Tag Archives: gains

Lingering Logical Loopholes

The experiences, expectations and biases we gain over a lifetime lead us to some rather interesting beliefs.
We end up thinking, feeling that things should always go a certain way and when there is a slight difference we end up potentially rejecting this new happening/process.
Now, this is not to say that what happens is wrong or bad, it’s just different.
Different doesn’t mean pain-free or without discomfort.
After all, learning or accepting how to learn that there are more than a select few ways of getting a result is not always easy, yet it’s often worth it.
The above thought came from a small epiphany I had.
If you’ve followed these ramblings over the years you’ll have noticed the programming element has undergone some drastic growth and a couple of days ago a large piece of the puzzle finally got put in the correct place.
Upon writing down various numbers, in-fact letting it all flow out and just ‘happen’ is the best way to describe it.
What was in front of me made sense, and so did all of the other documents, books and programs I’d read over the years. At last, I didn’t just see the pattern, I understood it.
I will tell you something funny though.
Even in knowing what was now on the paper right in front of me and the reasons why it would work, in the back of my mind this thought cropped up: “It looks too easy.”.
Coming from a background that held the attitude and belief that ‘hard work trumps all’ and ‘do more, do better’, it was apparent this still held some sway, even knowing better.
These days I personally try to follow the tome of “Do less better than more worse.”.
Still, that thought of something looking too easy still cropped up.
Funny, right?
Letting go of outdated beliefs is one of the hardest things we can do, and it will take time yet be 100% worth it in the end.
What old notions (if any) do you find pop up, even if you know better?
Leave your thoughts below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A bit of a tangent

***This post isn’t for body builders***
– The take away message is right at the bottom to save you time
Now the trigger warning is out of the way, let’s continue.
You like training, right?
Like most, and I’m guessing like you, I certainly do.
In fact training every day is something that makes me vary happy.
There is only one issue with this though, rigidity.
Have you ever heard of Greasing the Groove?
The brainchild of Russian lineage, and popularised by Pavel Tsatsouline, it involves picking a one or a handful of movements and practicing them daily.
You will rarely, if ever train to a state of fatigue.
In fact you should always be fresh at the end of every set, feeling stronger and that you could have done more is the ideal state to be in.
The issue for many with this is that they are so used to ‘working out’ they feel the need to leave a session even if its only 5min feeling destroyed, which is just not really a good mentality to have.
I get it though, I really do.
On a personal level, like you, I too want to feel like I’ve done something, that I’ve put in some effort and made progress, however just because we’ve killed ourselves that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
Now there are times to push the envelope, just not all the time.
You can of course push it hard all the time if you choose, however there will be a price to pay.
You’re heart rate each session is 90%+……
You get no praise from me because that is worrying, in training you want to be floating around 50-70% of HRR for the most part, if you always end up with it higher then there could be an underlying issue with your body (nervous system, hormone levels etc).
Essentially somethings not right.
We like to chase the feeling, the rush.
It’s addictive, however the big question is this; why?
Why do you need it?
^^ A very long corridor to go down which we will save for another time, back to GTG.
Training daily and the potential rigidity that comes with it.
It can happen because we get attached to our habits, or rather the movements we are doing, for several reason.
– We get good at them
– We enjoy them
– We have now formed a habit
While in all honesty most people could literally forge a strong functional body with these 5 movements done daily (an no others for the rest of their life), it would perhaps get a tad dull in the end.
Daily Practice of Awesome
– Kettlebell Swing (1 or 2 handed) 75-250 reps total
– TGU 5-10 reps total
– Pull Ups (any variation) 5-10 reps total
– Push Up (any variation) 5-10 reps total
– Single Leg Squat (any variation) 5-10 reps total
– Ab Roll Out (or core variation) 5-10 reps
*There is nothing magic about the reps, they’re just sustainable.
That’s it, maybe 5min of mobility that involves crawling or climbing as well would be golden.
To be fair Swings, Crawling and Climbing (rope, wall, etc) would be life changing for most people.
Climbing a 10-20m rope once a day every day would give you so much more than spending 3 days in the gym ‘working out back’ from a health, longevity & functional stand point.
Where was I going with this…..
Oh yea, training daily.
Our bodies are meant to move and receive a stimulus on daily basis.
You don’t have to follow GTG – doing the same movement(s) each day for multiple sets of 2-3 reps throughout the day, however it’s a great way to get strong, add some lean mass and stay mobile.
You can do GTG by doing one different movement everyday, say Swings on Monday, Hand Balancing on Tuesday, Pistol Squats on Wednesday and so on.
This style, this philosophy of training is something you do for life.
You can do as many or as few movements as you choose, just try to pick ones that will keep you young (moving well), this means that while you can do bench press every day it may cost you shoulder health in the future, or it may not, I don’t know.
You’ve got any amazing opportunity you know.
That body of yours can do many great things, sow hy not capitalise on it 🤗
Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me today.
Take away message:
– Move daily
– Pick a few moves to do each day or….
– Pick one move to do periodically throughout the day
– Reps 2-3 per set or less than 50% of your max reps
– Always finish feeling stronger than when you started
– Have fun with it

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Totally Addicted to Pain

You like feeling sore post training, don’t you.
Leaving the gym absolutely destroyed.
Hurting the same and even the next or next few days, that’s what it’s all about, right?
You’re addicted to pain is seems.
I was like you once.
While you can indeed live for this style of training it doesn’t do much.
Just because you’re sore that doesn’t mean you’ve made progress, it just means your sore.
If your level of discomfort/pain post external stressor/stimulus was the main factor in how many gains you made then everyone who had a major accident, such as –
Car crashes, falling down man holes, getting jumped and beaten to a pulp or tearing a muscle(s) falling down stairs.
Well they’d all be jacked by that logic.
Yea, sounds a little absurd, that’s because it is.
While this is indeed a logical fallacy, it helps people understand a simple point, you don’t need to kill yourself and if you’re seeking certain feelings from training then that says more about your psychology than anything else.
I can personally understand wanting to leave a session feeling accomplished.
In the past I was even caught in the trap of not being happy unless post training I felt demolished.
While it was good for the ego, it did little in the way of achieving progress.
It’s funny really.
I’ve had clients where we’ve reduced their training amount by as much as three quarters, they’ve ended up making more in the way of results in 3 months following this change than they did in their last 5 years of training the way they like.
The saddest part is that even though they could see and admitted they were getting the best results of their life for a long time, they didn’t like the training.
They wanted to do more because they felt they needed to.
Even in the face of strong evidence to that thought.
People are strange creatures.
We want to do what we want, even if it doesn’t get us to the goal or any progress what so ever, the cognitive dissonance is frightening.
Mellow as I have become over the years I still want to shake some people and tell them to stop being fools.
I of course put myself in this camp as well.
Let me as you this, why wouldn’t you want to change your training to get results?
In fact why wouldn’t you want to get results?
Are you one of the few who trains multiple times a day (or for 2 hours sessions of back to back classes) and gets no results?
If that is you then perhaps you need to reevaluate.
Then ask yourself this; What is training to me?
Now some will spend that long in the gym for deeper psychological reasons, this is worth discussion.
That being said, the aim of the game is to make progress because the body doesn’t really ever stay stagnant for too long.
You’re either making progress or regressing.
Maintaining balance is an illusion.
Often one championed by the mediocrity who achieve some basic results and are then ‘happy’ with where they are.
Those are the same people who end up putting on almost all of the weight they lost or regressing back to before they started training.
They repeat this cycle for many years.
All just to look, okay, average, mediocre.
I sincerely doubt anyone ever wakes up as a child and thinks –
“Oh boy, I hope when I grow up that I’m perfectly average.”
Would you do me a kindness?
Please leave what the gym means to you in the comments section, along with the last time you achieved any notable results.
Be honest.
I didn’t make any in the time period of 2010-2014, while I gained strength nothing else changed, wasted time that I will never get back.
These days I train in the gym as I did when I was in my competitive fields, for performance, to become a better human.
I don’t personally need the gym for respite or mental reprieve, for that I have places to go and write, people to share and have deep conversations with because I learn a long time ago that the gym can only change how I look, not how I feel about myself, not really.
Any mental fortitude from the gym is fleeting at best.
Don’t believe me, just speak to any physique competitor, most are chronically depressed because no matter how good we can make ourselves look on the outside that won’t change what, who we are on the inside.
In our heart we will always be the fat kid who was bullied at school and the only way to change that is not by working out, it’s by working in.
The gym is a tool, that all, a tool.
That’s me though, I know me, what I’m really interested in is getting to know more about you.
I look forwards to reading your comments below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A new take on an old classic

Ever read Super Squats?

It’s an older book however it’s well worth a read, not to mention 6 weeks of your time following the training program itself.

Wile easy enough to understand it certainly separates the strong from the weak.

It’s brutal mentally because it’s so simple.

The original training went something like this:

Press behind neck – 2-3 x 12
Squat – 1 x 20 supersetted with Pullover – 1 x 20
Bench press – 2-3 x 12
Rowing – 2-3 x 15
Stiff legged deadlift – 1 x 15
Pullover – 1 x 20

Done 2-3 times a week.

Worth a go for the experience if nothing else, you’d also do well to have the aim of getting to 300lbs in the squat or 20, the ultimate goal in the book.

So while the above is fun it’s not the only way to utilise this style of training, you can take the basic skeleton (sets/reps) and apply it to a great many things.

Staring movement on a weak area – 2-3 x 12
Select a large compound lift (DL, C&P, SQ, etc) – 1 x 20 superset with antagonist – 1 x 20
Pick a secondary lift for adding muscle – 2-3 x 12
Pick a lift antagonistic the the one just before this – 2-3 x 15
A little something for pump – 1 x 15
The movement you did in the compound 20 rep lift – 1 x 20

Here is an example of how you can use that structure.

Weeks 1-6 the classic Super Squat routine

Weeks 7-12 (you fancy some back and arm focus)

Kettlebell Clean & Sots Press– 2-3 x 12
Trap Bar Deadlift – 1 x 20 supersetted with Barbell Curl – 1 x 20
Incline Press – 2-3 x 12
Close Grip Pull Down – 2-3 x 15
Split Squat – 1 x 15
Barbell Curl – 1 x 20

Perform 2-3 times per week, perhaps aim to hit the 20rep on TBDL with 400lbs, ala Brawn and Stuart McRoberts.

I’m sure you get the idea.

The beauty comes from the simple structure that allows you to simply plug and play, just with some exercise variations.

Obviously you don’t need to do this and the overall specificity is lacking, however for people who just want general training (strength, fat loss, hypertrophy) and some guidance it’s quite useful.

Give it some thought.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Eccentric eccentrics

*Lifter sees you pinned under a bar.

“Do you need a spot bro?

*The reply you need to save face.

“Oh, thanks for the offer, it’s okay though, I’m doing Eccentrics & Isometric holds, I’m not pinned.

*After lifter leaves slither out from under the bar you loaded way too heavily and hope no one check CCTV.

Time to talk about eccentrics.

Ah the English language, what an interesting thing it is.

When it comes to utilising this overload principle you’ll find you can get results coming thick and fast.

However, with a fast rise there is an equally fast fall awaiting those who become greedy.

Eccentric training often recommends the use of 100-130% of a person 1RM, depending on the movement.

In some cases when people have reached superhuman levels of strength their eccentric ability to handle loads can be a high as 170-200% of their 1RM.

Yea, I know, that’s just nuts.

As a guideline for knowing if someone is ready for this style of training with extra loads (as in not on bodyweight movements), there are some things to remember.

What comes next has been lifted from books such as SuperTraining, The Science & Practice of Strength Training and many years of working with coaches far smarter than I am.

– For lower body you’ll want to be able to handle 1.5-2xBW on a squat minimum.

– Pressing movements to fall between 1-1.5xBW

– Hinging is better off at 2xBW

This may seem excessive to some.

Heck, there are plenty of people who use eccentrics with loaded movements without these strength levels, however the progress that can be made will always be compromised.

One crucial thing to remember is that this style of lifting puts a hefty stress on the body, not to mention the ligaments & tendons take a lot longer to ascertain their fortitude, unlike muscles where this happens relatively quickly.

You’ve also got to remember that the GTO is there to protect you, if you don’t have the base strength required then it won’t allow you to even hold a heavier load without shaking like a defecating dog.

As such this method should be respected.

So, how can you use it?

Well provided you’ve got the required strength levels.

No major or chronic injuries to speak of.

Then you’re good to go.

Here are three ways I use eccentrics in training.

Each method would last for 3 weeks, then not be repeated or used again for 12-16 weeks.

Yep, you’ll find more benefit if you do this 2-4 times per year.

As for sessions you’re looking at one of these every 5-7days for this style of training.

More sessions than that in the 5-7 day period is often too taxing for anyone not very well trained, for now 💪

More is not better, it’s just more.

Method 1 – Hold, Hover, Hoist

*Spotter advised.

This is made up of three mini-sets you could say that make 1 full set, or a three-phase eccentric lift.

First, you load a bar with more than you can lower, un-rack it and hold it for 10-30seconds, the rack it.

Rest 3-5min

Second, take out a supra-maximal loaded bar, you’ll be looking at a 10+second eccentric phase on this as you will be looking to hold the weight isometrically for 2-3 seconds 2-3 times during your lowering phase.

Say you’re doing it on a squat, you’d stop first at a 1/4 position, then again at half, then again at 3/4, and then fight it to the bottom where the bar can now rest on the pins and you can safely step out from under it.

Rest 3-5min

Finally, load the bar with 70-80% of your 1RM and crack out a set of 3-6 reps with solid form.

Rest 5-10min then repeat once or twice more if you’re some kind of inhuman beast lobster.

This plays heavily on tension as its main overload driver.

Method 2 – That’s what friends are for

A classic method of loading a bar with 100-110% of your 1RM.

You will want the eccentric portion to be 6-10second on the first rep, then try to sustain this for each subsequent rep, have your training partner help spot you up.

1-5 total reps rep set.

3-5 total sets.

5min rest between sets.

Method 3 – Decelerate to Accelerate

This one can be done alone.

Load a bar with 100-130% of your 1RM and perform 1 eccentric.

Rest 2-3min.

Next perform and explosive variation of the lift you just did, if it was a bench press you might do a plyo-push up or an explosive med-ball floor press/throw.

3-5 explosive reps

*Or until you lose speed, which you’d need a tool to measure for accuracy.

There you have it, three methods to shatter plateaus and make epic gainzzzz.

^^ The more Z’s the more progress, it’s science.

Oh yea, I mentioned that this can help you gain followers on social media.

It will.

These methods are sexy to watch people perform.

They sound awesome and create a curiosity among people who want to make progress.

Plus who doesn’t want their Instagram videos to be with impressive weights or toilet mirror selfies under – ‘that good lighting’.

You’ll also be able to explain to people why you’re using the methods above (extreme overload, plateau breaking, nervous system training) and why/how they can adapt them.

These are truly worth your time.

Since this post is long enough I will leave the topic of Strength Deficit for today, however if you do CrossFIt you NEED to dig in to that to avoid injury.

Here is a great place to start:


One final note.

You can perform certain eccentric movements on your own, things such as push press, cheat curls, etc are all good for using to allow you to do eccentrics on smaller movements.

You can also do individual limb eccentrics as you can lift the load with both and lower on one.

There are just so many options, it’s truly a deep habit hole.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

100 reps per lift for 100 days.

It’s beauty is in it’s simplicity.
The basic premise of what to do:
– 100 reps per lift
– (each 3rd micro-block drop the volume by 30-60%, if needed)
– Set a minimum rep limit, there is no max rep limit
– Have the following lifts (Main, Secondary, Accessory)
– Utilise a Legs, Push, Pull rotation
– Train 3 out of every 5 days
– Rest as needed
– Add load as needed
– You warm up sets are included in your 100 reps
A couple of options:
Pull Day
Main – Trap Bar DL
Secondary – Arm Over Arm Sled Pull
Accessory – Curl
Starting to get the idea?
There is nothing special about this style of training, it is simply a simple guideline that sets out some basics and has one thing that a lot of people miss.
A countdown.
Or you could call it a time specific focus, meaning the 100 total sessions, training 3/5 days will take you well in through a decent part of the year and if like many you’ve not been that consistent with your training before then you will see results just because of sticking at it.
As with anything this will take commitment, however that’s the point.
You don’t have to try this, and I don’t think many will because these days we lack the long term dedication to a cause.
Just an observation.
By the way, I’m doing the above because I needed to break my hair of low reps.
I made it a public announcement too, simply because it will keep me in line.
I can understand that most people will turn round and say the classic things such as “It does’t matter what others think” blah blah blah.
That’s bollocks, I can tell you that for nothing.
We do care and anyone who says differently is more than likely someone who cares far more than others, they just want to hide behind a wall.
That however is a topic for another day.
If you have yet to set your goal, be sure to set a time frame and also make yourself accountable by telling people your intentions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Merry Christmas Everyone

My gift to you is this challenge; 100 reps a day for 100 days as of January the 1st.

Pick one different lift to do each day, or just do one lift for all 100 if you are so inclined, however if it is a loaded movement I’d suggest waving the load each day o r perhaps each set (vary the reps too) ].

This is a variation of the 10,000 rep swing workout, so doing it with just one lift would be quite good fun.

Merry Christmas,

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A Christmas Thought

Christmas, a time for giving.
Over the many days since the creation of this little avenue for sharing thoughts, content and general tidbits I’ve posted a fair amount on here.
There is, hasn’t and won’t ever be any underlying motive here.
I’m not trying to sell anything, nor gain a following of hundreds of thousands, that’s just too much effort for my liking.
However those of you few that do follow these ramblings I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to read through them.
Most follow a similar pattern of writing, constrained by familiar biases and are of course entirely of my own personal view on things, even the science is written/explained in my interpretation of what I’ve read.
I tend to read a lot.
I’ve found over the years it helps to broaden ones horizons and starts to have you venture further and further out of your comfort zones.
Something that is especially rewarding is when you find a nugget of information that completely changes the way you think or perceive the world because perhaps they way you were looking before was either incomplete or simply just wrong.
You might be surprised to know, or maybe not, that I detest being wrong.
It irritates me more than anything and as such I will go to any length to cover all the bases to ensure it doesn’t happen and if it does it’s rare.
Of course that isn’t the case, I’m often wrong 😂
I personally enjoy being out of sorts, being challenged to think and overcome obstacles, most of all I enjoy working my way around such things with an idea in mind and if it works I take great internal pleasure in knowing that this time, I got it right.
So, how has affected my fitness life?
Simple, I know the reason I don’t get certain results is because of what I don’t do and there is nothing more to it than that.
This, if you haven’t already guessed is what I base everything and everyone else from, myself.
Egotistical as that sounds, we are the only people in our own heads, we know what we know and see things how we see things, the one consistent focal point for reference is well, us.
We know our behaviours, we know our biases, we know.
If there are people achieving the results you want yet don’t have, you could ask all the questions to find a ‘why’ that is suitable for your ego and its protection, or you can simply be honest and say that it’s because you know you’re not doing what you need to be doing, unlike the person you admire who is doing the things you don’t.
Of course people will start to throw in all the excuses, exceptions to the rules and the kitchen sink, which kinda matter, yet in the grand scheme of things they really don’t because all of those things are external factors that you can do sweet bugger all about.
Yep, you control you, nothing else, just you.
I’ve come to learn this over many years.
Making choices, taking ownership, being responsible, having security or freedom, for the most part we can have whatever we truly desire, if that is we truly desire it.
Ask yourself, do you really want what you think you want?
I’m willing to say it’s a no because if it was you’d either be on your way to getting it or you’d already have it because that’s what I’d do.
Yep, from the only frame of reference I have, me, if I want something I will do anything to get it, regardless of what barriers are in the way I will get it in the end, and if I don’t then it is because I didn’t really want it.
This attitude is one many people harbour yet few will admit because they want to maintain an imagine of sorts.
At the end of the day only person stopping you achieving what you really desire is you, honestly it really is just you.
Haven’t you ever stopped to think…
In a world where people are told they can be anything they want to be they choose to be anything else other than what they really want to be.
Many choose to be safe, secure, average and then spend their golden years complaining about all the things they didn’t do.
Are you one of these people?
Do you choose simply having a life to live or living a life that is worth having?
I know which one I’d rather have.
Give it some thought.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Rest-Pause your way to progress.

An oldie, yet still worth it.
This method of achieving reps was something that used to be used quite frequently to help people break through plateaus.
It works because it allows you to utilise higher % of your max for more total reps – playing on the mechanical tension side of the progress pyramid.
Nowadays though it seems to have been forgotten.
The premise is simple.
Select a load, do some reps, rest 20-30seconds, do some more reps, rest 20-30 seconds, do some more reps, perhaps repeat once more, end of set.
You might end up with something that looks like this.
80% x6,
80% x4,
80% x2
80% x1
Stop and take full 2-5min rest and repeat for 2-3 total sets.
There might be a rep goal you’re trying to achieve, say 10 reps, which means you use the rest-pause as needed until you’ve hit the total reps required.
Potentially you do as the example states, it’s up to you.
One thing you will find is that this provides a decent training stimulus for both fast and slow responders, you’ll just find those on the ‘easy gainer’ side of the line achieve less total reps than their ‘slow gainer’ counterparts and still make the same progress.
I know, life is cruel.
A great tip to improve your muscle gain response is to pick better parents in which to get your genetic heritage from next time, I wish you good luck.
Give this great method a go if you’ve found results have stalled.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health