Tag Archives: minimalistic training

One Tool, Multiple Results

Rack-less Progress.
 
You’ve probably read posts on here before about making progress without the need for anything more than one piece of kit.
 
Today we shall circle back around to the classic barbell & plates without the use of a rack.
 
(Could be fixed barbells as well)
 
In the modern world of programming sessions there are some people that have finally started to come around, or back to, the idea of movements first, muscles second.
 
The reason being that you’ll find by prioritising movement you cover essentially all of your muscles.
 
Some isolation/specific accessory work is cool, however for the majority of people it shouldn’t be their entire program.
 
As for the barbell, we shall be looking at the movement options and then put together ideas so that you can do more with less.
 
I reckon 2-5 for each section should be enough to get you started.
 
Okay, here we go.
 
Movement/Full Body:
 
– Clean & Jerk (or press/push press)
– Snatch
– Bent Press
– TGU (Turkish Get Up)
– Roll Out (kneeling or standing)
 
Loaded Carry:
 
– Zercher
– Farmers Walk (single arm)
– Waiters Walk
– Drag Curl Carry
– Spartan Carry
 
Hinge:
 
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
 
Squat:
 
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
 
Pull:
 
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
 
Push:
 
– Press (multiple variation, flat, overhead, floor, reverse, etc)
– Tricep Extension (multiple variation, overhead, flat, etc)
 
As you can see there is a lot of choice, and this is without even going into barbell complexes either.
 
This is an example three day training week using the movement premise above.
 
To make this a challenge worth your time you may only use 10-20kg plates when loading the bar or progressing.
 
Yep, no small plates, this will mean you put more emphasis on how to progress/plan things going forwards.
(You can of course change this based on your goal/needs, it’s not gospel, merely a suggestion)
 
Day 1 –
A1 – Snatch – 7×2-3
B1 – Floor Press – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Drag Curl Carry – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 2 –
A1 – Clean & Jerk – 7×2-3
B1 – Supinated Bent Over Row – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Waiters Walk – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 3 –
A1 – TGU x5-10 reps per side
B1 – Bent Press x5-10 reps per side
C1 – Hack Squat 5×20
 
Once you hit the rep goals (7×2-3 = 21 total reps top end), either choose to add load or change the exercise for that movement.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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***Why training 2-3 days per week is actually better for you than 5-6***

Across the years of ramblings you’ll find many a message on here.
 
Some align and fit together nicely while others contradict each other.
 
Each post is often written based on its own context, however in fitness you will find that most of the time things don’t really line up, unless you loos specifically for things to make it happen.
 
Take the above, training 5-6 days per week is 100% the best option for some people, especially competitive types or those with specific goals.
 
In fact, hitting up to say 15 sessions or more per week is the way for some, just not all.
 
Would it be great if everyone could train multiple times per day?
 
Yes, if you look at all the information, both imperial and anecdotal, you will find that training for around 45min per session (that is time spent in the working zone, that doesn’t include warm up/cool down) done multiple times per day is literally the best way to train.
 
There is only not problem, it’s not viable for 99% of the people.
 
Okay, maybe 98%.
 
You see while the above is great on paper it doesn’t take in to account that little thing called ‘life’ for most average people.
 
Yes you are an average person, just like me.
 
As such you don’t need to total 800+ training sessions in a year, you just don’t, I mean come on people, yo’ve got to live as fulfilling life that has more than just training in it (unless you’re a super athlete and paid to do a sport/train, in which case you do your job).
 
This is where you find training 2-3 days per week helps.
 
It seems like it’s not enough.
 
Trust me I understand that agonising pang.
 
At one stage in my life even saying those words would freak the shit out of me and I could swear that I’d just instantly gained 3% body fat from uttering such heresy.
 
Obviously that didn’t happen, however it was quite the large clue that the ‘healthy mindset’ of fitness has become poisoned and in fact my addictive personality had taken over.
 
You see my end there is a tendency to replace one addiction with another, that’s a story for a different day though.
 
So what can training 2-3 days per week do for you?
 
Well….
 
– More freedom to have a life & pursue other pleasures
– Require logical training (no fluff, just productivity)
– Ample recovery
– Higher adherence as getting 2-3 days in out of 7 is easy
– Reduced stress
– Progress (due to actually recovering – SAID, GAS, etc)
– Time, you get more time and that is a precious thing
 
With the points about they are all pretty self explanatory.
 
The big three though are having less Stress due to not needing to live in the gym, if you only train twice that’s cool, whereas having set rota of 6sessions and when miss one you freak out it just doesn’t make for progress.
 
Also training less days means that you are more productive and can really give it a good effort and then actually recover enough from said session to legitimately progress your next session. Very hard to do if you train all the time.
 
Lastly is the fact you’ve just got more time.
 
This means you can give more attention to life, perhaps even tidying up your nutrition or just generally being more chilled because training is there to enhance your life not take it over.
 
Now I can’t just let you go without a little something.
 
This is not body body building, it will be for overall strength and conditioning, if you would like a specific example let me know in the comments below.
 
Here is a small template for training 2-3 days per week.
 
Day 1 – Posterior Chain Focus
Day 2 – Full Body Focus
Day 3 – Performance Focus (optional)
 
Some training ideas:
 
Day 1 – Posterior Chain Focus
A1 – Deadlift (any variation): 5-25 total reps
B1 – Pull Up: 50-100 total reps
C1 – Odd Object Clean & Press: 10-100 total reps
 
Day 2 – Full Body Focus
A1 – Squat: 50-100 total reps
A2 – Dip: 50-100 total reps
B1 – Bent Over Row: 50-100 total reps
B2 – Press Overhead: 50-100 total reps
 
Day 3 – Performance Focus (optional)
A1 – Power Clean or Snatch: 5-25 total reps
B2 – Push Jerk: 5-25 total reps
B2 – Sprint: 30-60m
C1 – Loaded Carry (any position/variation): 10-20min
 
Give training less an honest effort, you’ll be amazed at the results you can get from doing less better.
 
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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All too easy.

Think about training movement patterns as opposed to muscles.

Not new by any means, just not popular anymore.

We’re very caught up in the minutia these days, married to one training style as it were.

There are hundreds of exercises for each movement patter.

  • Push-Pull-Squat-Hinge

You also have rotation, full body, locomotion (carries) crawling & climbing.

Pick a movement each day you train, just one and with one choose three exercises.

Example: Push

  • Push Press (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Bench Press (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Dip (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Pull

  • Muscle Snatch (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Pull Up (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Bicep Curl (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Squat

  • Front Squat (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Split Squat  (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Walking Lunge (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Hinge

  • Power Clean (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Kettlebell Swing (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

You see, putting training together isn’t hard, it’s even easier if your goal is GPP.

*GPP – General Physical Preparedness, or just to be fitter, stronger, leaner etc.

Train each movement every 5 days consistently and you’ll surpass 90% of gym members.

I like to keep things simple these days because I’ve learned over time it’s often better.

If we can’t progress with something simple then we’ve no right making it complex.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Another Arbitrary 5×5 Variation

No real science behind this, it’s just something that takes away all the guess work and allows some good old fashion guidance for those who need something to follow.

So, 5×5, in this variation it has 5 principle guidelines to follow.

  • 5 sets of 5 reps
  • 5min rest in-between each set
  • 5 days a week of lifting (your choice of days)
  • 5 lifts in total (one or two per day works well)
  • 5 x5 week blocks, take an easy week of 1×5 after the 5th week of each block

This is not fancy, nor suited to a bodybuilding goal. It is however good for people who want to bring up their base levels of strength and keep t things nice and simple.

Here is what a weeks worth of sessions might look like, meaning you will have a frequency of hitting each muscle group at least twice per week:

Day 1
W/U – Squats/Chins, 5 reps per set until working weight
A1 – Squat 5×5
A2 – Weighted Pull Up 5×5
C/D – Stretching and trigger point release work.

Day 2
W/U – Presses, 5 reps per set until working weight
A1 – Bench Press 5×5
C/D – Stretching and trigger point release work.

Day 3
W/U – Deadlift, 5 reps per set until working weight
A1 – Deadlift 5×5
C/D – Stretching and trigger point release work.

Day 4
W/U – Presses, 5 reps per set until working weight
A1 – Press 5×5
C/D – Stretching and trigger point release work.

Day 5
W/U – Squats/Chins, 5 reps per set until working weight
A1 – Squat 5×5
A2 – Weighted Pull Up 5×5
C/D – Stretching and trigger point release work.

You’d perform the above like this:

A1 – Rest 5min
A2 – Rest 5min
A1 – Rest 5min
A2 – Rest 5min
Until you’ve done all 5 sets of 5, or just rest 5min if you only have one movement, however on those days you may wish to do some postural work, gentle mobility drills and so on so that you maximise your time in the gym.

Why so much rest?

Well, you will want to apply sherrington’s law of irradiation (generation maximum tension throughout the body), along with the thought process of instead of an eccentric in terms of lowering the weight you are actively ‘pulling’ the weight back to the starting position.

Essentially with all the tension and focus on form your body and mind will need the 5min rest, or 10min if you’re utilising the A1-A2 suggestion.

As for progress you add weight when you can successfully hit all 5 sets of 5 with good form, once you milk a lift you can feel free to change it to another variation, just keep in mind the ones suggested above are just suggestions, so long as there is a Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull in the mix you’ll be fine, from a personal perspective I’d also say that having a full body lift such as a clean & jerk, along with a loaded carry such as a farmers walk are also nice to have in there.

I shall leave the movement choices in your capable hands

How majestically minimalistic, right?

If you just can’t follow the above and feel you need more, then the above isn’t for you as this is an exercise in fatiguing yourself, it’s one of patience and getting the most out of each training session.

Enjoy,
Ross

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How the early 1900’s can help you in 2018

Are you looking for a new year challenge?

It’s good for Strength, Fat Loss, Hypertrophy, Mental Toughness and much

I have a very simple one for you that you.

20 rep squats.

They’re glorious.

Say you’re training 3x a week, this would be perfect as you can have either 1,2 or 3 20 rep sessions, I’d probably go for 2 initially.

It might look like this:

Day 1 –

A1 – Squat – 1×20
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

Day 2 –

A1 – Hinge – 5-15 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

Day 3 –

A1 – Squat – 1×20
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

*Optional postural/remedial exercise if time is a plenty. Perhaps reverse flies, curls, tricep extensions, etc.

Simply marvellous 🤗

It also offers a great method of progression too.

You start at 50% of your current 1RM, so if that is say 120kg, you start at 60kg.

From the starting 50%, add 0.5-1kg every successful session.

When things start to get hard and say you only hit 13/20 reps, you keep the weight the same and focus on building those reps to a solid 20/20.

At this point you could drop the 20rep day to once per week and use one of the following set/rep protocols for the other squat day:

Rep/set protocol examples for the 25 rep goal:

– 5-3-2-5-3-2-5
– 5×5
– 5-5-3-3-2-2
– 3×8
– 8×3
– 5-4-3-2-1-10
– Ramp to heavy 3-5RM (alternate 3-4-5RM each time)

^^ You can imagine this goes a similar way for the 50 rep goal, so 5×10, 3×15 etc

Plenty of choice.

The seconds day also doesn’t need to be a back squat, it could be a front squat, a zecher squat, or any other variation, again this would be cycled, ideal spend 3-6 weeks on each variation before changing it, aiming to add a small amount of weight each session.

Personally I quite like changing the variation as it allows you to drop the overall intensity while keeping up the relative intensity, however that’s a chat for another day.

The same is true for the press/pull/hinge – you can stay with the same variation (bar, dumbbell, trap bar etc) for 3-6 weeks adding anywhere from as little as 0.5kg to as much as a whole 20kg plate each side, although the latter would mean you’re literally a god among mortals.

It might seem like 3 training session per week is not much, however if you follow this and apply the basic progressive overload as described above, you’ll find you can stay on this almost indefinitely.

If needed you could also do this program only twice per week, meaning you drop day 3. Very useful if you also have other goals, such as sports or martial arts.

I wish you all the gains for the new year.

Enjoy,
Ross

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