Tag Archives: knowledge

Is your training right?

Does the training you enjoy conflict the goal you desire?
 
Well?
 
It’s a simple question and very easy to answer, let me explain by using myself as the example.
 
My goal is strength, with some extra size because everyone wants to look as strong as they are :).
 
Does the training I undergo match this goal?
 
For the strength neurological elements, yes.
 
For the mass gaining, no.
 
Simple.
 
I find that cycling through periodised blocks of training is something I have been terrible at doing in recent years because personally the bodybuilding style of training bores me to tears, however there is only so strong I can get being the size I am, such a conundrum.
 
It is easy to fall in to the trap of doing what we enjoy and while there is not really anything wrong with that, it doesn’t always mean that we will get the results we desire and unless we’re willing to make the changes necessary to our training and perhaps even our nutrition, we’ll just have to settle with what we’ve got.
 
Be nice if there was another answer, there isn’t.
 
If you want a specific outcome you need to take a specific course of action.
 
As not to leave you without anything to test out in the gym I’m going to write out a nice simple routine that will indeed give you the mental stimulation of lifting heavy with the muscle building capacity of reps, you can also use this for fat loss too.
 
Rep/Sets:
 
– 5 singles to a heavy weight for the day
– Back off to 60-80% of that weight
– Do either 5×5 or 1×20
– For strength do workouts 1 & 2 ideally twice per week, if you only have three days to train it would go 1-2-1, 2-1-2 and then repeat.
– For fat loss do workouts 1 & 2 on say Monday/Friday and add in workout 3 on Wednesday, for example.
 
 
Workout 1:
 
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Press (overhead, dip or bench)
C1 – Chin Up
 
Workout 2:
 
A1 – Squat
B1 – Press (overhead, dip or bench)
C1 – Row
 
Workout 3:
 
A1 – Bodyweight bear hug carry 100-400m
B1 – Farmers Walk 100-400m
C1 – Sprints 5-10×60 second sprints
 
It’s simple, effective, quite fun and will give you results, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal (mass gain = calorie surplus, fat loss = calorie deficit).
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Warning…. Incoming R-A-M-P

This is considered by some to be the most optimal way of getting ready for you chosen activity.
 
You might have heard of this term in it’s non acronym form.
 
-Raise
-Activate
-Mobilise
-Potentiate
 
Today we shall break down what each of these elements means and how you can apply the to your workouts for better lifting and more gains.
 
Okay, Raise.
 
Might seem obvious, it’s getting your pulse up and your blood flowing. It can be from a movement pattern or some other means, dealers choice.
 
Activate, a buzzword or late however it does not mean what people think it means.
 
What it doesn’t mean is doing umpteen isolation or banded exercises to fire each individual muscle, it means performing the movements you will be doing in your workout. First with perhaps bodyweight, then added resistance which is increased as you do more warm up sets.
 
Mobilise, this falls in with the movements you’re going to be doing and can also have crossover from your mobility pattern you did at the start to help get your blood flowing and raise your pulse.
 
Lastly we have Potential which is directly linked with the adding of resistance to your movements in your warm up sets which causes increased muscle fibre/motor unit recruitment, this will help you lift heaver weights.
 
Your warm up might look like this.
 
Mobility routine to raise pulse and mobilise.
 
Warm Up sets on lift to activate/potential muscle.
 
Squats:
 
– Warm Up Set 1 – Bar x10 – feels fine
– Warm Up Set 2 – 40kg x5 – left hip feeling stiff – foam roll 20 sec
-Warm Up Set 3 – 60kg x5 – feels fine
– Warm Up Set 4 – 80kg x3 – left glute doesn’t feel like it’s firing – band around ankle for 15-25x abduction on left leg
– Warm Up Set 5 – 100kg x3 – feels fine
– Warm Up Set 6 – 120kg x1 – feel fine
– Warm Up Set 7 – 140kg x1 – feels fine – last warm up set
– Working Sets 5x5x125kg
– Working Set 1/5 – felt fine
 
And so on.
 
Give it a go and you’ll find your workouts are more productive and also far more time efficient. After all, it’s better to spend 10-15min doing this and being able to get in to your working sets than it is to follow a 30min instgram activation routine before even stepping foot near a bar.
 
If you would like a nice technical read then please take a look at this link:
 
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Level Up

What level of training are you currently at?
 
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
 
Or more importantly, which one do you see your self falling in to because there are a lot who try to take on routines that are above their capability to sustain and recover from.
 
We’ve all been guilty of trying to punch above out weight at some point and while it can be sustained for a brief period it’s never too long before the wheels fall off the wagon and things start to go wrong.
 
Here are some common mistakes encountered:
 
– A large increase in volume
– Higher levels of intensity
– More frequency
– Inappropriate specificity
– Variable training density progression
 
The thought process of the many is that ‘more is better’ when in fact it’s just more, better is better and that usually means progression and individual specificity.
 
When it comes to establishing what level of training you’re actually at that is where things get a little tricky because it will depend on what you’re training for.
 
Most of the time it’s said that anyone who’s trained less than 2 years is a beginner, 3-5 is an intermediate and more than this is advanced, however I feel that is a very flawed approach because unless progression has been achieved in each year then you could get someone who has been ‘training’ for 10 years and still fall in to the realms of a beginner.
 
To determine where you sit you’ll want to look at these elements:
 
– Strength levels in compound movements
– VO2 Max
– Skills
– Progress achieved
 
You might be advanced in some, beginner in others, it happens. The ones you want to access unwell be those that are specifically suited to helping you achieve your goal.
 
Let’s take bodybuilding as the example and see what makes and advanced practitioner.
 
Have you achieved the following:
 
– A notable increase in lean body mass (20+ lbs from starting)
– Visible abs and residual muscle definition all year round
– Aesthetic change to your body
– High level of muscular control (feeling each of the muscles working when training them)
– Optimally proportioned symmetry, no chicken legs.
– Basically you look jacked an tan
 
If you’ve got all of those then the chances are you’re someone who would be considered advanced, at the very least a high level intermediate.
 
The style of training that would come along with this may fall in to the realms of high volume, moderate intensity with a body training split for higher frequency. Then you’d have the nutrition which would allow full recovery and progress.
 
If a beginner tried to jump on this they’d fail to make progress simply because it would be to much for their underdeveloped body to take on.
 
Make sense?
 
Take a look at your training and honestly assess your ability because you might be doing a routine that is simply too advanced for you and that’s why you’re struggling to make progress.
 
I say this because I’ve been there, don’t make that same mistake.
 
Earn your stripes, have a coach who will help you level up and don’t be in a rush to become advanced just to please your ego.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Take my strong hand!

Are you uneven?
 
While the pursuit of strength is the most important element of many good training programs there is a lot to be said for being aesthetically balanced.
 
Apart from looking symmetrical you’ll also be more protected from injury.
 
Typically you’ll find people have one strong and one weak side (often the hand the write with gets more development), this can lead to overall muscle imbalance which starts to take you down the winding road towards of poor posture.
 
It’s not uncommon to hear this little gem:
 
“I can do 10 reps with this weight on this arm but only 5 on my other one.”
 
Now since common sense has long since vanished from our world you’ll find people laugh at this and continue to work the stronger side harder than the weaker one because their idiots.
 
A nice tip I give people in response to this statement is this:
 
“Start with your weaker arm and max out the reps, them match it on your stronger one.”
 
This is often followed by confusion as they say ‘but I can do more on that arm.”, due inevitable face palm.
 
Aside from matching reps on both sides it’s also a good idea to use unilateral movements to even up muscle/strength imbalances.
 
Here are some examples:
 
– Dumbbell Pressing
– Dumbbell Rowing
– Lunges
– Single Leg Deadlifts
– Single Arm Pulldowns
 
You get the idea.
 
While it is true you won’t replace compound movements (bilateral) in terms of getting the most out of your workouts, it can be useful to add in periods where you focus on some unilateral movements as accessory work to help even out those lagging areas.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 

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The Importance of Sport & Staying Strong

You need to read this post because it’s full of useful info you’ll not know if you don’t.
 
Direct?
 
Yes, however highly relevant to making progress.
 
“Chase performance, not fatigue.”
 
A saying to live by, especially in these modern days where training for aesthetic is number 1.
 
While training to look good isn’t a bad thing, it’s by no means a useful one. I know plenty of people who look great but can’t do the following:
 
– Run a mile without stopping
– Pick up and put their bodyweight over head
– Squat correctly
– Have any form of athleticism
 
The list goes on but we shall stop there.
 
If you’re content with looking good but having no phial prowess then more power to you, if however you want to look as strong as you are then keep reading to learn two secrets.
 
Still reading?
 
Great, here is your reward.
 
Secret 1 –
 
Play a sport.
 
Yep, it’s that simple and you’ll find it also adds some enjoyment to your training int he gym because you’ll start to have a focus towards developing aspects of performance such as speed, strength and stability to improve your new hobby.
 
A sport will also provide you with a new social circle of likeminded people who want to better themselves, you’ll also make new friends and more importantly, new rivals to keep you on your toes.
 
Being the best is boring, always chase someone better and you’ll stay hungry for progress.
 
Secret 2 –
 
Train for strength because it’s the base of the pyramid and without strength you’ll struggle to do anything else.
 
The classic 5×5 is still popular for the simple reason of it makes people strong and it’s so simple to do. You also find that 8×3 is popular among people who train for strength, as is hitting 20 rep squat sets.
 
As a human you want to be as strong as you need. Might sounds silly but plenty of people are too weak these days and struggle to do even basic daily lifting tasks on their own, simply due to our modern life and being lazy.
 
This goes for ladies and gentlemen, both should be strong because strength is for everyone.
 
You can take this information and do wit hit what you will, apply it and start to make progress or ignore it and stay as you are, either are fine it’s your life, I just want you to have the best one possible.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Stop blaming others for YOUR shortcomings.

We live in a world where shifting the blame is common place, no one wants to take responsibility for anything, least of all their own health.
 
“Fast food companies & sugary drinks are to blame.”
 
“Saturated fats are to blame.”
 
“Carbs are to blame.”
 
No, you’re to blame.
 
Not companies, not individual foods, not work stress, no your kids, YOU.
 
The problem is you and your choices.
 
If we look at things logically we can discern why people crave certain foods from a deficiencies standpoint, we can even see the seeking of sugary to increase serotonin levels and other such things, however the way we deal with our needs is down to no one but ourselves.
 
People are gluttonous, greedy and selfish when it comes to doing what they want and when the guilt sets in they find excuses rather than dealing with any potential negative mental associates/coping mechanisms they’ve created.
 
It needs to stop.
 
The great many need to understand that when all is said and done the buck stops with them. They hold all the control of their own choices, no one can really force them to make one, not really.
 
Look at nutrition, it’s all on you.
 
Reflection is something everyone should practice because taking the time to sit and look back over ourselves and our choices can provide clarity, if we let it, or we could bury our heads in the sand, your choice.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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2 Reasons the average gym goer doesn’t need to isolate the front deltoid

It’s common place to see people doing front raises in the gym, even though for them it’s essentially a pointless exercise.

I’m not saying it’s a bad exercise, far from it, some top lifters need it as an assistance movement for what ever specific reason, however the average gym goer who has a program heavily biased towards pressing and anterior chain movements DOES NOT need to be doing front raises.

Before we go on let us have a look at some of the exercises that recruit the front deltoid.

  • Presses (pretty much all of them)
  • Bear crawls
  • Planks
  • Sled pushing

The main function of the anterior deltoid is shoulder flexion — lifting your arm up and to the front of your body. So any movement that involves this hits it, make a note.

That’s the first reason you don’t need to isolate this muscle.

The second is because daily life is heavily anterior chain dominant, here is a short list of daily living movements that cause a short/tight/over worked front delt and also high pecs too.

  • Sitting at a desk
  • Eating
  • Driving
  • Playing computer games
  • Putting things on shelves

You get the idea. Life is heavily biased towards overworking what are known as ‘tonic muscles’ of the body and rarely have you stimulating the phasic ones (posterior chain).

For the average person Id recommend having some form of reverse fly in every session and perhaps a lateral raise movement in each pressing session, I can’t remember the exact studies, I apologise, however on average the lateral delt has 2/3 the development of the front and the rear was barely scraping 1/3 of the front delts growth.

You’d also do well to chuck in face pulls, bat wings (isometric holds) and resistance band pull apart drills in your daily life (say 50 pull-aparts per hour and 60 seconds bat wing).

This simple information will help you balance the entire shoulder, it will also help improve your posture and look 100% better, no one likes a round shouldered look, its weak and prone to injury.

Enjoy,

Ross

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3 Easy to apply methods to increase your strength TODAY!

Making changes in body composition is a goal for many people, yet when it comes to doing that you need to increase your base levels of strength.
 
Being stronger allows you to accumulate more total volume, which means more potential for muscle growth.
 
If you have hit a plateau, here are three easy to apply methods to help you boost strength.
 
1 – Dead Starts
 
Stating a press or a squat from the bottom position (a power rack or suit stand pins will be needed) eliminates the eccentric loading/stretch reflex meaning it’s pure neural output and force production, this is a great way to help strength.
 
Pick one movement and focus on this for 2-3 weeks, then change to another movement or a different variation of the lift, this can be quiet draining on the nervous system.
 
Perform said lift 3x per week start off with 8×2 and add a rep until you hit 8×3, use 80%+ of 1RM, rest as much as you need but as little as possible.
 
2 – Pause Reps
 
An old classic but one that is super effective.
 
If you’re pressing or squatting, simply get to the lowers point in the lift and pause there for a minimum of 2-3 seconds (4 is the point where most people lose all potential energy stored by the eccentric portion of the lift), build up to longer pauses over time.
 
So say week 1: 3 seconds, week 2: 4 seconds, week 3: 5 seconds etc.
 
You can also pause pulling movements, the main difference being you pause at the top of the lift (contraction peak), I believe it was Phil Learney who said if you can’t hold at the top for 3 seconds then the weight is too heavy and your back is too weak – other top coaches have said similar and I have to agree wholeheartedly with this statement. Leave your ego & your momentum at the door in pulling movements.
 
If you choose to pause deadlifts stop in either the concentric or eccentric, both are very effective at building strength – aim to pause at your common ‘sticking point’ as that’s where you’re power output is at it’s weakest.
 
2-3 week blocks advised, one lift focus per block.
 
3 – Partial Reps
 
Eek, gasp!
 
Yep, partial reps are a great tool for increasing strength, provided you have the equipment necessary to perform them with good form.
 
Say you have a sticking point, you’d simply set up the bar at the post just before it and just after it and press or squat through that small ROM to build your strength/force output in that area.
 
This could also be done in stages across the entire full ROM of a lift, might look like this:
 
A1 – Press lock out 3×3-5
B1 – 1/2 rep to 3/4 rep and hold (pressing in to the pins on each last rep as hard as possible 3×3-5
C1 – 1/4 rep to 1/2 rep press hold as above 3×3-5
D1 – Bottom of rep to 1/4 rep press hold as above 3×3-5
E1 – Full rep 3×3-5
 
Easy on paper, brutal in practice, but 100% effective in getting stronger.
 
2-4 week block advised, one lift focus per block.
 
Bonus – Cheat Rep & Eccentric Overload
 
A classic cheat rep such as a push press, or cheat curl for example. This allows you to get the lift up to the end ROM and then slowly lower the weight using eccentric training.
 
There you have it, some simple methods you can add to your training to increase your strength today.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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You’re allow to be unmotivated

How often do you feel unmotivated to train?
 
Every now and again or is it something of a regular occurrence that rears it’s head all too often?
 
It’s okay you know, to feel unmotivated and not want to train.
 
It’s not uncommon for people to get bogged down when it comes to training because progress is often very slow and worst of all is hardly noticeable until a large amount has been accumulated over time.
 
Surely you’ve seen those people who suddenly make a massive amount of progress seemingly over night, frustrating, isn’t it.
 
Well let’s make something clear, their progress hasn’t happened over night, it’s happened over many many nights and days and through various choices they’ve made for the better, all so they can get one step closer to achieving a goal and making more progress.
 
A lot of people are quick to bitch and moan that everyone else has it easier than they do, when the reality is that the ones who make and have made progress usually put in more time, effort and investment than their jealous counterparts.
 
We all wish that making a change came quickly however it doesn’t, not anything meaningful anyway.
 
Here is a simple example of a way to make progress lifting:
 
Start off with a compound lift at 8x2x80% 1RM, workout 2 times per week per week, add 1 rep each session until you’re doing 8×3, then add a small amount of weight, 1-2kg and repeat.
 
Sound laborious?
 
It is, but do you know what else it is?
 
Effective.
 
Over time you’d find your strength would increase, as would you total muscle mass, yet it would happen at such gradual pace people would discount it.
 
The same is true for nutrition, if you start by eating a little less, your weight will will start to slowly decline, eventually you’d need another calorie drop and once again your weight would slowly go down – a combination of lifting weights and cardio work great with a calorie deficit for changing who your body looks. Who knew right?
 
In the end you’ll find most people lose motivation at some point or another, however the difference between the ones who succeed and those who don’t is clear.
 
Those who succeed do what they need to do whether they feel like it or not.
 
Are you one of those people or not?
 
No one else can get your results for you, it’s 100% on you.
 
Time to choose.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How nutrition is a lot like moving house.

A simple analogy for nutrition that will change the way you think.
 
If you’re driving to a certain destination for let’s say a permanent house move, you know, moving from a 2 bed semi to a 3 bed detached, how do you get there?
 
Easy, by planning a route and continuing to drive towards said destination.
 
If you stop, you don’t get any closer to it.
 
If you turn around and go back to your previous one (the 3 bed semi) you have gone backwards to where you were before in stead of going to your new home (3 bed detached), obviously, which seems silly, doesn’t it.
 
Now apply that to nutrition.
 
You pick a goal.
You move towards your goal by making small sustainable lifestyle.
If you stop making the changes you stop processing.
If you go back to old habits you end up back where you started.
 
^^ How is this hard for people to understand?
 
If you want lasting results you need to make a lasting change.
 
Much like moving home, you don’t upgrade a house and then go back to living in your old one, you change, yet it seems many people think nutrition is an exception to this rule. They make a change, get results and then expect to keep that change by eating as they used to (excessively).
 
Madness.
 
Give the analogy some thought.
 
Do you want to move forwards or stay where you are, because once you go forwards there are then only three options after that.
 
1 – Keep moving forwards, on to a 4 bed (optimal)
2 – Stay where you are because you’re happy, in your 3 bed
3 – Go backwards, returning to your 2 bed semi
 
Your choice.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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