Tag Archives: programming

Break your pattern

7 day weeks are overrated.
 
Especially for training.
 
Morning All,
 
When it comes to frequency of training we know that we should be hitting each muscle group or movement at least twice per week.
 
You can also look at this from the standpoint of hitting the muscle or movement every 3-5 days.
 
Most people do this by running on a 7day week, which is fair enough, most people have lives after all.
 
That said, there is a more interesting way.
 
Our body is a clever thing, it will begin to remember the pattern we adopt and as such we may unknowingly sabotage our progress.
 
Have you ever though about a rolling routine for your training?
 
Now if you have no training restrictions and can train on any day then a simple 4 day split of; Pull-Push-Legs-Rest-Repeat will work very well.
 
If you are constrained to the 7 day week fear not, you can still utilise a rolling training program while hitting the optimal frequency of every 3-5 days (2 exposures in a 7 day period), you just won’t train the same workout each time.
 
Say you have only 4 days a week to train:
 
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
 
If you use the split above it might look like this:
 
Pull, Push, Legs, Pull – Week 1
Push, Legs, Pull, Push – Week 2
Legs, Pull, Push, Legs – Week 3
 
You can see it’s a three week rotation and you’re hitting each muscle every 3-5days while also not doing them on the same day of the week, meaning some extra mental stimulation as well.
 
You also have to factor in exercise crossover.
 
^^ Deadlift & squat for example, both hit the legs and posterior chain. Perhaps you have get ups as a warm up & prowler on Leg day as a finisher, these also hit the upper body isometrically, make sense?
 
As you can see there is no lack of logical structure here.
 
Something what would be very useful is perhaps having 3 distinct workout options (think same but different), so that each 3 day block of training hits the same muscle/movement actions just with different variations of the same exercises.
 
Then you’d set yourself the task of doing each 3 day mini cycle 6-8 times, progressing by a doing weight, sets or reps as needed.
 
That would mean you have a solid program that will last anywhere from 18-24 weeks.
 
Talk about forward planing for long term gains.
 
Here is an example of different movements you may use (I will give you 3 main lifts & variations per day) –
 
Pull –
Deadlift
Deficit Snatch Grip Deadlift
Block Pull
 
Push –
Standard Grip Bench Press
Close Grip Bench Press
Incline Press
 
Legs –
Squat
Front Squat
Hack Squat
 
This is with the main lift, I’d then advise perhaps 2-3 accessory lifts, erring on the side of 2 as over the years I’ve found less is more.
 
Guess what, you can also have different options for each of the accessory movements as well, talk about variety planned in to a specific goal.
 
Now this might seem like a lot of effort, however it works, it works well to be honest, it works best when combined with optimal nutrition (calories set accordingly of your goal).
 
Give it some thought, if you can’t cray it yourself feel free to ask for some help on here.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

5 exercises you’re not doing that will change your life.

 
In the modern age the mentality of training is heavily influenced by body building.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about this, however not everyone wants to be one, some want strength, others want performance and a few just want to move better and enjoy life.
 
Give the influence of BB’ing most peoples training is constructed around open chain isolation exercises.
 
Again, nothing wrong with this, however there’s so much you than you know.
 
The 5 movements below will literally change your life in the following ways:
 
– Add slabs of lean muscle
– Build strength
– Increase mental fortitude
– Strip fat
– Improve movement patters (mobility, flexibility etc)
 
Be prepared, chances are you don’t do these at all.
 
1 – Clean & Press
 
2 – Turkish Get up
 
3 – Loaded carry (farmer walk, bear hug, overhead hold, sled drag, prowler push)
 
4 – Rope climbing (or climbing in general)
 
5 – Front Squats
 
Why these 5?
 
Apart from he fact people don’t really do them I will list some benefits in correlation with their number:
 
1 – Explosive power & strength
2 – Full body coordination, improved ROM, stability, strength
3 – Conditioning (strip fat), strength, stability, mental toughness, power
4 – Helps you climb trees to get down your kite
5 – Strength, stability, ROM, posture
 
Now there is one movement that you may feel also needs to be in there and I’d agree, the deadlift should be in there as well.
 
6 – Deadlift – snatch grip variation especially :3
 
You’d be surprised the body you could build doing those exercises, however many of you won’t because they don’t fall in to the norm and fit the status quo, shame.
 
If you’re one of those who has the courage to brea away from the norm here’s a protocol you can use to make that change you’ve been looking for –
 
*Number to correlate*
 
– 5-25 total reps per movement (1,2,5,6)
– 80% + 1RM loading
– 10-20min total distance covered (3/4)
– Train 2-5 times per week
– Session length 45min tops
– Track everything and aim to progress where you can
 
Seems simple, however you have your movements, you can choose to do them with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, odd objects and much more.
 
Just aim to break the norm if you really want to get some results.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

4 techniques to getting stronger.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be considered strong.
 
Being strong is awesome.
 
It makes you more robust, improves your health*, changes your quality of life and above all else it looks pretty bad ass.
*Provided your nutrition and overall lifestyle isn’t self destructive.
 
Strength is a funny thing.
 
You’re either strong or you’re not and to what degree of strength you have simply boils down to wha you need it for, after all, strength is simply the ability to perform a given task much like fitness.
 
So how strong s hold you be?
 
As strong as YOU need is the answer.
 
Okay, enough philosophical thoughts.
 
Time for some techniques.
 
1 – Paused Reps
 
A classic that is still relevant to this day.
 
It’s great for helping you generate and more importantly hold tension in a lift, plus it will get you over sticking points.
 
You simply pause your rep in one or more locations throughout the lifts ROM, it’s that easy.
 
Most will pause at the hardest part of the ROM, in a squat this would be at the bottom as coming out of the hole is hardest for most people.
 
For a deadlift you may choose to pause mid shin, then continue the lift.
 
My recommendation is to do anywhere up to 25-30 total reps for this style of training, that could mean 5×5 or 12×2, perhaps only 3×3 or 4×4, you pick your poison.
 
2 – Singles
 
Another classic, however there’s a slight twist.
 
Again you’d do well to limit the total reps to around 25-30, however here is how you might set it out:
 
– 1 lift per workout for this protocol
– 80-90% 1RM load on the bar
– Perform 1 rep on the minute every minute (EMOM)
– Stick with a load % until you can hit all 30 reps, then incase load of change the lift variation
 
The idea of this is to build volume at a decent intensity level, having to start each rep will help you groove the form and the skill of the lift.
 
My favourites for this are the Deadlift and Presses.
 
3 – Speed Work
 
Increasing your rate of force development (RFD) will help you get stronger as you’ll find you may already have the base strength needed to make a lift, however you’re just too slow.
 
Dave Tate speaks about this at length at Elite FTS, check out his work, it’s mind-blowing stuff as he is crazy smart.
 
Back on topic, speed work.
 
You take 50-65% of your max and perform sets of reps as explosively as possible (ensure good form).
 
You’ll find the 25-30 rep total is again a good bench mark to go for.
 
Concentrate on making each rep as crisp and fast as possible, you will also be limiting your rest, top end being 60 seconds, no more.
 
This method is great for not only boosting RFD but also getting in a good amount of volume in a short space of time.
 
You may think that this won’t help you get strong, it will, trust me. Most strong people are actually pretty fast, just watch any world record lifts and you’ll find the majority look effortlessly fast for the most part.
 
4 – Eccentrics
 
Yet again another tried and tested method.
 
Loading up an exercises will over your max with 110-130% of 1RM and lowering it as slowly as possible is great for helping you break through plateaus.
 
Due to the highly demanding nature of these lifts I’d advise most people to make sure they have spotters and aim for 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps, limiting this rep total to 15 as it can be quite taxing.
 
You will also do well to use this method for 2-3 weeks tops.
 
Doing them it never seems like much, however if you’re using 130% of your max I can tell you it is soul destroying, don’t fall victim to your ego on this, especially with compound lifts.
 
This is great for Chins, Dips, Curls and other such exercises, I’d be a tad weary of doing it with squats and DL unless you’re a very accomplished lifter.
 
There you have it.
 
4 simple techniques that have all been proven to work.
 
Use one method at a time, don’t be a hero and try to do more than one or combine them because you will snap your self up.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

6-10 week protocol to a new PB for you & your clients – new twist on a classic.

If you’re not interested in hitting some new PB’s, that’s cool, feel free to skip reading this.

Let’s say you are interested though, keep reading.

Below you’ll find a simple protocol to help you improve on one or multiple lifts.

This is not something you’d find in body building very often, it’s for people who chase strength.

The information in question is a favourite of many a Russian athlete oddly enough and one I’ve done many times to hit new heights.

I first learnt of this from reading older writing by Dr Fred Hatfield, if you’ve not read any of his books you should, they’re amazing resources.

As you may have guessed I quite like the Russian methodology.

Here is the premise:

– 80% 1RM is starting load, 105% is the end game
– Double Progression is applied
– Intensity is increased incrementally
– Train a 2-3 times per week
– Rest as needed
– Stay tough and you’ll reap the rewards
– Don’t get greedy, follow the protocol

This is how the classic program looks based on 3 days training per week (Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thur-Sat):

*All 6x sets are at 80% 1RM, % changes will be listed below.

^^ If you don’t know yours or your clients 1RM, use an RM calculator to establish an estimated one and go from there.

Week 1
– 6x2x80% 1RM*
– 6×3* (the volume progression begins)
– 6×2*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*
– 6×5*

Week 3
– 6×2*
– 6×6*
– 6×2*

Week 4
– 5x5x85% 1RM
– 6×2*
– 4x4x90%

Week 5
– 6×2*
– 3x3x95%
– 6×2*

Week 6
– 2x2x100% (old 1RM)
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for a new 1RM)

Week 7 Deload

Congratulations, a new PB to help you drive up old RM’s and add some much sought after muscle/strength.

Thats the typical way to do it, however if you’re short on time then this  may be of use.

The new twist for those short on time –

If you with to do this twice per week the cycle will end up being 10 weeks long (9 with the last being a deload).

Week 1
– 6×2*
– 6×3*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*

Finally

Week 9 – Week 10 Deload
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for new 1 RM)

From experience you can pair two lifts together when doing this and PB on both so long as they don’t interfere with each other.

It’s also good because you get a heavy day and a light day each week meaning you can really go for it each heavy session as it makes the overall progression far more manageable.

For example:

DL & Press (or weighted dip)
Squat & Pull Up
Bench Press & Row

You’ll find that some token accessory work of say 30 reps per accessory lift is enough to help the other lifts keep up and maintain some form of muscular balance.

Here is how I planned my sessions using the twice per week training schedule. I was forced to train this way because of upcoming events and life doing what it does best, however I hit new numbers and intact made progress.

Sometimes less really is more.

Lifting Day 1 & 2:
A1 – DL – sets/reps as above
B1 – Press – sets/reps as above
B2 – Chin – 5 reps each set
C1 – Squat 1×10-20

  • I would add in perhaps some postural work and make a few sets for smaller muscle groups if I had time
  • You can also add in some CV training (sprints etc) a couple of times per week that don’t require you going to a gym

The funny thing with this is it’s so simple people will ignore it.

We live in a world where people think that unless they’ve destroyed themselves they haven’t had a good training session.

This is not true.

Especially when you look at MRV (maximum recoverable volume) vs MED (minimal effective dose), however that’s for another day.

Give the above a go and see how you fair.

Enjoy,

Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Make progress with one set!

Something you may have heard or read in the past.
 
Is it true?
 
Yes, however you’ll need to know exactly what is meant by ‘one set’.
 
When people write or speak about making progress with the above, they don’t mean you literally only do one set.
 
What they mean is that you’re going to do one ‘working set’, you don’t include your warm ups in the mix, which could be was little as two sets or as many as 10 depending on how strong you are.
 
A working set is classes as an amount of reps performed at the target weight.
 
You also have the classic 3×10 by Delorme/Watkins which was as follows:
 
– 1x10x50% 10RM (warm up)
– 1x10x75% 10RM (warm up)
and finally…
1x10x100% 10RM (working set)
 
Going you one working set.
 
If we took the classic 3×8, this means 3 working sets, not including warm ups.
 
If you ever read Brawn, you’d find that lots of the programs had things like this written:
 
Squat 1×20
Press 2×5
Chin 1×6-8
etc
 
All of these are the working sets, as you cans occasionally they had 2 working sets.
 
The idea of this set is to much you to your limits and perhaps add some small amount of weight to be bar, improve the form, do it while having less rest and so on.
 
You could manipulate any variable to get progress so long as you made progress.
 
– Volume – perhaps got an extra rep at or 2 the same weight
– Intensity – lifted more total weight on the bar
– Density – had less rest than previously
– Frequency – performed this feat twice in a week instead of once
 
When you take a look at the principles behind this long spoken method of training it’s fair to say they’re pretty solid because they leave you nowhere to hide.
 
If you limit yourself to only one hard set, you’re more likely to give it your all and try to better that set in any which way you can.
 
The more modern approach of “Do all the sets & all the reps!” isn’t bad by any means, however it does often leave people working sub-optimally which is why some struggle to make any form of progress.
 
The repeated bout effect or repetition method is a solid one, that’s not being disputed, however those who get the most out of this are the ones who’ve spent a decent chunk of time hitting one hard ‘working set’ in the past.
 
You may also find working sets are called ‘top sets’ which can be found in those who follow a daily lifting routine – ala Bulgarian style training and daily maxing.
 
So, should you try this style of training protocol?
 
Yes, no, maybe, I really don’t know.
 
It certainly works, however if you’re making progress with what you’re doing then there’s no sense in changing, if not though, perhaps you might find this useful.
 
If you decide to work for top sets here are some pointers of where to start:
 
Top set recommendations:
Squat: 5-10
Presses: 5
Pulls: 6-8
DL: 3-5
Accessory lifts: 8-12
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Why 5×5 has stood the test of time

Chances are you’ve heard of the classic 5×5 workout protocol.
 
Many of the greats have done it starting off with Reg Park, ranging all the way to Arnold in his early days and is still used by many lifters of today.
 
Now something to consider is that there is no one way to perform 5×5.
 
Having the freedom to change the overall loading protocol not only helps with progression it also allows people to stave off the inevitable boredom that they may end up encountering.
 
Here’s some examples:
 
5×5 – 4 warm ups, 1 working set
5×5 – 3 warm ups, 2 working sets
5×5 – 2 warm ups, 3 working sets
5×5 – all working sets as warm up work done separately
5×5 – Heavy – Light – Medium
5×5 – Wave loading
5×5 – CAT
5×5 – Max Effort – 3-5% fatigue drop each set
5×5 – RPE loading set to set – EG 8-9rpe
5×5 – EMOM
 
Essentially you can make any adjustments you feel necessary to allow you to progress.
 
A personal favourite of mine if the H-M-L loading, as you may have guessed from my previous writings.
 
Using this protocol I’d suggest picking one lift that is lagging behind and proceed to train it 3xpw using the protocol like this:
 
H: 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
M: 5 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
L: 2-3 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
M: 5 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
H: 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
Repeat the above
 
You’ll notice that this give you plenty of sessions between heavy days, 3 to be exact.
 
This will allow your body to recovery and adapt to the 80% of your old 5, when the time comes around for the next all out heavy day your aim it to perhaps add a little bit of weight or maybe even complete the same heavy 5 you did before but with better form/speed etc.
 
If you hit a weight repeat then you’d take 85% of that weight for the upcoming sessions before attempting the heavy 5 again.
 
Let’s say you again stick on that same 5 rep weight and the form is again more solid. The loading would be 90% for the upcoming sessions.
 
When this happens to be the case, after the next M day when you you 5x5x90% of your current 5RM, you’d hope to now see a new total weight on the bar.
 
Once you do you go back to the 80% of that top weight and repeat as necessary. If you hit a new weight each time you do the H day then stick at 80% of that for loading, only increase that % if you find you can’t add a tad more weight to the all out set of 5 on your H day.
 
5×5 is safe, it’s effective and it leave little to the imagination.
 
You’ll make stay progress on it for quite some time, especially if you play with the variations of it.
 
Take some time and plan out you training.
 
Remember this protocol is mostly for strength with hypertrophy as a happy side effect.
 
When it comes to the other lifts/body parts you’re not doing 5×5 on, 2-4×8-12 will be good as accessory work, well any rep range will do, just go for a total of around 5 reps on 1-3 extra movements.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

50/50

50/50
 
A no nonsense approach to making gains, stripping fat, improving movement and getting strong.
 
Morning All,
 
I try to keep some training ideas popping up for you so that you have some options, as with most of the recommendations they’re simple and would do well to be done for 3month at a minimum.
 
So what is 50/50?
 
Well if you were born in the 90’s it was a game show, if not then perhaps you know it as nothing more than a statistic or BJJ set up.
 
If we look at applying this to a training program this is the result:
 
– Two exercises
– 50 reps each
– Done in as few sets as possible
– Rest as needed
 
Progression options are interesting, however here are my recommendations:
 
Strength – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 6 sets – rep options 5-10
 
Hypertrophy – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 4 sets – rep options 8-12
 
Fat loss – Increase weight when you can hit 50 reps in less than 2 sets – rep options 10+
 
Now these are not set in stone, they’re just a guide to give you something to go on, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal you can use which ever of the above you enjoy the most.
 
As with most recommendations you’ll do well to have mostly compound movements to cover the full body filling your workout roster, training anywhere from 2-5 days per week will do you.
 
For example, your training days might look like this:
 
Day 1 – Squats/ Rows
Day 2 – Presses/Loaded Carries (10-20m is one rep)
Day 3 – Trap Bar DL/Dips
Off
Day 4 – Pull Ups/Prowler (10-20m is one rep)
Day 5 – Squats/Curls – because curls (Y)
Off
 
I jest, the last day would be Squats/Dumbbell Clean & Press.
 
You get the idea, you can put in any movements you like, just cover the full body with a frequency of each muscle group or movement of twice per week.
 
Depending on the progression option you take and the reps you use, you’ll find you can make some rather large jumps in weight to the bar, perhaps 5kg for upper body lifts and 10kg for lower body ones. The choice is yours.
 
As mentioned above, you can pick the rep ranges you enjoy and go from there. If you like doing 5’s, great start there, once you are doing say 5×10 instead of the 10×5 you started with then add weight.
 
If you like 10’s then start off with 5×10 and perhaps work towards 2×25, or some other ludicrous amount of reps, just do what you enjoy rep/set wise and pick things that will help keep your adherence up, once you get through the initial place of creating the routine and consistency, the results will come and at that point you’ll start doing what you need to do more often.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

5 Reasons people need a framework to succeed –

1 – Most don’t know what they need to do and as such need it clearly signposted

2 – It helps people feel less pressure, basically they can blame the structure for failure rather than themselves

3 – Things such as accountability and more responsibility become easier to administer

4 – Recorded data makes for a great confidence booster to show them how far they’ve come

5 – It teaches them how to achieve success on their own

Now there are those rare people who don’t need a framework to make their own success, if you’re one of them then we’ll see each other at the top. If that’s not you it’s not a problem, just ask for help and it will be yours.

Short & simple today.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Pushing your sets all the way

Working out is easy, it’s training that’s hard.
 
When it comes to the mental aspect of lifting weights we’d all like to think that we’re putting in the effort we require and while some certainly do, most don’t.
 
You can tell by the results people achieve.
 
Let’s take for example the classic 5×5, if you look back at its inception the idea was to either do 3-4 warm up sets where you start working towards a top set for the day, some would even do 2 top sets after 3 progressively heavier warm ups, this would actually be quite hard.
 
To push a set of say 5 for everything you had, with good form of course, is quite draining and very few people will ever really do it. Most will lift a weight for 5 that they could have really don for 7, maybe 8 if they’re honest.
 
This is one reason a lot of us don’t get the progress we really want.
 
I’m guilty of this that’s for sure.
 
Now this isn’t to say that people don’t ‘work hard’, rather it’s just pointing out that many haven’t quite grasped the concept of really pushing a set to it’s limit. if they did they’d find training say 3 days per week is more than enough to make progress, rather than their standard 6 with back to back classes and AM/PM runs.
 
Good old fashioned honest hard graft isn’t pleasant, it’s tough, however it’s what produces results, especially when combined with solid nutrition and plenty of recovery.
 
Try doing 5×5 and having 3-4 of those sets being warm ups, then really go all out on the last set, you should feel sufficiently worked, you may have one more set of 5 at that weight, if you do then go for it, however if you get it right that one hard set of 5 will be enough.
 
The loading might look like this:
 
5x60kg
5x100kg
5x140kg
5x180kg
5x200kg
 
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
 
Just something to think about.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health