Tag Archives: Coaching

Not my eyes, R2, help me!

From a  business perspective I can understand why trainers/coaches share videos of their clients training.

What continues to baffle me is the utter dog shit form though.

It’s quite worrying in all fairness because if the trainer/coaches feels terrible form is video and sharing worthy then it doesn’t hold much hope for what they consider a result.

Now this might just be my cripplingly high standards, or because I’m just mean.

Potentially a combination of both.

Yet it still worries me what passes for ‘quality’ these days because being someone who has always been a stickler for form anything less than ‘solid’ isn’t really something to be bragging about.

Doing so dos two things:

1 – It makes the coach/trainer look terrible

2 – It makes the client look terrible

Is it just me who thinks those two points should be avoided like those people handing out leaflets in the street?

I can’t be the only one, can I?

Now before all the hypersensitive snowflakes jump up an down claiming that ‘everyone is built differently and what is good of roan won;t be good for another.” or some such similar thing to justify shit form, stop, just stop and engage the grey matter between your ears for a spell.

Please, just humour me.

Good form looks good, regardless of an individuals proportions/build, it will look like good form.

This is why you find commonalities in movement patterns and believe it or not it isn’t uncommon for more than one person to have a remarkably similar build to the point that they could be the same person, as much as many would like to deny this.

It is true that based on a persons leverages they will excel of falter at specific lifts/movements, sadly that is the nature of the beast, however this isn’t something people should use as an excuse or justification, which they do because they’re the human equivalent of a wet blanket.

You may be asking yourself why this is my attitude, it’d be a good question.

It’s because I don’t see the point in all the bullshit anymore.

Oh once upon a time I almost became that PT, it was so tempting to tell people wha they wanted to hear all to get easy business and expose people for the mugs they were, however I couldn’t bring myself to do it because they deserve better than that.

They deserve to know how things work and exactly what it takes to get results.

Funnily enough I was in the gym today and a lady was on a chest press and using the foot weight releasing mechanism to ‘train her legs for something different.’ – her exact words.

I told her that wasn’t how it worked and she’d get no results form that.

Mean, oh yes, however she made it clear she only wants to go to the gym to dick around and say she’s been, I know this because her physique has gotten worse in the 6months she’s been going, how sad is that.

We get in our own way all too often.

I understand it though, most just want somewhere to go, a place to kill time and perhaps a community in which to belong and that’s cool, I guess we can’t all want to change.

Saddest past is it’s people like this who will be taken advantage of by trainers/coaches who are will to say what they want to hear simply to take their money, which is fair enough really because everyones to to eat at the end of the day.

If you’re a coach/trainer then give some thought to the content you share.

Look at it through the eyes of another person and ask yourself this; would you hire you based on that video/post etc.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Do squats hurt your back too?

“Squats hurt my back.”

Incorrect, what you are doing is hurting your back.

Yep, more often than not, less for previous traumatic injury that has dramatically changed your bodies morphology, it’s your form.

Over the years I have spent many a day tweaking peoples form.

Striving to have them understand the correct movement patterns, what muscles are meant to be doing what and generally simian to avoid them snapping themselves up.

A few learned, many didn’t.

Being humans we have this tiny little thing called bias, which usually marries up with cognitive dissonance quite happily and as such people think they know best and only seek the answers they want.

Morons the lot of them.

98% of the time if something hurts during an exercise/movement it is because our form isn’t right.

As much as we’d like some unexplainable cause to protect our ego it’s just the case that our movement patterns are poor.

How can you overcome this?

Simple.

Hire a coach to learn from, alternatively record all of your lifts and give them some honest critique because the chances are you know when your own form looks poor.

There you have it, the next time you feel a movement is causing you issue take a step back and look at how you’re performing it because the chances are it’s not the exercises that is hurting you, it’s what you’re doing that’s hurting you.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Online Coaching 101

Online Coaching.
 
The best thing since sliced bread or a mugs game?
 
Morning All,
 
Given the rise in its popularity both of the above could be argued.
 
***Skip to the bottom for three key things to look for in an online coach.
 
These days we live in a world where everything is at out fingertips, soon enough we will go the way of the humans in Walle.
 
When perusing the sticky web that is social media you see a lot of people offering online services.
 
– Coaching
– Comp Prep
– Programming
– Freedom from the existential suffering of existence
– Movement Coaching
– Nutritional Coaching
 
Plus a great many other things.
 
You can find anything online these days, yet that doesn’t always mean you will be guaranteed to get a quality product, this is where things get tricky.
 
Apart from not knowing if you’re paying for an experience, qualified professional, an ex-competitor in the field you desire, a wannabe who’s done one show or a kid living in their parents basement, it can be a minefield.
 
We buy with our eyes, as such everyone has a plethora of transformation photos from you to pick from. Some real, some fake, others stolen and many of people that were taken so far apart you’d hope they’d make a physical change in that amount of time.
 
Taking all this in to account, what are you to do?
 
Word of mouth is usually a good thing.
 
If you hear positive things, that’s usually a good start.
 
Next up you’ll need to speak to them directly, the good ones usually have a limited amount of coaching space and a screen process as well, something like an interview where you have to prove your worth as a client because time is precious and real coaches don’t want to waste theirs on people that won’t put in the effort.
A good coach will also be very willing to admit when they can’t help you or your desires are out of their field of expertise and have no seconds thoughts in referring you on to someone who they feel is better suited to help you.
A poor coach will sell the dream they can’t deliver because all they care about is their bottom line and this could be rather frustrating for you.
 
A decent coach will also have a large list of ‘asks’ as well.
 
This means that you will need to be sending in training info, videos, nutritional bits & bobs, perhaps even a weekly psychological assessment to see how training is affect you, and so on.
 
Honestly, good coaches expect just as much from their clients as the clients do from them, this is a good thing because it helps create synergy.
 
Coaches & clients work together, it’s not you and them, you’re a team.
 
As such your success is their success, however your failure is also their failure and a good coach will do everything they can to help you avoid that pitfall.
 
What has you experience been with online coaching?
 
Do you currently have a coach, if so what are their minimum asks?
 
Is your coach more interested in your progress photos than you, or is your training and progress their number 1 priority – something to watch out for.
 
Leave your thoughts below.
 
Here are three key things to look for when hiring a Online Coach:
 
1 – A screening/application process.
 
2 – They are open with feedback from previous clients and are happy to share testimonials and for them to speak to you if you ask.
 
3 – They’re less interested in telling you what they’ve done/achieved for themselves/others and more focused on what YOU want.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5-3-2 or 3-2-1 or maybe 1-1-1

What do they mean would be the best question to ask first of all.

These numbers are in reference to the frequency of training a muscle group, or if you are less about the aesthetic and more about performance it will be in reference to movement patterns.

So 3-2-1 is ideal for beginners and people who are short on time yet still want to make a decent amount of progress in terms of strength, hypertrophy, performance and fat loss.

For example:

Squat 3 days per week
Press 2 days per week
Deadlift 1 day per week

I’d also add in pulling (elbow flexion) and hip extension movements (rows, pull ups, face pulls, reverse fly, swings, rope pull throughs etc) to the three day group as these patterns are often left out.

Press vertically and horizontally both days, this would also encompass all elbow extension exercises – skull crushers etc.

The reason many will do well deadlifting once per week as they can often lift more weight in this lift and as such will cause more metabolic disturbance.

Taking in to consideration what is above you can guess where 5-3-2 is going.

Yep, more frequency for people with more experience who fall in the intermediate level and need more exposure to the movements.

Depending on goal you may find you squat 3 or 5 times per week, the sam gif true for pressing/pulling it might be 3 or 5 days, you can adjust this as you need to.

Example:

Press/Pull 5 days per week
Squat 3 days per week
Deadlift 2 days per week

Over the years it has been shown that more often than not the more frequently you train something (the more exposure it has to training stimuli) the stronger it is and the more developed the muscle/area/movement looks.

Now these guidelines aren’t gospel, they’re just a guide to give people some direction.

What is 1-1-1 then?

Yep, you’ve probably worked it out.

You may even find that you’re one of the luck ones who can train things once per week and make progress, if that is the case then stick with what works because there is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. If this is you, just make sure each session you give it your all for maximal progress, due to the low frequency you will need to hammer the muscle to hit your required volume/intensity/work capacity needs.

In terms of my own training I will tell you that higher frequency has very much helped me gain high levels of strength relative to my size (what is needed for the combative sports is partake in), however when I dropped my frequency – it was still a minimum of twice per week per muscle group – I made more hypertrophic progress, this was due to not only a different style of training but also eating in a caloric surplus*.

*You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight, you’ll struggle if you’re not in one, regardless of set or rep range. If you want to shift fat you can train int he same way you will just need a caloric deficit, fact.

Take a look at your training and compete the frequency of your lifts to what body parts you have developed the most, you’ll probably find the ones you train the most are the best, or as some might say “Those are you naturally strong areas” – well duh, you train them more, they’re going to be stronger than the ones you avoid.

Training is all about learning, applying and adapting until you find what work best for YOU.

Let’s get started.

Ross

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The fast metabolism fiasco

“It’s okay for them, they can eat what they want, they have a fast metabolism.”
 
^^ I hear this a lot.
 
Is this something you’ve said in the past, along with the classic – “I’ve got a slow metabolism, I gain weight instantly if I eat.”
 
Do you know how these people with this seemingly godlike metabolism do it?
 
Do you want to know?
 
I will tell you.
 
Their metabolism is not that far off from yours, the only difference is how they live their lives, which usually look like this:
 
– They eat at or just below their required maintenance calories (you don’t)
 
– They move more and thus have a higher energy expenditure, typically from CV training and/or weightlifting which helps create EPOC/In road, (you don’t)
 
– They have more lean muscle mass (you don’t)
 
Can you see a pattern forming here?
 
The whole fast/slow metabolism excuse is utter nonsense for most average people. It’s usually a simple case that their energy expenditure is lower than their energy intake.
 
Wait, what’s that I hear?
 
You have thyroid problems?
 
So do a lot of other people and guess what, if it is managed by the doctor then you don’t have a thyroid problem, you have an eating problem as in you eat too much.
 
Now is it true there will always be some people who are the exceptions and because of this the world and it’s dog jump on that and claim to be the exception, I can safely say from experience this is not the case, trust me on that.
 
Ironically the exceptions never use being the exception as an excuse, they just find a way to make things work and achieve their goals. It’s only the average who use the exception excuse.
 
So to summarise…
 
They don’t have a fast metabolism.
 
You don’t have a slow metabolism.
 
They eat less, move more and have higher amount of lean mass than you, it’s that simple.
 
Stop making excuses and start looking for ways in which YOU can make the changes you need, if you need help please ask and you will get it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How doing less helped me progress.

Yesterday we touched on who doing too much can hold people back, today we shall look at how the opposite can help you being to once again make headway.
 
MED, remember that?
 
Minimum effective dose.
 
Find what the bare minimum you can do and make progress form and do that until you no longer make progress, then perhaps add the next smallest amount and progress once again.
 
A simple thought that still adheres to the GAS/SAID principle.
 
It will allow you more time to recover, spend time doing other things you enjoy and for the average person, give you results while also having a life.
 
Sounds perfect, right?
 
That being the case, why don’t people do it?
 
Because as we discussed yesterday, too many think more is better and even more than that must mean even better still, not always true, sadly.
 
You will also find that when you take down how much you’ve been doing, you recover and allow the super-compensation element of GAS to happen, meaning gains.
 
Keeping in mind MED, how many times per week do you need to train to make progress?
 
Twice, that’s a great start.
 
Both sessions would follow a full body approach with limited moves that will give you the best bang for your buck.
 
Day 1 – Monday
 
A1 – Front Squat or Squat 10×5
A2 – DB Row 10×6
B1 – Press 8×6
B2 – Chin 8×6
C1 – Dip 50 reps in as few sets as possible
D1 – Loaded Carry 10min x Total Distance (famers walk, etc)
 
Day 2 – Thursday
 
A1 – Deficit Deadlift (any grip) 10×5
A2 – DB Press 10×6-8
B1 – Bench Press or Incline 6×6-8
B2 – BB Row 6×6-8
C1 – Curl 50 rep goal in as few sets as possible
D1 – Prowler or Sprints 10min x total Distance
 
Combine this with solid nutrition (plenty of whole foods and a calorie deficit or surplus depending on your goal) and three simple factors to progress and you’ll be laughing at the gains you make.
 
How to progress:
 
– Add weight where possible (fractional plates are good)
– If you can’t add weight, reduce rest
– Rest at it’s lowest, increase TUT (time under tension) with a slower negative portion of the lift
 
In each session aim to keep a good pace and finish within 45-75min, you’ll find the less you faff the better the workout you get.
 
Obviously over time you will potentially need to add more frequency taking training to 3 days per week, but the longer you can progress on 2 the better.
 
Funnily enough you will find that most elite lifters seem to find 4xP/W is their optimal limit because in each session they train HARD and create a deep ‘in road’ meaning they’ve stimulated growth, you need to do this too.
 
Remember, doing less can help your progress.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Failure Mindset

Morning Guys,
 
Do you live with the failure mindset?
 
Plenty of people live with the attitude of:
 
“That person is … Bigger, Stronger, Leaner, Fitter etc… than me because of … Genetics, Money/Born with a Silver Spoon, Steroids and so on…. I will never be like that.”
 
This is the failure mindset and all it serves to do is hold you back because you’re expecting to fail. I’ve said it plenty of times before, too many people make their excuses as to why they won’t achieve XYZ and as a result never achieve anything.
 
Sadly I feel the failure mindset is actually something that our culture is feeding these days, what with all the ‘safe spaces’ the ‘words hurt’ and ‘You all deserve nice things’ campaigns people are becoming mentally weaker by the day. Don’t get me wrong, some things people say really do hurt and there is no need for them but most of the time people need to simply grow a thicker skin and crack on with life.
 
If you’re wondering what’s prompted this post today, the answer is simple. I’ve been in the failure mindset for a while, mainly due to not feeling that I was reaping the rewards for the effort I was putting in, when in reality I was missing certain elements that would allow success. The fault was mine because of my mindset, I stopped training as hard as I should have, I wasn’t eating enough and as a result make slow and lack lustre progress. It sucks but we reap what we sow so it’s time to kick myself up the ass and get back to the righteous path of the iron.
 
I have made plenty of mistakes, this mindset being one of them. It’s time to learn from that mistake and do what needs to be done.
 
Do you live in the failure mindset?
 
Sit down and write a list of all the things you are meant to be doing to achieve your goal, then write down every excuse you use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Once you’ve done this take a moment to change those excuses in to behaviours that will allow you to succeed and break free of the failure mindset.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Start Behaving

Morning All, 
 
If you want to make a change then the first thing you need to do is look at what behaviour caused to to be in your current situation and sort that first.
 
Behaviour is a key component of change, in fact having the right behaviour will make all the difference because without it you’re essentially wasting your time.
 
If we were to say that your goal is to become accomplished in bouldering, how would you do it? It’s pretty obvious, you would start learning the skills required and begin practicing several times per week perhaps building up to even a daily basis. Why would you do this? That’s easy, without practice you wouldn’t get any better.
 
The same it true for building towards a promotion at work, you will do more of what you need to do so that you can succeed. Given that simple logic, why isn’t fitness/heath seen the same way?
 
Baffling, ins’t it.
 
The secret to achieving anything isn’t really a secret, it’s common sense. Change the way you behave and you will change the results you get. Simple.
 
Now you know what to do, grab a piece of paper and write in 250 words or less what behaviour you NEED to help you achieve your goal and how you will make the necessary changes required.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Do You Really Need That Specialist Exercise?

Walkouts, Partial Reps, Banded Moments, Movements with Chains, Lockout Reps, Board Pressing, the list of specialist exercises is numerous but do you really need them?

Too many people get caught up in doing things they have no real need for. I am guilty of this on the odd occasion but found that it only severed to hinder my progress in the long run because there was no need for the specialist movements.
You will find these types of exercises common for high level power lifters but they serve little purpose for us normal folk. If I had to give people some variations of lets say the big 3 I would suggest the following:
– Pause Squats
– Front Squats
– Box Squats
– Paused Bench
– Narrow Grip Bench
– Pressing Overhead or High Incline
– 1/2 – 1 inch Deficit Deadlifts
– 2-4 inch Block Pulls
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Overhand Deadlift
That’s pretty much it. While it’s nice and quite fun to try some of the specialist exercises there is little to no need unless you’re squatting/deadlifting 3xbw and benching 2xbw. The variations I’ve suggested will be more than enough to help keep you busy for months if you rotate them properly.
Do you need some guidance on a program too?
Warm Up Sets x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
Week 1 – 10×1 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 2 – 5×2 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 3 – 3×3 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 4 – 2×5 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
*increase weight and start over.
*2 lifts per day – EG Squat/Row, Deadlift/Press
*Lower body would work better with this programs set rep progression.
*Upper body = Volume or Ramping, try 8×8 on the volume with only 30 seconds rest on upper body pressing/pulling movements or Ramp up to a 3-5RM (meaning you do 3-5 reps and add weight each set until you hit technical failure, then you’re done).
An example day might be as follows:
Workout 1 – Squat/Pull Up
Warm Up Sets – Paused Squat x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Paused Squat – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Pull Up – 8×8 – Wide Grip Body Weight/Weighted or Pull Down
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
Workout 2 – Deadlift/Press
Warm Up Sets – Overhand Deadlift x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Overhand Deadlift – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Press – 5RM Ramp Start with Overhead Press and hit 5RM (You can alternate your Pressing movement to your own personal desire, one day might be overhead press, the next time around it might be bench and so on.)
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
A weeks training might look like this:
Monday – Workout 1
Tuesday – Workout 2
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 1 – Front Squat/Pull Down Neutral Close Grip
Friday – Workout 2 – Snatch Grip Deadlift/Incline Press
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Repeat last weeks exercise selection, keep weights the same on SQ/DL but move on to week 2’s reps (5×2).
There is nothing stopping you from adding in a sprint day on Saturday or some CV just regulate the intensity so that is doesn’t disrupt your recovery and adaptation phases.
In the world of lifting it’s best not to try and run before you can walk. Learn the basic movements and learn then well, then once you’ve started to hit the upper limits of your natural strength (around 3xBW SQ/DL & 2xBW Bench) then it will be worth adding in some specialist exercises to help you past your sticking points.
Enjoy,
Ross

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