Tag Archives: fundamentals
There are two types of people in the fitness world.
Well, there is actually a lot more however for the purpose of this post I’m saying there is two because the premise demands it to be so 😂
You have those who wish to train every day and those who don’t.
Both can utilise what I will share below.
You might have seen I’m on a bit of a thing with planned randomisation lately.
I know, it’s an impressive oxymoron.
As such we shall be call in on our friend the coin, once again utilising the wisdom of Harvey Dent and letting fate decide.
You will have two options for training:
Heads = Strength
Tails = Cardio
Heads = Push, Hinge, Loaded Carry
Tails = Pull Squat, Movement
Strength Session Rep/Set Structure:
Heads = 1-2-3-4-5, Up to 5 total set
Tails = 3-5min per lift (constant lifting), 2-3 sets
^ Progress can be down to you going on feel or mastery of the loads you’re using.
^^ Pick any lift your feel fits the movement pattern, I’d say to stick with that movement for 4-6 sessions in total.
Heads = Intervals
Tails = Steady State
Cardio Session Structure: Intervals
Heads = Burst Cardio: 20-30min total, HR Zones 70-95%*
Tails = 30on/90off x5-15 sets
*You work until you hit 95% of your max heart rate, then slow down and stop to recover, focus on on breathing and lowering your HR, once it’s back at 70% you sprint again, repeating this for the desired time.
Cardio Session Structure: Steady State
Heads = 45min, HR Zones 60-70% MHR
Tails = 30min HR 70-80% MHR
^ You can choose any method to get your CV needs met.
^^ This also means things like kettlebell swings, snatches etc.
There you have it, a simple and planned structure that is also random, ish 😂
Oh yea, for those who don’t want to train all that often you flip the coin to decide if your’e training that day or not.
Heads = Training
Tails = Not Training
Please be aware that they above is just something novel.
You may love this idea, or you might think it’s terrible, either way who you train is your own choice.
Training these three elements will almost guarantee an increase in strength/performance.
1 – Breathing
2 – Core 3 – Grip
I can’t quite remember where I heard this and there is every chance I’m getting the quote wrong:
“When you master your breath you’ve mastered your strength.” ^^ 🤔
Going to dig this out, pretty sure it was a martial arts master who said it and it was in a book on strength training I read recently, probably a Russian author I can’t spell correctly or one of Pavel’s books.
Let us now have a very simple look at why each of the three above can yield so much reward for what might in real world time be very little sacrifice.
Breath is the essence of life and it’s fair to say that if you can’t breath you’ll die.
Oxygen and all it’s miraculous dealings/conversions in the body is actually quite impressive and truly worthy of our attention.
Alas many don’t give it a second thought.
In fact the majority of people breath Apically (top of chest and moth breathing).
This leads to a slight dominance in the sympathetic nervous system, if you are to take faith in the science.
^ It’s what when we are startled we gasp for air and sprints away. Mouth breathing allows us to get in more immediate oxygen for those ‘life or death’ situations, however it’s not something we should be doing all the time.
^^ Posture being a little poor can also affect who we breath.
Along with being wired all the time you’ll also find a potentially large amount of excessive tension in your upper back, traps, neck and surrounding muscles because they bering to rise/fall to help you take deeper breathes.
Just ask someone to take a deep breath and you’ll see the chest puff up and the person maybe even go a little red as they strain to get in more, while this is common it’s not correct.
Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing, like kids do) is what we really want to be aiming for as this is our so called natural breathing pattern.
It’s also worth nothing that when you utilise this style of breathing you’ll find your core stability increases, as does your ability to brace under heavy loads.
There is an added bonus too, your hip flexors will relax as they no no longer have to provide ‘last minute stability’ because you’re breathing is shot and your core is akin to jelly, FYI.
^ Sue Falsone has some great work on this topic.
If you want to master your breath there is only one way to do it; practice.
Start off with 5min dedicated time per day (like meditation), in through the nose for a desired amount of seconds like 10 🤔, hold for some arbitrary time, perhaps 5, and then out for 10 again, you get the idea.
The focus should be on utilising your diaphragm.
If you’re really focused you can even concentrate on doing this while you’re walking, reading, sitting at your desk working (that ones hard), however you do it is up to you, just do it.
Linked with breathing more than you’d think.
A great way to start to train your core is to think in the following way: – Stimulate – Coordinate – Isolate Here is what they mean to me.
Stimulate = begin a session with some drills such as TVA bracing, deep breathing, micro tensing all so that you can get the ‘feel’ of your core doing what it should be doing.
Coordinate = pick some large compound movements such as TGU, Crawling/Climbing/Throwing/Jumping/Locomotive patterns, rotational/unilateral compound movements and of course your classic lifts (snatch, C&J, S/B/D etc)
Isolate = finish a session with some core specific movements that start off high on the neurological scale of demands and get easier (2-3 can be a good start).
^ Example: Strict Hanging Leg Raise, L-sit, Plank All in all the more movements you can have in your training that link the body together as one unit the better you’ll find your core becomes, especially when you factor in diaphragmatic breathing as well.
The last part is known as ‘Breathing Behind the Shield’.
^You should investigate this thoroughly.
Lastly we have,
Nothing is more impressive than a good strong grip that resonates in a firm handshake that your peers adore.
Having a strong grip not only allows you to lift more, it’s also a sign of your nervous systems health/fatigue levels because once your pressure drops you know it’s time for some volume/intensity dealoads.
Same goes for a day where you’re literally crushing the bar, that means load that bad boy and get some PB’s.
Another benefit of a strong grip is called Irradiation.
^ In short it means the sigher you grip something the more potential muscle fibre/motor unit recruitment you can have, look up Sherrington’s Law of Irradiation.
All in all holding things for length of time is one of the best ways to build grip strength endurance, to build grip strength you need to ‘crush’ things in your little paws.
CoC (captain of crush) grippers are excellent for this.
As is performing pulling movements with fat grips, thicker bars, towels wrapped around a bar so it compresses meaning you need to grip harder, you’ve also go the option of doing pulling movements holding the towel (look up towel pull up).
Climbing things is also great, like walls, ropes etc.
True enough you’ll find yourself humbled adding in a more difficult grip yet it will be well worth it in regards to your strength.
Oh, plate pinches and pinch grip work is also epic too.
We can’t forget heavy kettlebell single arm swings or snatches also forge a cast iron grip as well.
Taking in to account all of the above there is one ‘secret’ move that pretty much covers everything.
Heavy awkward object loaded carries.
Honestly, try carrying things for 5+ minutes at a time, you’ll find your breathing needs to be correct, your core braced tight and your grip locked like an immovable vice.
At the end of a good session of carries you’ll find everything is suitably fried.
Not just because of the effort required to pick up, carry (possibly load on to) and repeat, it’s also because of the time under tension (and overall tension too) they force you to have.
There you have it.
A lengthy ramble that could have been summed up with just one sentence –
“To get stronger train your breathing, core & grip more.”
How much training time do you decimate to the above?
Is there a food that you just can’t live without?
Many have at least one.
Some have a fridge full, that must be consumed under various circumstances or when certain conditions are met.
To some this may be called addiction, others it’s meal prep.
Depending on how you view things.
Consistency of the foods we eat isn’t actually that hard to achieve, if you think about it logically you’ll find people stick with select foods day in day out.
The difference is often the quality of food.
Taking this in to consideration you can swap one food habit with another, if only it was that easy.
Which realistically it is, however if you’re not willing to let go of a food or something that is perhaps not the most optimal choice for your health, you may want to question why.
Plenty of people understand what they should do.
Especially in regards to nutrition, yet they don’t.
Emotion, that is the reason, or at least what it boils down to in the end.
Becoming married to a certain food, or even stye of eating can be quite detrimental.
If you have the ability to have something just because you want it, and yet can as easily go without then I’d say you’ve found that place where you’ve got all your plates spinning well.
When someone says “I have to have….” alarm bells ring.
Less for medical reasons no one needs to have anything. Want to have, perhaps.
Self control, will power, what ever you call restraint, it’s being mindful and aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and more importantly being okay with it.
By okay with it I mean this in regards to accepting any or all potential consequences that come with said choice.
It is common we will tend to leave ourselves ‘outs’.
Reasons for our choices that make us feel less bad about the choice we made food wise, yet if you end up feeling that way do you ever stop to ask why?
Hopefully you’ve noticed the common theme.
Asking why, being able to understand, learn and grow from each choice and layer you peel back in regards to delving in to your depths.
A little bit about how I eat.
I just eat based on what I feel I need, the mythical ‘listening to my body’ kind of thing.
There are no set times to eat.
No set meal frequency or specific meals/macros to be hit.
I’ve done my time playing with those factors to see what impact they had, which can be described as minimal.
Some days I will not eat until the evening, not because of some protocol telling me to, merely because life gets in the way and food waits until later.
No I didn’t get hangry because I’m not 6months old and still clasping my mothers tit for sustenance.
While food can indeed affect your mood, you have to understand that you will be aware of this impending shift and if you choose to be ‘hangry’ then it’s a choice you’ve made willingly.
Yep, that’s why people get pissy and then say “I haven’t eaten.” as if it exonerates them.
Umm, no, you know you’re hungry and you’re using that as your excuse to be a prize bell-end, congrats you’ve unlocked an achievement.
Now I’m sure some will be running to PubMed to find all the studies on low blood sugar, fluctuating concentration levels and a whole host of other information to justify them being a little bit of a dick when they get hungry.
Please feel free to do this, just understand it still doesn’t change the fact that if you know you’re hungry and choose to be a dick, you’re choosing to be a dick, end of.
You will often find the only people capable of such things are those privileged enough to do so.
People that don’t have a choice just get on with it.
How do your nutritional habits affect you?
Take some time to sit and reflect on this.
Strength Training for Ladies:
Lift the heavy thing + solid nutrition = all the gains.
That’s essentially it.
I suppose we could look at some details as well.
You know what, to me the fact that more women are lifting is a very good thing because of all the benefits it offers, however we need to look at a few things to maximise what can be gained.
In the beginning days you’ll find these two main differences between the sexes when it comes to training due to genetics.
*If you’ve found different please do share your experience.
Ladies tend to do better with a higher volume of total work and their RM loads are not that far apart.
Men on the other hand don’t handle quite as high a volume and their RM loads can be dramatically different.
We shall tackle the volume in a second, first the loads.
Lady – 5RM = 100kg, 1RM = 107kg
Gent – 5RM = 100kg, 1RM = 120kg
This has bene linked in with overall levels of neurological strength and MU firing rates, plus the initial difference in LBM when looking at beginners on both sides of the fence.
Of course as training starts to progress this gap lessens, however one thing that does seem consistent is that ladies handle more total volume far better than the gents do (faster recovery etc).
Strength itself is a skill.
You have to learn to express your strength, regardless of how much base strength you have, if someone knows how to get everything ‘just right’ they will surprise you with just how much iron they can shift.
The most optimal rep range for this is 1-5 reps.
In regards to optimal sets, that’s where things get interesting as in an ideal world it will be answered as such – how many you can handle with good form.
That might be 5 sets, it might be 50.
Many who follow the tome of hypertrophy will start to bang out statistics and ‘evidence’ or ‘studies’, which is all well and good, however strength is a different animal.
You want to lift a heavy load, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as you can.
When I’ve trained ladies in the past who wanted to get strong this seemed to work very well for beginners put o the intermediate level (as a general starting point).
2-4 reps x 10-30 sets x 3-10RM
The weight east set would change in some rather sharp and random ways.
Not what people expect, here is what is may have looked like if the reps were static (for simplicity).
2 x 7RM, 3RM, 5RM, 10RM, 3RM, 3RM, 9RM, 7RM, 5RM, 4RM, etc
^^ One or two movements (compound focus)
Throw in some conditioning work in the form of sprints, kettlebell snatches, complexes, PHA bits and pieces and you’ll soon find yourself or your female clients getting the results they’ve always wanted.
*I found many ladies enjoyed full body work and responded best to it for when they were after an overall aesthetic look and strength.
Here is an example session:
W/U – Mobility Flow (or KB complex flow)
Skill – 15sets of Bent Press practice 1-3 reps
Strength – 10-30 sets S/S Clean & Press + Chin 2-4 reps
Conditioning – L/C, Rope Climb Hold, Swings – 10Min
C/D – Mobility or Yoga Flow
A lot of volume, a lot of practice and varied loads each and every set.
Easy on paper, in practice no so much.
The aim of getting stronger is the goal of many.
One little gem of information for achieving it though is this; you leave a session feeling stronger than you did when you entered, like you could do more however you don’t.
Leaving something in the tank and feeling strong is key.
Doing the will allow you a higher frequency of training and that will yield results far faster then you could imagine, if you’re willing to leave a little in the tank every session.
Obviously there will be some days you push a little harder than others, however this shouldn’t be the status quo, despite what fitness rags tell you.
Apply the philosophy of ‘same yet different’ as well and you’ve got a very potent mix for progress.
*S-Y-D = Zercher Squat, Front Squat, Back Squat -they are all squats and while the same they’re still different.
Now go, become strong.