Tag Archives: power

“Box Jump” – an abused exercise

“I have a 50 inch box jump” 
 
This is my face when someone claims this – 🤔🤔🤔🤔
 
Now while it is entirely possible, it’s not probable.
 
What most people have is a 50 inch tuck jump.
 
To have a legitimate box jump of that heigh yo’d be looking at a 40+ standing vertical jump, and that shits almost as rare as helpful retail staff at TK-Max.
 
It is easy to get movements confused.
 
I get it, the box jumps we see on the gram look impressive, they draw in the likes, however if you know what a good form box jump looks like you’ll know the difference.
 
We mistakenly think that the higher we stack the boxes the better it will be for us.
 
So very wrong.
 
Like terrible, really.
 
There are a lot of articles form well respected athletic coaches that are not he same page, I will google one and pick the first without reading it because I’m that confident if I search –
 
Real vs Fake Box Jump
 
I will get one.
 
 
Do you have box jumps in your training?
 
If so you might want to dig in to the form, just for the lol’s if nothing else.
 
I will leave you with two points to remember.
 
1 – Your hips want to stay above your knees when you take off and land, that is correct form, video yourself and check.
 
If your knee/hip angle chances dramatically from takeoff to landing on the box then I’m sorry, that’s not a box jump, it’s a tuck jump on to a box.
 
(I’m not really sorry).
 
2 – They are a power exercise (high velocity) and best served in sets of reps where you accelerate maximally, once speed goes you stop.
 
While you can use them for cardio you probably shouldn’t.
 
Bonus Point – Step down off the box, don’t jump down, unless you want increased risk of injury, then by all means fill your boots.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The need for speed

Power, what is it?
 
UNLIMITED!
 
If you get that reference pat yourself on the back.
 
In regards to training it’s the ability to apply your strength quickly.
 
You can have people that are monstrously strong, yet not very powerful.
 
Much the same way you can have people that might not have epic amounts of strength and yet are very powerful in regards to performing specific tasks.
 
Power based movements or training isn’t for everyone.
 
This is because people lose the ability.
 
They don’t practice it enough because like strength, it’s a skill.
 
As we age this diminishes dramatically and at an alarming rate if it isn’t practiced regularly.
 
I’ve known people in their 30’s that while strong have no ability to accelerate, this is quite worrying.
 
To better understand this you will need to look in to the Force-Velocity Curve.
 
There are plenty of books and courses on the topic, so I won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation.
 
 
A simple way to remember it is this –
 
High force = Heavy lift done slow (because it’s heavy)
High velocity = Lighter lift done fast
 
Power = The heaviest loads you can most at the fastest speeds effectively.
 
Simples.
 
In programming certain clients training I like to follow this little set up.
 
– Flow
– Fast
– Slow
 
This translates in to some form of movement complex to get the body primed, hence the term flow.
 
Second is the power elements of training. These can eb bodyweight movements, classic lifts, odd objects or some sort of sporting necessity/skill.
 
Finally it’s time for lift a tad heavier which will slow the pace of the lifts down, not too much so that it’d detrimental, just more a case of classic strength work to add some lean mass.
 
*Personally I would still advice people to lift concentrically as fast (powerfully) as possible with the loads they are using, CAT style ala Dr Squat as this will force more motor unit recruitment, meaning more overall gains in the end.
 
Using the above how would you put that in to a session?
 
Here is an example:
 
Flow – Mobility Complex
Fast – Kettlebell Snatches, Kettlebell Jerks
Slow – Deadlift, Presses, Pull Ups, Postural Work
 
Then perhaps some classic stretching to finish up, or plan in a couple of stretching based days or perhaps do yoga once or twice a week.
 
Power style training is great fun, and very rewarding.
 
Reps classically are less then 5, while not set in stone it’s a good starting point.
 
When looking at this kind of method you want to move each rep as fast as possible wile maintaining good form, if you start to slow or form goes you stop and rest.
 
Loading is up for discussion depending on the goal.
 
You could use anywhere from 30-80% of 1RM for power work.
 
Sets, it ends up being fairly high 6-8 is common for 4-5 reps, 8+ more so when doing 3’s and below.
 
Rest periods can clock in up to 5min, perhaps more, or just as soon as you feel ready to go again, go by feel on this one.
 
Splitting your training days in to Pull-Push-Legs, or Lower-Upper, maybe Anterior-Posterior all work, as does full body, my best advice is to find one that you enjoy as that will become more sustainable in the early stages.
 
Try the Flow-Fast-Slow approach, you’ll find it quite enjoyable.
 
I will even give you three sample days to get you going.
 
Leg Day –
 
Fast – Box Jump 2-3 reps, 8-12 sets, rest as needed
Slow – Front Squat & RDL, 4-6 reps, 4-6 sets, rest 2min
 
Push Day –
 
Fast – Push Press 2-4 reps, 8-10 sets, rest as needed
Slow – Ring Dip & Ring Chin, 5reps, 7sets, rest 2min
 
Pull Day –
 
Fast – Power Clean 2 reps, 12 sets, rest as needed
Slow – Bent Over Row & Farmers Walk, 8-6-4-8-6-4reps (20m on farmers walk each set), rest 2min
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Is that weight too heavy for you?

A solid question, however the answer is not always the easiest thing to ascertain.

The other day I saw a cracking little video that displayed some new tech available on an app to measure bar speed.

I know right, it’s pretty cool.

Back in the day you could only track this with some elaborate contraption or a rather costly tend unit, now though we have a whole host of tool available for the cost of a mere tuppence, yay for technology.

All you need do is type in ‘Bar speed tracking app’ on the google’s and boom, endless options.

So, bar speed.

Do you know what it should be?

Based on the collective data (mostly from weightlifters) you want to me moving the bar at 0.8m/s to achieve optimal rates of force development.

*m/s=meters per second

Depending on what info you read and the context that comes with it you may see the bar speed range being 0.6-0.8m/s, however you’d do far better to aim for 0.8m/s.

Hitting this every rep would mean a high level of motor unit recruitment, a decent amount of muscle fibres hit (1,2 a/b etc), you can also find a lot of this linked in with the older work of Dr Squat (Dr Fred Hatfield, a great mind and damn strong lifter).

Tracking you bar speed and trying to keep in the 0.6-0.8m/s will yield some rather positive results because it means the loads are optimal.

How can this help you understand/track your strength?

As you get stronger you may find that in a set of say 6 reps at the start it looks like this:

1- 0.8m/s
2- 0.8m/s
3- 0.8m/s
4- 0.72m/s
5- 0.68m/s
6- 0.65m/s

That shows the loads was just about right, if the reps had dropped below the 0.6m/s, while you could have ground out the reps you’d be actively making yourself slower.

Louis Simmons of WSBB compares it to, Tow Truck VS Ferrari, one is slow and constant,the other is powerful, worth digging in to.

Back to the point.

If you get stronger over time the above set of 6 may end up looking like this:

1- 0.9m/s
2- 0.87m/s
3- 0.85m/s
4- 0.82m/s
5- 0.8m/s
6- 0.78m/s

Give the higher velocity overall adding some load to the bar would be useful.

How much load?

For arbitrary purposes I’d say one that takes off about 10% of your bar speed, so if it topped out at 0.9m/s about, then that would take the average down to about 0.8m/s again, you get the idea.

*Of course the opposite to the above is also relevant, if you can’t maintain bar speed then you should lower the load by around 10%, just as a starting point.

We have all these lovely tools at our disposal.

First things first though, know how to use them because once you do you’ll find your programming knowledge shoots through the roof.

There you go, a basic breakdown.

This is a massive topic and one that is well worth your time delving in to.

Any questions, pop them down below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A glimpse of Power

“I need more power…..” – Vergil

Me too man, me too.

Most people use that word, yet it does not mean what they think it means.

Some thing power is strength, and while they’re not entirely wrong, it’s not what they think.

How can you best describe power with one question, well if I had to it would be with this one:

Do you ever train to get faster?

I should more specifically say to improve your overall power output in each of your main lifts or sporting endeavours.

To the majority this will be a resounding no, sadly.

While there are many ways to build some good old fashioned power, before we can delve in to that we must first understand what it actually is.

First you need to understand Force.

Force = Mass x Acceleration

In simple terms, it’s the maximum energy you can transition into an object or max force/torque (rotational force) that a muscle can create.

Think of a max deadlift, you need a lot of force to lift it.

Next up you have Work.

Work = Force x Distance

Basically, it’s how much energy is effectively being used to move something.

If linked in with a max DL it is high force, high work time as it’s a slow lift.

Knowing these leads us to the much sought in sport, Power.

Power = Work/ time

Power is the rate of energy consumed in a unit of time.

Essentially transitioning force into something practical really quickly, like a barbell snatch for example, high force at a high velocity (as much as can be produced in as short a time as possible). Unlike the max deadlift (high force, slow speed).

You will often hear of people claiming to perhaps do power based movements, yet they are done rather slowly, or slow by power standards anyway.

Typically power movements in lifting related tasks move on average more than 1 (or more)Meters per second.

Depending on what it is you’re doing this will change and you’ll need to investigate the norms required for your sport to be considered fairly comparable.

So in regards to hoisting the iron, how can we train power?

Now that is a good question.

The heaviest load you can lift without losing your desired rate of ‘meters per second’ would be the cop out answer, even though it’s true.

To give an objective answer a lot of detail will be needed, however you’ll find anywhere from 30-50% of your 1RM is often the common recommendation.

Some even say as specific as 78% of 1RM because if that goes up you’re getting it all just about right, however you can do some digging and come to your own conclusions.

Then you get asked about sets, reps and rest….

My advise, 1-5 reps, rest until you feel recovered and do as many sets as you can before you lose speed in your movements (same for reps too if I;m honest).

If you wish to delve in to just how deep this goes then you’ll enjoy this:

https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2004/08000/The_Optimal_Training_Load_for_the_Development_of.51.aspx

If you’re not someone who wants to do all the maths then here are some exercises that you can easily apply to help you achieve the above.

– Kettlebell Swings, Snatches, Jerks
– Barbell Clean & Jerk, Clean, Jerk, Snatch
– Sprinting
– Plyometric Training (feet & hands)
– Throwing (light objects)

Of these I’d be comfortable recommending these two for any/all levels.

– Kettlebell Swing
– Medicine Ball Pass/Throw/Slam

These will get most people in the right ways and are easy to teach/learn.

You can put this in to a session like this for example:

A1 – Kettlebell Swing x3-5
A2 – Medicine Ball Pass/Throw/Slam x3-5
– Rest up to 5min (go when ready)
– Up to 15 sets of each.

^^ Regarding weights, if you’re not a beginner then 32kg bells and 5kg balls.

I recently read ‘Plyometric Training, by Yessis & Hatfield’ it’s worth your time if improving your speed/power is a goal.

If you’ve never given much thought to the above yet are no beginner then you may find adding in some Plyo work such as explosive press ups, broad jumps and rope slams very useful for helping you realise your latent power.

You’ll also find that power style training seems easy.

Since the TUT is often minimal the DOMS are non-existent, however they can still take it out of you and once you have lost speed it’s time to call it a day in your training.

Give the above some thought because this could be the missing link in your training.

Enjoy,
Ross

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An overly simple explanation/example of potentiation

Fancy something to fire up your lifts?
 
Try this.
 
A1 – Explosive Movement
Rest
A2 – Strength (grinding) Movement
 
Why?
 
When it comes to doing something explosive of fast before a heavy lift there is a form of potentiation that happens.
 
You are asking your body to generate as much for as it can very quickly, as a result (look up the Hennman Principle) you will be ‘waking’ up the majority of your muscle fibres/nervous system
 
This will have an effect that lasts up to 5min after the set, meaning you can rest/recuperate for perhaps 2min and still get the benefit for you heavy lift.
 
Win-win
 
This is a form of complex training, it can have various names.
 
PTP – Post tectonic potentiation, or PAP – post activation potentiation, they’re all much of a muchness.
 
If you want more of the science, you’ll find this link on scholar useful:
 
 
One sure fire way to ensure maximal voluntary contraction (in terms of producing maximal force to move a load quickly), is with bodyweight movements.
 
You can use weighted exercises, however you will need to know what loads help you achieve the highest velocity at the heaviest possible weight, this will take time to establish.
 
Here are some example pairings.
 
Pull Day –
 
A1 – Consecutive Bound Jumps 3-5 reps
Rest 120 seconds
A2 – Deadlift 3-5 reps
Rest 180 seconds – repeat 3-5 times
 
Push Day –
 
A1 – Plyo Push Ups 3-5 reps
Rest 120 seconds
A2 – Bench Press 4-6 reps
Rest 180 seconds – repeat 3-5 times
 
Leg Day –
 
A1 – Box Jumps (step down) 3-5 reps
Rest 120 seconds
A2 – Squat 4-6 reps
Rest 180 seconds – repeat 3-5 times
 
There would then be the rest of your workout and accessory work as needed to bring up weak/lagging areas.
 
You’d do well to explore this thoroughly 😊
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Same yet Different, Part 2

Morning All,
 
We started looking at a little lifting philosophy a couple of days ago.
 
Same yet Different
Remember that this isn’t just a throwaway thought process, it’s one that will require some attention, however once you know it all you can choose to apply it or not.
If you take the time to truly grasp the philosophy you’ll see that you can use this for the rest of your lifting career and make some great progress form it, just be sure to take in each part and write each part down as described.
 
We looked at picking exercises, now it’s time for rep ranges.
 
This is a lot simpler than people think.
 
The purpose will be to allow the use of heavy-medium-light days, to this effect you have a the option of letting the reps dictate the weight.
 
The suggested rep goals are as follows:
 
H – 15-25
M – 25-50
L – 50-75
^^ You can pick your own rep ranges, I suggest toys write down three, like the example above.
 
This is per movement, meaning if you may have something like this for each rep goal day:
 
H –
A1 – Deadlift 3-2-1×3
B1 – Weighted Chin Up 4×6
B2 – Supinated Grip Row 4×6
C1 – Barbell Curl 3×8
 
M –
A1 – Snatch Grip DL 5×5
B1 – Single Arm Dumbbell Row 5×10
B2 – Straight Arm Pull Down 5×10
C1 – Dumbbell Curl 4×12
 
L –
A1 – Box DL 10×5
B1 – Cable Row 8×8
B2 – Reverse Fly 8×8-10
C1 – Cable Curls 5×10-12
 
You an see this is al with straight sets or super sets, not drop sets of other training methods which can be added in to make things more interesting.
Alos let the reps dictate the weight used –  you’ll need to keep a training log.
 
The rep goal will keep you from going too heavy, while for example your 8RM might be quite high, to be able to do it for 8×8, it will need to be closer to your 10-12rm to make sure you hit each set with solid form.
 
You can apply this to each workout individually, meaning you can stick with the same movements and vary the rep ranges each session, or change the lifts and keep the reps the same.
 
It fits nicely with the flow of ‘same yet different’.
 
It may look like this:
 
Movement sessions (we’ll say you have 3 for each) 1-2-3-1a-2a-3a-1b-2b-3b
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
Session 1 – rep goal 25-50
Session 2 – rep goal 25-50
Session 3 – rep goal 25-50
 
Session 1 – rep goal 50-75
Session 2 – rep goal 50-75
Session 3 – rep goal 50-75
 
Session 1a – rep goal 15-25
Session 2a – rep goal 15-25
Session 3a – rep goal 15-25
 
Or….
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
Session 1a – rep goal 15-25
Session 2a – rep goal 15-25
Session 3a – rep goal 15-25
 
Or…
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 25-50
Session 3 – rep goal 50-75
 
Session 1 – rep goal 50-75
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 25-50
 
Session 1 – rep goal 25-50
Session 2 – rep goal 50-75
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
You can see all the possibilities.
Once you have your ranges, you can write then next to the movements you did from last time and start to build a structure from day to day based on the above.
It will take time, however it will be worth it.
 
This philosophy will take some careful thought, however once you’ve gotten all the parts and written out your matrix you’ll see it all fits together.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Testing for the experienced

“If you’re not assessing you’re guessing”

A good quote many would benefit from remembering.

When it comes to programming any form of training there is a large amount of people that do it blind.

This means they jump in head first without first assessing the basic strength, ability or condition of their trainees, it’s a shocking state of affairs.

While you may indeed get away with this if your clients are exclusively bodybuilders, this sort of behaviour won’t cut it with people who are interested in performance or strength. The chances of success are about the same as hitting a fish in a barrel with no fish in it.

So what tests do you have?

  • RM Test (squat, bench, deadlift are the classics)
  • Vo2 Max Test (1.5 mile run for example is often used)
  • ROM Testing (movement/flexibility can be FMS or other)

That’s essentially it for most people, and something all coaches/trainers should do, yet many don’t.

You literally have endless tests you can perform, however they will differ depending on the overall goal of the client.

If you’re looking at some options I will share with you what I use (keep in mind most people I see are after strength and/or performance progress).

RM Test – 1,3 or 5 reps

  • Squat
  • Power Clean
  • Press or Push Press (goal dependent)
  • Weighted Chin with Half Body Weight
  • Farmers Walk with Body Weight
  • Standing Broad Jump

The above give a good gauge of where the athlete is in regards to relative strength/power (Say I’m working with a sprinter, ideally they are hitting a 2xBW squat for 5 and 1.5xBW on the power clean, meaning they have optimal lower body strength/power)

Vo2 Test – Sport Specific

  • Example: 40 yard dash
  • Example: Watt Bike Test
  • Example: 2k Row

ROM Test

  • FMS (functional Movement Screen)

That’s essentially it.

This gives me a good idea of a persons level of strength, power, fitness and overall movement capabilities.

While a little different than what you may need, it’s worth remembering that having these is essential for good programming and progress.

Always assess, never guess.

Enjoy, Ross.

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3 Lifts – 2 Super Sets – 1 Hour or Less

 
We all like simple.
 
It’s easy to follow, leave very little to the imagination and above all else don’t cause too much stress and worry.
 
The short protocol I will give you today is nothing fancy as a basic structure of a session and will allow for multiple styles of loading to be used with it for a variety of goals.
 
Here is the breakdown:
 
3 Lifts –
 
As you can imagine, you pick three lifts ONLY for your workout, no more. This limitation will cut out the temptation to add more movements for the sake of adding more and as such you can prioritise.
 
Some examples:
 
– Squat, Pull Up, Dip
– Deadlift, Press, Row
– Clean & Press, Farmers Walk, Prone Fly
 
The general idea is to pick at least 2 compound movements, the third exercise can be either a compound lift of a smaller isolation one, you will find out why shortly.
 
When picking movements it’s worth taking a look at your training week and making sure you have the following:
 
– Power/Performance
– Lower body knee dominant
– Lower body hip dominant
– Upper body horizontal pushing
– Upper body horizontal pulling
– Upper body vertical pushing
– Upper body vertical pulling
– Core/Full Body/Loaded Carry
 
Check each one off against your workouts and make sure you hit each of them, ideally twice per week. This will ensure balanced development throughout your body.
 
2 Super Sets –
 
This is where it gets interesting.
 
The reason for the suggestion of 2 compound lifts and then either a third or an isolation lift is because the third lift picked will be the on that is the second lift out of each super set, here is what that means.
 
A1 – Squat
A2 – Dip
B1 – Weighted Pull Up
B2 – Dip
 
This will allow a lot of extra volume in the third lift, which would do well to be a weaker movement pattern or lagging body part, here is another example.
 
A1 – Clean & Press
A2 – Prone Fly
B1 – Farmers Walk
B2 – Prone Fly
 
The application of this pairing system will not only save time but give you the opportunity to keep the intensity (% of 1RM) fairly high on the first lift of each pairing as they will be performed in a ‘Jump Set’ fashion, this means A1 – Rest – A2 – Rest – A1 – Repeat, however if the rest for you chosen rep/set scheme is normally 2min you can cut it in half to 60 seconds.
 
1 Hour or Less –
 
This structure will work well if you;re in a pinch and only have 30min to train or right up to a full hour, the determine factor in the length of your session would actually be the set/rep scheme you decide to use, which can be specific to your goal.
 
To help you with this choice, here are some rep goals that would be useful to work towards to achieve a specific goal.
 
– Power: AMRAP until you lose speed or form, 1-5 reps per set
– Strength: 25-35 reps per main lift, 1-6 reps per set
– Hypertrophy: 50-75 reps per main lift, 6-20 reps per set
– Endurance/Met-con: 100+ reps per main lift, 10+ reps per set
 
You will notice there are no set options, just rep goals and reps per set ranges. You can pick the reps that best suit your needed from the ranges given.
 
It might look like this:
 
Strength
A1 – Squat 8×3
A2 – Dip x3-5
B1 – Weighted Pull Up 8×3
B2 – Dip x3-5
 
Or
 
Power
A1 – Clean & Press AMSAPx3-5 reps (stop when 3 reps no longer achievable with good speed)
A2 – Prone Fly x12
B1 – Farmers Walk AMSAPx20-40 meters (stop when 20m minimum can’t be sustained)
B2 – Prone Fly x12
 
You’ll notice the second example differs greatly from the first, yet that’d both be very effective, the main difference would be the amount of time spent training, they could be 30min or indeed a full hour, who knows.
 
This simple structure will give you a guide of what to follow, just make sure you tick off the following points:
 
– Hit the full body each week, ideally twice
– Train up to 5 days per week (say MTW – FS – )
– Sessions are not longer than 1hour
– Track your workouts
– Use rep goals that suit your specific goal
– Stay on this for 3-6month minimum
– Stress less and have fun with it
 
If you have any questions about this protocol, feel free to ask.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Do You Even Daily Max?

A question was asked yesterday about what exactly a Daily Max is meant to be, today will be the answer to that question.

The term daily max is often used by Power Lifters and Strength Athletes and is in reference to building up to a kinda max for the day. There is little need to worry about percentages and it’s based on how you FEEL for that day.

This was popular in Russia and other similar countries and it’s also worth knowing that the Westside Conjugate Method is based on this principle so you know where to look for proof of its effectiveness.

Another trait of the daily max is that it doesn’t mean you have to go for 1 rep, the max for that day could be 3,5 or even 8 if you’re hard core. Maxing out daily might seem counter intuitive because for most people working at 90% or above of your actual 1RM for more than 3 weeks will literally destroy their CNS but a daily max doesn’t have to be based on one of the big 3 lifts; you can use any lift you like.

If you’re looking for a recommendation using any number of reps other than 1 is the way forwards because it’s often safer. The sam is true for exercise variation, but here is an example of a typical week for you:

Monday: 3rep DM – Front Squat
Tuesday: 6rep DM – Incline Press
Wednesday: 8rep DM – Good Morning/Box Squat
Thursday: 2rep DM – Comp Style Bench
Friday: 2rep DM – Comp Style Squat
Saturday: 5rep DM – Snatch Grip Deadlift

A daily max is a great way to keep your body accustomed to lifting heavy and being ready for a big lift. Use it to bring up your weaknesses so that your strengths become even stronger.

Enjoy
Ross

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