Tag Archives: conditioning

An odd little protocol that’s good for strength & conditioning.

If general physical fitness is your goal then you’ll like this.
W/U – Antagonist to your main lift
A1 – Main lift
C/D – Movement Flow
Yep, just three things to do.
You can have a super set of A1/A2 if you like as that also works well.
Here is a little example based on something I did recently with the above.
W/U – Kettlebell Clean & Press – 3-5 reps, 10min
A1 – Deadlift x 5,5,5,5,5,3,3,3,2,2, 20min
C/D – Sandbag Carry & Lizard Crawl (10-20m each), 10min
^^ I tend to stretch or do corrective work while listening to a podcast/watching a seminar in dead time.
You might be wandering what this is all about: 5,5,5,5,5,3,3,3,2,2.
Put simply it is working up to a heavy double with a wavy loading scheme, here is how mine looked doing double overhand sumo DL the other day.
All in KG – 100,130,110,140,120,150,130,160,140,170
Rest was not timed just enough to feel ready and change the plates around.
The W/U & C/D served as extra volume and covered the rest of the body movement wise.
You could run the above 3-5 days per week, I’d go for 3 starting out because you’re training full body each session when you look at it.
The main lift will have a top set of 5-3-2 so pick some lifts you want to improve on, oh and you can keep it the same each time if you wish, I plan on having DL be the main lift each time due to a knee injury and inability to squat without pain.
Try to have some fun with your training, you’l find it’s easier to stay consistent that way.
Enjoy,
Ross
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20/20 – Tactical Time Based Training

Having no time to train is rarely an excuse that holds much water these days.
 
Time can always be found for something that is a priority to you.
 
I’m sure you can find 20min per day to invest in your health.
 
To get you started you’ll find 20 sessions below to try.
 
1 – Death by Watt Bike
 
An interval program, 8 seconds work, 12 seconds rest for 20min.
 
Personally I’d advise you do 5min of your 20 on the bike as a W/U, then 10min using the interval protocol the 5min slow peddling in to a couple of cool down stretches.
 
2 – Pull & Hinge to Glory
 
Set a timer for 20min at 1min intervals.
 
Each minute do 3-5 chins and 5 swings until all 20min is done.
 
3 – Push it Real Good
 
Put 20min on countdown, load up a barbell and aim to do 100 thrusters in the time.
 
4 – White Buffalo in the Sky
 
Perform one 500m rowing sprint, rest the time it took you to complete the sprint.
 
Repeat until 20min is up.
 
5 – A Complex Series of Events
 
Grab 2 kettlebells, set you clock for 20min and do the following as many times as you can, ideally without putting the bells down even once.
 
3-5 reps for all: Swings, Cleans, Presses, Squats – repeat
 
6 – A Complex Chain of Events
 
Like the previous one only heavier and you put the bells down after the squats to shake out tension.
 
1 rep for all: Swings, Cleans, Presses, Squats – repeat
 
7 – The Bear Essentials
 
Perform the Bear Complex with a barbell, aim for 3 sets of 8 reps per movement.
 
Increase weight each set, if you do all three before 20min is up then congrats, use more load next time just know that for today you’re done.
 
8 – Walk the Walk
 
Simplicity at its finest.
 
Carry 50-100% of your bodyweight for 20min.
 
9 – Bodyweight Blitz
 
EMOM for 20min do 5 pull ups, 10 press ups & 15 squats.
 
10 – DRAW!
 
Pistol ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,etc up as high as you can go in the 20min, no broke sets – this means if you fail to perform say 7 straight on one leg and instead do 4 you do 4 on your second leg, rest a spell and start the ladder over again at 1.
 
11 – Single Arm Sadist
 
As above just with single arm Press Ups.
 
20 min will seem like a very long time doing this.
 
12 – Everybody do the Worm
 
Have your trust 20min countdown ready and also a kettlebell.
 
Do 15 swings, then inchworm your self out in to a press up position and do 1 press up, inchworm back to the bell and do another 15 swings, then back to the press up position for 2 press ups and repeat this for 20min.
 
As with all ladders once your form goes start again at one, the swings stay the same throughout.
 
13 – Nice Snatch
 
20min of kettlebell Snatch, you can change hands as many times are you choose however you can’t put the bell down,
 
14 – What a Jerk
 
Like the above except you will use 2 kettlebells and perform jerks for 20min without setting the bells down.
 
I like to add in a racked walk once I need rest from the jerks just to keep moving however this isn’t mandatory.
 
15 – Chains & Whips Excite Me
 
Aim for as many rounds as possible in 20min of the following:
 
Overhead Lunge 20 reps holding a chain(s) overhead, run back with said chains still overhead then put them down and grab a battle rope and perform 15-30 explosive whips (double hand slams you may know them as).
 
Repeat until death ensues and then keep going.
 
16 – Limber Timber
 
Pick a yoga or movement flow and do if for 20min.
 
I’d persoanlly aim for one that has a high bias towards mobility and overall movement, check out Max Shank for Idea.
 
17 – Deadlifts & the Diaphragm
 
See how many sets of the following you can complete in 20min.
 
5 Deadlifts (pick a sensible weight), 10 deep breaths with a focus on utilising your diaphragm, repeat and enjoy.
 
18 – Lift, Run, Bang
 
Out of your 20min us 5 to get warm, then for 10 do the following:
 
20 sec of Clean & Press, 20 sec shuttle runs, 20 sec of power ball/bag slams, repeat for 10min solid.
 
Last 5min will be cool down/stretching off.
 
19 – Shoulder of Justice
 
Using an object of 50-100% of your bodyweight take it from the floor to your shoulder (left then right ,etc), repeat for 20min.
 
20 – Sissy that Walk
 
20min of prowler push 20m (liked out arms) followed immediately by dragging it back (bent arms) the same distance, try to make the transitions as quick as possible.
 
The above is nothing spectacular.
 
All of them are based largely off of density programming.
 
You will want to add weight where you can and always aim to keep a record of what you achieve so that you can do better next time.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s your doctrine?

In fitness you’ll find many tomes.

Each has its own unique benefits, limitations and place in the realm known as physical culture.

You can probably guess I’ve followed a few over the years.

Becoming embroiled in one thought process is easily done, especially if it’s spoken with enough conviction. In the 70’s we had body building, the 80’s had step, the 90’s was functions training and the last couple of decades brought us CrossFit & HIIT and more recently Movement Culture.

As mentioned above, all have their good points and in truth once you find one that keeps you consistently training you’ll feel great, or at least a part of something bigger than yourself.

I’ve personally been in the industry a fair while now, a literal lifetime when compared to the age of some young adults just stepping in to the field.

In this span I’ve seen trends come and go.

Plus there are a few things that have stayed and will always remain important.

  • Strength
  • Mobility & Movement
  • Health
  • Enjoyment (purpose)

You might love running, if so cool you go run just be aware of what running is lacking from the above (strength).

Perhaps you’re a powerlifter, great just be sure to fill in the missing gaps (health, mobility & movement).

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

On a personal note I don’t really care what people do so long as they are doing it for the right reasons, that being it means something to them that is at the live of their very soul, none of this superficial bullshit, got no time for such pointless things.

Do you love what you do?

No, really, can you say without any doubt you love what you do (in the gym, this kinda applies for life as well – just saying).

If you have any hesitation or have to justify your answer then somethings not right.

You’ll find many a doctrine in fitness, ideal if you find one that have the elements mentioned above that’s the most optimal one, however it’s also rare.

Enjoy,
Ross

Oh, before I forget, it’s okay to create your own style you know. Learn from all the single views of the big picture and eventually you’ll have quite the impressive view to which you can then give back to the realm of fitness by creating something of your own.

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A quick little bit of info on three ways you can split up some basic linear progression.

1 – Single Progression
2 – Double Progression
3 – Triple Progression
 
These can be tweaked using your understanding of the key principles of overload.
 
– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
 
(Specificity & Frequency also play a part)
 
Here is an example of how all three are written out.
 
*You add load once you’ve hit all the desired reps.
 
Single Progression = 3×8 💪
 
Once you hit 8 reps in each set you add weight, simple.
 
Double Progression = 3×8-12 💪💪
 
Starting out you might hit something like this: 11,9,8
 
The next session it might be : 12,11,9, get the idea?
 
Once you hit 12,12,12, you add load to the bar.
 
Triple Progression = 3-5×8-12💪💪💪
 
I’m sure you can see the pattern now. You want to hit 3×12 then you add a set and work towards 4×12 and finally 5×12 before adding load, however here is how things might look:
 
Session 1 – 12,12,10
Session 2 – 12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 3 – 12,12,10,8
Session 4 – 12,12,11,10
Session 5 – 12,12,12,11
Session 6 – 12,12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 7 – 12,12,12,12,10
Session 8 – 12,12,12,12,12 + load, drop back to 3×8-12
 
Personally I’m quite the fan of double and triple progression as they have their own built in de-loads via volume reduction.
 
The above deals quite nicely with Volume (total sets/reps) and Intensity (% of RM or load) for progression methods.
 
That leaves us with looking at density (work per unit of time/work capacity), this is easy to program in if you want to have people build al little more conditioning before adding load.
 
We will use double progress with a density consideration as the example.
 
3×8-12, 90-30 seconds rest.
 
Here is what the details might look like written down:
 
Session 1 – 8,8,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 2 – 12,10,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 3 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop rest by 30sec
Session 4 – 12, 8,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 5 – 12,10,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 6 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop erst by 30sec
Session 7 – 12,8,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 8 – 12,10,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 9 – 12,12,12 – Add load, take rest back to 90sec & reps back to 3×8
 
Hopefully that’s nice and clear.
 
Oh yea, frequency and specificity.
 
Specificity is linked directly to the goal (or the movement progressions) and you can use the progressions above and change the movement to make it more or less specific to the goal.
 
For example, You want to increase your press overhead.
 
Double Progression – Press until reps/set/rest hit however instead of adding load you change the lift to one that allows more load.
 
So it may look like this:
 
KB Bottom Up Press > KB Press > Z Press > BB Press
 
And so on.
 
Frequency is the easiest to play with , however it can lead to burn out if you abuse it.
 
Frequency = more training days on your desired goal.
 
EG 2 pressing days becomes 3 pressing days becomes 4 pressing days, using double progression it might look like this.
 
Press 2xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 3xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 4xP/W – 3×8-12 – – goal hit, increase load and drop back to 2 pressing days per week.
 
^^ That is without playing with density by the way.
 
As you can see once you apply the basic principles to even the simplest set/reps systems you have a method of programming that can literally last you a lifetime.
 
The thing about the above is that it’s all fundamental.
 
Mastery of the basics such as these will take you a long way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 1 – Before The Call

So you want to look like a superhero.

Who doesn’t right?

They are everything we wish we could be and more, always doing the right thing and never having to sacrifice anything, they always find a way to save everyone.

While in this life we might not be able to achieve such heroism we can more than give it a good go. Failing that at least their aesthetic is something achievable for us.

Yep, the majority of people can look like a true hero with the right training.

*Please note this is a guide and there will of course be specific needs to each individual, however this will help get you started on the right path.

When we first meet our hero in any story they have a decent base.

Keeping this in mind we must ourselves create a solid foundation from which we can build something truly awe-inspiring. To do this we shall carve out the pre-mentored hero in 4 weeks of training at least 3 days per week that while effect, is unguided.

Day 1 –

W/U – Farmers Walk x10min
A1 – Squats 20reps, as many sets as possible in 20min
B1 – Clean & Press x10, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 2 –

W/U – Rowing, as far as possible in 20min
A1 – Presses 10reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
B1 – Bent Over Row 10 reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 3 –

W/U – Hill Running x10min
A1 – Romanian Deadlift x10reps, as many sets a possible in 20min
B1 – Bear Crawling for 10-20m, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – C/D – Stretching x10min

Our would-be hero has no real reason behind what they do, they just do it because it’s all the know.

The above will be a great place to start building your base of strength, conditioning, movement skill and mental toughness.

Soon enough though this base will be put to the test.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Addicted to Exhaustion

Do you love volume? 
 
Smashing yourself in to a sweaty heap of mulch?
 
I do, truly I do.
 
My body however, well it no longer tolerates what it once did.
 
These days I could tell you exactly what will happen if I ramp up the amount I’m doing.
 
Week 1 – Feels good
Week 2 – Feels better
Week 3 – Death Reheated
 
The drop off rate is alarming, and that isn’t at a high intensity either.
 
Ironically if I was to play with loads at 80%+ with 5-25reps daily I can sustain that for months and make progress.
 
GTG style also works very well.
 
^^ This would be on one or two movements per day.
 
A session may look like this:
 
A1 – Press x6x2-4
A2 – Carry x60 seconds
A3 – Pull x6x2-4
 
^^ 1-2min rest between each movement
 
Creep that up by a standard volume increase, say
 
Week 1 6×2-4
Week 2 7×2-4
Week 3 8×2-4
 
Then these days bad things would happen.
 
Funny how sometimes that which we truly enjoy doing just isn’t good for us.
 
That being said I’f I was to have a high volume session I’d have to look at training every 3-5days.
 
By high volume I mean like I used to train only a mere 5-6 years ago.
 
Trade offs, trade offs, trade offs.
 
It is a struggle to let go of something you became so accustomed to.
 
I’d be that guy who was a true work horse.
 
If something wasn’t progressing then I’d simply do more work, there was endless energy and nothing slowed me down.
 
*Life looks over – “Aha, do I have a surprise for you.”
 
We only have so much that we can give.
 
So why is it why always try and give more than that which we have?
 
We could be here all day discussing that.
 
Our attitude of – “I just need to do a little more’
 
It’s a foolish one, seriously, the only person ho cares how hard you work in the gym is you, all the people looking on in awe will forget you the second someone else catches their eye doing more than you.
 
If you view of yourself is similar to mine form thee days of old, please heed my words.
 
Don’t break yourself.
 
It’s just not worth it in the long run.
 
Unless you are a paid athlete, like a legitimate one, not an Instagram one, they don’t count.
 
Working yourself in to the ground isn’t worth it.
 
For us average folk we can make leaps and bounds training every 3-5 days with higher volume/intensity styles of training.
 
Now there are many ways to train, I’ve shared plenty.
 
Some of which I’ms are you’ve seen and thought – I like that, I will try it, for 3 weeks, then got bored as results didn’t come as fast as you felt you deserved and thus you reverted back to your comfort zone of what you always did.
 
“Foolishness Dante, foolishness.”
 
In fact I’m going to extend a withered hand.
 
All you need do is ask and I’d happily write you something to do of the next 6months for free.
 
Why?
 
Why not.
 
It would be something you’d question because it’d be very different from what you’re doing (I’m willing to bet).
 
The question is this though, would you be willing to give it an honest go for 6 months or would your addiction to more get the better of you?
 
I guess we’ll see.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Reps for days

It isn’t uncommon for people to ask – “What sets/reps should I be doing?”

While perhaps not that exactly, it will be something along those lines, as such I’ve found that cycling them based on a classic Heavy-Light-Medium rotation applied to a Pull-Push-Legs split.

One element to remember is that Heavy doesn’t mean hard and light doesn’t mean easy, however that is a topic for another day, for now I will give you something you can apply immediately.

Rep/Set Schemes:

  • Heavy  – 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2 (heavy yet not hard)
  • Light – 20-15-10-20-15-10 (light yet not easy)
  • Medium – 5-8×1 + 1×20 – ramp to heavy single for the day, then take 60-70% of that and do one set of 20 reps

Split Options: 4 day split examples

  • Pull-Push-Legs-Off-Repeat
  • Lower-Upper-Posterior-Off-Repeat
  • Strength-Conditioning-Mobility(restorative)-Off-Repeat

^^ 2-4 lifts per day is often sufficient, 1 main with the rep/set scheme, the rest can be 2-3×10-15 or 4×6, your choice.

If we take the PPL and apply the rep schemes over a small cycle.

No change in lifts, only reps.

Day 1 – Pull – Heavy
Day 2 – Push – Light
Day 3 – Legs – Medium
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Pull – Light
Day 6 – Push – Medium
Day 7 – Legs – Heavy
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Pull – Medium
Day 10 – Push – Heavy
Day 11 – Legs – Light
Day 12 – Off

Many will then say – “What now?”

Once you’ve gone through this you’ll find you’re back at the heavy day being for pull, you can choose to keep the lifts the same and try to hit a higher load or you can perhaps change the lifts, pick your poison.

This allows for a constant rotation of days and keeps things interesting, if you are constrained be the working week and days you can train then you may need something a little different, in which case all you need do it ask for the answer.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Thrusters for Fun

Not going to lie, I just smashed out a wall of text for a post elsewhere.

As such I am going to keep this one nice and short.

If you want to read the wall of text then head over to Gains Central 🤗

Below you’ll find one of my favourite lifts for getting in a solid session in less than 20min.

To be fair CrossFit paired it with pull ups and called their monstrosity Fran.

21-15-9
Thrusters – 95lbs
Pull Ups
Do it as fast as possible, lay down, die.

^^ When this was created it was based on the principle of 21 was the max amount of reps achieved (momentary muscle failure), then 15 was next, then 9 and so on.

These days people can hammer through Fran with little issue.

Anyway, enough about Fran, let’s talk about thrusters.

A front squat followed by a press.

This is a movement that hits pretty much everything.

Give me 20min and I can use this lift and nail myself with it.

Here are 5 options for a 20min thruster session (this includes the warm up).

1 – Rep Ladder OMEM

Say you load the bar with BW, do one thruster on the first minute, the two on the second, three on the third and so on, until you do twenty at the end.

If you miss the reps on a minute then take the next one as rest and start over with the number you failed on.

2 – Weight Ramp

Star tog off with the bar and then add 5-10kg, or whatever every set and go as high as you possible can.

If you miss set (do 3-5 reps per set), drop the load by 25% and start over from here adding weight as before.

3 – 30/30

Pick a load (you can increase it as you go if you wish, I like BW for this).

Do 30 seconds of thrusters, then rest for 30 seconds.

Repeat until 20min is up.

4 – Breathing Thrusters

You will pick a load, start off light.

Each set will be 20 reps broken down like this:

10 reps then stand and hold the weight, 5 deep breathes, 5 more reps, 10 deep breathes, last 5 reps, then drop the bar, add load and repeat for the remainder of the 20min.

5 – Time drops

Pick a load and do the following.

5min of continuous thrusters, then 3min rest.
4min of continuous thrusters, then 2min rest.
3min of continuous thrusters, then 1min rest.
2min of continuous thrusters, then lay down & die.

There you have it, a one movement wonder.

You don’t have to use thrusters, you can sue plenty of over movements, however there is something about this particular spawn of satan that hold a special place in my heart.

Much like sitting outside a coffee shop in the summer with a friend and laughing at elderly people who can’t parallel park with no remorse of hesitation, ah, good times.

Yep, I’m going to hell, meh, it happens.

Enjoy,
Ross

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How you can use the internet to create a damn good year of training for FREE!

Do you need to periodise your training if you’re not an athlete?
 
No, absolutely not.
 
However…..
 
It is a time proven way of producing results, therefore it is worth considering.
 
Morning All,
 
Learning how to periodise can be a prolific ball ache, seriously, there are a lot of variable to take in to account, thus the popularity of short 12 week transformations and cookie cutter training protocols.
 
Some will say the short protocols (12 weeks or less) are of no use, and while they are not entirely wrong as these styles of program are of linear in progressions which will leave a strong or conditioned person dead on their feet, they have uses for the weaker among the species.
 
You’ll also be pleased to know that there is a way you can use these types of training routines to your advantage and create a periodisation hybrid, here is an example:
 
Months 1-3 – Pavel’s PTTP & GTG on two lifts
Months 4-6 – TSC Protocol & Squat Everyday
Months 7-9 – CrossFit
Months 10-12 – Dan John’s Armour Building/Mass Made Simple Program
 
Boom, 12 months of training.
 
There is logic to them.
 
Months 1-3 – Strength Building, Movement Maintenance
Months 4-6 – Strength Realisation, Movement Maintenance
Months 7-9 – GPP & Summer Shredzzz
Months 10-12 – Hypertrophy/Strength Building
 
You will need appropriate nutrition in each 3 month block, however upon starting a new one the volume/intensity will drop allowing a natural deload.
 
The different focus on each training block is in line with the 4 seasons, this is a great way to train and makes applying the cookie cutter and free online training programs a pinch to fit in to a year.
 
So there you have it, how you can use all the free information on the internet to create a periodised training program of sorts to allow you to get the results you desire.
 
If this is too much hassle then you have only two other choices:
 
1 – Just faff about like many others do
2 – Hire a trainer/coach
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to EMOM effectively

EMOM, perhaps you’ve heard of it?
 
Every minute on the minute you perform a select amount of exercises for a specified amount of reps.
 
It is a popular training method, which was actually developed in the S&C realm and meant to function as a weight based interval.
 
So for example utilising a 1-3, 1-2 or hard 1-1 work to rest ratio.
 
Typically a good EMOM will have about 15-20 seconds of solid work then 40-45seconds of rest (1-3 work to rest ratio).
 
This would allow for maximal effort each minute and the most bang for ones buck, or at least it always used to because as with any method people got a hold of it and decided to bastardise it, sadly.
 
You know, some is good, more is better, so 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest kinda stuff, foolishness really for any long term progress.
 
Ideally the working section of an EMOM will last at the longest 30 seconds, once you go beyond this you start to severely sacrifice your performance and increase the potential risk of injury.
 
Not what many of the fatigue chasing people want to hear these days, however it’s still worth saying.
 
Here are a few to try that will start off each and then slowly start to kick you in the ass.
 
1 – Thrusters x3-5 (start at 3, don’t be a hero) x10-20min
2 – Snatches x2-3 x10-20min
3 – Kettlebell Swings x10 x20min
4 – Sprints 30-50m x10min
5 – Clean & Push Press (or Jerk) x2-3 x10-20min
 
Now for a tricky one:
 
6 – Exercise Complex of 4-6 movements, 1-2 reps per move x10min
 
Example: RDL, Power Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Penally Row.
 
Just adding one of those as a finisher will improve your conditioning to no end just keep an eye on how long each one takes, good ones last as mentioned about 15-20 seconds as this gives some buffer time as you start to fatigue in the later sets.
Aim to pick movements that offer a large return on investment and keep the reps low (manageable), you can always increase the load if you wish to make things challenging.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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