Tag Archives: body composition

Nice Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is one of my favourite movements.
While there are many subtle tweaks you can apply in your form they all stem from two styles of snatch with a kettlebell:
1 – Hard Style
2 – Sport Style
The first is meant to generate more ‘power’ and make you stronger overall while still getting a good solid amount of volume in and increasing your work capacity.
The second is all about efficiency of movement so that you can get the most reps in a given time period (typically 10min in the snatch section of the Biathlon, only one hand change is allowed).
You might want to know which is better.
The classic answer is this; it depends on the goal.
While this is indeed the case it’s a cop out answer for people who don’t want to state a preference. Over the years I’ve done both many times and these days I lean towards doing the sport variation more.
Why you ask?
Because it feels more comfortable with the sport bells.
When I grab my cast iron ones I will often opt for the hard style snatch as the handles and dimensions are more forgiving for it.
Here are the two in action side by side:
Notice how the sport style on the left emphasises fluidity and pacing which the hard style is more about oomph.
Both are good, both have pros & cons, you simply have to decide which is better for you and your goal.
Snatching works well in many ways.
– Ladders: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 both arms
– Time Blocks 5-20min
– Intervals 30/30-60rest
– Straight Sets 10×20 per arm
– Pacing per min: 60 seconds for 15 reps L/R x10min
The options are endless.
Snatches work best when largely focused on density in training.
One things both can agree is that there will be a great benefit to your shoulder health, strength, conditioning, body composition and overall athleticism when this glorious movement is added to your training.
Hitting some snatch work 2-3 times per week will truly be a massive benefit.

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Mobility Master

Being able to move unimpeded and pain free is something a lot of people want.

All it would take is one quick google search and you’d find all the information you need to put a plan together, alas many of us are too lazy for that, thus we will just let our body slowly stiffen and lose its ability to move well.

When I’m away teaching there are a few key drills I will put in to warm ups to see how well people move, it’s also easy to spot just by looking at people who that is.

Total body coordination is something we’d really do well not to lose.

It’s it quite surprising how many people will watch the other people in the groups I teach that move what I’d consider ‘normally’ and are like “OMG, wow, that’s amazing.”.

Ummm not it’s not, that’s something we everyone should ideally be abel to do, so in truth the people that can more are not amazing, you’re just really really broken in a moment sense.

Don’ts get me wrong, I’m not talking about people moving like Ido Portal from day one.

More along the lines of having basic coordination skills and not making yourself look like your 80 because of how crap your movement skill is.

These are the three main movement I will get people doing (they give me all the knowledge I need).

1 – Inch worms (a lunge step to upper thoracic rotation is also added in)
2 – Spiderman/Lizard Crawls – ideally hey get their chest as low to the floor as possible
3 – Duck Walks & Sit Through

If the facility has one then I’d also like to see a rope climb as well, beginner level is using feet, I’m ideally after people to climb and descend using arms only.

The reason for these is simple, the first tests mobility/flexibility/stability.

The second looks at mobility, stability and strength.

The third is mobility, balance and movement coordination.

If we have a rope then that tests strength because I’ve found that while some people more well they are very weak.

When time is short and I need one simple test to assess everything in one go it will be the TGU (turkish get up), I will proceed to see how heavy they can go with the gold standard being 1/2 their bodyweight per hand, if someone can do that then good things happen.

Give the above a try, you can hope on YouTube and find them all easily if you’re not sure what they are.

You’ll also find adding these to your assessment methods will highly who need what and in what dose.

Try them yourself because while you don’t need to be perfect at everything you do, you need to be competent in demonstrating it well, otherwise you may look a tad foolish.


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A new take on an old classic

Ever read Super Squats?

It’s an older book however it’s well worth a read, not to mention 6 weeks of your time following the training program itself.

Wile easy enough to understand it certainly separates the strong from the weak.

It’s brutal mentally because it’s so simple.

The original training went something like this:

Press behind neck – 2-3 x 12
Squat – 1 x 20 supersetted with Pullover – 1 x 20
Bench press – 2-3 x 12
Rowing – 2-3 x 15
Stiff legged deadlift – 1 x 15
Pullover – 1 x 20

Done 2-3 times a week.

Worth a go for the experience if nothing else, you’d also do well to have the aim of getting to 300lbs in the squat or 20, the ultimate goal in the book.

So while the above is fun it’s not the only way to utilise this style of training, you can take the basic skeleton (sets/reps) and apply it to a great many things.

Staring movement on a weak area – 2-3 x 12
Select a large compound lift (DL, C&P, SQ, etc) – 1 x 20 superset with antagonist – 1 x 20
Pick a secondary lift for adding muscle – 2-3 x 12
Pick a lift antagonistic the the one just before this – 2-3 x 15
A little something for pump – 1 x 15
The movement you did in the compound 20 rep lift – 1 x 20

Here is an example of how you can use that structure.

Weeks 1-6 the classic Super Squat routine

Weeks 7-12 (you fancy some back and arm focus)

Kettlebell Clean & Sots Press– 2-3 x 12
Trap Bar Deadlift – 1 x 20 supersetted with Barbell Curl – 1 x 20
Incline Press – 2-3 x 12
Close Grip Pull Down – 2-3 x 15
Split Squat – 1 x 15
Barbell Curl – 1 x 20

Perform 2-3 times per week, perhaps aim to hit the 20rep on TBDL with 400lbs, ala Brawn and Stuart McRoberts.

I’m sure you get the idea.

The beauty comes from the simple structure that allows you to simply plug and play, just with some exercise variations.

Obviously you don’t need to do this and the overall specificity is lacking, however for people who just want general training (strength, fat loss, hypertrophy) and some guidance it’s quite useful.

Give it some thought.


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Rest-Pause your way to progress.

An oldie, yet still worth it.
This method of achieving reps was something that used to be used quite frequently to help people break through plateaus.
It works because it allows you to utilise higher % of your max for more total reps – playing on the mechanical tension side of the progress pyramid.
Nowadays though it seems to have been forgotten.
The premise is simple.
Select a load, do some reps, rest 20-30seconds, do some more reps, rest 20-30 seconds, do some more reps, perhaps repeat once more, end of set.
You might end up with something that looks like this.
80% x6,
80% x4,
80% x2
80% x1
Stop and take full 2-5min rest and repeat for 2-3 total sets.
There might be a rep goal you’re trying to achieve, say 10 reps, which means you use the rest-pause as needed until you’ve hit the total reps required.
Potentially you do as the example states, it’s up to you.
One thing you will find is that this provides a decent training stimulus for both fast and slow responders, you’ll just find those on the ‘easy gainer’ side of the line achieve less total reps than their ‘slow gainer’ counterparts and still make the same progress.
I know, life is cruel.
A great tip to improve your muscle gain response is to pick better parents in which to get your genetic heritage from next time, I wish you good luck.
Give this great method a go if you’ve found results have stalled.

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3 Thing That Cause Slow Metabolism

Firstly I’d like to say this; if you have any legitimate medical conditions that have been diagnosed (hormonal issues, nutrient deficiencies, age related illness etc) then you need to listen to your specialist and work through your health issues, I wish you a speedy recovery.

If you haven’t had the above officially diagnosed then here are the 3 top reasons for your slow metabolism.

Oh, before that though.

A ‘slow metabolism’ in healthy adults isn’t really a thing, it’s just an excuse for people that need a convenient excuse for their excess body fat that people won’t question, that said I’m sure there will be the coveted ‘exception’ who disagrees with what will be written below because, reasons.

You’ll find a lot of people are certain that they ave a slow metabolism and I’m going to tell the three main causes of it.

1 – Sub optimal amounts of lean muscle tissue

2 – A sedentary lifestyle

3 – Excessive daily calorie consumption

All of these lead to your ‘slow metabolism’.

Yep, sucks doesn’t it.

Since I’m nice I will give you three ways you can reverse your slow metabolism.

1 – Lift weights & get stronger

2 – Spend less time sat on your ass and increase your NEAT (non exercises activity thermogenesis) by moving more each day

3 – Try not to eat like a child that has thrown a tempter tantrum all to get bag of sweets, aim for more nutrient dense foods instead 🙂

There you have it, what causes a slow metabolism and how to reverse it.



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4 Little lung busters that also get you strong.

Morining All,
Given the nice weather it’s understandable that people want to shift unwanted fat.
Many also want some decent levels of muscle too.
Here are some suggestions from me to help you with both, be warned however, they are not as easy as you’d think.
They play in to the anaerobic nature of training, this will help by creating a large oxygen debt and have a positive effect on not only your VO2 Max, Strength, Calorie Expenditure but also some small increase in EOPC as well.
If you want to dig in to this here is a place to start:
Now it’s time for the suggested sessions 🙂
1 – Litvinov’
A1 – Front Squat x4-8
A2 – 400-800m sprint
Rest 1-5min, repeat 3 times.
I find higher rep front squats are great with double kettlebells, while with a barbell you’re better of sticking to 5 and under.
Sprint as in run, however if you have not running track feel free to sub this for rowing, watt bike etc.
2 – Flaming Death
(No idea where that name came from)
A1 – Sand Bag Shoulder Carry (sprint if you can) 30-50m
Drop, swap sides, run rack.
Rest 2min, repeat 5 times.
If you don’t have a sandbag that’s cool, just find something awkward to pick up an drop on your shoulder.
3 – Tabata Fun
A1 – Thrusters: 20seconds on, 10seconds off, 8 times
Rest 2-4min, repeat twice more if your form hold up
Double kettlebells work a treat for this, dumbbells are okay, bar is good, awkward objects are awesome, just watch your form. Aim for 4-8 reps per round (20 seconds).
4 – Homemade Highland Games
A1 – Single Arm Kettlebell Clean & Shoulder Throw x100m (alternating sides)
Rest 2min, repeat 3-5times
The single arm clean is easy, it’s the catch that tricks people, here is a nice little video from the Kettlebell Kings explaining how:
^^ Once you catch the bell here, launch it as far forwards as you can, like a shot-putter would. Repeat alternating arms, start on your weaker side.
These can be used as finishers or even stand alone sessions if you really wanted to give them some oomph.
All are easy on paper, however in practice you will find this not the case.

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Why you miss with HIIT.

Morning All,
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is one of the most popular training methods of a great many people these days.
While the concept is a solid one, it’s something that is being abused because there is only so much HIIT you can do each week.
Given this fact people actually end up doing MISS (moderate intensity steady state).
It’s not uncommon for people to do claim the do 4 and sometimes more session of HIIT per week, now the intentions are good however the body just can’t keep up with those kinds of metabolic demands.
I’m one to admit I couldn’t keep up with those kinds of demands and I’m actually quite conditioned.
If you’re one of the people doing this then I’m sorry to say that you’re not actually doing what you think you’re doing and the chances are your body composition reflects this too.
How many people do you know who claim to train this way, in this amount of frequency and unfortunately still have a fair amount of excess body fat, or at least more than you’d expect someone who does a lot of HIIT to have.
Quite a few I’d imagine.
One quick way to establish if your training has been successful if to test your VO2 max (the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise, used as a way of measuring a person’s individual aerobic capacity.).
You will find that most of the time people who have a high VO2 Max are typically quite lean.
Do you know yours?
If not then I suggest doing a test.
Here is a link to some tests and also a chart of averages:
So what can yo do with this information?
Well, once you know your VO2 Max you can correlate working to a % of it to your heart rate (this is what you should do for HIIT), that way when you’re training you will know where your HR should be for your intervals and so on.
If you do this you’ll soon find that your 4+ HIIT sessions of 1hour per week are perhaps reduced twice per week for at tops 20min.
Here is a quick example to try:
If you are lifting weights 2-3 times per week, do this after two of those sessions.
60 interval sprints at 92% HR (this is around 85% of your VO2 Max), rest 2min.
Try repeating that 5 times, this means 5min of work with 10min of rest.
Remember that each interval that your heart rate needs to be at or around 92% for the majority of the 60 second sprint, that’s how you maximise your training.
If you do this 2x per week (after you’ve lifted) you’ll notice a few things happen.
– Your fitness improves
– Your body fat starts to drop
– You learn what real HIIT is all about
It’s also advised to do perhaps 1-2 steady state sessions (70% average HR) for say 30-45min, I’d probably go for the 30min target.
So perhaps you weekly plan looks like this:
Monday – Weights + HIIT – as above
Tuesday – 30min Steady State Training (run, swim, row etc)
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Weights + HIIT -as above
Friday – Off
Saturday – 30-45min Steady State Training – as above
Sunday – Off
Try it and you’ll find things start to fall in to place.
Oh, also ensure that if fat loss/body composition is your goal then you have a sustainable calorie deficit in place and a decent nutritional protocol.

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Spot reducing fat

Fat storage, such an annoying thing.
However there is something that is even worse, thinking you can spot reduce it.
You can’t, that’s not how fat loss works.
It’s very common for people to complain about unsightly/excessive fat in certain areas of the body.
The most common being in the following areas:
– Stomach
– Hips
– Thighs
– Arms
If you ask someone who has less than a clue you will get a potential answer that sounds like this:
“Tricep work will help reduce that, try some kick backs to help tone and shift the fat.”
“You need to do crunches, side bends and leg raises to get a flat stomach.”
No, just no. In fact all the no. If someone tells you this they’re an idiot put simply.
Sadly we can’t spot reduce fat with exercise, the only thing that can remove fat for a specific place is liposuction.
It is common for people to say they are happy with certain body parts and only want to focus on others, which is a very misguided way of thinking because the body works best as an entire unit and you’d also look silly with muscle in one part of your body but nowhere else.
Always aim to take a balanced approach to training.
Men, train your lower half as much as you train your upper half.
Ladies, train your upper half as much as you train your lower half.
As for fat loss please understand this simple fact, it comes of where it wants to come off based on your bodies individual genetic makeup and hormonal profile, sadly you can’t pick and choose. Now you might not like to hear that, however that doesn’t stop it from being how things work, sorry. 
Here are three things you should be doing for all around fat loss and improvement in your body composition.
1 – Train your muscles equally (split days or whole body days)
2 – Interval style training where you get your heart rate over 85%
3 – Achieve a caloric deficit and eat whole foods

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