol to a new PB for you & your clients – new twist on a classic.

If you’re not interested in hitting some new PB’s, that’s cool, feel free to skip reading this.

Let’s say you are interested though, keep reading.

Below you’ll find a simple protocol to help you improve on one or multiple lifts.

This is not something you’d find in body building very often, it’s for people who chase strength.

The information in question is a favourite of many a Russian athlete oddly enough and one I’ve done many times to hit new heights.

I first learnt of this from reading older writing by Dr Fred Hatfield, if you’ve not read any of his books you should, they’re amazing resources.

As you may have guessed I quite like the Russian methodology.

Here is the premise:

– 80% 1RM is starting load, 105% is the end game
– Double Progression is applied
– Intensity is increased incrementally
– Train a 2-3 times per week
– Rest as needed
– Stay tough and you’ll reap the rewards
– Don’t get greedy, follow the protocol

This is how the classic program looks based on 3 days training per week (Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thur-Sat):

*All 6x sets are at 80% 1RM, % changes will be listed below.

^^ If you don’t know yours or your clients 1RM, use an RM calculator to establish an estimated one and go from there.

Week 1
– 6x2x80% 1RM*
– 6×3* (the volume progression begins)
– 6×2*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*
– 6×5*

Week 3
– 6×2*
– 6×6*
– 6×2*

Week 4
– 5x5x85% 1RM
– 6×2*
– 4x4x90%

Week 5
– 6×2*
– 3x3x95%
– 6×2*

Week 6
– 2x2x100% (old 1RM)
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for a new 1RM)

Week 7 Deload

Congratulations, a new PB to help you drive up old RM’s and add some much sought after muscle/strength.

Thats the typical way to do it, however if you’re short on time then this  may be of use.

The new twist for those short on time –

If you with to do this twice per week the cycle will end up being 10 weeks long (9 with the last being a deload).

Week 1
– 6×2*
– 6×3*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*

Finally

Week 9 – Week 10 Deload
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for new 1 RM)

From experience you can pair two lifts together when doing this and PB on both so long as they don’t interfere with each other.

It’s also good because you get a heavy day and a light day each week meaning you can really go for it each heavy session as it makes the overall progression far more manageable.

For example:

DL & Press (or weighted dip)
Squat & Pull Up
Bench Press & Row

You’ll find that some token accessory work of say 30 reps per accessory lift is enough to help the other lifts keep up and maintain some form of muscular balance.

Here is how I planned my sessions using the twice per week training schedule. I was forced to train this way because of upcoming events and life doing what it does best, however I hit new numbers and intact made progress.

Sometimes less really is more.

Lifting Day 1 & 2:
A1 – DL – sets/reps as above
B1 – Press – sets/reps as above
B2 – Chin – 5 reps each set
C1 – Squat 1×10-20

  • I would add in perhaps some postural work and make a few sets for smaller muscle groups if I had time
  • You can also add in some CV training (sprints etc) a couple of times per week that don’t require you going to a gym

The funny thing with this is it’s so simple people will ignore it.

We live in a world where people think that unless they’ve destroyed themselves they haven’t had a good training session.

This is not true.

Especially when you look at MRV (maximum recoverable volume) vs MED (minimal effective dose), however that’s for another day.

Give the above a go and see how you fair.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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