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Your Personal Fountain of Youth

The fountain of eternal youth really does exist.
 
It just might not be what you think it is though.
 
Many picture it as some grand structure with overflowing waters that are of the purest quality.
 
Some see it as something small, humble and little more than a tiny water flow in something akin to a birds drinking fountain.
 
Both are admirable visions, however here is what it really looks like –
 
Your Posterior chain 🍑
 
Yep, all the muscles that cover the back of your body (the ones you can’t see standing head on in the mirror).
 
A strong posterior chain is responsible for solid structure, stability, strength power and it trained well will often covet this phrase for both ladies & gents:
 
“Look at that ass” 🤤🤤🤤
 
If you take a look at anyone in their more senior years you’ll notice that have poor posture, struggle to move quickly and pretty much everything is sagging.
 
Let’s be honest for a second and admit that no one wants this to happen to themselves.
 
It’s not shallow to value your physique, your overall health and want to retain a youthful stature well in to your 70’s.
 
Well maybe you do think it’s shallow however that’s your choice.
 
Personally I’d rather keep as much muscle (especially in my posterior chain) as I can for as long as possible, not only because of aesthetic reasons, for health and longevity reasons too.
 
Ask yourself, why does it change from:
 
“They fell over.” to “They had a fall.”
 
If you are weak and old then a fall can literally mean death for you, perhaps not from the fall itself, rather from your inability to recover because you’re just too weak.
 
This is where as strong posterior chain will help.
 
Think about all the muscles in the back of your body.
 
Lats, spinal erectors, QL, glutes, hamstrings, calves, triceps, traps, rear delts and just how having them be as strong as possible will mean good things for you.
 
There are plenty of movements you can use to train the PC.
 
My top ones for you are as follows:
 
– Loaded Carries (variations)
– Clean & Presses
– Swings
– Snatch (variations)
– Sprinting
– Rowing
– Climbing
– Rows, Face Pulls, etc
– Levers
– Pull Ups (variations)
– Deadlifts (variations)
– Squats because they’re awesome
 
The list could go on, however what you’ll find is that most of the best posterior chain movements also hit many other elements/parts of the body as well.
 
You’d do well to have a bias towards this in your training.
 
Think along these lines and you’ll never go far wrong, that is if you have no ultra specific goal that you’re training for; if you do then train for that and just accept there will be a price to pay for it.
 
Set up your training sessions like this:
 
1 x anterior chain movement
2-4 x posterior chain movements
 
Done.
 
Doing 2-3 times the amount of work on your posterior chain will serve you well you might have a session like this:
 
A1 – Weighted Dip 6×8-10 x10RM
A2 – Rope Climb x 10-20M
 
B1 – Deadlift 6-4-2-6-4-2-6-4-2
 
C1 – Farmers Walks 10x20m
C2 – Bodyweight Skull Crusher*
 
*yes triceps are posterior chain and a BW-SC will force total body tension and engage your lats massively if done well.
 
There you have it my good people of the world.
 
Your fountain of youth.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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A little something arbitrary for y’all

GPP vs SPP.

General physical preparedness.

Special/Specific physical preparedness.

Some will ask which is better and the answer will always be; it depends.

If you have a solid goal then SPP will rule the roost and GPP will fall in line to help bolster the goal.

Yet say your goal is a loose one, you merely want to be a half decent allrounder, then in that case you ca pick and choose when you use SPP and have the majority of your training in the GPP area.

Do remember though that it often means you will never excel at anything and in fact more than likely not even end up as mediocre in the majority of things because of too much choice.

All this being said, here is something those of you that don’t really have a goal and just want to train can utilise in your training.

I call it the 50%-100%-200% Method.

You will use the above percentages in reference to your body weight on the movements you’re going to do.

So that could mean bodyweight barbell curls and double bodyweight press overhead as a superset if you’re some sort of genetic beast lobster (50% curl and 100% press will do for most).

Sets and reps can be up to you because the options for that are endless.

Take this example 3 day template for starters:

Day 1:

W/U – Clean & Press w/sandbag x50% x AMRAP x 15min
A1 – DL x 200% x6x4
B1 – Bench Press x100% x3 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 2:
W/U – Farmers Walk x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – SQ x 200% x8x3
B1 – Bent Over Row 100% x4-5 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 3:
W/U – Sled Push/Pull x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – Press x 100% x12x2
B1 – Pull Up x 50% x 8×3
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

The above if with mostly standard gym kit, however doing the above with awkward objects can be a great way to build ‘old time strength’ along with an epic amount of conditioning.

Often times we get some of our best results when we limit our choices because we have no other option than to put in some hard graft that has a defined purpose.

Try the simple loading strategy above and see how you get on.

Personally I’d lean towards working on volume/density as the main drivers, so getting out max reps (with good form) in specific time frames or more reps in the same time.

You might have heard this called EDT (escalating density training), Charles Staley is the man to look up for article on this.

Enjoy,
Ross

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In the wise words of Porky Pig

That’s all folks.

2018 is over.

2019, it awaits you.

Will this year be any different from those of previous?

Perhaps, there is no inherent need for that to be the case, however it is often the done thing.

You know, self improvement and all that good stuff.

Thinking back over my goals there have been a fair few that have been accomplished and their memories stored away safely.

Some of the changes lead to a long lasting impact, others were just because it gave something different to do for a while, this is what defines the importance of a goal.

We can easily work towards the ones that are nice, however the ones that are necessary, those are a bit tricker to tackle.

You might call those the long term goals.

Simply because they can’t be accomplished in just one year, as such perhaps focusing on a portion of ‘that’ goal would be rather sensible and over time you can add up the parts and finally put the entire goal together.

So far I’ve achieved all of this ones I had, that is those that didn’t require waiting on the singer of others or certain elements of the career based environment, those are sadly subject to things outside of my complete control, thus they will take a tad more patience.

Have you given any real thought to what you desire this year?

I have two main ones this year.

The first is something nice and simple, doing higher rep sets in my typical training as such I’ve made a pact with myself to do no less than sets of 10 if it can be helped (rest pause work, extended sets, drop sets etc are of course obvious exceptions which will total higher reps).

Nice easy to achieve and measure.

My second goal, I want to create something that people who are venturing in to the industry of fitness will find valuable, not for profit or anything so grandiose, more just to hopefully help at least one person out there.

Of course this wouldn’t be anything unique as there are already hundreds of these sorts of things out there and from some very good people too, however that doesn’t deter me from wanting to give something back to this industry which has been good to me.

As such I have a question for you who are just starting in the industry, what do you want to know?

Leave your thoughts below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Becoming a Bear

The Russian Bear!
 
A simple yet sinister protocol.
 
Doing it you will achieve the following:
 
– Strength
– Lean mass gain (nutrition provided)
– Mental fortitude
– Movement skill (good form providing)
– A lesson in humility
 
This was something I found many years ago while reading the book Power to the People – Pavel Tsatsouline.
 
His protocol recommendation is picking two lifts to focus on and doing 2 sets of 5 (*1x5x100%, 1x5x90%),5 days per week, the workouts take 25-35min tops.
 
*It is suggested that you start off at 80% of your 5RM and add weight in a linear fashion, there’s no sense in going too hard too soon. Build up over time.
 
It’s a strength focused work ethic.
 
I’ve run it several times over the years and do more than two moves, putting in squats, chins and so on. I found 5 lifts was about right for me when done 5 days per week.
 
Over that time I also found that aiming for 10 total working reps was good as well. This allowed for my bodies natural ebb & flow.
 
Some days would be 2×5 as above, others would be 3×3, some 4-3-2-1 or 5-3-2, it added some variety.
 
However all in the name of maintaining and/or increasing strength while I trained for other things (combative sports).
 
If your goal is pure strength, give that a go, however if you want or need to add some serious slabs of muscle and overall weight to your frame then the Russian Bear is for you.
 
Here’s how it works:
 
Pick two lifts – my recommendations are the Deadlift & Military Press.
 
Why?
 
They are both test of strength where you need to overcome the initial inertia to get the weight moving, not to mention you can pause each rep at the bottom of the lift for even more strength progress.
 
Once you pick your two lifts to focus on you do the following:
 
– 2×5: 1x5x100%, 1x5x90%
– As many set as possible of 5×80% of first set of 5.
– Aim to hit 15-25 total back off sets
– Rest 30-90 seconds per set
– Always have 1-2 reps in the tank, don;t go to absolute fail
– When form starts to go, stop
– Train 3x per week
 
The benefit of this style of protocol is in it’s massive amount of volume.
 
It seems easy on paper, don’t be fooled though.
 
Once you hit the top end back off sets (25), you could change the lifts or increase the weight – I recommend a deload or week off before starting it again though.
 
You might be tempted to do all 3 days per week using this protocol for both lifts, you can however it’s potentially not smart.
 
Here is my recommendation for it:
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
This will be more than enough for most people.
 
Should take between 45-90min to complete
 
Over time you can build up by adding weight and sticking with the above suggestion or start doing bear deadlifts 2xper week.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5 (PTTP style)
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Eventually working to all three days being volume ones.
 
^^ If you did that I’d be tempted to stick with the same loading, not gospel, just sensible. The first option is preferable as once you hit the max back off work you can increase the overall load.
 
Many will not like this due to it only having two lifts, adding in one extra accessory lift for some token reps isa acceptable, however it’s up to you.
 
Just something to consider.
 
Enjoy,
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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