Tag Archives: principles

Odd Training for Optimisation.

Your body is a fascinating machine, capable of many wondrous things, yet you park it behind a desk and allow it to slowly rust into oblivion.

Why?

The sign of youth is the ability to run, jump, throw, climb, tumble and turn with ease.

All things I know a great many adults have already lost.

Now these are not even older adults either, they’re people in their 30’s, this is truly shocking.

To grow old chronologically is inevitable.

To grow old physically is optional.

You have the choice to train in such a way that keeps you not only feeling younger, moving like you did in your 20’s or perhaps even when you were a sprightly 18year old again, it can also knock 10 years of your physical appearance (often more).

How can you achieve this with Odd Training?

Easy, all you need to do is to run, jump, throw, climb, tumble and turn daily.

The gym is a temple to me, I love it and all things training related on a deeply personal level, however I’m not so blind as to see it’s limitations and dogma.

Much like the narrow minded view of the Jedi.

All of your training doesn’t need to be body building, or powerlifting, or weightlifting, or CrossFit, or Endurance Races and all other ilk that is just ‘common’ gym practice.

While they are all great tools, they’re just tools.

Plus they can become very dull very quickly.

Taking the above in hand here is an example of the Odd Training touched on, this is a 3 day apr week protocol –

Day 1 –
A1 – Sprint 200-400m (vary distance & RAMP pace) x20min
^ Include drills like leg skips, clawing the floor etc.

B1 – Kettlebell Singel Arm Swing x10
B2 – Tame the Arc Clean x5
B3 – Kettlebell Shot-put Throw x1
^ Rest 60sec, alternate arms each set for 20min

C1 – Movement Patterns – Crawling x20min

Day 2 –
A1 – Wall/Bound/Step Jumps (single or double leg) x20min
^ Start off with short distances, stick the landings and jump in multiple directions.

B1 – Sandbag Clean & Throw Over Shoulder x10 (5L/R)
B2 – Sandbag TGU x1 (L/R sides)
B3 – Rolling Pistol Squat x20 (10L/R)
^ Rest 2-3min, repeat for 20min

C1 – Climbing (anything you can find) x20min

Day 3 –
A1 – Hammer/Discus Throw x20min
^ Use a light load half turn/step, alternatively use a small plate, KB, med-ball etc, just keep it light (less than 4kg)

B1 – Clean x1
B2 – Push Press x3-5
B3 – Squat (front, back or overhead) x3-5
^ Keep rest to a minimum, use any kit you like (bar, KB, DB, sandbag, a person, etc), repeat for 20min

C1 – Tumbling x20min
^ Driving forward rolls, teddybear rolls, backward rolls, basically play like a child does, just take it easy and only do that which your body allows you, over time you can take this up a notch.

Looking at the above, how much of it do you do?

This training is not that which you’ll often see because people are scared of it because they’ve grown old mentally.

Think of it this way, if you can reach 70 years young and have absolutely no fear of falling over because it’s something you CHOOSE to do 2-3 days per week you’ll never be one of those people who says –

“I’ve had a fall.”

Dare to be different, age is as much a state of mind as it is degradation of your body, however it can only happen if you allow it.

Time to decide what is more important.

The Longevity & Health of the Young, or sitting on your ass growing old, weak and round.

You should investigate this thoroughly.

In the end though the choice is yours, just remember whatever you do choose to do start off slow with thing and build up over time.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Not just for legs

The other day a little kettlebell hypertrophy/strength based protocol came to mind for the festive season.

It’s very much a bit of a quick peak kind of protocol.

Based on the classic M-L-H set up.

Main Movement – Double Kettlebell Front Squat.

Rep Goal – 100

This is where the magic can happen because we can play with either keeping the overall load within the 70-80% of RM range, or we can play with the loads while keeping reps consistent.

Option 1 – Static Load 40kg (heaviest bells at home)

H/Day – 10 Sets – aim form 10 reps per set – 2-4min rest

L/Day – 10 Sets – 40% of total reps from H/day – so if 50 reps achieved then 20 reps is the total (10×2, or 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-2, broken down as you see fit)

M/Day – 10 Sets – 70% of total reps from H/day – rep breakdown can be as you see fit, however you don’t ideal want to miss or grind any (same goes for L/day).

^^ To make the L/M days more interesting if they feel easy, pauses in the hole can be added, rest can be reduced (to increase density/work capacity) and a focus on the RFD (rate of force development) can be thought of ala Dr Squat’s CAT (compensatory acceleration training).

H-L-M-L-M-L-H-L-M-L-M-L-H = roughly 4 weeks

^^ Based on 3 sessions per week.

Option 2 – 3 different loads

The rep goal is 100 each session.

H/Day – 40kgs
L/Day – 24kgs
M/Day – 32kgs

Set/Rep wise you may choose to do 10×10 (aiming for 10 res each set, however no grinding, this means you may not get all 10×10, so you build to this) for the heavy day, and sets of 10 for the light/medium days.

The can be up to you how you hit them, its simply about getting good quality reps in.

This came from the notion of doing more with less.

Limiting what we have on offer so we become creative.

I did this in the summer with my sandbags and found it way harder than I thought I would which gave me a rather nifty lesson.

^^ The strength I had was only useful in the gym (in specific movements), while not a terrible thing it was nice an humbling.

If we can’t transfer what we gain from the gym to real life, why did we invest so much time into it?

My current ponder ^^.

While this was floating around the old noggin it became apparent that the overall idea of having nice rep target and then improving the quality of the reps was very appealing.

You may be able to hit all the reps from day one, however our ever obsessive chasing of progression in the form of volume/intensity isn’t the only way we can progress.

We’ve also got density/work capacity (less rest/better efforts/form), technique improvements, more time under load/tension (adding in pauses or slowing down the tempo), the options are endless.

The above might not be relevant to you, however it was worth sharing.

What little ideas have you had float through your head that you applied in your training this year, and what was their result?

Incase you’re wandering the DKB-FS is surprisingly hard due to how it teaches you to stay tense and breath deeply.

While 80kg is way off my own personal BB-FS max (about 50%) there is the understanding it’s an entirely different animal that requires respect.

If you ever get the chance, give them a go.

^^ You can also apply this to various other lifts too.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Are you brave enough to try this?

Once again we will be calling upon our friend the dice.
 
Instead of training 2-3 days per week though you’ll be training everyday, or if you want to also leave that to fate you can flip a coin to see if you’re training, then go to the dice to find out what you’re doing.
 
Here is how your training would work.
 
You’ll be doing one these movement parings:
 
– Push & Hinge
– Squat & Pull
– Loaded Carry & Sprinting
 
^^ You can do them in this sequence, meaning they repeat every 4th day, or you can choose to do only one pairing, it’s entirely up to you.
 
The exercise choice is up to you.
 
Next you will roll the pair of die, the number you see is the reps you’re doing, so 2-12 and in the case of the carry/sprint it means 20-120m.
 
Next up you will roll the pair three times, this will give you the time limit you’re training for, so 6-36min (this includes your warm up because you’ll be ramping/waving the loads/effort each set).
 
Once you’ve gotten your reps and your time limit you train.
 
The aim of this is to improve density/work capacity.
 
Give me a second I will roll the dice and see what I get for three days of training, I will pick movements too.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift & Floor Press: 4reps, 27min
Day 2 – (clean) Front Squat & Bent Over Row: 7reps, 13min
Day 3 – Bear Hug Carry & Sprint: 80m, 24min
 
Not a bad little rep/time count.
 
Th difficult thing with the above would be for the times you get a session lasting 10min or under, it would get it to the heads of most people as they’d feel their training wasn’t one enough.
 
Now this might be true, however it would give you focus in the time you had.
 
Too many people mess about and waste time and this eliminates this issue entirely, the only hard part will be picking the movements you wish to work on.
 
“It is vain to do more with what can be done with less.”
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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We’ll let fate decide

Harvey Dent, he was on to something. 

You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time! But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced… fair. His son’s got the same chance she had. Fifty-fifty.” *Holding two-headed coin*

In the past you’ve probably seen a post of five about how to use a dice to decide your training.

Today we’re going to go even further down the rabbit hole of randomness and find out the secrets of the humble coin. 

Admittedly you will end up with some very minimalistic training, however it will take any excess thought away from you.

This is ideal for those who claim to get lost with training or are unsure of what to do.

One simply has to have faith in the coin and follow the pattern it leaves. 

Here is how you can apply it to your training, be warned though, this is also an exercise in faith, do you have the courage to do what they coin dictates or not?

Okay, to decide if you are training today or not grab a coin and flip it. 

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Now for the interesting part, if you’re training today it’s time to find out how.

Heads = Strength 

Tails = Conditioning 

This is where you can play with all the nuance.

Say you got strength, here are some options once you flip the coin again:

Heads = Push, Hinge, Loaded Carry 

Tails = Pull, Squat, Loaded Carry 

Now for some reps/sets:

Heads = 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2

Tails = 6-1-1–1-1-20

There you go, training for the day. 

If you got tails for conditioning this might be your menu.

Heads = Fartlek at 70%> MHR 

Tails = Steady State at <70% MHR

^^ You choose whichever modality you feel like. 

One thing you’ll find with the above is that the less chose the better, however there is another reason for it. 

You will suddenly find out that you know exactly what you want to be doing, you were just being a bit lazy in making a choice because if you really want a strength day and end up with a conditioning one it soon makes you realise your goals. 

Same is true for a day you want to train and end up having the coin tell you not to.

Flip 1 –

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Flip 2 – 

Heads = Strength = 10x TGU (5 per arm) 

Tails = Conditioning = 100 Single Arm Swings (50 each arm) 

Super simple, super effective. 

This concept isn’t new, however the unpredictability just makes for some interesting times. 

How would you progress?

Who knows, perhaps if you use the TGU above you could keep doing that until you hit a half-bodyweight get up for all the reps with ease, the options are many, power if you only train for fun like you claim then just pick a random target and see what happens.

Personally I prefer the dice, yet can apply the train/don’t train to the dice by say 1-3 = train and 4-5 = don’t train, then go from there. 

In a world where there is so much confusion, stress and uncertainty leaving your training in the hands of fate can make for quite the change. 

I’ve found that things like the coin/dice and total randomness of training days makes you appreciate the days you do train and you also put in more effort because from experience those who train with intent & heart, even if infrequently, tend to get more progress than some of the workout-warriors who do 2-3 hours in the gym each day. 

^^ When applied to the gen-pop.

All in all it’s just bit of fun, which is what you said you wanted, right?

Or perhaps now seeing this you know it’s not fun you want, it’s emoting else entirely.

Give it some thought. 

Enjoy, 

Ross 

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“We’ll let the dice decide.”

I actually heard this while watching someone play D&D.

The little imp had quite the maniacal grin on his face, clearly he was a rather brutal dungeon master.

You might be asking how this applied to making gains.

Especially as people who tend to play D&D are not the most physically active of people.

Well it is if you just don’t want to delve in to the depths of fitness to learn how to effectively program your own training.

Same goes if you don’t want to hire a coach/trainer.

I have something for you that is endless in its possibilities and easy to apply, like right now.

You will pick one movement from this list:

– Push (includes crawling)
– Pull (includes climbing)
– Squat (includes all lunge/single leg patterns)
– Hinge (Includes all sling leg varieties)

You will also do a stint of loaded carries, if doesn’t matter what variation you do, it will last for up to 20min (or perhaps more) depending how much time you have left after the deice have decided your rep/set fat.

Now go grab a pair of dice.

Roll them, whatever they land on will be your reps per set for the day (2-12).

Roll them again, this time you get how many sets you’re doing for the day (2-12).

Set a training timer for 45min, that is how long you have to finish your sets/reps, once you get them all done you will fill the rest of your time with loaded carries and perhaps the optional plank.

You can train 2-7 days per week with this method.

Simply alternate the lifts you do and use a different movement base each session, or don’t, that’s your call after all, who am I to stop you skipping leg day, again.

Here is what something might look like:

Day 1:
A1 – Squat 12×12 – you poor bastard
B2 – Famers walks, if you have time that is.

Day 2:
A1 – Press 2×2 – DO NOT roll again! Worship the die and their judgement, clearly they know you’re done too much bench in your time and skipped too many leg days.
B2 – Sandbag Carry because you’ve got plenty of time.

Day 3 –
A1 – Weight Chin Up 9×5 – I’m okay with this.
B1 – Sled Drag for the remainder

Day 4 –
A1 – Snatch Grip DL – 7×3 – Huh, neat.
B2 – Prowler Push until your time is up

Day 5 – Off

Repeat the above with different movements and carry options.

Respect the die, they will give you all the set/rep variety you need.

In regards to loading you can either us the same loads each set or change them, dealers choice.

No go, enjoy.
Ross

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“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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60 Days of DIY

Ladies & Gentlemen,
 
I have a challenge for you.
 
If your goal is fat loss, conditioning, adding some lean mass and generally feeling like you’ve done something in a session then this is for you.
 
’60days of Loaded Carries’
 
Or perhaps I should say Loaded Movements.
 
Yep, you will do ONE loaded carry a day for 60 days, it’s that simple.
 
Here is a step by step breakdown:
 
– Pick a carry
– Set a timer for 45min
– Pick up, carry, put down, repeat until the time is up
 
That’s it.
 
Now a carry can be many things, for example a farmers walk with a sand bag, a turkish get up followed by a waiters walk, a Zecher DL followed by a Zecher carry, essentially any awkward object to carry will do.
 
How you choose to pick up, hold and carry said object is up to you, just pick something different each day to keep things interesting and avoid too much crossover and fatigue in identical movement patterns.
 
Here is what 7 days might look like:
 
Day 1 – Farmers Walk (2 dumbbells)
Day 2 – TGU+Waiter Walk (1 KB, swap hands each set)
Day 3 – Sand Bag Clean & Bear Hug Carry
Day 4 – Prowler Pushing
Day 5 – Zecher DL+Zecher Carry
Day 6 – Sled Dragging
Day 7 – Sand Bag Floor to Shoulder Clean & Carry (swap sides each set)
 
Make sense?
 
The premise of this is to force you to train inefficiently, please note this does not mean unsafe, it merely means making your body coordinate in a manor that it is not used to doing so that you will burn more energy (calories) along with adding some slabs of lean muscle.
 
Essentially what old school labourers used to do day in day out, which is a good point, why to load up a wheel barrow and shift that bad boy around for 45min, most challenging.
 
When performing each movement go until about an RPE 8/9, don’t try and fail, stop short, the aim is to get in as much overall workload (volume) as possible.
 
Select weights that are challenging, not impossible.
 
This is an endeavour of endurance not ego.
 
Be sure to take before and after photos, also, if you want some guidelines for calories then this will be a quick guide to help you:
 
– Fat loss = your total bodyweight x 11-13
– Mass gain = your total bodyweight x 17-19
 
Ideally you will be eating plenty of ‘whole foods’ as in not junk food if you want some decent progress.
 
Let me know how you get on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 is always a magic number

3 Simple tricks to easier progressive overload planning.
 
They manipulate volume, density & intensity.
 
1 – Adding reps, then sets. (Volume)
 
Weight on the bar stays the same, add a rep each session until you hit your target, then drop to the original set/rep scheme add weight and bering again.
 
Example:
 
3-5×3-5 =
 
W1- 3,3,3
W2- 4,3,3
W3- 5,3,3
W8- 5,5,5,3
W9- 5,5,5,4
All the way to 5×5, then add weight and go back to 3×3.
 
2 – Reduce rest time. (Density)
 
Start with say 3min, then take of 10-20 seconds each session (for an arbitrary example), repeat until resting 60 seconds, or perhaps less, that’s up to you. The add weight and crack the rest back up to 3min between sets.
 
Example:
 
W1 – 180seconds (3min)
W2 – 160seconds
W3 – 140seconds
W7 – 60seconds – add weight and up rest.
 
3 – Fractional Plates to 10kg. (Intensity)
 
Following classic linear progression (adding weight each session), however you add up to half a kilo each time, the reps/set/rest stay the same.
 
You would do well to keep the reps lower and the sets higher for this and hit the lift 3 times per week, aim to add 10kg then perhaps tweak the reps/set or lift variation.
 
Example:
 
W1 – S1: 80kg, S2: 80.5kg, S3: 81kg
W2 – S1: 81.5kg, S2: 82kg, S3: 82.5kg
W7 – S1: 89kg, S2: 89.5kg, S3: 90kg
Perhaps change lift variation (overhead press to incline press for example).
 
There you have it, some simper ways you can achieve progressive overload without needing a CSCS level understanding of programming.
Bonus Trick – Increasing lifting/training frequency.
Simply add an extra day of lifting on a weaker or lagging body part/movement (so 4 session a week cineast of 3 and so on), you can apply one of the above in injection with this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A different take on Eccentrics.

Morning All,
 
Chances are you’ve heard about lowering a weight slowly and under control when lifting.
 
Have you heard about ‘pulling’ the weight back to the starting position or in to the hole though?
 
Probably not.
 
It may seem like a strange idea however it will help build a lot of strength and serve to increase total body tension in your movements.
 
Here is an example:
 
Press a kettlebell overhead to lock out, stay tense and gripping it tight.
 
From the top you now want to engage your lat hard and star tot PULL the weight down, as opposed to slowly lowering it – think along the lines that you’re trying to do a one arm chin up.
 
At first it will feel weird, however the more you do it the better you’ll get and suddenly you will find yourself becoming a lot stronger.
 
This tactic works well on all movements, especially unilateral ones such as Pistols and Single Arm Press Ups.
 
Here are some books to delve in to to learn more about this (mainly because I can’t remember exactly which book I got it from).
 
All by Pavel Tsatsouline:
 
– Enter the Kettlebell
– Power to the People
– The Naked Warrior
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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My Anaconda does, does yours?

My anaconda don’t want none unless you got…. A decent amount of concentric and isometric strength held of a definitive amount of time.
 
Buns too.
 
Afternoon All,
 
The term Anaconda Strength was something I came across a fair while ago when reading the wise words of Dan John.
 
This is a great read with a lot of gems – http://danjohn.net/2016/09/hammer-and-stone-training/
 
So in simple terms, what is anaconda strength?
 
As you can imagine it revolves around constant tension.
 
Think about the actual reptile itself, what does it do when it gets in to a tussle with an unfortunate prey?
 
It takes its position, coiling like a spring, then it explosively strikes (think bow & arrow power), then it takes hold, enter the might of the anaconda strength.
 
Inch by inch, centimetre by centimetre, it slowly constricts around its prey get tighter and tighter and tighter, until finally it had no choice but to accept its fate.
 
This style of strength is incredibly useful for grappling sports, general life (carrying things), work (lifting and carrying bits) to name a few uses, it’s not just something for the gym.
 
Isometrics were once seen as the dogs gonads, then they lost favour due to the dramatic elevation in blood pressure they have – if you have BP issues they may be problematic for you.
 
SO what gym lifts can you use to help you build this strength?
 
– Zecher Squat/Deadlifts
– Bear Hug Carries
– Penally Row to Pause
– Deadlifts & Deadlift Variations with pauses
– Pull/Chin ups with pauses
– Front Squats & Rack Walks
– Sled Pushes/Pulls
– Kettlebell Crush/Presses/Hold
 
Anything that requires constant tension or allows you to keep increasing tension little by little.
 
There’s plenty more, those are some examples.
 
You’ve also got what some people call ‘Functional Isometrics’ – you basically take a barbell, load it lightly (or jus use the par), set pin(s) at a point in the rep and drive the bar to that point, then press against the pins as hard as you possibly can, you can set a time per contraction or go until failure, there are reasons for both.
 
How much training do you do around this style of strength?
 
If you look at your split, ideally there should be a balance of extensor work (pushing things away) and pull/holding things close; SHOULD.
 
Give some serious thought in to adding this to your programming, it won’t only make you stronger and more robust, it will also help improve your longevity.
 
Try this little session and see how it makes you feel:
 
A1 – Zecher Squat 3-5×3-5
B1 – Sand Bag Bear Hug Carry – Drop,
B2 – Drag Back – 20m each way, repeat 4-6 times
C1 – KB Crush & Partial Press (eye level) – hold 30sec x8
C2 – Plank, Maximal Tenson 10-20 seconds hold
 
🤗
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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