Tag Archives: performance

Humans are meant to be both

Mobility is underrated, until it’s gone that is.
Having a good amount of flexibility is one thing, however being mobile is something a little different.
In short, holding an extended or stretched ROM will come down to these two things primarily:
1 – How much residual muscle tension (tone) you have
2 – Your neurological ability to contract/relax as needed
The first part is the easiest to address, this is why you often find commonly that the people who are the most flexibly don’t really have too much in the way of ‘muscle tone’ to speak of.
While they will indeed have some, as muscles will hold some level of residual tension due to their ability to produce force it won’t be that much.
This links in with the second part, some people have amazing control over their bodies and are able to inhibit/disinhibit muscles at will to either deepen a stretch or perform some kind to interesting contrition feat despite being heavily muscled.
You see once you begin building strength and a large amount of LBM the stronger you get the more tension/force you’ll produce, meaning your muscles to some may appear ‘stiff’, which is kinda true, yet it’s also what give your that muscular look.
This is all a learned neurological state, one of constant or semi-constant tension I mean.
It’s where the term ‘relax into stretching’ comes from and why a focus on breath when you stretch is crucial as it will allow your bodies PNS/CNS to communicate and realise there is no danger of snapping, thus allowing flexibility to improve, which in tern helps improve mobility in the long run.
Because the body doesn’t feel unstable due to the muscles working in synergy with each other, this links back to the inhibition/disinhibition side of things.
Say you’ve got muscles acting as prime movers when they shouldn’t be, that will cause unnecessary tension elsewhere to support your body, usually causing excessive stiffness, lack of mobility/flexibility, not due to you not naturally possessing either, it’s more a case of you’ve learned how to move badly and compensate for it.
This is why having an adequate mobility & stretching supplement to your training is crucial.
Well, for most average people.
You’ll find the higher you progress up the ladder of a specific sport or endeavour there will invariably be some sacrifices you need to make.
For example; powerlifting.
If you truly with to have the heaviest SQ/BP/DL possible then you won’t be flexible due to the massive about of force you’ll be able to produce and tension needed to stabilise (plus the residual stuff too), however you will be flexible/mobile enough for your sport.
Now this have bene long winded yet it gives you some more context and thread to pull on.
Flexibility is holding extended positions/rom and to me shows a good command of being able to contract/relax muscles as needed to allow the stretch to occur to your own natural end ROM’s.
Mobility is being able to be fully stable and produce the desired force output required while moving through an entire ROM.
Two side of the same coin
The first is passive (for recovery), the second is active for performance).
You may not put much stock in the above, however I implore you to give it some investigation, you never know, you might just end up understanding why you ache in certain places or can’t heal a certain injury.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

***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?
– 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.

1 Comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

***Plateau Breaker Series***

We all hit a wall at times with progress.
Given I’ve been here several times I’m going to share with you some of the methods I used to overcome mine.
First up, shoulders.
More specifically, pressing overhead.
There is little else quite as impressive as putting a heavy weight over head.
Ideally you want to be able to press your own bodyweight with crispy clean form.
Many can’t because they’re just too weak.
Or too heavy, might be a combination of both, who knows.
The three go to methods in my arsenal are as follows:
Negatives – High MUR, allow overload of CNS, good fun
Partial Presses – Teaches high tension, helps with confidence to grind through sticking points, looks cool
Plyometrics – Improve RFD, improves CNS connections, makes great fodder for Instagram video
How do you apply these?
There are many ways, I will give you some easy to apply ones immediately.
Push press (or push jerk) a heavier load than you can strict press overhead.
Aim for 2-5 reps, each rep you will aim for 6-10seconds on the negative portion of the lift. If a rep negative is less than 6 second stop the set, if it happens on the next set you’re done for the day with these.
Sets, well starting off with 3-4 is good, aim to bulk to perhaps 6-8 total, rest as needed between sets.
Don’t just let it drop though, stay tense and almost aim to pull the weight back down.
Partial Presses:
You will need Pins for this of block son some description where you can place the bar on.
Simple set the bar at your sticking point and press away.
Given the reduced range of motion 4-8sets of 4-6reps work well for this, you may also be abel to utilise heavier loads than normal as well, just make sure you keep total body tension in each rep.
*You can also set partial ROM, you’d need two sets of pins for this, say giving you 4inches of movement, you press from a pin just below your sticking point to a pin just above your sticking point. You’d drive the bar in to the top pin AS HARD AS POSSIBLE, for as long as possible, then repeat until you hit momentary muscle failure, then rest 5min.
Personally I’ve found launching a medicine ball as high as possible in the air works well.
You’d so as many sets as possible while maintaining speed, reps would be 2-3 per set as the focus is on acceleration. Rest 1-3min.
If you’re more advanced you can look at handstand depth drops – look up the book ‘Plyometric Training, achieving explosive power in sport, Hatfield & Yessis’.
*Please note all of the above, unless stated, are to be done while leaving a couple of reps in the tank, strength is a skill and you should see the above as PRACTICE not a workout method, if you want to get strong.
There you have it.
Some simple methods for breaking a pressing plateau that can be performed in most gyms without the need for specialist kit.
Be sure to get in remedial work in the form of lateral raises, reverse flies, t3 raises and so on, these areas are often neglected and can be the cause of tension (strength/power) leakage, they will be covered in the future so keep your eyes open for that post.
Next time; Deadlifts.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

You Run Like Shit.

How well do you run?

Morning All,

After being in the industry for a fair while it’s become apparent that for some reason everyone assumes they can run correctly.

A foolish notion as many can’t.

Why do you think a lot of people who run have a bad knee, ankle, hip, lower back and so on. Poor movement equals poor overall body health, remember that.

It is a logical thought because we’re never really taught how to run, we just do it and have done since childhood, however just because we’ve always done something one way it doesn’t mean we are doing it the correct way.

Now before you worry and think I’m telling you to give up running, calm down, I’m not.

If running is something you enjoy then you must do it because it’s your right to, however you’d do well to actually learn how to run correctly, not only because it’s best practice, it will help reduce the risk of injury and improve longevity.

To run effectively you not only need good patterns, you also need a solid base of strength. Yep, lifting weights can help make you a faster and more effective runner, counter to many popular beliefs.

Personally I’m by no means an avid runner, it’s just too boring for me. As such here is a nice little resource to get you started –


If you want my best advice though it is this; hire a running coach (ideally one with a solid reputation).

Enjoy pounding the pavements,

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A little gem

While writing another post for somewhere else this morning my mind wandered to this little gem.


Give it a watch, listen to what is said and repeat this until you learn at least one thing.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

3 Quick ways to build grip strength.

A strong grip is one of the signs of not only a healthy body but also a healthy nervous system.
Performance is also improved by your grip strength too.
Here are some easy methods to use to build your grip strength.
1 – Towel Pull Ups
Chuck a towel over a bar and off you go. Aim for as many eps as possible.
2 – Fat Grip Deadlifts
You can either buy some fat gripz or wrap a towel around the bar to thicken it up and start lifting.
Sets of 3-5 until you lose speed is optimal for this exercise.
3 – Farmers Walks
A classic that has stood the test of time. You can do this with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, plates, anything you can hold on to.
Simply hold the weight and walk until you can’t go any more, put said object down, rest then walk it back.
Do that 2-3 times a week and watch your grip strength soar.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

40+ Lifting

The ravages of time effect us all, it’s something none of us can deny.

Eventually the days of working all the hours under the sun followed by a hard night of partying and then getting up at the crack of dawn and crushing a workout can only last so long.

In the end the body says “Nope, just no.”

So why does this happen?

Let’s look at what we know:

– Hormonal profiles are less optimal
– Your ability to recover declines as you age
– Sleep becomes paramount
– Tolerance to alcohol, highly processed foods declines
– You can actually train harder as you age due to better and more mature/developed neurological connections that create more in-road each session (plus you might have made strength gains from your early days, hopefully)
– Basically you’re no spring chicken anymore

Some people think raging is a bad thing, it’s not, it’s simply a process of life however if you plan your training correctly you can make plenty of progress in your later years, and for some people even make the best progress they’ve ever made.

Personally I’ve had clients who go on to outdo themselves ten-fold from their youth because as an adult they possess the following quality that only come with time:

– Wisdom
– Patience
– Accountability
– Common sense

A typical younger version of yourself might train 5-6 days per week and hit a combination of weights/cardio, not a bad thing, however from experience the attitude of most is that of this “I’m maintaining what I’ve got.” whereas as you age the attitude becomes “I’m looking to become stronger and improve what I have to prevent further decline.” – obviously note true for everyone, just most people.

As youths we truly are ignorant and take what we have for granted. If we had known that the foundations we lay in the early years will serve use to help keep our youth for longer more people would put in a conscious effort to train for strength/progress rather than just aesthetics and maintaining what we have.

^^ Always train for strength, performance and progress, that’s the bottom line. If you do aesthetics will come regardless of age.

Below is a winning formula I have used for people over the age of 40 who have become more invested mentally in their training.

– Train 2-4 times per week (more isn’t necessary)
– Focus on strengthening your posterior chain
– Focus on stretching your anterior chain
– 2-6 movements per session is great
– Conditioning is important (use 1 session to hit CV 80%+ HRR)
– Lower reps with more sets trumps all
– Average intensity will be around 80% 1RM
– 2-3 weeks of hard training followed by 1 week easy is king
– Take 4 total rest weeks of a year (12 week mesocycles)
– Food is fuel, eat mostly whole foods
– Enjoy life, if you want to eat loose do it, just don’t go nuts to often

If you’re new to lifting I advise you hire a coach to help you with the below. Kettlebells are a great tool, however they require practice so leave your ego at the door, focus on longevity.


You’ll improve strength/conditioning/mobility/flexibility with kettlebells, they’re the perfect tool as we find ourselves hitting the later years. If you have never used them I suggest hiring a coach to help teach you their ways.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Wicked Warm Ups

2 Ways to warm up for optimal performance.
You are all well educated people, I am sure you have a good warm up in place, however is it the most optimal one for getting the most out of each session?
Today you will learn two methods that will allow you to get everything you can out of each weight lifting session. One is a started and the other is on going, enjoy.
*Start off with a typical 5min mobility/pulse raiser.
1 – The Over Warm-Up Method 
Simple, effective and it also helps you improve your movement patters.
Here is how it looks, based on working sets of say 100kgx6
Set 1 – Bar x5-10 (to dust off the cobwebs)
Set 2 – 40kg x5
Set 3 – 60kg x2-3
Set 4 – 80kg x2-3
Set 5 – 90kg x2
Set 6 – 100kg x2
Set 7 – 110kg x2
Set 8 – 120kg x1
Set 9 – 125kg x1
You can go higher if required, but typically you will use 8-10 sets to warm up starting off with a couple of 5’s to get the juices flowing, then 2-3’s for movement pattern grooving and finally singles for neurological facilitation so that your working weight feel like a feather, for the first few sets anyway.
The neurological activation lasts for around 5-10min directly after the last warm up set and then will continue to have a positive effect in the subsequent sets so you have plenty of benefit. You might even be able to get more reps than you have planned with this method because of the extra neural activation you get warming up this way.
2 – Neural Charge
As with the first method this plays to activate your nervous system so that you will be firing the most amount of muscle fibres possible right from the get go, rather than the standard way of making your body recruit more over time through mechanical fatigue – which there is nothing wrong with, however why not get everything going asap, eh? 🙂
Due to its unique explosive loading methods in pre-activation movements before the main lifts, Neural Charge Training impacts all levels of neuromuscular function, such as neurotransmitter uptake, excitation-contraction coupling, and motor-unit recruitment. This happens due to the fact you are using a POWER based exercise first, for example: Box Jump before Squatting or Bound Jumps before Deadlifts.
When you perform an explosive power based movement you force the body to recruit the deeper type two muscle fibres, then you rest 3-5min tops (you won’t lose the NC effect, as explained above with the over warm up method, it lasts around 5-10min tops). When you get under the bar you will find the focus on generating as much speed as possible in the concentric portion of the lift is greatly accentuated.
The increased MU Recruitment will allow more weight to be lifted, just be very carful not to use too much volume. You will do this before each lift, you will do well to limit sets/reps to 3-5 for each. A workout may look like this:
*Neural Charge – NC. RM – Repetition Max
NC – Overhead Vertical Med Ball Press – Aim for max heigh each throw 3-5 reps – rest 3-5min.
A1 – Overhead Press 3-5×3-5xRequired RM loading – Rest 3min
NC – Squat Jump 30% 1RM, quarter or full squat, land in athletic position (quarter squat for visual reference) – rest 3-5min
A1 – Squat 3-5×3-5xRequired RM loading – Rest 3min
^^ It is worth limiting the amount of exercises per workout with this method to 1-3 as it will become very demanding on the nervous system. Remember this is a performance technique, not a fatigue one.
Try each and see what works best for you.
Be warned, you may break through plateaus with these methods. They are not to be sued if you enjoy being in the comfort zone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Repeated Information

Morning Guys,
The age old question of ‘how long should you spend in the gym?’ has been highly debated over the years, with the majority of strength coaches and authorities stating that 45min is about the optimal time to be training as natural testosterone levels will peak around 20-22min and be highly diminished by 45-50min. While there will be some individual difference most of the writings on this end up with the majority of people end up finding the optimal training time in relation to natural testosterone levels sits around 45-60min.
What about those who train 2 or more hours?
For most who train for an excessively long time they are simply spinning their wheels and creating an unnecessary amount of fatigue that they will struggle to recover from, however there might be some genetic marvels who can sustain this level of work capacity naturally, more often than not though people who workout for this amount of time and make progress (size, strength gains) usually have some form of help.
There has been a lot of talk that if a person can train multiple times per day and have 30min – 3 hours rest between sessions (depending not he type of session) they would yield the most results, this would be due to increased protein syntheses and a higher total volume being achieved.
When it comes to increasing volume you can add sets or reps, this will take your workout time up, possibly conflicting with the ideal workout time of 45-60min (45min hard work, 15 min mobility/warm down), this is indeed a conundrum but the answer is simple, plus it’s already mentioned above – more frequent workouts.
Training multiple times per day is not something everyone can do, but if you have the option to do 2x45min sessions you will find you start to make faster progress and can amass more total volume, however there will come a point when you look at your life and need to make a choice. If you want to keep improving in your sport or the gym you will need to dedicate more time to training, much like Weightlifters (they train 30-45min then rest and repeat for 8-10 hours per day). If however you simply want to look good and enjoy the gym while making progress you’ll do best to increase your work capacity (doing more in the same amount of time), the easiest way to do this is as follows:
1 – Increasing Reps – turning fives in to eights and eights in to twelves before adding weight.
2 – Increasing Sets – adding one, two or three more sets for example.
3 – Increasing Weight – simple adding more weight when you can.
1A/2A – Decreasing Rest Periods – Increasing sets is good but that can lead to a massive increase in your time in the gym, if you add a set decrease your rest period to compensate.
You will see options 1 and 2 are pretty simple but they will need to be regulated with option 1&2A to help keep your training time in the gym down.
in short increasing your workout frequency to increase your total volume is the best route to the beat the leprechaun to the pot of gold, but for those without the luxury of being able to train multiple times per day, increasing your workout capacity each session (doing more in the same amount of time or less) is the way to go for you, just be sure to manage your fatigue and track each workouts RPE accordingly, this will help you auto-regulate and stop yourself from digging too deep a hole that you can’t recover from.
If you’re looking to delve in to this further you can read The Science & Practice of Strength Training, Body By Science and also anything by Dr Fred Hatfield as those books will help you further understand these principles if you want to increase your knowledge base. Not to mention they’re written by people far smarter and more articulate than me.
You will find there is nothing new when it comes to fitness, for the most part. There is a lot of info that hasn’t changed over the years and is simply proven as being more or less effective by scientists. You will see that what worked or what was mostly relevant years ago is still relevant today, for the most part.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health