Tag Archives: program

A trick to mass from the past

What happened to 20 rep sets?
 
At one point in time they were at the height of popularity, especially for the squat.
There was also the recommendation of eating plenty of nutritious food while doing this, it worked back then, chances are it still works now.
However….
 
The options don’t just stop with squats though.
 
Oh no.
 
You can do them on a multitude of movements in fact.
 
As such here is something for you to consider to spice up you training.
 
Aim to hit this for a minimum of three months (12 weeks).
 
Split – Pull/Push/Legs – hit each group every 3-5 days.
 
Rep/set protocol – 5-4-3-2-1-20, add weight and ramp to a heavy (not max) single to potentiate the nervous system, this of this as an extended warm up.
 
For the 20 rep sets use 60% of you technical max (the weight you can do for 1 rep with perfect form)
 
If you hit all 20 add some weight to that number next session.
 
Session examples:
 
Pull –
A1 – Deadlift variation 5-4-3-2-1-20
B1 – Chin 2×20 (aim to build to this)
C1 – Row or Curl 12-10-8-6
 
Push –
A1 – Pressing variation 5-4-3-2-1-20
B1 – Dip 2×20 (aim to build to this)
C1 – Fly or Skull Crusher 12-10-8-6
 
Legs –
A1 – Squat variation 5-4-3-2-1-20
B1 – Walking Lunge 2×20 (aim to build to this)
C1 – Hamstring Curl 12-10-8-6
C2 – Calve Raise 4×25-50
 
The main aim is to build on those 20 rep sets on the main lifts for some solid mass gains.
 
The B1 exercise is meant to further your progress, just keep in mind the weights will be dictated by the reps you can perform with good form.
 
If you don’t hit all the reps in one set, do not fret, just stop there and aim to hit them all next session.
 
Only once you can hit all the reps with unbroken form do you add some weight to the movements.
 
You’ll be surprised how you much progress you can milk from this style of training, however if mass is you goal you will need to ensure you are in a caloric surplus and eat lots of nutritious/energy dense foods.
 
If fat loss is your aim this type of method works for you too, the main difference is in the nutrition and overall calories consumed, you need to be in a slight deficit. Think a lot of veg and lean meats.
 
Enjoy.
Ross
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The 3 Plate Sandwich

Do you ever do plate sandwich walks?
 
If not you should, they’re great for strengthening your upper body.
 
Morning all,
 
I also call these ‘plate compression walks’ however the one above sounds more fun.
 
They’re quite simple, yet very effective.
 
Take three plates, say 2x10kg & 1x5kg.
 
The 10’s are on the outside and the 5 is in the middle.
 
Keeping your hands flat (think palm pressure🙏), press the plates together hard, if you see your elbows slightly tucked you will feel this a lot in your pecs/lats.
 
From here go for a walk and only stop when you can’t hold the isometric contraction and longer.
 
Repeat for 10min, or longer if you choose.
 
You can of course to this with only 1 or 2 plates, I’ve just found three makes like rather interesting.
 
This also works great with kettlebells 🤗
 
Add this to your workouts and you’ll find upper body strength & progress you didn’t know you had in you.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Specialise much?

A short post on specialisation.
 
It’s all about picking something you want to focus on.
 
If you are looking at your gym lifts for example, here’d be some sensible guidelines for the average gym goer.
 
If lifting related:
 
– Pick 1-2 lifts to focus on
– Increase the frequency: 2-3+ times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
If body part or aesthetically related:
– Pick one lagging body part
– Increase the frequency: 2-3 times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
As you can see the guidelines are essentially the same because it’s just common sense.
 
One thing people do when they specialise is to pick multiple things at once, often those things interfere with each other and little to no overall progress is made.
 
Sadly you can’t excel at everything at the same time.
 
If you try to be good at everything you end up being average.
 
It’s not uncommon for people to want to increase strength & cardiovascular performance in tandem, now if correctly planned it’s possible, however most people get it very wrong.
 
Training for multiple goals that may have some conflicting factors – energy system usage, global fatigue etc, is an art and this process is called concurrent training.
 
We won’t be covering that today.
 
This is a large topic to cover, as such here are some good places to start:
 
 
 
 
So some thing to consider if you want to bring up something that’s lagging.
 
If you want to focus on making something better, limit what you want to focus on.
 
You won’t lose your other gains if you set other training at a decent maintenance level.
 
Enjoy,
Ross 

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Something to strip fat, get fit and strong as well

Litvinov Sprints.
 
They’re horrible.
 
Well, they’re good, but they’re horrible too.
 
Sergey Litvinov was a hammer thrower, one of the best ever you could say and was renowned for his training and his ability to train on the nerve.
 
The training protocol of his namesake was a simple Front Squat & 400m Sprint pairing, now it sounds easy, however here is what he used to do it with:
 
Eight reps of front squats with 405 pounds, immediately followed by a 75-second 400-meter run. He repeated this little combination for a total of three times according to the history books.
 
Oh, he was also only a 196-pound man, who front squatted 405… eight times, you know, no big.
 
*Barry Ross would also do similar with his athletes, lots like great minds think alike.
 
He would do this with various other lifts but the run would typically stay the same. 400m is great for power output and improving VO2 Max.
 
Now the big take home from this little anaerobic concoction is that you want to have a large compound movement followed by ann all out sprint, repeated 3 times.
 
Easy on paper, yet it will yield untold benefits in terms of strength, power, conditioning and mental grit, trust me, after the first one you don’t want to do it again, however you must because that’s how champions are made, that’s how winning is done.
 
Here are some example of compound lifts you may use:
– Cleans
– Clean & Press
– Clean & Jerk
– Push Press
– Push Jerk
– Jerk
– Deadlift
– Front Squat
– Squat
– Overhead Squat
– Snatch
 
The do a 400m sprint, rest as needed and repeat 2 more times.
 
The sprint is best left as a running sprint for most people, you can change it to say a sled push/drag, however you’ll then start to move away from the classic Litvinov ethos and create something different.
 
Try it for a couple of months 2-3 times per week, you’ll welcome the results.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Too good not to share

I came across this article while browsing through the inter webs for knowledge and it’s too good not to share.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-get-ripped-with-4-rep-sets?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article4844

Christian Thibaudeau is one of my favourite and his knowledge is phenomenal, you’ll enjoy this read.

I will certainly be giving this a go as I am currently short on time in my own training.

Ross

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Short on time? Better back off.

The introduction and more frequent use of ‘back off sets’ has become quite popular of late.

You’ll find you can use them to determine suitable loading for your next session, increase total TUT and even help you maintain your progress if you find your gym training time has been chopped down due to life getting in the way.

In the past this has happened several times and as such a way and to be found to get in some quality work, here is an option for you, it will take anywhere from 20-30min tops, try not to spend longer than 30min (especially if your time is limited), just focus on hard work.

This protocol will:

– Provide suitable mechanical tension for strength
– Generate metabolic stress for adaptation
– Create muscle damage for new growth

All you need to do is follow the guidelines and put in all your effort, eat the calories required for your goal (I’ve written about this previously), sleep and stay focused.

Let’s get down o the details.

– Use compound movements (Squat, DL, Press, Chin, Row, etc)

– 1 or 2 per workout (A1/A2 pairing)

– Ramp up your weights each set, start off with 5’s and work to one heavy set, then add a little more weight for a 3, then finally a little more for 1 single. The triple/single aren’t all out efforts, only the 5, they’re just for extra neural stimulation.

– Take 70% of the top 5 and perform 1 back off set of 10-20 reps unbroken

– Rest is minimal between sets, go as soon as you feel ready

– 3 sessions per week is a good minimum to cover the full body

You will be in and out in no time at all.

This short style of workout will allow heavy enough loads to trigger a host of positive things and the back of set will further potentiate this.

If you find you’re doing all of this in 20min then use the extra 10 for some accessory movements (arms, calves etc).

The protocol above is nothing fancy, it’s devised to get maximum results out of minimum time and as such leaves no room for dilly-dallying.

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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A complex string of events

Stringing exercises together one after the other with the same piece of kit if known, no rest and not putting said kit down is often known as a complex.

You can do them with dumbbells, barbells and a personal favourite, kettlebells.

Here are three short kettlebell complexes to hit the entire body and build strength, lean mass and strip fat (provided calorie requirements are also correct).

Each complex is done with 2 kettlebells.

Push Complex:

– Clean
– Press
– Push Press
– Jerk

Start off with one rep of each, then two, then three, aim to work up to 5 without stopping. 3-5 rounds of this will help create an impressive upper body, increase the weight of the bells by 4kg once you can do 5 rounds of 1-5 unbroken.

Pull Complex:

– Swing
– Swing to Pull (pull elbows towards hips)
– Clean
– Snatch

Reps, sets and progression as above.

Leg Complex:

– Clean
– Squat
– Lunge (any variation of your choice)
– Rack Tip-Toe Walk or Rack Walk

Reps, sets and progression as above.

Now this could be one workout three times per week, several smaller workouts during the day (morning, afternoon, evening) or a short 10-20min workout for each day depending on your commitments and available time to train.

This style of training is one that lends itself well to daily practice (push day, pull day, leg day, repeat works well).

These are by no means the only options, they’re just simple ones to get you started, you’ll find some great complexes in the writing of Dan John.

Give them a go.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Weightless Gains

I’m sure you’re aware that you can build an impressive upper body without the need to lift weights.

If not then in this post you’ll learn how.

Training your upper body is something that’s quite easy to do without any equipment, the same can’t be said for lower body so you’ll need at minimum a barbell and plates for total body development, no one likes chicken legs after all.

20 rep breathing squats, heavy low rep front squats, fat grip deadlifts, snatch grip deadlifts and cleans or snatches will be ample for lower body development.

Back to the point of the post.

Bodyweight mastery can provide you with a most impressive upper body if you give it your all in these handful of exercises:

  • Plyo push ups
  • Dips
  • Handstand push ups (supported, working to wards free standing)
  • Chin Ups
  • Pull Ups

Those 5 will enable you to workout essentially anywhere, here is the suggested rep/set schemes for your consideration:

  • Ladder sets – pick 2 exercises, start at 1 rep for each & add a rep until you hit 10 or more if you choose. If you lose form or break set start again at one.
  • Multiple singles, doubles or triples
  • Sets to momentary muscular failure

Those three options will get you started, you’ll find that aiming for 50-100 reps per session on 1-2 of those movements will help you build the upper body you desire.

This approach to training is very simple but very effective.

Enjoy,

Ross

 

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