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To become a Giant, Giant Sets are the answer.

***Old School Wisdom***
 
“You can train hard or long, not both.”
 
This is pretty much true for the majority of people.
 
You might find some genetic freak beasts that can do both however for the rest of us mortals we need to make the choice between putting in a gargantuan effort or a marathon time.
 
Personally I’d pick intensity.
 
Just because you’ll find that often those who are forced to do less better tend to be those who you aspire to be like.
 
As such I’ve got a little gem of training advice for you.
 
Giant Sets.
 
Defined as 4+ exercises for the same muscle group with no rest in-between each movement/exercise until you’ve finished all of them.
 
Here is an example:
 
A1 – Sumo DL x4-6
A2 – Weighted Pull Up x4-6
A3 – RDL x6-8
A4 – Pull Up x6-8
A5 – Rope Pull Through x8-12
A6 – Neutral Grip Pull Up x8-12
A7 – Reverse Fly to failure
A8 – DB Curl to failure
Rest 3-5 min, repeat 2-3 more times.
 
Just lovely.
 
Brutally hard, however lovely all the same.
 
Say this was going to be in a training session I might suggest that someone warms up by doing some barbell cleans and movement flow work.
 
Cleans might ramp up to say a heavy double or triple, perhaps 6-8 total sets and have some crawling pattering after each set.
 
Once that is done (say 15min) you go on to the giant set.
 
They are great time savers and they allow you to work a multitude of rep ranges and according to some (Dr Hatfield & cohorts) it allows you to tax each muscle fibre sufficiently for maximal progress.
 
Personally while I do like that style I’d say in the early days of applying this perhaps stick with a gaol based rep range.
 
Strength = <6 reps, so sets of 2-3, 3-4, 3-5, 4-6 etc.
Hypertrophy = 6-20 reps
Endurance = 15> reps
 
That way the metabolic effect will be largely focused on the same energy system and overall outcome.
 
Once you play with this for a while you will know what rep ranges you can combine based on the movements you use.
 
A good split to follow would be as follows:
 
Day 1 – Pressing
Day 2 – Posterior Chain
Day off
Day 3 – Legs
Day off
Repeat Day 1.
 
You can also set up two giant sets per training session however I’d then limit the total amount of giant sets to 2-3 and perhaps the amount of movements to say 6.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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TUT for more progress

If there is one thing you can do to immediately get more results it’s to spend more time under the bar, literally.
 
TUT (time under tension) is a key element in gains.
 
Classic tempo prescription is 4-1-1-0 (eccentric, pause at bottom of lift, concentric, pause at top of lift).
 
The first three are of great importance, the last one can be seen by some as a time for potential rest.
 
In regards to the eccentric portion 2-10 seconds lowering range is good for most people, this can help them start to feel what’s doing on (obviously it will be harder in some lifts vs others).
 
Stopping at the end ROM is where you’ll find people can do ‘Pause Reps’ and anything less than 4 seconds is just to create some control (if they dive bomb a lift).
 
You’ll find that really you’d want to pause for at least 4 seconds to allow the stretch (myotatic) reflex to dissipate. Yep your muscles store that good old potential genetic energy for that long.
 
^^ Have someone else time or put a timer in front of you because no one ever counts their pauses correctly, what they feel is say 4 seconds is actually 1, and what they think is 10 seconds is more like 4 😂
 
In regards to the concentric you’ll find this is typically written as a 1 second movement or an X – this means be as explosive as possible.
 
Top end of the lift is where you simply chill out, re-brace and then do more reps.
 
You can periodise TUT like any other element of training, here are a couple of options I’ve used in the past.
 
Sets & Reps – 4-6×4-6, if all reps hit add 1-2% load
 
Tempo periodisation: Goal – Hypertrophy
 
Weeks 1-3: 8-0-X-0
Weeks 4-6: 6-0-X-0
Weeks 7-9: 4-0-X-0
Week 10 – Deload – 2-0-X-0
Repeat with added load or different rep range
 
You could also play with the pause at the bottom.
 
Sets & Reps – 3-5×3-5, if all reps hit add 1-2% load
 
Tempo periodisation: Goal – Strength
 
Weeks 1-3: 2-4-X-0
Weeks 4-6: 2-6-X-0
Weeks 7-9: 2-8-X-0
Week 10 – Deload – 2-0-X-0
Repeat with added load or different rep range
 
In short, having your body create more tension and spend more time in that state is a good way to progress.
 
Go lighter than you think you should.
 
Like at least 25% off of what you think you can handle because there is always room to add more weight in a cycle.
 
Trying to be a hero and starting off too heavy doesn’t do you any favours.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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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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Your Personal Fountain of Youth

The fountain of eternal youth really does exist.
 
It just might not be what you think it is though.
 
Many picture it as some grand structure with overflowing waters that are of the purest quality.
 
Some see it as something small, humble and little more than a tiny water flow in something akin to a birds drinking fountain.
 
Both are admirable visions, however here is what it really looks like –
 
Your Posterior chain 🍑
 
Yep, all the muscles that cover the back of your body (the ones you can’t see standing head on in the mirror).
 
A strong posterior chain is responsible for solid structure, stability, strength power and it trained well will often covet this phrase for both ladies & gents:
 
“Look at that ass” 🤤🤤🤤
 
If you take a look at anyone in their more senior years you’ll notice that have poor posture, struggle to move quickly and pretty much everything is sagging.
 
Let’s be honest for a second and admit that no one wants this to happen to themselves.
 
It’s not shallow to value your physique, your overall health and want to retain a youthful stature well in to your 70’s.
 
Well maybe you do think it’s shallow however that’s your choice.
 
Personally I’d rather keep as much muscle (especially in my posterior chain) as I can for as long as possible, not only because of aesthetic reasons, for health and longevity reasons too.
 
Ask yourself, why does it change from:
 
“They fell over.” to “They had a fall.”
 
If you are weak and old then a fall can literally mean death for you, perhaps not from the fall itself, rather from your inability to recover because you’re just too weak.
 
This is where as strong posterior chain will help.
 
Think about all the muscles in the back of your body.
 
Lats, spinal erectors, QL, glutes, hamstrings, calves, triceps, traps, rear delts and just how having them be as strong as possible will mean good things for you.
 
There are plenty of movements you can use to train the PC.
 
My top ones for you are as follows:
 
– Loaded Carries (variations)
– Clean & Presses
– Swings
– Snatch (variations)
– Sprinting
– Rowing
– Climbing
– Rows, Face Pulls, etc
– Levers
– Pull Ups (variations)
– Deadlifts (variations)
– Squats because they’re awesome
 
The list could go on, however what you’ll find is that most of the best posterior chain movements also hit many other elements/parts of the body as well.
 
You’d do well to have a bias towards this in your training.
 
Think along these lines and you’ll never go far wrong, that is if you have no ultra specific goal that you’re training for; if you do then train for that and just accept there will be a price to pay for it.
 
Set up your training sessions like this:
 
1 x anterior chain movement
2-4 x posterior chain movements
 
Done.
 
Doing 2-3 times the amount of work on your posterior chain will serve you well you might have a session like this:
 
A1 – Weighted Dip 6×8-10 x10RM
A2 – Rope Climb x 10-20M
 
B1 – Deadlift 6-4-2-6-4-2-6-4-2
 
C1 – Farmers Walks 10x20m
C2 – Bodyweight Skull Crusher*
 
*yes triceps are posterior chain and a BW-SC will force total body tension and engage your lats massively if done well.
 
There you have it my good people of the world.
 
Your fountain of youth.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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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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A little time

You might that guessed I’m in quite the pensive mood of late.
 
Today I shall break with that trend and give you something you can use in the gym 🤗
 
It’s called ’25-35-45′
 
This is the length of time you will spend training in minutes.
 
You will cycle through them each session.
 
Why?
 
Because it will stop you faffing about.
 
You might be thinking that you can’t get anything done in 25min.
 
Well you can, in fact you can get quite a lot done however it relies on you pulling your finger out and being productive.
 
The cycling of session time will get you out of the mindset of –
 
“I need to train to feel tired/worked/like you did something”
 
Instead it will get you in the realms of –
 
“What can I do that is productive and not a waste of time?”
 
There might be some trial and error while you find the flow of it all, however once you do you will find that it’s not about the amount of time you spend in the gym, oh no.
 
It’s about the amount of effort, the quality of work and having a purpose that makes all the difference.
 
Don’t believe me?
 
Try to do 10 Thrusters & 5 Pull Ups without rest for 25min solid (wave loads as needed) and tell me you’ve not achieved something notable.
 
Here are a couple of ways you can set up the rotations.
 
1 – Pull/Squat, Hinge/Push, Loaded Carries/Movement
 
This takes 9 sessions before you start the cycle again, meaning each of the above (Pull/SQ etc) gets a 25-35-45min session.
 
2 – 25-35-45 & 1/2/3
 
25min session = 1 lift
35min session = 2 lifts (ideally in superset fashion)
45min session = 3 lifts (tri-set is good)
 
1 lift = pick a big movement that hits the entire body
2 lift = choose 2 solid half body movements
3 lift = 1 big lift, 1 auxiliary lift & 1 isolation/weak-point lift
 
3 – EMOM or AMRAP
 
Pick one or two lifts for an EMOM (ever minute on the minute), or choose as many lifts as you like and complete as many reps/rounds as possible in the given time.
 
4 – 200-300-400
 
The above are rep targets.
 
25min = 200reps
35min = 300 reps
45min = 400 reps
 
You can cycle the days as in option 1, I’d go for a simple Pull-Push-Legs so you might end up with something like this:
 
25min – 200 Presses (a combination of press/dip etc)
35min – 300 Squats (Squats, lunges, step ups etc)
45min – 400 Pulls (Dl, rows, chins, swings etc)
 
It will take 9 sessions to have each movement go through each rep/time set.
 
5 – Recovery, Run & Ramp
 
25min = Recovery work day – foam rolling, stretching etc
35min = Cardio work of your choice
45min = Lifting day where you ramp the weights/volume up
 
There are many options, however the 4 above should be enough to get you started.
 
Take some time to think about how much time you waste in the gym and for what other reason than you just feel like you should be in there for a certain amount of time.
 
Do less better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Split Set Training

Getting in all the volume you need can be a bit of a grind.

Not just physically but mentally too.

Here is a little method to help break up the monotony of lots of sets in a session.

Main lift – 1/2 of your working sets
Accessory work – one or two lifts
Main lift – the remaining 1/2 of you working sets

^^ this can also be done in 1/4’s set volumes where you have an accessory or supplementary lift in between the main lift and all the set you need to do.

One thing to not is that this works well if your main movement has a total amount of sets creeping over 15+. 10 sets can be done in one go, might be hard however very doable, when you’ve got to do say 20 sets of just one lift (for whatever reasons that may be) you’ll find it can be the mentally draining aspect that gets you as opposed to the lifting itself.

*Ideally you’d simply break down all your set volume across the week and train more frequently for higher MPS and all that jazz, however life isn’t always going to provide us with the ideal training environment.

Just something to consider.

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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A little S&C for free.

Morning All,
 
Typically I will try and throw out various methods and bits of info for people to take away and try.
 
No specific reason for it other than if an idea crops up it might as well be shared.
 
You may find some of the older programs below useful.
 
You may not, either way they’re there.
 
One thing I have noticed in the age of the internet is the abundance of info and free stuff, it’s quite the time to be alive.
 
The slight issue is that it means people don’t go looking for the right info, just what they want to read.
 
Take some free training sessions people share.
 
Most are high volume bollocks that has no rhyme or reason.
 
There is little focus on developing much of anything in their training and it’s all for the attention.
 
While it is true there’s many ways to the top of the fitness mountain each one needs strength.
 
Here in lies the problem, people don’t want to get strong.
 
As such this little protocol today is focused on that very thing, with some added extra for those who want to leave feeling their heart race (because people are addicted to feeling that they’ve done something).
 
– Main Movement(s): 2-3-5
– Accessory Movement: Time or Distance Goal
– Conditioning Element: Optional sprint protocol
 
You might be wandering what I mean by 2-3-5 in the main movement, it’s pretty simple yet will be rather scary to some people.
 
You literally just to a set of two, then rest, then a set of 3 and rest some more and finish with a tough set of 5.
 
Yep, the 2 & 3 are your warm up sets.
 
This goes against conventional wisdom and that’s why it works.
 
You’ll need to have some focus as this doesn’t give you the option of pissing about.
 
Here is an example day with 2 main lifts performed as a super set (you can pick as main man lifts as you choose and perhaps have easier ones to potentiate harder ones).
 
A1 – Deadlift 2-3-5 Rest 120 seconds
A2 – Press 2-3-5 Rest 120 seconds
B1 – Famers Walk 10min x20m carries
C1 – Rowing Interval 8/12 x5min
 
Simple.
 
Depending only our time you can be in and out of the gym in 20min or stretch it to 45, that’s up to you.
 
In regards to progression (if you keep the movements the same) add 2-3% to your top lift each session and milk it for all its worth.
 
Funny how many people miss that little gem.
 
If something is still progressing and producing results stick with it as long as possible.
 
^^ On average a lift/movement does well for about 6 sessions for most people and then needs changing as a guide.
 
Take a read on the above and leave your thoughts below.
 
If this isn;t for you that’s cool however I’d like you to take away one thing; train for strength first and foremost because being weak isn’t good and will lead to an early grave.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Trusty Rusty

A man and his kettlebell.
 
Because no dogs were available at the time.
 
Have you ever thrown around the aforementioned cannonball with a handle?
 
They offer a plethora of benefits.
 
Strength, mobility, CV, power and much more.
 
Their beauty comes from their simplicity because you don’t need much to accomplish a lot, provided you don’t have a kettlebell that is little more than a door stop in regards to total weight.
 
I’m sure many will disagree with this.
 
Oh well never mind.
 
What will transpire below is not for the very de-conditioned although it can be adapted for such.
 
Here is what weight I’d recommend for you have as an essential starting out:
 
Gentlemen – 24kg
 
Lady – 16kg
 
With such limited choice you’ll have to be clever with training and keep things simple yet effective.
 
Try this short 26 week protocol –
 
Weeks 1-6 – Get Up & Single Arm Swings
 
– Up to 10 total get ups per day
– 75-250 single arm swings per day
 
Weeks 7-12 – Clean & Press (or push press, or jerk)
 
– Clean ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 with 1 Press
– Press ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,19 with 1 Clean
– Alternate between the above per day
 
Weeks 13 – 18 – Single Arm Swings & Squats/Push Ups*
 
*can be pistols/single arm push ups*
 
– Single arm Swings 75-250 per day
– Goblet Squat or Push Up* ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
– Alternate SQ/PU each day
 
Weeks 19-24 – Single Arm Swing, Clean, Press, Squat
 
– Complex ladder 1,2,3,4,5
– Perform up to 5 ladders each say (one at a minimum)
 
This isn’t fancy, however it is effective as you can tweak movement variations to your hearts content and add in some GTG (grease the groove) work if you feel strong enough.
 
^^ I’ve found a pulling movement works well for GTG.
I’ve personally done the above with a 32kg and found limiting the choice was a great way to give myself a much needed kick up the arse.
Give it a go and as always –
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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