Tag Archives: old school

5 Things you can learn from labourers.

Especially those of the past (before the endless red tape came in to play), you know the ones, they seem have that coveted ‘old man strength’ or ‘dad strength’ as some call it.
 
These are they type of people that have never visited a gym, ever, yet they are in reasonably good shape, which might be a bit better if they laid of the beer.
 
That said, they are often strong, stupidly strong, not to mention durable and just mentally tough too.
 
A far cry from he modern desk jockey of today.
 
We’d be silly not to pay homage to these people and their work ethic as we can learn a lot from them.
 
So, let’s see what little gems we can find amongst the dirt and rubble.
 
1 – Work capacity is important.
 
Take for example the necessity to shift a few tonnes of gravel or slate in the space of a day.
 
You’re not going to be able to do this without having the following: Strength Endurance, General CV Endurance, Mental Fortitude.
 
Not to mention shifting it isn’t an option, it’s a must, that helps too.
 
2 – The muscle in the back of your body are important.
 
Look at anyone who works in a physical capacity and you will find that most of them usually have a decent set of muscle through their posterior chain.
 
This is due to a lot of loaded carries, full/partial deadlifts, holding things close to their chest and pulling things towards them and/or putting them on their shoulders (like a rope, buckets, barrels etc).
 
Without a strong back they wouldn’t be much good on site.
There were also many times where something would need to be picked up from the floor and put overhead too, without the use of equipment, all day long as well. Talk about a full body workout.
 
3 – They do what they HAVE to, no pissing or whinging.
 
Well, some whinge however they still crack on in the end, after a tea break or 5.
 
Do what is needed, simple.
 
4 – Cast iron grip strength.
 
Have you ever shook the hand of a mechanic or someone who constantly works with their hands?
 
God damn… It’s like a vice.
 
Once the have hold of something that’s pretty much it, they’re not letting go unless they have too.
 
Have you ever shifted tonnes of dirt in a wheel barrow all day?
 
(It’s essentially a day of partial deadlifts and farmers walks)
 
It’s grudging and apart form a strong back, traps, glutes and legs you need some major grip strength/endurance because without it you’ll fall behind and find yourself out of work.
 
5 – Repeatedly lifting Sub-Maximal loads build muscle.
 
You see some labourers that are giants, other not so much.
 
So why is this?
 
What is the difference between the two?
 
Some would say genetics, and they’re not entirely wrong, however knowing a great many people in this field I can tell you the MAIN difference is the sheer amount of FOOD they consume.
 
Those that eat like little mice, become lean, strong and robust, where are those that eat like elephants become sizeable, strong and look physically quite dominant.
 
This is all caused by a combination of the repeated bout effect (lifting sub max loads often) and of course calories consumed.
 
So there you have it.
 
People in the past were just stronger due to the physical nature of their lives – true for both men & women.
 
Keep that in mind.
 
5 things you can learn from labourers and hopefully apply.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

What’s old is new again

The Purposeful Primitive:

From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:

Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change

by Marty Gallagher

Have you ever read it?

You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.

Success requires heart.

Morning All,

If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.

Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.

Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.

This is understandable, however not too wise.

We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.

I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.

As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.

They hold not only training principles and methodologies.

Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.

Heart.

They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.

Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.

Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.

In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).

Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?

I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.

This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.

We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.

If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.

Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –

Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.

Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.

He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.

From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.

The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.

In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.

The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.

If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:

The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher

Super Strength – Alan Calvert

Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson

There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:

http://superstrengthtraining.com

What’s old is new again.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

How Odd.

Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?

You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?

if not here are some links to get you started:

http://www.oddlifts.com

https://www.onnit.com/…/how-to-become-a-strongman-the-5-b-…/

Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.

– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.

1 – The bottom up kettlebell press

This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:

– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego

https://breakingmuscle.com/…/bottoms-up-kettlebell-presses-…

2 – There Renegade Row

Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:

– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHN0SGa-68Q

3 – Zecher Lifts

What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.

You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link

The benefits:

– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living

https://www.t-nation.com/training/complete-guide-to-zerchers

Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.

If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:

– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)

*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM

For example:

Day 1:
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press

Day 2:
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row

Day 3:
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift

How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

All Bar One

Keeping things simple is always appealing, especially when it gets results too.
 
If you look back on this page you’ll find workouts using only Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Bodyweight and more, however there is little in the way of Barbell exclusive workouts, keeping this in mind that is what we shall look at today.
 
How can you use only a barbell (plus weight plates, obviously), to achieve a great workout and even make a ton of progress?
 
When I say just a bar, I mean just a bar. Not squat rack, squat pins nothing, just a bar and plates.
 
Easy, you have a few options:
 
– Complexes
– A1/A2 Jump Sets
– One Lift a Day
 
Let’s break down each with some examples for you.
 
Complexes –
 
A barbell complex is like any other, it’s a series of movements performed back-to-back with a set number of reps for each movement before moving on to the next.
 
You can have a little as 3 exercises or as many as 8, possibly more if you’re a sadist.
 
A nice one to try is as follows:
 
RDL, Power Clean, Press, FS, Row – 5-10 reps for each.
 
This can be done with progressively heavier weights to a top set, it can be done at the same weight for as many rounds as possible for time, the options are endless. A great method for stripping fat, improving cardio and slapping on some lean muscle.
 
Next up,
 
A1/A2 Jump Sets –
 
The classic pairing of two exercises is always good for helping shift some heavy poundages when performed in this way, this option is great if being big and strong is the goal.
 
It might look like this:
 
A1 – Deficit Snatch Grip DL – Rest 60 seconds
A2 – Floor Press – Rest 120 seconds
Repeat this sequence until desired sets/reps are hit, this could be 8×3, 5×5, 10×5
 
Depending on how many days per week you have to train you can alternate floor press with standing press and the deadlift with cleans etc.
 
Lastly we have the ever forgotten method known as…
 
One Lift a Day –
 
I’m sure you might be able to work this one out based on the name, it’s quite a good hint after all.
 
All you need do it pick one lift, just one and rep out for a solid 45min (this includes warm up as you can start off with some mobility then the bar and add weight to potentate until ready for working sets).
 
With this option you can either go for a high volume day, a high intensity day, a light pump day, the choices are yours depending on what you feel needs the most attention.
 
Here is an example of how you might structure a week:
 
1 – Snatch Grip Deadlift
2 – Press
3 – Row
4 – Off
5 – Clean
6 – Floor Press
7 – Off
 
Don’t forget old school exercises such was the bent press, side press, 2 hand any-how and other classics.
 
You can use any lift you choose of the the 45min block, this can even be skull crushers or curls if you fancy something like that. Its also worth noting that 45min is a guide, you could go for 30min or less if that’s all you have.
 
Each of the options above are easy on paper yet brutally hard when put in to practice, however that hard work will transfer in to progress and results, provided you give 100% and stick at it for longer than a week.
 
As a recommendation, wave the loading between Heavy-Light-Medium so that you can give you body some time to dissipate any accumulated fatigue. Go heavy as often as you can but don’t be afraid to have some easier workouts too.
 
Now the next time you find yourself in a pinch with only one a bar and some plates you’ll have some options.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health