Tag Archives: mobility

Mobility Master

Being able to move unimpeded and pain free is something a lot of people want.

All it would take is one quick google search and you’d find all the information you need to put a plan together, alas many of us are too lazy for that, thus we will just let our body slowly stiffen and lose its ability to move well.

When I’m away teaching there are a few key drills I will put in to warm ups to see how well people move, it’s also easy to spot just by looking at people who that is.

Total body coordination is something we’d really do well not to lose.

It’s it quite surprising how many people will watch the other people in the groups I teach that move what I’d consider ‘normally’ and are like “OMG, wow, that’s amazing.”.

Ummm not it’s not, that’s something we everyone should ideally be abel to do, so in truth the people that can more are not amazing, you’re just really really broken in a moment sense.

Don’ts get me wrong, I’m not talking about people moving like Ido Portal from day one.

More along the lines of having basic coordination skills and not making yourself look like your 80 because of how crap your movement skill is.

These are the three main movement I will get people doing (they give me all the knowledge I need).

1 – Inch worms (a lunge step to upper thoracic rotation is also added in)
2 – Spiderman/Lizard Crawls – ideally hey get their chest as low to the floor as possible
3 – Duck Walks & Sit Through

If the facility has one then I’d also like to see a rope climb as well, beginner level is using feet, I’m ideally after people to climb and descend using arms only.

The reason for these is simple, the first tests mobility/flexibility/stability.

The second looks at mobility, stability and strength.

The third is mobility, balance and movement coordination.

If we have a rope then that tests strength because I’ve found that while some people more well they are very weak.

When time is short and I need one simple test to assess everything in one go it will be the TGU (turkish get up), I will proceed to see how heavy they can go with the gold standard being 1/2 their bodyweight per hand, if someone can do that then good things happen.

Give the above a try, you can hope on YouTube and find them all easily if you’re not sure what they are.

You’ll also find adding these to your assessment methods will highly who need what and in what dose.

Try them yourself because while you don’t need to be perfect at everything you do, you need to be competent in demonstrating it well, otherwise you may look a tad foolish.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Upgrade your 3G to 4G

We’re not talking about phones here.

If you happen to still have 3g then you might be due an update, just like me.

There are the 3G’s of fitness that if you put some focus on training will change everything.

Strength will increase with ease.

Plus you’ll also be privy to some much appreciated endurance/cardio vascular benefit and perhaps even some fat loss too 🤗

Here are the three things you need to work on more:

– Grip
– Glutes
– Guts (cores)

In doing so you’ll upgrade and attain the 4th G:

– Gains

There are a whole host of movements you can do to train the above, let us look at their impact and on what tier they’d be.

I won’t list them all, just the good ones.

Tier 1 – All 3G hit

– Any Deadlift variation (no straps)
– Loaded Carries
– Climbing/Pull Ups (if done correctly)
– Snatches
– Heavy Presses (most variations)
– Kettlebell Swings (most variations)

Tier 2 – Hit 2 out of the 3G’s

– Heavy Barbell Curls (yes, you read that right)
– Rowing variations
– Isometrics (planks etc)
– Squatting variations
– Sled Pushing/Pulling
– Plyo work (jumping, throwing etc)

Tiet 3 – Hit 1 out of the 3G’s

– Any specific isolated movement for Grip, Glutes, Gut

Sorting you’re movements in to a 3 tier system will allow you to pick and choose those that offer the most bang for their buck and also program support/isolation work where needed in a logical way.

If you are looking to put together a training session here is how it may look:

A1 – Tier 1 movement
B1 – Tier 2 movement
B2 – Tier 2 movement
C1 – Tier 3 movement

With exercises added for 3 days training:

Day 1 –
A1 – DL: Snatch Grip-Clean Grip-Mix Grip: 2-4x 2-2-2
B1 – Barbell Row 4-6×4-6
B2 – Barbell Curl 4-6x-4-6
C1 – *Roman Chair Leg Raise 8x 2-4

Day 2 –
A1 – Awkward Object Clean & Press x1 + Carry x400m
B1 – Incline Press 7×3-5
B2 – Sled Push 7×20-40m
C1 – CoC Gripped 3-5 sets of 10-30sec hold per hand

Day 3 –
A1 – Trap Bar DL 8×2-3
B1 – Sled Push 7×20-40m
B2 – Sled Pull 7×20-40m
C1 – Front Squat 6×2-4

*If you do a hanging leg raise you can find that move up a couple of tiers due to the increased difficulty.

By hitting movements that place a heavy demand on one or all three of these areas you’ll find you start to gain in strength, CV, LBM and generally spice up your training as well.

Enjoy,
Ross

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3 way to optimise your mobility without taking out extra time in your day.

Did you know it’s common for people to make excuses?
 
A common one is – “I just don’t have the time.”
 
I’m here to tell you that is not quite true.
 
In fact it’s down right wrong for most people.
 
There will of course be a few exceptions, just because there always has to be that unique snowflake.
 
Given how important mobility is, we should really be doing some form of it every day.
 
Now this isn’t yoga, or anything like that before some people freak.
 
You won’t lose gains improving your mobility.
 
Did you know mobility by definition is being able to retain torque through a full range of movement.
 
Essentially you are able to stay just the right amount of tense as you move, thus preventing any mishaps and also maximise potential progress.
 
It is far to say that ideally everyone should set aside 30min every day to do a mobility/flow routine.
 
Some will even make it a new goal or resolution.
 
Alas all the best intentions of this world often fall short in their performance.
 
To many they will say they don’t have 30min.
 
Oh they do, which we will learn how to get shortly.
 
If I was to even ask for 5min a day people’s moan that’s too much of a time constraint.
 
🤦‍♀️
 
It’s truly a shame people will not even try to find time for something that can literally ensure they are mostly pain free as they go through life.
 
Never mind eh.
 
Okay, so here are the three ways you can find time for mobility.
 
1 – Utilisation of rest periods in regular training.
 
This is my first port of call for most people.
 
Instead of sitting on Facebook, taking selfies for the Gram or playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush or whatever mobile app game is all the rage these days, you do correctives & mobility.
 
Boom, time you can dedicate to a good cause.
 
2 – Drills & Skills while you watch TV.
 
To be fair this can be done in-betwwen various tasks you do at home, I will do some drills/movements while I’m cooking or waiting for something to be flipping or stirring.
 
As for TV time, instead of sitting on your arse you can pick a pose or a movement and do some reps.
 
Yet another place you have time.
 
3 – Before you go to bed.
 
Let’s be honest, most people go to bed way too late, then sit on their phone checking things before trying to get to sleep.
 
I say try because many get in to bed and proceed to stare at the ceiling while staving off crippling despair.
 
That’s a topic for another day though.
 
Going to bend 5min earlier or shutting down your electronic kit 15min sooner than normal can open up a nice window of time you can use for some restorative work.
 
Bonus affect = this style of movement (restorative, gentle mobility) has a positive effect on your para-sympathetic nervous system, provided you practice diaphragmatic breathing.
 
Stimulating this side of the CNS will help you drift off in to a nice peaceful sleep.
 
Seriously, it works.
 
So there you have it 3 ways you can find time.
 
Oh and if you’re going to make an excuse as to why these options above just won’t work for you, fair enough, just don’t grumble when things start going south in regards to your health.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Reps for days

It isn’t uncommon for people to ask – “What sets/reps should I be doing?”

While perhaps not that exactly, it will be something along those lines, as such I’ve found that cycling them based on a classic Heavy-Light-Medium rotation applied to a Pull-Push-Legs split.

One element to remember is that Heavy doesn’t mean hard and light doesn’t mean easy, however that is a topic for another day, for now I will give you something you can apply immediately.

Rep/Set Schemes:

  • Heavy  – 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2 (heavy yet not hard)
  • Light – 20-15-10-20-15-10 (light yet not easy)
  • Medium – 5-8×1 + 1×20 – ramp to heavy single for the day, then take 60-70% of that and do one set of 20 reps

Split Options: 4 day split examples

  • Pull-Push-Legs-Off-Repeat
  • Lower-Upper-Posterior-Off-Repeat
  • Strength-Conditioning-Mobility(restorative)-Off-Repeat

^^ 2-4 lifts per day is often sufficient, 1 main with the rep/set scheme, the rest can be 2-3×10-15 or 4×6, your choice.

If we take the PPL and apply the rep schemes over a small cycle.

No change in lifts, only reps.

Day 1 – Pull – Heavy
Day 2 – Push – Light
Day 3 – Legs – Medium
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Pull – Light
Day 6 – Push – Medium
Day 7 – Legs – Heavy
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Pull – Medium
Day 10 – Push – Heavy
Day 11 – Legs – Light
Day 12 – Off

Many will then say – “What now?”

Once you’ve gone through this you’ll find you’re back at the heavy day being for pull, you can choose to keep the lifts the same and try to hit a higher load or you can perhaps change the lifts, pick your poison.

This allows for a constant rotation of days and keeps things interesting, if you are constrained be the working week and days you can train then you may need something a little different, in which case all you need do it ask for the answer.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The perfect training tool?

There are 5 main kettlebells to work with.
 
For anyone worth their salt that is.
 
A great tool that hits every aspect of your being, in every way imaginable.
 
The big 5 are as follows:
 
48kg = Beast
40kg = Bulldog
32kg = Badger
24kg = Fox
16kg = Rabbit
 
*The beast has always been called the beast, the others picked up names via the SFG/RKC/Kettlebell Communities and they’re awesome.
 
8kg jumps a truly mammoth task to achieve.
 
Such jumps require a good amount of time to achieve, this is where a lot of people lose their drive with kettlebells, the results are not fast or flashy and you need to be willing to invest years of your life in to them.
 
In the modern world patience is in short supply.
 
Which bells of the above can you handle?
 
Those are the standard milestones that many should aim to achieve in regards to kettlebell work.
 
If by the end of a long journey you can swing (single arm), snatch, press, pistol, chin & get up the Beast for multiple reps there is a good chance you’ll have a body that is built to last for a very long time.
 
We do have 4kg jumps in-between the lager bells, and these are useful, when it comes to kettlebells I wouldn’t recommend anyone goes up in less than 4kg.
 
If you just read that and are sat thinking 4kg is too much then you need to rethink your life because clearly being strong both physically and mentally are not high on your agenda, this needs to change.
 
There are no set in stone names for the middle bells, some have floated around, yet few have taken like the main 5 above.
 
12kg
20kg
28kg
36kg
44kg
 
What do you feel they could be called?
 
Leave your thoughts below.
In closing.
These simple pieces of kit are hard to beat in regards to the multiple elements of fitness they hit when using them, mobility, balance, tension, skill, power, and so much more, for the average person there would be little need for any other kit, well, perhaps a pull up bar (or chin/dip station to hang some gymnastic rings on), other than those additions, you’d be golden.
Of course you could add in ropes and other such bits of ‘functional’ training kit, however if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it is this.
Less done better trumps more done poorly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Weak Links

Three things you need for successful lifting & breaking plateaus.
 
– Stability
– Mobility
– Strength – A & B
 
Why is stability about mobility?
 
Simply because if you’re not stable your body will naturally inhibit the ROM you can achieve because it is unable to fire its neural pathways in the required sequence.
 
Mobility is before strength due to the fact that to lift heavy things pain free and reduce injury you need good/optimal mobility.
 
If you ensure you have stability/mobility then your strength will progress. When you start to find yourself stalling take a look at the first two because the chances that one of them is now being compromised to try and accommodate a heavier load is high, meaning you might need to sort them first.
 
What is meant by Strength A & Strength B?
 
A – Overall strength to perform the movement while keeping optimal/correct form/alignments.
 
B – You have a weak link in your muscular/kinetic chain that needs individual/specific focus (such as spinal erectors in the front squat, triceps in the over head press, etc).
 
Take a look at all of your lifts, if they stall go back and from upwards from stability until you find the weak link. If you do this you will find you break lifting plateaus and also better understand your own body.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Oly Oly Oly… Three White LIGHTS

Morning Guys,

In recent times the popularity of Olympic Weightlifting has come to the forefront, propelled their by the likes of CrossFit and the Russian man mountain known as Klokov and other such greats have helped inspire lots of young people to start to venture down the route of the Quick Lifts as they were once known.

Weightlifting has been called many things, but the one I feel that describes it best is ‘Gymnastics with a bar in your hands” why that dictation? Because you have to be explosive, powerful, strong and most importantly mobile to achieve decent form in both lifts.

One of the nice things about weightlifting is that you have two major lift to specialise in (okay, technically 3 as it’s a Clean and Jerk, but they are done once after the other making them only one lift in competition). This give you, in my opinion, one of the simplest plans to stick with – Improve those two lifts or as I would rather say: Chase Performance.

By specialising in only two lifts this means all of your assistance work and training will be centred around improving their performance and building a balanced physique that is, for lack of a better word, ‘functional’ because you need to be pretty dynamic to be good at both of the Olympic Lifts.

You will often find a program designed around these lifts will be very simple and specifically tailored to improve your performance and ironing out any weak areas in those lifts.

If you fancy giving these a try I would suggest you find yourself a decent Coach or Weightlifting club, trust me, being self taught in these lifts will not get you to the places you want to go, but a coach or a club will. While a program involving the lifts wouldn’t make much sense for you right now there is plenty you can do to help you start to strengthen the areas you need, here is a nice basic example for your consideration.

Based on 2 days on 1 day off template.

Day 1 – Pushing –

W/U – Mobility and 3-5 sets of FS as needed
A1 – Front Squat 6 sets of 6 – working up to a 6RM (don’t start too heavy)
A2 – Vertical Jump x3-5 (reset after each jump and jump as high as possible)
B1 – Overhead Squat 3×12 (Use light weight and groove the movement)
C1 – Push Press 6×6 – working up to a 6RM (don’t start too heavy)
C2 – Wide Grip Behind Neck Press x8 (very light weights)
D1 – Dips Weighted or Unweighted 3-5x max reps
Day 2 – Pulling
W/U Mobility and 3-5 sets of Snatch Grip Overhand Deadlift (No straps)
A1 – Snatch Grip Deadlift 5×5 (Use 8RM, build up to 10×5 over progressive weeks)
B1 – Overhand Deadlift With Shrug 4×6
B2 – Jumping Shrug With Dumbbels x8-12 (don’t go nuts, perform a slight bend int he knees and the a light jump followed by a shrug – aim to get your shoulders by your ears)
C1 – Barbell Bent Over Row 4×8-12
C2 – Reverse Fly x12
D1 – Medial Grip Pull Up 3-5x Max Reps
Feel free to add in some ab roll outs, planks, hanging leg raises if you so wish.
This simple program will help you start to find a groove for the early steps of learning the Olympic Lifts, you may even find one day this program looks a lot like the assistance work you might be doing.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Mobility, it’s not just the name of a scooter.

Today it’s time to talk about technique, or more importantly your ability to preform correct technique.

There are lots of compound exercises that require certain amounts skill, but that’s not really in question that often because the average gym goer forgets one crucial element,  most compound exercises also require adequate mobility to be preformed correctly.

Before I move on let us establish what mobility actually is.

Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a limb through the full range of motion with control, people often get mobility and flexibility confused.

Mobility is based on voluntary movement (squatting to full depth for example) while flexibility involves static holds (touching your toes) and is often dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility demands strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive and not strength-dependent.

It is possible to have good mobility without being especially flexible, after all, someone who is able to perform a full overhead squat won’t necessarily be able to do the splits. Just as someone who is flexible can have poor mobility, i.e., control. Of the two, mobility is more important. It is better to be inflexible with good mobility than flexible with poor mobility.

Mobility isn’t just required for lifting weights though. having good mobility will also improve your quality of life too. In an ideal world you would wake up every morning and perform a mobility routine to help prepare your body for the trials of the day. it doesn’t have to take long, 5-10min is more than sufficient and you can do it while your breakfast is cooking.

Here is a sample routine that you can do at home and before your workouts each and everyday.

  • Rocking Ankle Mobilization (walking on the inner/outer portion of your foot for 20 meters per side)
  • Quadruped Crawl (bear crawl) 20 meter
  • Squat with chest expansion and arm swings
  • Squat hold with shoulder dislocation (sit in a deep squat and hold a towel in both hands and try to take it fro the front of your body over your head and touch your lower back)
  • Spidermans  (also called a low lateral lunge from side to side)
  • Reverse Lunge

Bonus: Static Stretching

*Hip Flexor Stretch (rear foot elevated on sofa or chair, push hips forwards)

* Door Frame Chest Stretch (have your elbows at shoulder height and lean through an open doorway)

There are lots of mobility routines available on YouTube and other such websites, the one above is a simple suggestion, i would do some research and find one that works for you and takes less than 10min to do each day.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Drop it Like a Squat

Afternoon Guys,

It’s no secret that squats are an essential part of life, in fact they are so important they’re one of the first things you learn how to do as a child but as we age the years of sedentary life cause us to lose our movement pattern, resulting in poor or no squats as we age.

This is saddening.

There are several ways in which you can get back your lost squatting talent, all it takes is a couple of simple drills done int he AM/PM and you’ll be good to go, no weight is required for the drills, only yourself, a wall and a box.

Drill 1 – Box Squat – AM

Find yourself a box that is around 1foot tall (or at least under your knee joint level). Take a comfortable stance and descend to the box , initiating the movement by gently pushing your hips back and opening your hips until you rest not he box. Once down stay tight and pause for 1-2seconds then drive straight back up and repeat.

12-20 reps for 1-3 sets daily will help you start to groove your movement again.

Drill 2 – Deep Squat Sit – PM

This is a common practice in several countries around the world and you can do it in front of your favourite soap or box set. Take a hip width stance and squat all the way down (Hold your hands out in front for balance, or hold on to something for the first few attempts.), aim to stay there for 5min initially and try to build up to 10. Feel free to shuffle your feet around to find a comfortable position that allows you to open your hips and keep your upper thoracic extended – your upper back.

If you practice these two drills you will find not only your squat will improve but also your mobility in moving around generally.

Enjoy
Ross

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