Tag Archives: hypertrophy

What do you think of this for a title –

‘7 reasons you’re not gaining muscle, despite doing everything right or so you think, for someone who doesn’t really even lift anymore and even when he did he didn’t look like he did 😂
 
Believe it or not when it comes to gaining ‘mass’ I’ve made al the mistakes.
 
True enough in the days long since committed to the dark corners of my lingering will for the gym, I was once strong.
 
Strong yet always small.
 
Upon deep reflection and looking back through various training logs these are the conclusions for my lack of gains, as some owed say.
 
1 – Not enough TUT.
 
Volume was there aplenty, there was literally thoughts of good quality reps, no joke.
 
However the one time I made progress in mass gaining on the recommendation of Poliquin (yes, I actually got told to do this by him face to face on a course), was because of adding in TUT tracking.
 
4-0-2-0 is a good starting point, also 6-0-X-0 is nice, as are pause reps.
 
However you do it, make your your muscle stay under tension longer if you wish to gain in size.
 
2 – Under eating.
 
No further explanation necessary.
 
Eat like a sparrow, look like a sparrow, simple.
 
3 – Training too much.
 
A little contradictory as more volume/frequency will be needed in time, yet you still need to have rest days, back off your volume (40-60% every 4th week is optimal).
 
If you don’t periodise this in training you’ll just be making yourself tired in the long run as opposed to better.

You need to recover to grow, it’s called the Stimulus-Recovery-Adaption curve for a reason.

Growth happens outside of the gym, not in it. 

 
4 – Lifting too heavy.
 
Yep, while you’ll often find bigger people tend to be strong, there are a great many people who are half the size of many a gym mammoth and poses twice the raw strength.
 
Don’t believe me?
 
Google Richard ‘The Ant’ Hawthorne, then take a second to realise that while lifting heavy is great for the ego and the gram, it’s not always the best for building muscle because it lacks one crucial thing… See point 1.
 
^ Also it’s largely neurological adaptation you get, strength is a skill after all.
 
5 – Your reps per set are too low.
 
In the modern research the suggest altho anywhere form 6-20 reps are optimal for hypertrophy, with a total rep volume per muscle group of 75-210 per training week, however that is a discussion for another day.
 
So, 6-20 reps, that means four singles digit (6-7-8-9) rep ranges out of 15, the other 9 being double digit, while not science and pure anecdote I’ve just though of for this post, you want 2/3rd’s of your rep rangers to be in the 10-20 range, with the occasional sprinkling of low rep (6-9) work.
 
Higher rep ranges, with RM’s perhaps 2 reps above*, will yield more results in size than lower rep ones, unless you’re a genetic anomaly, which I highly doubt you are.
 
*example – 4x10x12RM (this will allow for a good amount of working sets/reps).
 
6 – Leaving too many reps in the tank.
 
You’ve got more to give that set you just finished.
 
No, really, you have, if you pushed a little harder (while keeping good form)you’d be bigger than you are.
 
To create change you need a large enough or stressful enough adaptive stimulus, if you don’t dream your working sets then there is a very high chance you’re not really training, you’re simply running through the motions.
 
7 – Ignoring sounds advice.
 
Yep, like me you probably have ignored sound advice like the above.
 
I know full well I did and it’s why I had/have the look I do.
 
Be it due to ignorance or arrogance, you simply didn’t listen because you felt you knew better.
 
Trust me, we never know better so swallow that pride and listen to your peers.
 
💪💪💪
 
There you have it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Level Zero?

How would you define the following (in a fitness sense).
Beginners (novice)
Intermediates (amateur)
Advanced (elite)
Would you personally classify each by the abilities one may possess to be deemed worthy of said placing in this hierarchy, perhaps time served or level of progress.
You may see it as a combination of all of the above.
To me it’s down to these three simple qualities:
  • Body Composition
  • Base Strength
  • Athletic Ability (skill in their sport/thing)
These are my chosen markers due to their basic objectivity, just look at all the people who’ve trained for 10+ years and have achieved very little, they’re beginners in my eyes, yet on paper you’d think these people to be training sages.
While entirely arbitrary why don’t we look at these a little more for some context because i know some people will get butt hurt because it’s 2020 and the world is still hyper sensitive.
Body Composition:
Beginner (novice) – low levels of LBM in retaliation to the individuals total mass with potentially high or low levels of fat mass because skinny fat is totally a thing, arguably the worse thing to be in my ignorant opinion, that’s just me though.
Basically they don’t look like stye train.
Intermediate (amateur) – reasonable levels of LBM in relation to the individuals total mass, often these people have lower levels of fat mass as well, not always, just often.

Essentially they look like they’ve bumped a weight or two and in fact train the way they claim as oppose to simply talking about it.

Advanced (elite) – high level of LBM, often reasonably low levels of fat mass, not always just often. At a glance you’d stop and think, they look strong, and if measured accurately this would be confirmed due to high LBM.

Yep, these are the people many look up to in awe of.

Base Strength:
Rather dependent on what the person trains for, however as an arbitrary guide I base this off of what they can pick up and put overhead in a strict press.
Beginner (novice) – Less then 3/4 total bodyweight
Intermediate (amateur) – Their current total bodyweight
Advanced (elite) – 1.25x bodyweight or more
Why pressing overhead you ask?
It’s because it keeps people honest, and pressing overhead often reveals a multitude of sins and gaps in someones structure, stability and mobility as well.
Athletic Ability:
As with strength it will come down to the specificity of what they do.
If we take Running as an example, just because why not make it relatable to the gen-pop.
Beginner (novice) – 10min (or more) average mile
Intermediate (amateur) – 8min average mile
Advanced (elite) – 6min (or less) average mile
Of course each of the above will come down to the person we are looking at, yet even using the example above you’d find some decent trends in how well to do a person is in fitness.
Anyway, how do you see yourself fin regards to fitness?
Beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Why?
Why not, it’s just bit of fun and gets people thinking, plus we also need to remember that even if we are advanced in some things we may be absolute noobs in another.
After all, isn’t life about climbing as many mountains as possible and achieving a lot of different things, or is it just me who thinks that way?
Please do share your thoughts below.

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A Training Protocol too simple to hurt as much as it does.

Morning Y’all,
 
Being a little bit of a nerd I personally enjoy the principles behind things not everyone wants that, so why not just get straight to the good stuff 💪
 
Protocol 1 – 6-12-25
 
A classic from Charles Poliquin.
 
Choose three movements.
 
Do a set of 6 for the first, 12 for the second & 25 for the third to fully decimate a muscle group/area.
 
Examples for each movement pattern:
 
Do 2-3 sets of the following with 2-4min rest after A3.
 
Push –
A1 – Weighted Dip x6
A2 – Close Grip Canadian Press x12
A3 – TRX Tiger-Bend x25
 
Pull –
A1 – Weighted Ring Chin Up x6
A2 – T-bar Row x12
A3 – Face Pull x25
 
Squat –
A1 – Front Squat x6
A2 – Squat (close stance, heels raised – cyclist squat) x12
A3 – Duck Stance Leg Press x25
 
Hinge –
A1 – Snatch Grip Deficit Deadlift x6
A2 – RDL x12
A3 – Prone Hamstring Curl (neutral feet) x25
 
If you do this correctly you will find a drop of in loading % of each set after 2, this usually because at our top weights we’ve got 1-2 good sets in us, then things start to fatigue so a reduction in load of 5-10% is sensible.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Arbitrary Goals for 2020

Lacking direction for gym related targets?
 
Here are some to consider hitting if you’d like the fleeting respect of people you’ll never see again mias social media.
 
Barbell Curl 0.50xBW x20reps
Press – 0.75xBW x20reps
Pull Up – Bw x20reps
Bench Press – BW x20reps
Squat – 1.5xBW x20reps
Deadlift – 2xBW x20reps
 
Why 20?
 
Why are barbell curls in there, surely there are better movements to do?
 
My answer is as follows:
 
Because why not 😂
 
These are simply arbitrary goals that will yield a decent benefit to many people.
 
The loads are not astronomical, in fact all of the above are pretty reasonable unless you’re very weak.
 
If you are very weak then they’re the ideal goals for you because they will rid you of said weakness.
 
How you program to achieve these is up to you.
 
My suggestion is to train 3 days per week with a different focus lift on each day.
 
Monday – Day 1 – Deadlift & Curl
Wednesday – Day 2 – Bench Press & Pull Up
Saturday – Day 3 – Press & Squat
 
Being able to hit all the above for 1 solid set of 20 will be quite satisfying, if you wish to extend this goal for a little more bang for your buck try to achieve 2 working sets of 20 at the target weights.
 
When you can do that you’ll have built a good foundation of strength and potentially muscle as well (provided your nutrition supports it).
 
For accessory work pick 2-3 movements for your posterior chain, things like Loaded Carries, Reverse Hypers, Good Mornings, Reverse Flies & Tricep/Calf/Grip work are all good, 2-3×10-15 for these work well.
 
For the 20rep goal, establish the end goal loads.
 
Once you know these you work backwards to sensible starting weights (perhaps 50% of the end weight).
 
Here is an example based on my on BW rounded up for easy maths:
 
Barbell Curl 0.50xBW = 40kg /2 = 20kg start
Press – 0.75xBW x20reps = 60kg /2 = 30kg start
Pull Up – Bw x20reps = 80kg* /2 = 40kg
Bench Press – BW x20reps 80kg /2 = 40kg start
Squat – 1.5xBW x20reps 120kg /2 = 60kg start
Deadlift – 2xBW x20reps 160kg /2 = 80kg start
 
*For the pull up you’d use band if required, or personally I’d just start off doing lower reps and building on them until I hit 20 unbroken.
 
All decent starting loads that are very achievable.
 
Warm up set wise you won’t need much, perhaps 1-2×20, then crack on with the work.
 
For the working sets you’ll be having that set to 1 for the time being, aim to add load each session you successfully hit 20reps in your woking set.
 
E.G – Press – 0.75xBW x20reps = 60kg /2 = 30kg start
30kg x20 = +2.5kg
32.5 x20= +3.5kg
35kg x13 = stay at this load and aim to get 1-2 more reps and repeat until you hit 20.
 
Make sense?
 
Once you hit the end weight goals add in a second working set at that weight, if you hit the reps first try then it’s time to set a new goal, if not work on that until you hit 2×20 – working sets.
 
May your 2020 be filled with progress & success.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Playing with Time

After writing a small piece on Gains Central the idea of ‘Timed Sets’ got touched on.
 
Given these are great little tools for giving people a variable shock and devotion from the norm they’re worth sharing here too.
 
As the name suggests you’re performing a set based on a length of time and not just a number of reps.
 
These are great for 3 reasons:
 
– Overload
– Mental Toughness
– Easy to Program
 
Here is an example of how you might utilise a timed set.
 
A1 – Squat x2min x4 sets
 
Pretty simple right?
 
Now you don’t need to have the time being a static thing, it can change set to set if required, this can allow for harder sets first or hard-easy sets.
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x120sec
Set 2 x90sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x30sec
 
Alternatively
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x30Sec
Set 2 x120sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x90sec
 
Honestly these are very enjoyable and also great for people who are short on time in their training because it will allow for accurate planning so that an effective session can be squeezed into very little spare time.
 
How long you decide to have the time of each set can be to your discretion, you might even choose to do 5min of non-stop squatting, tough yet 2 sets of that will be a good session for the day.
 
Here are two sessions I’ve personally alternated in the past when time has been tight, please be aware there was no specific warm up and I’d often use the first timed set as the warm up.
 
Session 1 – Kettlebells
A1 – Clean & Press x2min x3sets
B1 – Swings x5min x2sets
60 seconds rest
 
Session 2 –
A1 – Inverted Rows* x 2min x3sets
B1 – Squats** x5min x2set
60 seconds rest***
 
*Or renegade rows, or pull ups depending on gym kit
**Or kettlbell, barbell, sandbag, depending on gym kit
***Variable depending on what time I had, most session ended up being 20-25min only.
 
Very minimalistic, very effective.
 
If you’ve never tried timed sets before add them in as accessory work on smaller isolation lifts first because they catch a lot of people out because they’re easier on paper than they are in reality.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Dial in, and die.

Or is it dice now?

Once upon a time die was considered the singular term and dice was plural, however I think now it might just be dice for both singular and plural.

Anyway, this nifty little tool can provide some great training sessions.

All you need to is have one (you can use two, or you just roll one multiple times like a logical person would).

^^ Personally I quite like having two though as there’s nothing better than rolling two of them and getting a double 6.

If you are a person who needs structure yet finds it hard to stick to said structure then this will be a great tool for you.

Simply follow the below:

Set up 6 sessions for each of numbers on the dice.

Example:
1 – Clean & Push Press > Pull Up: Super Set
2 – Sprints (any kit)
3 – Deadlift > Kettlebell Swing >Farmers Walk> Floor Press: Giant-set
4 – Slams (any kit – think ropes, med balls, sand bags, etc)
5 – Squats
6 – Front Squat > Squat > Lunge: Ti-set

Next for the sets and reps, as an example.

On the lifting rolls form the above:
First roll (one dice) = reps you will do (1-6)
Second roll (two dice) = sets you will do (2-12)

That’s it, you may get a very easy day, or a very hard one, these don’t include warm ups though.

On the CV option from above:
First roll (one dice) = seconds of work (10-60 seconds)
Second roll (one dice) = seconds of rest (10-60 seconds)
Third roll (two dice) = total amount of rounds (2-12)

Personally I’d only preform one of the example sessions, even if it ended up being something like this:

Squats – 2 sets of 1 rep.

See it as a gift for a low volume session, the temptation would be to avoid doing more because when I’ve prescribed this in the past people have thought they’ve known better and make what would have been a very easy session stupidly hard by doing extra because of ego, then when the dice cast gave them a hard session they couldn’t perform.

Poor performance apparently happens to 1 in 5 you know.

Don’t give in to your ego, train once per day, if you have an easy session today, then train again tomorrow, if that is again super easy, train the day after that as well and keep repeating this until you get a session that takes a lot of effort and then you HAVE to rest for one or two days.

It’s a nice was to have some structure and yet still a good amount of variety because you don’t know what you will roll (unless the dice are weighted), so you could end upsetting the same session a couple of times in a row, unlikely however it might happen.

As you can see the above is super easy to plan/program.

My main advice for you would be this though; have 4 numbers with things you don’t do often and really need to be doing more of, and two that you like doing, this sill help your overall progress because we get better by doing the things we need to do (or don’t do), not what we want to do.

So go grab a die, or dice and have some fun.

Enjoy,
Ross

P.S – if you’re really sadistic you can use D&D dice.

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You can do a lot with one plate

Cheeky Challenge that came up in discussion last night:
 
Load a barbell with 1 plate (20 or 25kg), pick one movement and proceed to repeat it for 45min (use a timer).
 
Tally up your total reps, and you can thank me for the DOMS later.
 
I know what some of you may be thinking.
 
“1 plate will be too light on some movements and too heavy on others.”
 
Just so you know, you are 100% correct, especially for strong/advanced lifters.
 
However, for the average gym participant, this provides ample difficulty 🤗
 
Here are a couple of my favourites –
 
– Squat (any variation, FS, OHS are brutal though)
– Floor Press, Push Press, Push Jerk
– Strict Press (if possible)
– Bent-Over Row
– Upright Row
– Power Clean or Power Snatch
– RDL, Stiff Leg DL on Box and Suitcase DL
– Barbell Curl (if you’re a monster)
 
You get the idea.
 
The beauty of this is found in its simplicity.
 
Personally, I would also say that if you feel the need then in the last 15min (if you wish to train for 60min) you can do some isolation work on minor muscles, or you can just go home.
 
The common resistance to this style of lifting meets is that of “Won’t it be boring?”.
 
Usually said by the same people who watch things like Love Island, thus my answer is this; maybe, you’ll just have to try it and find out.
 
An alternative option I quite enjoy, still loading up one plate, is to pick two movements and pair them in a classic antagonist super-set.
 
^^ This gets an epic pump going and feels great.
 
One thing to remember guys is that this is not a magic program or something that will revolutionise training because it’s not meant for that.
 
It is meant to strip away your bullshit and force you to do some good old fashion work.
 
(High work capacity/density)
 
Unless you’re a professional lifter it’s worth remembering that a key element in training is to make it fun, next is to not take it too seriously and thirdly, it’s largely arbitrary.
 
The love of training runs deep in me, yet I am under no illusion that unless you get paid to lift it’s a hobby and nothing more.
 
By all means, enjoy it, have some focus, drive and goals in mind just don’t let them take over your life. Doing so will lead to anxiety and one clue to this is a destination in the upper abdomen with excess fat storage in the lower.
 
Seriously, look at people who take training way too seriously and you’ll see it in all of them.
 
They’re lean, muscular, fit and yet seem a little bloated and have that small fat pocket they just can’t seem to shift.
 
^^ A topic for another day because I’ve waffled.
 
Yea, try the 1 plate challenge, maybe for say 50 sessions.
 
Why 50?
 
Why not 😂
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Which is better for progress?

– Training until momentary muscular failure

– Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank and doing more sets

– Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts

*Progress typically being strength, hypertrophy, performance related for the context of this post and those who asked.

In truth they’re all viable, in fact you’d probably do well to cycle through phases of doing each in a periodised fashion or you could link them all together in a holistic approach.

Honestly at the stage of lifting most people are at they just need to get their reps in for the most part.

Also before you say it might be dangerous that is only if form is bad, if for is good there’s no real issue.

Let us look at each of the above and see who we can optimally use them.

– Training until momentary muscular failure –

A lot of solid research has been conducted based on the idea that it’s the last few reps (we’ll say the last 2-5) that really give you that much needed hit of adaptive stimulus to grow and every prior rep was just there.

^^ This is relevant for each method in this post.

Now some people would then be lead to think that doing lower rep set would bypass this and go straight to the stimulus.

Fair enough, however it doesn’t work like that.

The above is based on the accumulation of fatigue in the formative reps (depletion of energy system reserves etc) and depending on the rep ranges you use will then link in to the gains you get.

6-20 being said as optimal for hypertrophy.

^^ You can use compound movements however I’d say stick with lifts that have a lower potential for injury until you’re what the books consider an experienced lifter (2 years of solid lifting 3+ times per week).

It’s easier to get close to that momentary failure being meaningful with reps at 8+ I’ve found, less while personally I enjoy is just not viable for people who are not experienced lifters.

While finding the right weight and reps can be a bit of a tricky element (downside), the massive benefit is that you’ll only need a few sets per movement (upside).

Next time you train try this: 3-4 x fail on accessory lifts.

– Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank (RPE work) –

Favoured by many a lifter and great for all movement be those compound, supplementary or isolation.

In short yo’d be going to the point where you feel a bit of a grind beginning to happen. It is at this point over time you’ll learn that you’ve only got 1-2 reps left.

One problem with this though is that people will stop short.

They think they’ve got 1-2 reps left when in reality it’s more like 6-10.

Yes I’m being serious.

The danger here is that people will be leaving gains on the table because for lack of a better term they’re being a little bit soft.

As such this is where in the beginner days having them utilise the ‘going until failure’ is useful (provided they have good form) because they won’t be lifting that heavy so it will be more viable.

Once they’ve learned their limits using more weight and stopping short of failure becomes useful because it then allows more total volume as going to failure with heavier loads causes more overall damage and need more recovery time.

I’m not sorry to say that heavy isn’t relative, heavy is heavy.

Regardless of if you personally feel you lifting say 70kg x5 is the same as someone lifting 250kg x5 it’s not, apples & oranges as they say.

Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank is a great way for the more experience and stronger people to progress because they can add more total volume and build up fatigue over multiple sets.

It means that say 4 of your 6 sets might be the ones that are just there and the last two sets that have reps that are money makers.

^^ All of this is linked in to RPE (rate of perceived exertion), so the next time you train after each set write down on a scale of 1-10 how hard the set was, most of yours will want to be 8/9 on the scale (look up Reactive Training Systems – Mike Tuscherer).

That bring us to the last one.

-Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts-

A Russian weightlifting favourite because I do love the Russians.

This is a great method however it requires people to have been hitting some solid progress for a few years as it will be largely based on low reps and endless sets.

So what is set effort precisely?

Put simply, say your 6RM (rep max) is 100kg meaning you can do 1 set of 6 at 100kg and no more, yet you want to, how can this be done?

Easy, 6RM is 100% set effort, so if you work at 50% efforts you’d be doing sets of 3 reps.

This means you might be able to do 3,4,5,6, or perhaps 20 sets of 3 with your 6RM as opposed to just one set of 6 with your 6RM.

Make sense?

An epic way to train that will leave you feeling fresh at the end of most if not all of your sessions and that’s the dangerous part.

People chase fatigue so as valuable as this method is it doesn’t hit their emotional/cognitive bias and as such they’d end up doing more and burning out.

You’d also have to be well versed in what is known as CAT (compensatory acceleration training) – you lift each rep with everything you’ve got, basically.

*Using CAT on your sets of 3 you’d go until you feel speed of reps is lost, which could be as mentioned above, 3 sets or 23 sets. When speed is lost it means you’ve hit your stills for the day, even if you don’t feel fatigued you are, trust me.

It is this that would provide the stimulus we’ve touched on above.

^^ Fred Hatfield is the man to look up for CAT.

So, which is best?

Based on how long you’ve been lifting:

<2 years: Training until momentary muscular failure

2-4 years: Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank and doing more sets

4 years +: Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts

Not everyone will like this answer and while for some rare exceptions it’s the right answer for the average person.

If like me you’re just an average person then don’t fear doing the simple things.

These days we live in an age where everyone is trying to keep up with everyone else and unless you’re doing HIIT, or some sort of ‘Ultra-Mega-Oblivion Set’ you’re some kind of lesser human.

Yea that’s complete bollocks.

It’s only the highly insecure that feel the need to make their training look more complicated or fancier than is it.

Remember this.

Enjoy,
Ross

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DNA, going beyond your excuses

Last night sported a rather good conversation among some of my fellow training partners.
 
The subject drifted to nutrition and the classic ‘find what works for you.’.
 
Did you know you don’t have to find out via trial and error, you can take a test based on your DNA and find out exactly what your body best responds to and depending how much you’re willing to invest potentially sensitivities and a whole dos too other information as well.
 
We live in a truly amazing world.
 
When in history has someone literally starting out of a journey of health improvement had access to such information?
 
Never is the answer.
 
Before people bitch about cost, it will be between £90-250.
 
People waste that kind of money on Skinny Tea, C9, and a lot of other bullshit, so investing it in a DNA/genetics related test for your health is well worth it.
 
The funny thing is while discussing it I could already hear all the responses people would have.
 
By responses I mean childish moaning and excuses.
 
Let me expand for a second.
 
Say you take said genetic test to know your optimal nutrition protocol (you’d also work with someone to really dial it in), one of the results says that you’re not very tolerant to one of your favourite foods and realistically you might want to curb your enthusiasm for indulging in it as you do.
 
“But…. But… I can’t live without it. Blah Blah Blah.”
 
*Face Palm.
 
The point is you can literally have something written on paper for a specific individual that is 99% what works for them and if it goes against what they WANT to hear/be told they will oppose it, make excuses and act like a child.
 
So these days I just sit and think –
 
“Do you know what, fuck it. You’re not going to listen so I’m not going to waste my time with you because I’m just too tired for the bullshit now.”
 
You see no matter what you can prove to people or how good your intentions are to help them, unless it fits what they want they won’t listen or be willing to make a change.
 
Such madness.
 
Yet that is something that you’re 100% entitled to.
 
So my good people who stick out and read my ramblings (I really do appreciate it you know), if you could have every answer for the questions you want to ask would you really want them?
 
Your clients and people you work with will only want the answers they want (of the most part), just keep this in mind.
 
Anyway I’m off rolling.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 
***If you want to delve in to the DNA stuff look up these guys: https://www.dnafit.com
 
^^What you get is very eye opening and actually spot on, even if you don’t want it to be, it really is.
 
(I speak from experience on this one as I did it just to see and by jove it was all correct – years of medicals and hospital trips to back it up so I can confirm the info is solid).

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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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