Tag Archives: hypertrophy

What’s your doctrine?

In fitness you’ll find many tomes.

Each has its own unique benefits, limitations and place in the realm known as physical culture.

You can probably guess I’ve followed a few over the years.

Becoming embroiled in one thought process is easily done, especially if it’s spoken with enough conviction. In the 70’s we had body building, the 80’s had step, the 90’s was functions training and the last couple of decades brought us CrossFit & HIIT and more recently Movement Culture.

As mentioned above, all have their good points and in truth once you find one that keeps you consistently training you’ll feel great, or at least a part of something bigger than yourself.

I’ve personally been in the industry a fair while now, a literal lifetime when compared to the age of some young adults just stepping in to the field.

In this span I’ve seen trends come and go.

Plus there are a few things that have stayed and will always remain important.

  • Strength
  • Mobility & Movement
  • Health
  • Enjoyment (purpose)

You might love running, if so cool you go run just be aware of what running is lacking from the above (strength).

Perhaps you’re a powerlifter, great just be sure to fill in the missing gaps (health, mobility & movement).

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

On a personal note I don’t really care what people do so long as they are doing it for the right reasons, that being it means something to them that is at the live of their very soul, none of this superficial bullshit, got no time for such pointless things.

Do you love what you do?

No, really, can you say without any doubt you love what you do (in the gym, this kinda applies for life as well – just saying).

If you have any hesitation or have to justify your answer then somethings not right.

You’ll find many a doctrine in fitness, ideal if you find one that have the elements mentioned above that’s the most optimal one, however it’s also rare.

Enjoy,
Ross

Oh, before I forget, it’s okay to create your own style you know. Learn from all the single views of the big picture and eventually you’ll have quite the impressive view to which you can then give back to the realm of fitness by creating something of your own.

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A little S&C for free.

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

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Trusty Rusty

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

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A quick little bit of info on three ways you can split up some basic linear progression.

1 – Single Progression
2 – Double Progression
3 – Triple Progression
 
These can be tweaked using your understanding of the key principles of overload.
 
– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
 
(Specificity & Frequency also play a part)
 
Here is an example of how all three are written out.
 
*You add load once you’ve hit all the desired reps.
 
Single Progression = 3×8 💪
 
Once you hit 8 reps in each set you add weight, simple.
 
Double Progression = 3×8-12 💪💪
 
Starting out you might hit something like this: 11,9,8
 
The next session it might be : 12,11,9, get the idea?
 
Once you hit 12,12,12, you add load to the bar.
 
Triple Progression = 3-5×8-12💪💪💪
 
I’m sure you can see the pattern now. You want to hit 3×12 then you add a set and work towards 4×12 and finally 5×12 before adding load, however here is how things might look:
 
Session 1 – 12,12,10
Session 2 – 12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 3 – 12,12,10,8
Session 4 – 12,12,11,10
Session 5 – 12,12,12,11
Session 6 – 12,12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 7 – 12,12,12,12,10
Session 8 – 12,12,12,12,12 + load, drop back to 3×8-12
 
Personally I’m quite the fan of double and triple progression as they have their own built in de-loads via volume reduction.
 
The above deals quite nicely with Volume (total sets/reps) and Intensity (% of RM or load) for progression methods.
 
That leaves us with looking at density (work per unit of time/work capacity), this is easy to program in if you want to have people build al little more conditioning before adding load.
 
We will use double progress with a density consideration as the example.
 
3×8-12, 90-30 seconds rest.
 
Here is what the details might look like written down:
 
Session 1 – 8,8,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 2 – 12,10,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 3 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop rest by 30sec
Session 4 – 12, 8,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 5 – 12,10,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 6 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop erst by 30sec
Session 7 – 12,8,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 8 – 12,10,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 9 – 12,12,12 – Add load, take rest back to 90sec & reps back to 3×8
 
Hopefully that’s nice and clear.
 
Oh yea, frequency and specificity.
 
Specificity is linked directly to the goal (or the movement progressions) and you can use the progressions above and change the movement to make it more or less specific to the goal.
 
For example, You want to increase your press overhead.
 
Double Progression – Press until reps/set/rest hit however instead of adding load you change the lift to one that allows more load.
 
So it may look like this:
 
KB Bottom Up Press > KB Press > Z Press > BB Press
 
And so on.
 
Frequency is the easiest to play with , however it can lead to burn out if you abuse it.
 
Frequency = more training days on your desired goal.
 
EG 2 pressing days becomes 3 pressing days becomes 4 pressing days, using double progression it might look like this.
 
Press 2xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 3xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 4xP/W – 3×8-12 – – goal hit, increase load and drop back to 2 pressing days per week.
 
^^ That is without playing with density by the way.
 
As you can see once you apply the basic principles to even the simplest set/reps systems you have a method of programming that can literally last you a lifetime.
 
The thing about the above is that it’s all fundamental.
 
Mastery of the basics such as these will take you a long way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 2 – The Mentor

As with any good hero’s journey they have to meet their mentor, yet this is only after they get a little bit of a pasting from the villain.

It is as this stage they realise that while they have gifts and they’ve trained somewhat hard it just wasn’t enough when faced with someone who didn’t have their genetic advantage and gained a plethora of skill from planned training.

Once humbled and left questioning just how good they really are the wise old mentor appears and take them under their wing, such famous ones include Phil (Hercules), Obi-Wan (StarWars), Mary Poppins (a total bad ass really), Hippolyta (WonderWoman), Athena (God of War) and Wade Garrett (RoadHouse).

All of the above added in some minimum standards to be met and also a path to follow.

While the young hero knows a thing or two, and may even take a swing at their new found friend, they find that even though many years their senior they’re still rather spry and knock them on their ass easily.

Time to get some structure in to that training and really make some progress.

6 Weeks of training –

Day 1 – Week 1&2

W/U – Barbell Complex – 3×4-8 reps (Clean, FS, Press, BS, Good Morning, Row, RDL)
A1 – FS x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Barbell Row x3-5
B1 – BB Clean & Press x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Bear Hug Carry (bodyweight +) x20m
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 2 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Snatch x5min – AMRAP
Kettlebell Pentathlon: 6min of work followed by 5min rest

  • Cleans 120 reps (20 RPM – reps per minute, once hit go up in load)
  • Long cycle press 60 reps (10 RPM
  • Jerks 120 reps (20 RPM)
  • Half snatch 108 reps (18 RPM)
  • Push press 120 reps (20 RPM)

C/D – Stretching/Correctives x5min

Day 3 – Week 1&2

W/U – Sled Push 20m, Sled Drag 20m x400m total
A1 – Weighted Chin 7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Trap Bar DL 7-5-3-7-5-3
B1 – Dumbbell Row (chest supported) 6×6-8
B2 – Barbell Curl 6×8-10
B3 – Reverse Fly x6x10-12
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 4 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Long Cycle (2bells) x10min AMRAP
A1 – Weighted Dip x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Farmers Walk x20m
B1 – Incline Press  x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Suitcase Carry x20m (left arm our, right arm back)
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

This structure starts to give our would-be hero some targets to aim for.

In week one there are two waves (7-5-3) in week two those will have two progression options

1 – Increase by 1 wave , so 7-5-3-7-5-3-7-5-3, a nice hefty chunk up in volume
2 – Increase overall load wheel keeping the waves at 2

The accessory work is auto-regulated meaning each set is done by feel, remember this is to enhance the training day, not to smash one in to the ground.

Soon though things will get much tougher for our rising start.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 1 – Before The Call

So you want to look like a superhero.

Who doesn’t right?

They are everything we wish we could be and more, always doing the right thing and never having to sacrifice anything, they always find a way to save everyone.

While in this life we might not be able to achieve such heroism we can more than give it a good go. Failing that at least their aesthetic is something achievable for us.

Yep, the majority of people can look like a true hero with the right training.

*Please note this is a guide and there will of course be specific needs to each individual, however this will help get you started on the right path.

When we first meet our hero in any story they have a decent base.

Keeping this in mind we must ourselves create a solid foundation from which we can build something truly awe-inspiring. To do this we shall carve out the pre-mentored hero in 4 weeks of training at least 3 days per week that while effect, is unguided.

Day 1 –

W/U – Farmers Walk x10min
A1 – Squats 20reps, as many sets as possible in 20min
B1 – Clean & Press x10, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 2 –

W/U – Rowing, as far as possible in 20min
A1 – Presses 10reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
B1 – Bent Over Row 10 reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 3 –

W/U – Hill Running x10min
A1 – Romanian Deadlift x10reps, as many sets a possible in 20min
B1 – Bear Crawling for 10-20m, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – C/D – Stretching x10min

Our would-be hero has no real reason behind what they do, they just do it because it’s all the know.

The above will be a great place to start building your base of strength, conditioning, movement skill and mental toughness.

Soon enough though this base will be put to the test.

Enjoy,
Ross

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That Superhero Look

Look at any hero and most have an iconic stature.

The men have wide shoulders, a thick back, tapered waist, well developed legs and powerful looking arms.

The ladies are equally as proportionate with the coveted hour glass figure, a lean muscular structure that showcases their strength while still remaining what many consider feminine.

A lot of people desire such a look, and either is one that isn’t too far out of reach for many, so long as you know how to train for it.

I’ve always preferred the villains or anti-heroes myself.

The training required goes a little bit beyond 4-6×4-6 on front squats, wide grip pull ups, presses and deadlifts, however those 4 things would be a great start for anyone looking to work towards such a goal.

Since we’re coming up to the summer I might put together something surrounding this style of goal.

I’m thinking anywhere from 6-12 weeks worth will be enough of a starting point for most people to make a bit of a dent in this goal.

Is there any hero you’d like to look like in particular?

Leave your comments below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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5×5, just not as you know it.

A great little protocol that will be good for fat loss, hypertrophy, strength endurance and fun.
 
I had this little training program come to me while walking last night.
 
This it by no means anything groundbreaking.
 
Keeping that in mind, I reckon it will humble a fair few if the proper effort level is given.
 
The basic set up –
 
– Pick 1-5 movements
– 5 sets total
– Each set is a 5min time block
– No Sloppy Reps
– Rest 3-5min between each set
– Train 2-3 days per week
– Enjoy for 6-12 weeks
 
A 5min block of time where you simply perform only one lift, sounds easy on paper, not so much in reality, especially if you don’t put down whatever it is you’re lifting.
 
Keeping a hold of a bar or piece of kit for 5min is quite the challenge both physically and mentally.
 
Of course in some instances it won’t be possible.
 
This is where the beauty of he above comes in to play and helps you regulate the intensity.
 
You don’t have to keep a hold of whatever kit you’re using or keep moving if it’s a bodyweight exercise you’ve chosen, you can stop an rest.
 
The main focus is on training density & work capacity.
 
You simply not what weight you used, how many reps you got an aim to beat that next session, simple.
 
I’d personally stay with the same movements for 3 week blocks, you can either repeat the same session for each of your 2-3 days or change the lifts each time, that’s up to you, just keep that the same for the suggested block.
 
Example 3 days –
 
*The warm up of the rest will be int he first 5min set, doesn’t have to be, it just saves time.
 
Day 1:
Set 1 – Kettlebell Snatch (don’t put down)
Set 2 – Farmers Walk
Set 3 – Kettlebell Push Press (don’t put down)
Set 4 – Pull Up – any variation
Set 5 – Kettlebell Double Racked Squat (don’t put down)
 
Day 2:
Set 1 – Sandbag Clean & Carry
Set 2 – Thruster BB (don’t put down)
Set 3 – BB Row
Set 4 – Kettlebell Single Arm Swing (don’t put down)
Set 5 – Press Up – any variation
 
Day 3:
Set 1 – The Bear Complex
Set 2 – Squat – any variation (don’t put down)
Set 3 – Power Snatch
Set 4 – Ring Dip
Set 5 – Power Clean
 
*Warm down with a good old stretch and marvel in all the good effort you put in.
 
^^ One thing to keep in mind with the above is there needs to be a focus on quality reps.
 
(Now imagine trying to do this with just one movement for all 5 sets of 5min….. Brutal)
 
Even though in the example I’ve said in some cases not to put the kit down, if your form is going to pot then don’t be a hero, put it down, grab some rest and try for a few more reps.
 
There will always be next session to try and make the full time.
 
Feel free to add in smaller movements as well, thing such as face pulls, reverse flies, bicep curls, skull crushers and so on.
 
The idea behind this little protocol is to get you focusing on achieving a decent amount of quality work.
 
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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9 Reasons Bottoms Up (BU) Kettlebell Work is Awesome

*You’d do well to use a bell at least one size lighter than normal for your strict press (ideally 12-16kg for all, if this is too heavy for you then avoid BU work for the time being and just get stronger)
 
1 – It teaches you tension throughout your entire body.
 
2 – You need to mater the weight, the balance, the feel and connecting your body as a unit before you can even move a single step or attempt a press.
 
3 – The positive crossover to your pressing form is well worth the ego check.
 
4 – Hitting some solid reps in either the clean, press, rack walk (BU) waiters walk, windmill, TGU etc, all look pretty cool.
 
5 – Strengthens grip-glutes-core better than most other movements.
 
6 – Perfect for GTG and deload work.
 
7 – You will learn which arm is your weaker one, as such you lift with that one first and then match the reps you achieve with the strong arm.
 
8 – It allows you to get in a good session even if you’ve got limited weights (KB’s).
 
9 – Apart from all the strength, stability and coordination gains you’ll get, this way of lifting is good fun.
 
Here is are a few little complexes to try 2-3 times per week.
 
Complex 1 – Ladder set 1,2,3,4,5 – repeat 3-5 times each arm
 
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Squat
A4 – BU Rack Walk
 
^^ You can progress this one to using two bells.
 
Complex 2 – 2-3 reps per arm – 20-40min total
 
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Windmill
A4 – BU Waiter Walk
 
Complex 3 – 1 rep per arm – static hold each position for 10 seconds tops – 20-30min total
 
A1 – BU Clean to Rack Hold
A2 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A3 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A4 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A5 – BU Press Lock Out Hold
A6 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A7 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A8 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A9 – BU Rack Hold
 
*Finish with some swings or snatches each session 100-200 reps.
 
**You’d also do well to think about ‘pulling’ the weight down in the lowering element of the press, squats and windmills.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The KGB Method – Part 3

Putting it all together.
 
In parts 1 we looked loosely at how they days panned out.
 
Then through part 2 how you rotate the focus (daily or in a block of 3).
 
Below will be a brief example protocol you could potentially follow, however the main concept of this is to take away the idea of training different elements on different days.
 
The cycling or the movements and general focus of the training.
 
Finally it’s learning that just because you go to a gym or train that doesn’t mean you need to do body building style movements only.
 
^^ A trap many fall in to.
 
Okay, here we go.
 
– 3 on 1 off rotation
– Loading = go by feel or RM (rep max)
– Always leave 1-2 reps or something in the tank
– 2 lifts per session
– 20-45min per session (vary this each day)
– Rest as needed
 
Micro 1:
Day 1: Kettlebell – Fast
Day 2: Grappling – Slow
Day 3: Bodyweight – Flow
 
Micro 2:
Day 1: Kettlebell – Slow
Day 2: Grappling – Flow
Day 3: Bodyweight – Fast
 
Micro 3:
Day 1: Kettlebell – Flow
Day 2: Grappling – Fast
Day 3: Bodyweight – Slow
 
************************
 
Micro 1: 20-40min Sessions
 
Day 1: Kettlebell – Fast
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swing x 5-35 reps per set (p/s)
A2 – Kettlebell Shot-put x1-3 per arm (p/a)
 
 
Day 2: Grappling – Slow
 
A1 – Barbell Farmers Walk x20m, one bar each hand
A2 – Rope Climb* x1
 
*If no rope climb possible find something to climb 😂
 
Day 3: Bodyweight – Flow
 
A1 – Spiderman Crawl x20m
A2 – Inchworm/Down Dog x20m
 
Note down all the sets/reps you achieve, along with the loads used, remember though, you don’t need to keep the load the same each set, just saying.
 
************************
 
Micro 2: 20-40min Sessions
 
Day 1: Kettlebell – Slow
 
A1 – TGU x1 (p/a)
A2 – Renegade Row x 3-5 (p/a)
 
Day 2: Grappling – Flow
 
A1 – Sand Bag Lunge Shoulder Carry x 100m (p/a)
 
Day 3: Bodyweight – Fast
 
A1 – Plyo Push Up x3-5
A2 – CMJ x2 + Bound Jump x3
 
************************
 
Micro 3: 20-40min Sessions
 
Day 1: Kettlebell – Flow
 
A1 – Long Cycle x3min blocks
 
Day 2: Grappling – Fast
 
A1 – Sled Push x20m
A2 – Arm Over Arm Pull x20m
 
^^ Push the sled out 20m, walk back, sit down pull it back to you.
 
Day 3: Bodyweight – Slow
 
A1 – Single Arm Push Up x3-5
A2 – Pistol Squat x3-5
 
^^ Pause at the bottom of each rep
 
Repeat the above for one or two more rotations before changing exercises/movements
 
The above lasts for a total of 12 days, giving you 36 days for a full 3x repeat of it, of 24 if you do it twice, the aim would be to do a little more than you did the previous time.
 
That plays on the principle of Density (work done per unit of time), I’ve written about those before, just do a search on here via the tab and you’ll find more detail on it.
 
************************
 
As you can see the concept is simple, the training varied and you can be assured that the results will be plentiful.
 
Now you have the basic skeleton you can take it away with you and start to apply it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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