Tag Archives: density

A little something arbitrary for y’all

GPP vs SPP.

General physical preparedness.

Special/Specific physical preparedness.

Some will ask which is better and the answer will always be; it depends.

If you have a solid goal then SPP will rule the roost and GPP will fall in line to help bolster the goal.

Yet say your goal is a loose one, you merely want to be a half decent allrounder, then in that case you ca pick and choose when you use SPP and have the majority of your training in the GPP area.

Do remember though that it often means you will never excel at anything and in fact more than likely not even end up as mediocre in the majority of things because of too much choice.

All this being said, here is something those of you that don’t really have a goal and just want to train can utilise in your training.

I call it the 50%-100%-200% Method.

You will use the above percentages in reference to your body weight on the movements you’re going to do.

So that could mean bodyweight barbell curls and double bodyweight press overhead as a superset if you’re some sort of genetic beast lobster (50% curl and 100% press will do for most).

Sets and reps can be up to you because the options for that are endless.

Take this example 3 day template for starters:

Day 1:

W/U – Clean & Press w/sandbag x50% x AMRAP x 15min
A1 – DL x 200% x6x4
B1 – Bench Press x100% x3 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 2:
W/U – Farmers Walk x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – SQ x 200% x8x3
B1 – Bent Over Row 100% x4-5 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 3:
W/U – Sled Push/Pull x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – Press x 100% x12x2
B1 – Pull Up x 50% x 8×3
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

The above if with mostly standard gym kit, however doing the above with awkward objects can be a great way to build ‘old time strength’ along with an epic amount of conditioning.

Often times we get some of our best results when we limit our choices because we have no other option than to put in some hard graft that has a defined purpose.

Try the simple loading strategy above and see how you get on.

Personally I’d lean towards working on volume/density as the main drivers, so getting out max reps (with good form) in specific time frames or more reps in the same time.

You might have heard this called EDT (escalating density training), Charles Staley is the man to look up for article on this.

Enjoy,
Ross

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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.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5×5, just not as you know it.

A great little protocol that will be good for fat loss, hypertrophy, strength endurance and fun.
 
I had this little training program come to me while walking last night.
 
This it by no means anything groundbreaking.
 
Keeping that in mind, I reckon it will humble a fair few if the proper effort level is given.
 
The basic set up –
 
– Pick 1-5 movements
– 5 sets total
– Each set is a 5min time block
– No Sloppy Reps
– Rest 3-5min between each set
– Train 2-3 days per week
– Enjoy for 6-12 weeks
 
A 5min block of time where you simply perform only one lift, sounds easy on paper, not so much in reality, especially if you don’t put down whatever it is you’re lifting.
 
Keeping a hold of a bar or piece of kit for 5min is quite the challenge both physically and mentally.
 
Of course in some instances it won’t be possible.
 
This is where the beauty of he above comes in to play and helps you regulate the intensity.
 
You don’t have to keep a hold of whatever kit you’re using or keep moving if it’s a bodyweight exercise you’ve chosen, you can stop an rest.
 
The main focus is on training density & work capacity.
 
You simply not what weight you used, how many reps you got an aim to beat that next session, simple.
 
I’d personally stay with the same movements for 3 week blocks, you can either repeat the same session for each of your 2-3 days or change the lifts each time, that’s up to you, just keep that the same for the suggested block.
 
Example 3 days –
 
*The warm up of the rest will be int he first 5min set, doesn’t have to be, it just saves time.
 
Day 1:
Set 1 – Kettlebell Snatch (don’t put down)
Set 2 – Farmers Walk
Set 3 – Kettlebell Push Press (don’t put down)
Set 4 – Pull Up – any variation
Set 5 – Kettlebell Double Racked Squat (don’t put down)
 
Day 2:
Set 1 – Sandbag Clean & Carry
Set 2 – Thruster BB (don’t put down)
Set 3 – BB Row
Set 4 – Kettlebell Single Arm Swing (don’t put down)
Set 5 – Press Up – any variation
 
Day 3:
Set 1 – The Bear Complex
Set 2 – Squat – any variation (don’t put down)
Set 3 – Power Snatch
Set 4 – Ring Dip
Set 5 – Power Clean
 
*Warm down with a good old stretch and marvel in all the good effort you put in.
 
^^ One thing to keep in mind with the above is there needs to be a focus on quality reps.
 
(Now imagine trying to do this with just one movement for all 5 sets of 5min….. Brutal)
 
Even though in the example I’ve said in some cases not to put the kit down, if your form is going to pot then don’t be a hero, put it down, grab some rest and try for a few more reps.
 
There will always be next session to try and make the full time.
 
Feel free to add in smaller movements as well, thing such as face pulls, reverse flies, bicep curls, skull crushers and so on.
 
The idea behind this little protocol is to get you focusing on achieving a decent amount of quality work.
 
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Two Tips for Timed Training

Do you linger in the gym longer than you perhaps should?

How much time do you waste faffing about in the gym?

What ever the answers here are two little gems to help you focus, improve your productivity and perhaps start making progress once again.

1 – Set up a timer for 20-45min, start it the second you step foot in the gym and you will leave once it hits zero.

2 – Pick one or two lifts, sets/reps/load are at your discretion.

Try these pairs:

– Hinge/Push
– Squat/Pull
– Carry/CV
– Crawling/Climbing
– Not 100% set in stone, manipulate the pairs with each other as you see fit.

That’s it.

Working to a time limit in a super set fashion will keep you from dillydallying and might even shift your gears enough to get you closer to your goals.

This is highly focused on the principle of escalating density in your training so get in, get focused and get results.

Enjoy,
Ross

 

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Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.

Enjoy,
Ross

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So, think you’re tough enough to try this?

It’s safe to say there are some people in the gym who go above and beyond when it comes to pushing through the burn, a true sign of mental toughness.

However…

Density training has humbled many, myself included.

This is a nice little method of training if you’re short on time and have a hectic schedule.

There are several forms of this, the one we are looking it will help enhance the following elements of your fitness:

  • Base Strength
  • Strength Endurance
  • Cardio
  • Muscle Mass
  • Body Composition (strip fat)
  • Mental Strength

Another added benefit is how this style of training will help you save time and even improve your form – I advise you stop a set of form breaks down, even if it fell short, after all, safety comes first and you can always build strength over time, there’s no rush.

Here is what to do:

  • Train 2-7 days per week (yep, you can do 7days if you wish, I wouldn’t, but you could)
  • Ramp to a top weight and base the density set off of a % of top ramp (50-70% is good) – go lighter than you think at first
  • Complete as many reps as possible in the given time limit
  • Progression comes in the form of adding weight once you can perform consistent reps without stopping in the time limit

You will be using 5min sets.

Yep, after you’ve warmed up, you do 5min of solid reps with a given exercise, no letting go of the bar, db, kettlebell or kit you’re using, just a brief rest pause in the lockout/rack position.

For this method to work well 2-3 exercise per session are good, any more and you may run into problems. I would also not advise doing this with deadlifts, just train those normally.

Here are some suggestions of movements to use:

  • Squat (rest in lock out, goes for front/back squat)
  • Press (bench – rest in lockout, overhead – rest in rack position, dips – rest in lockout)
  • Pull/Chin Up (rest in dead hang)
  • Curls (rest at bottom of curl)
  • Farmers Walk/Loaded Carry (good luck finding a rest position that doesn’t involve putting it down)
  • Turkish Get Ups – 1 set each arm

The loading will be as above, the time limit will be a nice simple 5min, be sure to note down the reps you achieve. Typically hitting around 35-50 means you’re good to go up in weight, depending on the exercise I’d aim for 50 personally.

The layout of a session might be like this:

  • A1 – Ramp on squat to heavy 1-5, drop weight to 60% of top ramp for 1x5min density set
  • B1 – Ramp on press to heavy 1-5, drop weight to 60% of top ramp for 1x5min density set
  • C1 – Chins 1x5min density set* Optional

Remember to hit the full body over the week of your training.

If you trained 2 days you’d have 3 exercises per day that you can pick from the examples written above.

5min doesn’t seem like a long time, however it will test you both mentally and physically.

Enjoy, Ross

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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 1

When it comes to lifting weights well all want to have a steady progression, but many will stall and find their progress grinding to a halt without much warning.

Do you want to know how to avoid this?
Do you want the knowledge to build strength and muscle consistently?
Do you want to know what many trainers hesitate to tell?

Do you want to know the secret of constant progression?

I am going to write one short post per day about what elements of your training you can tweak that will allow you to continue to progress, they are not as complicated as you may think and on top of that there are only 3 KEY elements you need to be mindful off.

Volume

Intensity

Density

That makes 3 content filled posts for you to increase your knowledge and understanding of lifting weights, progression and progressive overload.

If you hied my advice you will find steady progression for many weeks, months and even years to come, so now we have all of the standard chatter of you the way;

Lets get started.

The route to progression is classed as continued progressive overload*, otherwise known as TOTAL VOLUME. This is the amount of weight you lift in one session, the get stronger or build more muscle you must lift more than you did before; simple right?

*Progressive overload by definition is that in order to adapt/grow we require a gradual increase in volume, intensity, density (frequency/time) in order to achieve the targeted goal of the user. In this context, volume, intensity and density are defined as follows: Volume is the total number of repetitions multiplied by the resistance used as performed in specific periods of time.

Not quite. Trying to constantly lift more weight each week will have you hitting a brick wall much sooner than you might realise, your body needs time to adapt, your ligaments and tendons need time to grow stronger as do your muscles. This is where the concept of volume can become skewed, lifting more weight to achieve more volume does not happen quiet the way you would think.

What is VOLUME?

Volume put simply is the cumulative amount of Sets & Reps you ave performed in that one session (Don’t get confused with Total Volume of Weight Lifted.*), the weight you’re using is known as the INTENSITY, but that’s something to talk about on another day, but as you will learn all 3 elements are intrinsically linked.

*The sum total volume of your weight lifted is what you will calculate at the end of your workout to see how much weight you lifted throughout the entire session and over a prolonged period of time throughout your different training phases, this will become important for establishing your ‘Power Index’, but more on that another day.

Example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

So theoretically then this would be the next logical step:

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 105kg – 5×105 = 525 – 525×5 = 2625kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

This progressive volume thing is easy according to this, the gains will be constant and strong… Or so we would like to believe. You have not changed the volume, you have changed the intensity, yes that has lead to more total volume, but not quiet in the way we are trying to achieve today.

Your body would only progress in this way for a certain period of time before it simply couldn’t handle any more weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, this is when you will need to change the volume load, I.E the amount of set’s and reps you’re doing.

You see, you can can increase your volume from a workout without having to increase the weight, take a look at this example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 8×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 10×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×10 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 6×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×6 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume, you can have multiple variations of this, but you will learn that over the next few days – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

As you can see for my rather basic examples above you can increase the VOLUME of your workout by changing the numbers of sets you perform, you can also change the reps but of the purpose of this example I decided to change the sets as it’s easier to see the progression.

That said, if you did want to keep the sets the same but change the reps you might do the following:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 8×100 = 800 – 800×5 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 5×10 @ 100kg – 10×100 = 1000 – 1000×5 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 3×10 @ 100kg – 10×1000 = 1000 – 1000×3 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume

AS you can see now from the second example the sets can remain the same and the reps can change, provided your Total Weight Volume is increased you will be progressively overloading, thus getting bigger and stronger.

*PROVIDED YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH!

Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of what Volume is and what it actually means.

Tomorrow I shall be covering Intensity.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Enjoy
Ross

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