Tag Archives: hypertrophy

“I already knew that.”

Morning All,

It amazes me how much people already knew.

Many will come up asking for some friendly advice on perhaps nutrition, training or maybe sorting an injury and improving mobility and always give the answer of –

“Oh yea, I know that”

Often followed by –

“But what else can I do?” or “But what about XYZ”

I’m often left stood there like ‘Well, fuck me. They know as much if not more than I do, perhaps I should be hiring them’.

Yet even though people always seem, and claim they already know what to do, their overall aesthetic, performance and visual evidence often lead one to an opposing thought process.

Almost as if they don’t know…

*How suspicious.

I have a question I often come back with.

– If you know what to do, why are you not doing it?

Usually there is a plethora of excuses as to why they’re not doing what they need to be doing, yet they obviously could, if they really wanted to.

Do you know what you should be doing?

If so, why don’t you do it?

Do you really know what to do or is that perhaps a little porky pie?

I suppose that is a little unfair of me to say because it might try well be the case that people do in fact know what to do and have some crippling self esteem issues that sep them from executing the lifestyle changes they need, my apologies for being so brash.

Here is something to try.

Write down 3 things you know that you should be doing that would improve your quality of life (and fitness results too).

Now for the magic element.

Step 1: Re-read the three things you know you should be doing.

Step 2: Do them.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 & 2 for continued results.

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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60 second read

Front squats are great.

One issue may have is getting it in to the rack position, some can overcome this, great, however a few just never get that chance due to injury.

What are we to do?

The answer; same yet different – kettlebell squat (which is often a front squat).

I’ve found people who can’t utilise a barbell can often use a kettlebell in the rack position, then once they progress they can use two bells.

Seems easy, however if you get strong and work up to a pair of 48kg bells I can tell you that makes from one difficult front squat. Perhaps one day even a pistol might be the long term goal.

Here is a video example (pus there are some other great movement other as well) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQEFc6rSKvA

You can program in the same way you would for barbell work.

All done.

Ross

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The best, or worst 4min of your life.

Depending on your point of view 🤗
 
Morning All,
 
Given how the sun is being dispensed in sparse amounts it will be wise to keep your training sessions as concise and effect as possible.
 
In doing so it will give you more potential time to spend outside.
 
So what is this 4min then?
 
Well those of you who are well versed in training will probably have already guess it is a Tabata.
 
20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.
 
A true thing of beauty.
 
You will find that plenty of people claim to do these on a regular basis, some even attend Tabata classes where they do up to 10 of them.
 
While they may indeed speak the truth, their intensity will be a tad compromised, how do we know this?
 
Body composition.
 
As a general guideline, if you are performing/training as hard as you claim you’re body composition will be rather good, if it isn’t then you’re either the one true exception to the rule, or you just don’t work as hard as you think.
 
You can mull over that one yourself.
 
Okay, so the aforementioned, what is it performed on?
 
Pick one of these three movements
 
– Thruster (double kettlebell is good)
– Double Kettlebell Snatch
– Loaded Carry (any variation)
 
Once you choose you’d do just one Tabata because if you truly go all out it will leave you pretty toasted, if you can do more than one then you may have sandbagged some of your effort.
 
The above is of course great for conditioning and fat loss, however doing it alone may seem a tad pointless to some, as such here is are 3 example training sessions for 30min each (including WU/CD).
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Deadlift: 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
A2 – Pull Up: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Thruster – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – FS: 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
A2 – Press: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Double KB Snatch – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Power Clean: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
A2 – Bench Press: 2,3,5,3,2,3,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Loaded Carry – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
As with most things shared here, this is not gospel, it’s an option. You could run this for 3-6 months and make progress if you really pulled your finger out of your ass and utilised the ‘same but different’ philosophy and actually tried to progress.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6 movements, 6 varied rep schemes, 6 months of training.

Behold, the 6-6-6 you’ve been waiting for.
 
Well, I have no idea if you were waiting to be fair, there was just a passing thought that is sounded cool, however now after reading it that might not be the case.
 
Never mind, we must press on.
 
Morning All,
 
This came to mind in the early afternoon yesterday while in the midst of loaded carries.
 
The overall aim of the above is to give people the following:
 
– 6 months of training to follow
– A test in mental toughness and consistency
– Results because the first lot of lifts are done by few
 
You will also find it’s quite fun as well.
 
First up, the movements.
 
Push – Incline Press
Pull – Pull Up (weighted or unweighted, grip may vary)
Squat – Uhh, well, yea… Squats 🙂 (high bar)
Hinge – Deficit Deadlift (1-3inch block or whats available)
Loaded Carry – Farmers Walk*
Full Body Lift – Clean & Jerk
 
Now the rep schemes.
 
These will be progressed in a simple linear fashion (added weight where you can) once you are hitting each set comfortably.
 
Medium – 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
Medium – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
Heavy – 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
Light – 3,5,7,3,5,7,3,5,7
Light – 2,4,6,2,4,6,2,4,6
Heavy – 1,1,1,1,1,1
 
^^^ with all you will rest as needed.
 
*Loaded carry schemes
 
– 30second on, 30second off = one round, 10-30 rounds
– 10min time limit to cover as much distance as possible
– 3min on, 1min off, 3min on
– Tabata x1-3 (20 on, 10 off x8rounds)
– 20m carry EMOM (ever min on the min)
– +10m EMOM, so 1st min = 10m, 2nd = 20m, 3rd = 30m until you can’t keep up the pace/distance
 
 
The above will work on a H-L-M rotation, essentially you have the ability to let the weight dictated the reps, however once you pick a rep scheme from the day you stick with it.
 
Time to put these together in a logical training schedule, I will give you several options, pick the one that best suits your training availability.
 
Option 1 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 4 – Rest
Day 5 – Repeat
 
Option 2 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
Option 3 –
 
Day 1 – Squat
Day 2 – Push
Day 3 – Hinge
Day 4 – Pull
Day 5 – Full Body Lift
Day 6 – Loaded Carry
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 4 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Press, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Off
Day 10 – Repeat
 
Option 5 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Full Body Lift, Hinge, Pull
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 6 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
You have a lot of choice, optimally you want to train each movement every 3-5days.
 
This overall protocol gives you some autonomy to pick and choose your training for the day to either be heavy, light or medium, the main aim is that after sticking with the same movements for the entire 6months you will have added some decent weight to each lift.
 
Push hard when you feel strong and back off when you don’t.
 
My advise would be as follows: in every 6 workouts 1 is heavy, 1 is light and 4 are medium.
 
The above plays in to the realms of ‘inch wide, mile deep’ & ‘Easy Strength’. While you may leave sessions feeling strong and that you could do more you’d be wise not to be tempted too.
 
That being said, if you wish to add in one ‘pet lift’ such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, calve raises, reverse flies etc for either aesthetics or postural reasons then feel free, the volume can be up to you, I’d recommend 50-100 total reps with the isolation lift IF you choose to put one in at the end of a session.
 
The same goes for core work, some added planks are welcome, as are 1-2 solid sets of 5 in the Ab Roll Out. You may also add some movements such as the windmill, TGU etc in your warm up too.
 
A session itself may look like this all in all:
 
W/U:
– TGU to Windmill: 3-5x-3-5 (each arm)
– 2×3-5 on the lift you’re about to do x 50% & 75% work load
 
Main:
A1 – Deficit DL 1-2-3-4-5 (all at 160kg) -4-3-2-1+5kg per set.
A2 – Incline Press 2-3-5-2-3-5-2-3-5 all at 80kg
 
Conditioner/ *Optional Isolation:
B1 – Farmers Walk Tabata x3 @ 50%BW in each hand
*C1 – Curls 5×10
*C2 – Ab Roll Out 2×5, 2x Side Planks, 1x L-Sit
 
W/D:
– Foam Rolling/Static Stretching: Full Body
 
One thing to remember is that the above is just a lifting philosophy, or at best a set of guidelines, it’s not set in stone. You may also find adding in 1-2 session a week of gentle CV work to your liking, however you need to remember that more isn’t always better and that you can only progress as much as you can recover.
Be sure to eat a large amount of nutritious foods, set you calories acceding to your desired goal (maintenance, deficit, surplus etc), drink enough water and get at least 6 hour son quality sleep a night.
 
Chase performance, not fatigue, always.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Too easy to work, or is it?

Rep variability, it’s kind of a big deal.
 
If you are a seasoned lifter you will know roughly what your max effort rep sets are and the weigh that goes with them.
 
For example, 7RM = 160kg on squat.
 
Knowing these is quite useful when it comes to programming for strength, hypertrophy and much more.
 
Today we will look at an underrated method for getting stronger.
 
It’s almost feels too easy when you do it.
 
The best part is that’s exactly how it should feel because you will be doing 1/3 to 1/2 the total reps you possibly could do with the load you pick.
 
Here is an example of how it works.
 
9RM – 150kg – Squat
 
Sets – you can do up to 25, just start off low, say 10 sets
 
8 reps – half = 4.5 (round to 5), third = 3
 
Your reps per set will look like this:
 
3,5,3,5,3,5,3,5 and so on.
 
You do a max of 5 and a minimum of 3, while resting 2-3 min between sets while practicing fast and loose drills.
 
Personally I’ve found pairing movements up works nicely for this if like me you can’t sit still too long.
 
A1 – Press 3,5,3,5,3,5
A2 – Weighted Chin Up 3,5,3,5,3,5
 
Now this will seem ridiculously easy, laughably so in fact.
 
One thing you will want to aim for is finishing your session feeling as if you could have done more, strange as is sounds you’d be surprised how fast the volume builds up (that is what contributes to hypertrophy, provided you’re eating optimally) doing this, especially since you’re able to use heavier loads.
 
If you did 10 sets of 3,5 that’d give you 40 solid reps with what your 9RM, each rep would be quality.
 
Some would say you could do 4×9 and only be 4 reps short, which is true in theory, however the first set you’d get maybe 5/6 good reps the rest would be a struggle, then the second set you’d maybe only hit 7 repps total with 3/4being good, perhaps 2/3 of rate next set and 1/2 for the last.
 
Taking the higher ones (being nice) that give you 15 good quality reps, that is a third of the volume you’d get doing the method I’ve prescribed above, 40 quality reps.
 
The toughest part of this stye of training is learning to stop and fight the urge to do more and just make yourself tired for the sake of it.
 
Many will go after volume for volumes sake, as such a lot of what they do is junk, this leads to little (or no) meaningful progress.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 is always a magic number

3 Simple tricks to easier progressive overload planning.
 
They manipulate volume, density & intensity.
 
1 – Adding reps, then sets. (Volume)
 
Weight on the bar stays the same, add a rep each session until you hit your target, then drop to the original set/rep scheme add weight and bering again.
 
Example:
 
3-5×3-5 =
 
W1- 3,3,3
W2- 4,3,3
W3- 5,3,3
W8- 5,5,5,3
W9- 5,5,5,4
All the way to 5×5, then add weight and go back to 3×3.
 
2 – Reduce rest time. (Density)
 
Start with say 3min, then take of 10-20 seconds each session (for an arbitrary example), repeat until resting 60 seconds, or perhaps less, that’s up to you. The add weight and crack the rest back up to 3min between sets.
 
Example:
 
W1 – 180seconds (3min)
W2 – 160seconds
W3 – 140seconds
W7 – 60seconds – add weight and up rest.
 
3 – Fractional Plates to 10kg. (Intensity)
 
Following classic linear progression (adding weight each session), however you add up to half a kilo each time, the reps/set/rest stay the same.
 
You would do well to keep the reps lower and the sets higher for this and hit the lift 3 times per week, aim to add 10kg then perhaps tweak the reps/set or lift variation.
 
Example:
 
W1 – S1: 80kg, S2: 80.5kg, S3: 81kg
W2 – S1: 81.5kg, S2: 82kg, S3: 82.5kg
W7 – S1: 89kg, S2: 89.5kg, S3: 90kg
Perhaps change lift variation (overhead press to incline press for example).
 
There you have it, some simper ways you can achieve progressive overload without needing a CSCS level understanding of programming.
Bonus Trick – Increasing lifting/training frequency.
Simply add an extra day of lifting on a weaker or lagging body part/movement (so 4 session a week cineast of 3 and so on), you can apply one of the above in injection with this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The low rep approach to higher total volume.

One thing many want to achieve it a greater amount to total volume, which is fair enough as the higher the volume one can tolerate, while maintaining a good level of average intensity, the more gains will be made.
 
Well, provided you can recover that is.
 
Oh, then there is making sure the calorie surplus if adequate too.
 
Okay, so how can we use lower reps to achieve higher total volume, quite easily.
 
Here is an example protocol for two movements –
 
A1 – Press 2-3-4
A2 – Chin 2-3-4
 
You would press for two reps, then do two chins, hollowed by three presses, and so on. Once you ge tot four you tart over again at two, simple.
 
You’d be using a sub-max load, so if 4 is the top rep range then perhaps a 7RM is advisable.
 
There is the option to go for a total amount of sets, say 5, which will give you 45 reps of each, or more depending on your time.
 
Another thing to remember is that all of the reps will be crisp, clean and solid with no decrease in speed, once that starts to happen on say the sets of 4, you drop them and just do 2-3, which you repeat until you need to drop to just doing 2’s, or alternatively you stop the session when you can’t perform 4.
 
The overall idea is to allow you to focus on solid form and using slightly heavier weights.
 
Here are some other options on the rep format:
 
– 1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1
– 2,3,5,3,2,3,5,3,2
– 6,3,6,3,6,3,6,3,6
– 3,5,3,5,3,5,3,5,3
– 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
 
The options are endless really.
 
From personal preference the top rep range is usually 6, from here you can look at taking 50% of that for the next set,so 3 reps and so on.
 
Why do this?
 
If you are hitting a solid 6 reps with say an 8/9RM the set of 3 will be a nice little rest set where you can really focus on the speed of the rep.
 
You also have the option of using close to your 6RM for the sets of 6 and then that means the next set of 3 is a lot easier.
 
There is also the option of keeping the reps the same, say 5 and playing with the weights each set, it may look like this:
 
Set 1 – 5x 16kg
Set 2 – 5x24kg
Set 3 – 5x32kg
Set 4 – 5x16kg
Set 5 – 5x24kg
And so on.
 
You’d perhaps end up with upwards of 15 total sets utilising this method, again with a focus on the speed/form/tightness of each rep ensuring no degradation in form, once it goes you stop.
 
If you are looking for something a little different then this is for you, be warn though, you’ll probably make progress like you’ve never made before if you start off lighter than you think you should.
 
Always leave your ego at the door.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Create your very own armour

What’s the best armour to have?
 
Plot armour.
 
Morning All,
 
If you have ever watched any Anime then you’ll understand what that means, if not then I shall explain.
 
*It happens in TV, Films and all stories by the way.
 
Plot armour is essentially what makes a protagonist in a story the protagonist.
 
You’ll see they get a royal trouncing in the early stages, then by miracle of PA they have a last min power boost. Be that achieving Bankai, Ultra Instinct, ‘Final Form’ or The Guyver Gigantic, they always seem to be able to get that extra oomph needed to win.
 
In real life this isn’t quite what happens.
 
It would are great if the louder you screamed it directly correlated with you getting stronger and more badass, however it usually just makes you look like a bit of a pleb.
 
Sometimes and indomitable will just isn’t enough.
 
When it comes to real life we need planning, preparation and a commitment to the grind.
 
Yesterday I mention 5 lifts that people would benefit from doing more of –
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swings 10×25
A2 – Sots Presses 10×1-3
B1 – Front Squats 8×2-3
B2 – Pull Ups 8×4-6 (weighted if possible)
C1 – Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry 10×1 + 10-20m carry
 
If you were to follow this for a period of 6 months you’d find you surpass your current limits with these, as such achieving a new form.
 
To us this would be a leaner, more muscular, fitter body.
 
With this new body we will have raised our baseline muscle/strength levels and that my friends, that is our plot armour.
 
We need to think less about hitting the peaks all the time and surpassing them like our Amine counterparts, we need to think about getting close enough to the peak and sustaining it for as long s possible so that we increase our baseline stats.
 
After spending time near the peak (overreaching), perhaps even breaking a limit or two, we then back off and this is where the magic happens.
 
When we back off we will be stronger than we were before, what used to be our bas elf say a 100kg squat is now 110kg.
 
Essentially you’ve gone full Mystic Gohan and widened your base level.
 
Here is a nice little way to think of it –
 
You should be able to walk in to a gym COLD and without any warm up, load 50% of your max on to a bar and smash out 10 reps.
 
This is the greatest lesson in strength I’ve ever received, all thanks to a story Marty Gallagher shared about George Hechter in ‘The Purposeful Primitive”.
 
Time to start building your Plot Amour Me thinks.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 lifts that will make you mobile, strong & robust.

The lifts:
– Kettlebell Swings
– Sots Presses
– Front Squats
– Pull Ups
– *Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry
 
*If this is just too uncomfortable then a trap bar DL with carry is also a good alternative, or a Suitcase Barbell deadlift with carry.
 
Why these 5?
 
They offer a full complement of power, conditioning, strength, mobility and above all else are not done by many people, as such there will be a lot of room for progressions.
 
Here is an option on how to program these lifts based on training 3 days per week.
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swings 10×25
A2 – Sots Presses 10×1-3
B1 – Front Squats 8×2-3
B2 – Pull Ups 8×4-6 (weighted if possible)
C1 – Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry 10×1 + 10-20m carry
 
Add weight when you can complete all reps with solid form, if you want a starting weight use 70% of your max – if you don’t know this then go lighter than you think to allow for longer progression.
 
Repeat this and watch your body change for the better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Optimal Frequency = Every 3-5

According to the research you’d do well to hit a lift every 3-5 days.

This is of course under the proviso that you hit it with the necessary stimulus to trigger and adaptive response, or at least start to build towards creating one in a long term periodised protocol.

One way of looking at programming this frequency is to work in 5 days microcycles, one option would be as follows:

  • Day 1 – Chest & Back
  • Day 2 – Legs
  • Day 3 – off
  • Day 4 -Shoulders & Back
  • Day 5 – Off
  • The cycle then repeats back to day one after this.

If that was your chosen plan You’d find Charles Poliquin quite happy, as that is one of his most recommended and it works rather well, hence why it is the first example. Repeat that cycle 4-8 times depending on your level of ability and progress you make.

The above is good if you have no restriction on the days you can train, however if you are bound by the working week then you may have an issue, as such here is an example that fits that frequency of hitting each lift every 3-5 days.

  • Monday – Anterior Chain Movements
  • Tuesday – Off
  • Wednesday Off
  • Thursday – Posterior Chain Movements
  • Friday – Off
  • Saturday – Anterior Chain Movements
  • Sunday – Off
  • Monday – Posterior Chain Movements
  • As you can see you alternate Anterior/Posterior days

The above puts your lifting frequency at ever 4-5 days, a nice spacing for you to really give each day a good hammering.

If you’re wondering what would fall in to each day, here is a brief example:

Anterior Chain – Presses, Squats, Ab Roll outs (or think pushing muscles)

Posterior Chain – Pulls, Deadlifts, Loaded Carries (or think pulling muscles)

You might even go for Upper Body, Lower Body, the options are many.

So long as you covered every movement pattern/or muscle over the two days you’d have no issues in terms of making progress, however I would advise picking exercises that would give you the most bang for you buck, such as Snatch Grip Deficit Deadlifts, Clean & press, Chins for example.

Over the years if there is one thing I’ve noticed it is this – people are way too focused on doing everything under the in a session, bodybuilder style, even if this is not the most optimal style of training for them, as a result they often end up with unbalanced training protocols that are sub standard for progress.

Speaking of which, this bring the question to “What sets & reps should be used?” – Always something asked, and as per the norm many will say “It depends” which is fair, however what people are really asking for is a starting point or at least some direction.

For this I like the ‘rule of 15-25’ meaning that your main lifts will contain 15 to 35 working reps, this has been shown to allow progress (look up PRE by Delorme & Watkins), you can use many loading schemes, it might be any of the following:

  • 1x5x50%, 1x5x75%, 3x5x100% – all % are of 5RM
  • 1x10x50%, 1x10x75%, 1x10x100% – all % are of 10RM

The options are endless,s however I;d recommend starting with one of those two for your main ‘heavy lifts’ and for accessory work (smaller muscles or isolation work), doing 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps, hitting momentary muscular failure at the end of each set – however this doesn’t mean your form goes to pot, all of your from must be as close to ‘perfect’ as possible, if its not, lower the weight and focus on using a slower cadence, say 4 seconds down, 1 second pause at bottom of lift, then 1-2 second concentric and repeat for all desired reps.

All fairly simple, perhaps even boring, however it will work, trust me.

There you go, some info/options to get you started.

Enjoy,

Ross

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