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Make progress with one set!

Something you may have heard or read in the past.
 
Is it true?
 
Yes, however you’ll need to know exactly what is meant by ‘one set’.
 
When people write or speak about making progress with the above, they don’t mean you literally only do one set.
 
What they mean is that you’re going to do one ‘working set’, you don’t include your warm ups in the mix, which could be was little as two sets or as many as 10 depending on how strong you are.
 
A working set is classes as an amount of reps performed at the target weight.
 
You also have the classic 3×10 by Delorme/Watkins which was as follows:
 
– 1x10x50% 10RM (warm up)
– 1x10x75% 10RM (warm up)
and finally…
1x10x100% 10RM (working set)
 
Going you one working set.
 
If we took the classic 3×8, this means 3 working sets, not including warm ups.
 
If you ever read Brawn, you’d find that lots of the programs had things like this written:
 
Squat 1×20
Press 2×5
Chin 1×6-8
etc
 
All of these are the working sets, as you cans occasionally they had 2 working sets.
 
The idea of this set is to much you to your limits and perhaps add some small amount of weight to be bar, improve the form, do it while having less rest and so on.
 
You could manipulate any variable to get progress so long as you made progress.
 
– Volume – perhaps got an extra rep at or 2 the same weight
– Intensity – lifted more total weight on the bar
– Density – had less rest than previously
– Frequency – performed this feat twice in a week instead of once
 
When you take a look at the principles behind this long spoken method of training it’s fair to say they’re pretty solid because they leave you nowhere to hide.
 
If you limit yourself to only one hard set, you’re more likely to give it your all and try to better that set in any which way you can.
 
The more modern approach of “Do all the sets & all the reps!” isn’t bad by any means, however it does often leave people working sub-optimally which is why some struggle to make any form of progress.
 
The repeated bout effect or repetition method is a solid one, that’s not being disputed, however those who get the most out of this are the ones who’ve spent a decent chunk of time hitting one hard ‘working set’ in the past.
 
You may also find working sets are called ‘top sets’ which can be found in those who follow a daily lifting routine – ala Bulgarian style training and daily maxing.
 
So, should you try this style of training protocol?
 
Yes, no, maybe, I really don’t know.
 
It certainly works, however if you’re making progress with what you’re doing then there’s no sense in changing, if not though, perhaps you might find this useful.
 
If you decide to work for top sets here are some pointers of where to start:
 
Top set recommendations:
Squat: 5-10
Presses: 5
Pulls: 6-8
DL: 3-5
Accessory lifts: 8-12
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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1-2-3 for you & me

Progress, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
 
An old school method for strength & lean mass.
 
Morning All,
 
You may have guessed that I enjoy things from yesteryear.
 
For good reason too, I might add.
 
Everything that worked back then still works today, in fact it’s usually more effective than what most people do these days.
 
You will find many a person runs to a fitness magazine, or some form of social media for a workout routine, which is fair enough, if something is free you’d be silly not to use it.
 
The only issue is that while the info might be good, the people using it only apply around 50% effort, especially when the weights get heavy.
 
This is bad… very bad.
 
Low effort means low results.
 
This is where for those of you who are a little more focused 1-2-3 will be something you enjoy.
 
Here is what to do:
 
– Pick an exercise or two (A1/A2 fashion)
– Put some weight on the bar, say 80% of your max
– Do 1 rep, rest a little, do 2 reps, rest a little, do 3 reps, rest longer
– Add weight after each successful 1-2-3
– Do 3-5 sets
 
 
You’d be surprised how this rest pause style of protocol allows you to lift heavier than normal and get in some decent volume too.
 
You’ll find that this style of protocol is are more sustainable than a standard 5×5 with repeating weight as you can manage fatigue levels far better while still lifting heavy-ish.
 
In between each of the prescribed reps you could rest 15-30 seconds, just enough to allow you to get the next reps easily while still lifting heavy.
 
Rest 2-5min after each full set.
 
After you’ve done your reps/sets you can finish off with some loaded carries and perhaps some isolation work for weak points, or for vanity reasons, your choice.
 
This is so easy to apply you’ll probably ignore it.
 
You can use 3 week rotations before adding more total load to the bar if you choose, it will look like this:
 
Week 1: 3×1-2-3×80%
Week 2: 4×1-2-3×80%
Week 3: 5×1-2-3×80%
Week 4: 3×1-2-3×82%
And so on.
 
I’ve it a try and watch your strength, lean mass, skill in the lift and enjoyment of training soar through the roof.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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50/50

50/50
 
A no nonsense approach to making gains, stripping fat, improving movement and getting strong.
 
Morning All,
 
I try to keep some training ideas popping up for you so that you have some options, as with most of the recommendations they’re simple and would do well to be done for 3month at a minimum.
 
So what is 50/50?
 
Well if you were born in the 90’s it was a game show, if not then perhaps you know it as nothing more than a statistic or BJJ set up.
 
If we look at applying this to a training program this is the result:
 
– Two exercises
– 50 reps each
– Done in as few sets as possible
– Rest as needed
 
Progression options are interesting, however here are my recommendations:
 
Strength – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 6 sets – rep options 5-10
 
Hypertrophy – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 4 sets – rep options 8-12
 
Fat loss – Increase weight when you can hit 50 reps in less than 2 sets – rep options 10+
 
Now these are not set in stone, they’re just a guide to give you something to go on, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal you can use which ever of the above you enjoy the most.
 
As with most recommendations you’ll do well to have mostly compound movements to cover the full body filling your workout roster, training anywhere from 2-5 days per week will do you.
 
For example, your training days might look like this:
 
Day 1 – Squats/ Rows
Day 2 – Presses/Loaded Carries (10-20m is one rep)
Day 3 – Trap Bar DL/Dips
Off
Day 4 – Pull Ups/Prowler (10-20m is one rep)
Day 5 – Squats/Curls – because curls (Y)
Off
 
I jest, the last day would be Squats/Dumbbell Clean & Press.
 
You get the idea, you can put in any movements you like, just cover the full body with a frequency of each muscle group or movement of twice per week.
 
Depending on the progression option you take and the reps you use, you’ll find you can make some rather large jumps in weight to the bar, perhaps 5kg for upper body lifts and 10kg for lower body ones. The choice is yours.
 
As mentioned above, you can pick the rep ranges you enjoy and go from there. If you like doing 5’s, great start there, once you are doing say 5×10 instead of the 10×5 you started with then add weight.
 
If you like 10’s then start off with 5×10 and perhaps work towards 2×25, or some other ludicrous amount of reps, just do what you enjoy rep/set wise and pick things that will help keep your adherence up, once you get through the initial place of creating the routine and consistency, the results will come and at that point you’ll start doing what you need to do more often.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 Reasons people need a framework to succeed –

1 – Most don’t know what they need to do and as such need it clearly signposted

2 – It helps people feel less pressure, basically they can blame the structure for failure rather than themselves

3 – Things such as accountability and more responsibility become easier to administer

4 – Recorded data makes for a great confidence booster to show them how far they’ve come

5 – It teaches them how to achieve success on their own

Now there are those rare people who don’t need a framework to make their own success, if you’re one of them then we’ll see each other at the top. If that’s not you it’s not a problem, just ask for help and it will be yours.

Short & simple today.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Too good not to share

I came across this article while browsing through the inter webs for knowledge and it’s too good not to share.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-get-ripped-with-4-rep-sets?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article4844

Christian Thibaudeau is one of my favourite and his knowledge is phenomenal, you’ll enjoy this read.

I will certainly be giving this a go as I am currently short on time in my own training.

Ross

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Butt Hurt to Commence in, 3…2…1…

Monday, Monday
So good to me
Monday morning
It was all I hoped it would be…
 
That means gym 7-8am, 2 meals already eaten, 2 articles written and a back tweak, yay for me :/.
 
Morning Guys,
 
I trust you all had a productive weekend, if you didn’t, well… shame on you.
 
There is a lot of protection for peoples ego/pride in the modern age and it seems to be having a negative effect because it is making people lazy, more lazy than they have ever been.
 
Obviously there are those who are the other end of the spectrum and are anything but, however those are not the majority, sadly.
 
What ever happened to tough love?
 
You know, people would see you fail in a catastrophic manor, give you a pat on the back with a few words of wisdom and then tell you to crack on and stop wallowing in the mud.
 
These days that approach would be considered insensitive, inconsiderate to peoples feeling, belittling, demotivating and not supportive of people. I’m all for helping people but wrapping them in cotton wool? Nope, not my style, it does nothing for building character or more importantly, resilience.
 
Now that’s a word from the past, resilience.
 
What happened to it?
 
It seems to have been forgotten in the channels of time along with – that’s life, get over it, better luck next time, toughen up and “perhaps you should try knitting”.
 
All joking aside, the kid gloves of the modern world are actually a very dangerous thing, they hold people back and give false expectations or rather, they give people a sense of entitlement and that is a very slippery slope, let me give you an example oh how this relates to fitness.
 
Person A – Works hard, does everything they should be doing to get their desired results, accepts set backs and take on board constructive critique on the chin for what it is (advice to help them grow) to allow progression. The they achieve results because they understand they have to work for them and that nothing ever comes easy. They earn their success. 
 
Person B – Works semi moderate to not really doing anything meaningful, does some of what they should do, feels life is against them and no one ever helps them, rejects critique because it hurts their feelings, stays in the comfort zone but feels they should get the same results as person A because they just should. Sadly results will happen initially then taper off fast, potential regress too and this is obviously not their fault at all… They feel entitled to success (this is not good). 
 
Now these are actually real examples of people, they haven’t been made up I am sorry to say.
 
Many of you know that nothing in life comes easy and chances are for the majority it never will, that’s just life. While I agree we need to be mindful of people and encourage them there also has to be a line where we say “Stop pissing about, the problem is you.” which we seem to be afraid to say nowadays.
 
Maybe it’s my attitude… It’s definitely my attitude, it doesn’t have time to waste on people who feel entitled, yep, that makes me an asshole but hey ho, we can either work hard or not, it’s that easy.
 
Which camp do you fall in to, honestly…
 
Work hard and you will achieve what you deserve in the end, accept life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, become resilient and earn your success, don’t expect it all to be given to you on a plate, you’re not entitled to success, work for it, earn it, deserve it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Failure Mindset

Morning Guys,
 
Do you live with the failure mindset?
 
Plenty of people live with the attitude of:
 
“That person is … Bigger, Stronger, Leaner, Fitter etc… than me because of … Genetics, Money/Born with a Silver Spoon, Steroids and so on…. I will never be like that.”
 
This is the failure mindset and all it serves to do is hold you back because you’re expecting to fail. I’ve said it plenty of times before, too many people make their excuses as to why they won’t achieve XYZ and as a result never achieve anything.
 
Sadly I feel the failure mindset is actually something that our culture is feeding these days, what with all the ‘safe spaces’ the ‘words hurt’ and ‘You all deserve nice things’ campaigns people are becoming mentally weaker by the day. Don’t get me wrong, some things people say really do hurt and there is no need for them but most of the time people need to simply grow a thicker skin and crack on with life.
 
If you’re wondering what’s prompted this post today, the answer is simple. I’ve been in the failure mindset for a while, mainly due to not feeling that I was reaping the rewards for the effort I was putting in, when in reality I was missing certain elements that would allow success. The fault was mine because of my mindset, I stopped training as hard as I should have, I wasn’t eating enough and as a result make slow and lack lustre progress. It sucks but we reap what we sow so it’s time to kick myself up the ass and get back to the righteous path of the iron.
 
I have made plenty of mistakes, this mindset being one of them. It’s time to learn from that mistake and do what needs to be done.
 
Do you live in the failure mindset?
 
Sit down and write a list of all the things you are meant to be doing to achieve your goal, then write down every excuse you use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Once you’ve done this take a moment to change those excuses in to behaviours that will allow you to succeed and break free of the failure mindset.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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More Truth

Fad Diets.
 
Magic Pills.
 
Quick Fixes.
 
Do they work?
 
Well some of them actually do, but the results never last. It’s like drinking coffee to perk yourself up, the effect is often immediate and skyrockets but it only lasts so long and the crash is just as fast, as is the rebound back to the starting point.
 
The sad truth is that to achieve anything it will take time, effort and consistency, which, people do not like to put in.
 
Now it’s worth understanding that some fad diets and magic pills can actually give people the kick start they need to get not he right track, so taking that in to account they don have a place but the main thing to remember is that THEY’RE NOT SUSTAINABLE, and for lasting results sustainability is the key to it all.
 
When people ask – “What edit should I be on?” – or something of a similar ilk, the honest answer is the one that you can stay on indefinitely. This is why the rise of IIFYM & Flexible Dieting took off. There are a few reasons such as:
 
– They are based on your BMR/TDEE (basal metabolic rate & total daily energy expenditure).
– They break down the barriers and misconceptions of Good & Bad Foods and help people understand that there is not really good or bad, just too much.
– They also help you understand macronutrients and how to proportion yours appropriately for your goal.
– No food restriction (unless you have a specific intolerance).
– Freedom to hit Calories/Macros accordingly, with foods for health and also foods for indulgence.
 
Obviously some foods are better for health than others (more whole foods as opposed to processed ones), but that’s another topic all together.
 
The only downside to those is the fact act not everyone likes to be neurotic and track all their food, but all in all they are the way to go if you want lasting results and a ‘diet’ that you can stay on indefinitely.
 
The same is true for exercise programs. While you need to keep progressing to achieve results you also need to enjoy it, this will help ensure that you’re going to be consistent. A good example is CrossFfit, it creates a community in each individual Box that is part of something bigger and people always enjoy it, hence why it’s so popular. Provided you have decent coaches that understand programming and can teach correct form CrossFit is actually one of the best forms of training. Strongman is also great fun too.
 
What’s the point of this post?
 
To help you understand that there is no quick fix and you will need to put in thousands of hours of hard graft, however it doesn’t have to be super strict in terms of diet, you simple have to adhere to your daily calories and get your idea macro ration and when it comes to exercise you want something that will specifically be relevant for you goal but also FUN so that you want to do more of it.
 
Pretty simple really.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Protein Synthesis, Simple Explanation

Morning Guys,
 
I’ve mentioned Protein Synthesis a couple of times recently, therefore I feel today is as good a day as any to explain a little bit more about what it is and how to increase it’s potency.
 
Muscles grow through protein synthesis, that’s the short answer. Despite what supplement companies, internet gurus and people who are trying to sell you something will tell you, there is no magic formula that will supersede the basic science of protein synthesis, it takes time, effort and understanding, just as with everything in fitness. Once you understand how protein synthesis creates muscle growth, you can achieve your goals, whether they are bodybuilding, strength, performance or just general fitness based.
 
As many of you are aware, muscles grow by repairing small micro-tears that occur on a cellular level during exercise as a result of the stimulus (overload) you give them, thus exercise a key component of muscle growth and without it your body wouldn’t have any cause for adaptation. Weight training is generally considered the best type of exercise to promote muscle growth, however high power anaerobic CV work can also have some muscle building affects as well. When the muscle experiences adequate stimulus/overload, blood flow to the area increases which allows for more nutrients to be delivered to the working areas, among the nutrients the necessary components for repair/growth/adaptation through the process known as protein synthesis.
 
For protein synthesis and muscle growth to occur, a number of components must be present. First, the muscle must have exercise-induced micro-injury. Second, naturally occurring hormones, including testosterone and growth hormones produced by the pituitary, must be present. Finally, you must have a diet containing sufficient protein. Protein is the basic building block of all of the body’s tissues, especially muscle. Proteins are made from amino acids, some of which the body can synthesise and some of which must be consumed in the diet.
 
You can increase your bodies ability/potency for protein synthesis by hitting as many Motor Units/Deep Muscle Fibres as possible. This is because you will for the body in to places it hasn’t been before, meaning that when it starts the adaptive process it will super compensate so that it can handle that amount of load the next time it comes around.
 
Protein synthesis is higher after you have exposed said muscles to the necessary overload and lasts anywhere from 24-48 hours after the workout, however there are various high level coaches and athletes that will recommend a higher frequency of training (daily or twice daily for example) to help keep the body in a more anabolic state. This is why you will find top level lifters train more than once per day, but you must also remember that they have the most optimal nutrition for them, not to mention their training is tailored perfectly to them as well.
 
When you take this concept int o account you will realise it’s not about smashing out 40sets in one workout for legs and waiting a week before training them again, it’s far more beneficial to train legs 4 times per week and do 10 sets per workout to increase the rate of protein synthesis and potential muscle growth.
 
If you can train a muscle every 2-3days you will find the optimal place for achieving your goal. Below is an example of how to get more frequency on your lifts using an upper/lower split based on those lucky enough to train twice per day (if you can train twice per day you can combine the workouts, you’ll just need to regulate the volume accordingly).
 
Day 1 – Lower AM – Quads, PM – Hamstring
Day 2 – Upper AM – Shoulders/Back, PM – Chest/Back
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Lower AM – Quads, PM – Hamstring
Day 5 – Upper AM – Shoulders/Back, PM – Chest/Back
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Repeat 2 on 1 off (Y).
 
Need a set and rep range?
 
7×5 on Compound Lifts – 1 lift per workout
4×12 on Accessory Lifts – 2 lifts per workout
 
What exercises could you use?
 
Quads – Squat, Lunge, Leg Extension.
 
Hamstring – Deadlift, Good Morning, Hamstring Curl.
 
Shoulders/Back – Press BB, Press DB, Lateral Raise – Super Set pressing with Pull Ups and Lateral Raise with Reverse Fly.
 
Chest/Back – Bench BB, Incline Flies or Press DB, Dips – Super Set bench/incline work with a rowing movement and dips with chins.
 
Frequency of training is key to increased protein synthesis however you must ensure you don’t do too much and exceed your ability to recover. You an achieve this by tracking all of your volume. 
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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