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Three important lessons you can learn from athletes & apply them to your life.

Morning all,
 
It’s fair to say we admire athletes.
 
Not simply for the way they can bring people together with their astonishing achievements or world record breaking efforts, it’s also because they’re humans, just like us.
 
They might be faster, stronger, more dedicated and generally better in every aspect, however they’re still human 😂
 
As such here are three things you can take away from them and apply to your life for the better.
 
1 – They do what they need to do regardless of how they feel.
 
Athletes don’t make excuses, not really, they just get on with the task as hand, unlike you.
 
Nothing stands in their way of achieving their goal, now before you start saying “I have a job, house etc etc”, did you know that until they make it BIG, so do they.
 
The difference is that they kept moving forwards, even when life problems cropped up, they still struggled on.
 
This is a lesson you’d do well to listen to and apply.
 
2 – They always have a plan.
 
Now this plan might not be of their of imagination, it might be something of a coaches/mentors design.
 
The point is this, the have one and as such also have answers for when the plan starts to fall apart or needs adapting.
 
Average people don’t have a plan, they try and wing it, unsuccessfully I might add.
 
If you can’t create a plan yourself, don’t stress, ask someone for help, get yourself a mentor/coach, in the long run it will be worth it, trust me.
 
If you want people to put their faith in you, you must also eb willing to put your faith in others.
 
3 – There is only the next mission.
 
Now I could have used the word goal, however goal is meek because everyone has a goal, several in fact, of which many go unachieved.
 
Athletes have a mission, one that is fuelled by a passion and drive that is above and beyond what many can comprehend.
 
They just do things because it’s just what they do.
 
It’s all they know.
 
Taking a page out of this book and developing your own indomitable spirit is something that would benefit you in a multitude of ways ranging from more conviction in your decisions to an unwavering resolve to stick with something, for better or worse.
 
If you take these simple lessons and apply even on to your life, you’ll be several steps ahead of a great many people, just have some faith in yourself and do it.
 
Bonus lesson – They know when enough is enough.
 
Now it would be great to think that we can overcome any limitation, any barrier, break any & all plateaus, however that is just not true, it’s a fools dream.
 
This also relates to being at the top too.
 
Even the worlds best athletes know they have limits that they will not exceed, this is where they have a large support network of coaches, mentors, friends and close family to help them see the perspectives that they might be blind to themselves.
 
Sometimes a dream might just not be in your grasp, however that doesn’t mean you give up entirely, you just accept that enough is enough and rather than giving up, you refocus and look towards the next mission.
 
You might be the one to do it all and change the world, even with such an achievement there will be a limit to how long you can stay their, int he end you will need to accept enough is enough and step down.
 
Just like a world champion that retires so the new blood can come through, they don’t disappear, they just change their place in the play and become the mentor/coach.
 
Giving up never did anyone any good, however neither did trying to achieve something that was never in their reach to begin with or holding on to a glory longer than they should.
 
Learn to accept what is, what isn’t and what will never be.
 
Smile at these things, embrace or let them go.
 
All glories must fade, enjoy them while you can and let go when you must.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Gem 1

I finished reading a coupe of good books this weekend.

Once again clarity of training thought has been restored.

Along with various stones getting uncovered to reveal knowledge.

Given this fact I thought I’d share some of the little gems over the next few days for those who are perhaps a tad up in the air with their training currently.

Gem 1 – Manipulation of reps for optimal strength gains.

*If you want the short version skip to the end*

The reps you choose will dictate not only the weight you use but also the overall training stimulus.

Optimally if you’re aiming for size/strength then you’ll be looking at utilising sets of 1RM-12RM (100%-70% – typically, this can change as one gets stronger and it also changes exercise to exercise).

Each rep you add increases the intensity of loading by roughly around 2.5%, although as mentioned this can differ once people get stronger or in those who have a high degree of training pure neural drive/facilitation – e.g. powerlifters.

Now we should all know this, however we’re all guilty of going in and hitting the same set/rep ranges day in day out with little to know variation.

This is why many of us stagnate.

The most optimal way to train is with varied rep/set ranges in blocks of accumulation/intensification as this means you can overload your systems, rest-recover-adapt and repeat.

If strength/size is your goal, well, actually if you have any goal really, you need to wave the volume/intensity.

For example:

7x5RM will elicit a very different physiological response to that of doing 4x9RM given the total loads lifted will be drastically different in terms of intensity, even though volume is equated.

For starters you’ve got more MUA (motor unit activation) in higher loads 1-5RM has been shown to offer the most bang for your buck in this regard.

When it comes to training the more of the muscle you can recruit the more benefit you’re likely to get.

Yet staying with one for too long will only lead to stagnation and potently overtraining. Especially with loads of that magnitude.

The energy systems used will vary as well, so Anaerobic Alactic 1-5RM, Anaerobic Lactic 6-12RM and Aerobic 13-20RM to briefly touch on that.

^^ It’s wroth looking into further if you are curious.

Rest periods will also be different which will further change the hormonal response of the body for example, resting 60-90 seconds has been shown to have a positive effect on growth hormone production, while 3-5min has been shown to have a greater effect on testosterone levels.

So apart from obvious intensity differences what else is going on?

If you load with a sub maximal weight you will find the MUA is lower and will take far more time to achieve as you will need to ramp up the volume to provide the fatigue necessary to achieve full recruitment of the muscle.

While not a bad way to go it can lead to burn out rather quickly if your recovery is not on the nose (I speak from experience).

Or you can simply warm up and lift heavier loads for repeated efforts instead and get a better response with less overall volume, to a degree, there’s always a caveat to these things.

You can’t do the above forever, more on that later.

Given what I’ve just written here is a little technique you can utilise a nice little trick of the body to make sure you’re firing from all cylinders from the get go, here is how you may do it:

Intensification Block Protocol – Rest pause sets:

Ramp to a heavy 1RM for the day
Rest 15 seconds & drop 2.5%
Do one rep using 97.5%
Rest 15 seconds & drop 2.5%
Do one rep using 95%
Rest 15 seconds & drop 2.5%
Do one rep using 92.5%
Rest 15 seconds & drop 2.5%
Do one rep using 90%
Rest 3-5 min & repeat for 3-5 sets

Now this would work well being punt in an antagonistic super-set A1-A2 – Bench Press – Weighted Chin up.

This means you’d do A1 using the entire RP protocol, rest 3min then do A2 followed by another 3min rest, then back to A1 for 3-5 sets.

That would be your entire workout for the morning, you’d potentially pop back later in the day for some accessory work at 4-6×6-8RM for a couple more pairings.

You would also use this for perhaps 2 week blocks of a toal of 3-4 sessions depending on your training age, recoverability and overall fatigue management.

Apologies, I’ve waffled a tad (as I do).

So what does this jumble of information mean for you?

In short it is this:

*Vary your rep ranges for the best possible gains.*

Here is a quick example of how to wave the rep/set for some decent gains:

Week 1-2: Int – 3-5x5RM
Week 3-4 Acc – 4-6×6-8RM
Week 5-6: Int – 3-5x4RM
Week 7-8 Acc – 4-6×5-7RM
Week 9-10: Int – 3-5x3RM
Week 11-12 Acc – 4-6×4-6RM
Deload

Again this is all info you can find if you do enough digging.

The above is one example, you literally have hundreds of methods to utilise, so why stick with just the same ones when you can learn more and optimise your training, eh?

How do you plan yours or your clients reps/set protocols and how often do you wave them?

In fact how much have you read in to this?

It’s something I’m learning more about as the days go on, there is almost no end to the nuances involved, yet it’s certainly fun learning about them and WHY things work the way they do.

Such a nerd, 😂

Ross

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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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