Tag Archives: programming

20/20 – Tactical Time Based Training

Having no time to train is rarely an excuse that holds much water these days.
Time can always be found for something that is a priority to you.
I’m sure you can find 20min per day to invest in your health.
To get you started you’ll find 20 sessions below to try.
1 – Death by Watt Bike
An interval program, 8 seconds work, 12 seconds rest for 20min.
Personally I’d advise you do 5min of your 20 on the bike as a W/U, then 10min using the interval protocol the 5min slow peddling in to a couple of cool down stretches.
2 – Pull & Hinge to Glory
Set a timer for 20min at 1min intervals.
Each minute do 3-5 chins and 5 swings until all 20min is done.
3 – Push it Real Good
Put 20min on countdown, load up a barbell and aim to do 100 thrusters in the time.
4 – White Buffalo in the Sky
Perform one 500m rowing sprint, rest the time it took you to complete the sprint.
Repeat until 20min is up.
5 – A Complex Series of Events
Grab 2 kettlebells, set you clock for 20min and do the following as many times as you can, ideally without putting the bells down even once.
3-5 reps for all: Swings, Cleans, Presses, Squats – repeat
6 – A Complex Chain of Events
Like the previous one only heavier and you put the bells down after the squats to shake out tension.
1 rep for all: Swings, Cleans, Presses, Squats – repeat
7 – The Bear Essentials
Perform the Bear Complex with a barbell, aim for 3 sets of 8 reps per movement.
Increase weight each set, if you do all three before 20min is up then congrats, use more load next time just know that for today you’re done.
8 – Walk the Walk
Simplicity at its finest.
Carry 50-100% of your bodyweight for 20min.
9 – Bodyweight Blitz
EMOM for 20min do 5 pull ups, 10 press ups & 15 squats.
10 – DRAW!
Pistol ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,etc up as high as you can go in the 20min, no broke sets – this means if you fail to perform say 7 straight on one leg and instead do 4 you do 4 on your second leg, rest a spell and start the ladder over again at 1.
11 – Single Arm Sadist
As above just with single arm Press Ups.
20 min will seem like a very long time doing this.
12 – Everybody do the Worm
Have your trust 20min countdown ready and also a kettlebell.
Do 15 swings, then inchworm your self out in to a press up position and do 1 press up, inchworm back to the bell and do another 15 swings, then back to the press up position for 2 press ups and repeat this for 20min.
As with all ladders once your form goes start again at one, the swings stay the same throughout.
13 – Nice Snatch
20min of kettlebell Snatch, you can change hands as many times are you choose however you can’t put the bell down,
14 – What a Jerk
Like the above except you will use 2 kettlebells and perform jerks for 20min without setting the bells down.
I like to add in a racked walk once I need rest from the jerks just to keep moving however this isn’t mandatory.
15 – Chains & Whips Excite Me
Aim for as many rounds as possible in 20min of the following:
Overhead Lunge 20 reps holding a chain(s) overhead, run back with said chains still overhead then put them down and grab a battle rope and perform 15-30 explosive whips (double hand slams you may know them as).
Repeat until death ensues and then keep going.
16 – Limber Timber
Pick a yoga or movement flow and do if for 20min.
I’d persoanlly aim for one that has a high bias towards mobility and overall movement, check out Max Shank for Idea.
17 – Deadlifts & the Diaphragm
See how many sets of the following you can complete in 20min.
5 Deadlifts (pick a sensible weight), 10 deep breaths with a focus on utilising your diaphragm, repeat and enjoy.
18 – Lift, Run, Bang
Out of your 20min us 5 to get warm, then for 10 do the following:
20 sec of Clean & Press, 20 sec shuttle runs, 20 sec of power ball/bag slams, repeat for 10min solid.
Last 5min will be cool down/stretching off.
19 – Shoulder of Justice
Using an object of 50-100% of your bodyweight take it from the floor to your shoulder (left then right ,etc), repeat for 20min.
20 – Sissy that Walk
20min of prowler push 20m (liked out arms) followed immediately by dragging it back (bent arms) the same distance, try to make the transitions as quick as possible.
The above is nothing spectacular.
All of them are based largely off of density programming.
You will want to add weight where you can and always aim to keep a record of what you achieve so that you can do better next time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A little S&C for free.

Morning All,
Typically I will try and throw out various methods and bits of info for people to take away and try.
No specific reason for it other than if an idea crops up it might as well be shared.
You may find some of the older programs below useful.
You may not, either way they’re there.
One thing I have noticed in the age of the internet is the abundance of info and free stuff, it’s quite the time to be alive.
The slight issue is that it means people don’t go looking for the right info, just what they want to read.
Take some free training sessions people share.
Most are high volume bollocks that has no rhyme or reason.
There is little focus on developing much of anything in their training and it’s all for the attention.
While it is true there’s many ways to the top of the fitness mountain each one needs strength.
Here in lies the problem, people don’t want to get strong.
As such this little protocol today is focused on that very thing, with some added extra for those who want to leave feeling their heart race (because people are addicted to feeling that they’ve done something).
– Main Movement(s): 2-3-5
– Accessory Movement: Time or Distance Goal
– Conditioning Element: Optional sprint protocol
You might be wandering what I mean by 2-3-5 in the main movement, it’s pretty simple yet will be rather scary to some people.
You literally just to a set of two, then rest, then a set of 3 and rest some more and finish with a tough set of 5.
Yep, the 2 & 3 are your warm up sets.
This goes against conventional wisdom and that’s why it works.
You’ll need to have some focus as this doesn’t give you the option of pissing about.
Here is an example day with 2 main lifts performed as a super set (you can pick as main man lifts as you choose and perhaps have easier ones to potentiate harder ones).
A1 – Deadlift 2-3-5 Rest 120 seconds
A2 – Press 2-3-5 Rest 120 seconds
B1 – Famers Walk 10min x20m carries
C1 – Rowing Interval 8/12 x5min
Depending only our time you can be in and out of the gym in 20min or stretch it to 45, that’s up to you.
In regards to progression (if you keep the movements the same) add 2-3% to your top lift each session and milk it for all its worth.
Funny how many people miss that little gem.
If something is still progressing and producing results stick with it as long as possible.
^^ On average a lift/movement does well for about 6 sessions for most people and then needs changing as a guide.
Take a read on the above and leave your thoughts below.
If this isn;t for you that’s cool however I’d like you to take away one thing; train for strength first and foremost because being weak isn’t good and will lead to an early grave.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Trusty Rusty

A man and his kettlebell.
Because no dogs were available at the time.
Have you ever thrown around the aforementioned cannonball with a handle?
They offer a plethora of benefits.
Strength, mobility, CV, power and much more.
Their beauty comes from their simplicity because you don’t need much to accomplish a lot, provided you don’t have a kettlebell that is little more than a door stop in regards to total weight.
I’m sure many will disagree with this.
Oh well never mind.
What will transpire below is not for the very de-conditioned although it can be adapted for such.
Here is what weight I’d recommend for you have as an essential starting out:
Gentlemen – 24kg
Lady – 16kg
With such limited choice you’ll have to be clever with training and keep things simple yet effective.
Try this short 26 week protocol –
Weeks 1-6 – Get Up & Single Arm Swings
– Up to 10 total get ups per day
– 75-250 single arm swings per day
Weeks 7-12 – Clean & Press (or push press, or jerk)
– Clean ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 with 1 Press
– Press ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,19 with 1 Clean
– Alternate between the above per day
Weeks 13 – 18 – Single Arm Swings & Squats/Push Ups*
*can be pistols/single arm push ups*
– Single arm Swings 75-250 per day
– Goblet Squat or Push Up* ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
– Alternate SQ/PU each day
Weeks 19-24 – Single Arm Swing, Clean, Press, Squat
– Complex ladder 1,2,3,4,5
– Perform up to 5 ladders each say (one at a minimum)
This isn’t fancy, however it is effective as you can tweak movement variations to your hearts content and add in some GTG (grease the groove) work if you feel strong enough.
^^ I’ve found a pulling movement works well for GTG.
I’ve personally done the above with a 32kg and found limiting the choice was a great way to give myself a much needed kick up the arse.
Give it a go and as always –

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Starting Points

Do you want to know a little bit about how I program for people?

Here you go –

Step 1 – Make it ultra complex
Step 2 – ???
Step 3 -They become life long indentured clients because they can’t workout what I’ve programmed 😂

A classic business trope.

The end.



Okay, on a slightly more serious note, let us look at the movement element of how I program so that hopefully you can take something away from it and apply to your own.

I base a lot off of a hierarchy of movement.

– Movement Itself (crawling, climbing, full body)
– Loaded Carry Patterns
– Hinging Patterns
– Squatting Patterns
– Pulling Patterns
– Pushing Patterns

These cover all the planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse), along with bi/unilateral and rotation/anti-rotation.

^^ More on that another day.

Depending on the ability of each person things will be more or less spicy.

You can’t build a fortress on a marsh.

The focus is on the fundamentals, getting people structure locked in and allowing them to move well.

So in short, we start with a pattern.

Example: Push Isometric

Basic – Plank Hold
Intermediate – Pike Hold
Advanced – Handstand Hold

All a pushing movement bias pattern, I’d start here to build on a persons ‘feeling’ or you might say their body awareness and capability to stabilise and create the required tension/torques in their body.

The three above might not seem like much or have any where to progress to except for added time.

Or some some will think.

Here are some progression options.

– Single arm
– Single leg
– Single arm & leg (where applicable)
– Staggered
– Resistance band pulling towards non-based arm/leg
– Unstable surface (safe options only)
– Alternating arm
– Alternating leg
– Alternating arm & leg (where applicable)

^^ This is without even looking at classic kit such as barbells, kettlebells and other lovely items.

Oh yes, people who spam the same cookie cutter programs are being lazy.

Actually that’s not fair to say, this is why we have a niche that we find and call our own, because when you look at all the possibilities and permutations you’ll see how you can’t do it all and that picking a field to specialise in is a good shout.

Can you start to see just how much progression you truly have to play with once you look beyond the classic ‘bro’ of sets/reps/load.

Of course there is nothing wrong with bro-training, however that is merely one element of training or programming, this rabbit hole is truly a deep one.

So my strong strong friends, where do you start?

Try looking at movement patterns first because it will allow you to see what people are doing a lot of and what falls woefully short (that’s where they need to focus – average person, athletes are another story).

The above can be a checklist of needs, it will allow you to program to a persons wants wile actually getting them to do things that help in the long run.

Any questions pop them below.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

9 Reasons Bottoms Up (BU) Kettlebell Work is Awesome

*You’d do well to use a bell at least one size lighter than normal for your strict press (ideally 12-16kg for all, if this is too heavy for you then avoid BU work for the time being and just get stronger)
1 – It teaches you tension throughout your entire body.
2 – You need to mater the weight, the balance, the feel and connecting your body as a unit before you can even move a single step or attempt a press.
3 – The positive crossover to your pressing form is well worth the ego check.
4 – Hitting some solid reps in either the clean, press, rack walk (BU) waiters walk, windmill, TGU etc, all look pretty cool.
5 – Strengthens grip-glutes-core better than most other movements.
6 – Perfect for GTG and deload work.
7 – You will learn which arm is your weaker one, as such you lift with that one first and then match the reps you achieve with the strong arm.
8 – It allows you to get in a good session even if you’ve got limited weights (KB’s).
9 – Apart from all the strength, stability and coordination gains you’ll get, this way of lifting is good fun.
Here is are a few little complexes to try 2-3 times per week.
Complex 1 – Ladder set 1,2,3,4,5 – repeat 3-5 times each arm
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Squat
A4 – BU Rack Walk
^^ You can progress this one to using two bells.
Complex 2 – 2-3 reps per arm – 20-40min total
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Windmill
A4 – BU Waiter Walk
Complex 3 – 1 rep per arm – static hold each position for 10 seconds tops – 20-30min total
A1 – BU Clean to Rack Hold
A2 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A3 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A4 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A5 – BU Press Lock Out Hold
A6 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A7 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A8 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A9 – BU Rack Hold
*Finish with some swings or snatches each session 100-200 reps.
**You’d also do well to think about ‘pulling’ the weight down in the lowering element of the press, squats and windmills.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

You get what you train for

“I’m not saying people are idiots, Let’s face it though, we all know at least one.”

^^ Made me chuckle this morning.

For all the best intentions in the world some are just beyond help, or at least not ready for it.

I had a discussion about strength over the weekend.

One of my favourite kinds of discussion.

We touched on many things, most importantly the ‘use it or lose it principle’.

This relates quite nicely to the way people train and what it can potentially end up costing them in the long run.

There are various types of strength, here is a nice easy way to remember some of the key ones.

– Slow Strength (grinding, integrity under load)
– Fast Strength (acceleration, jumping, throwing)
– Mobile Strength (athleticism, movement)

You will find there may be a bias in regards to they dominant type of strength you need if you play a sport, compete in something or have an ultra specific goal.

If however you’re just someone what wants to train then you’d do well to cover all the bases.

We often get very tied to a couple of specific ideas, or ways of training.

While not a terrible thing it can limit our overall progress and abilities.

I’d like you to consider the above in your training.

Can you think of a way to get all three in?

They don’t have to be in any specific order, you can go with the above, reverse it, mix and match doing 2/3 each session, or even just pick one element to focus on for an entire session.

Select a movement(s) forces and away you go.

For example:

Mobile Strength (warm up) – Loaded Carries & Crawling
Fast Strength (main lift) – Power Clean & Push Jerk
Slow Strength (accessory lifts) – Press, DL, Row, Chin

Training isn’t set in stone, it’s alright if you train something other than classic body building.

If you can crawl along the floor, climb things without support, pick up heavy -ish loads and potentially carry or press them overhead them if needed, and most importantly move without any pain, you’re on to a winner.

Remember, we’re not meant to be good at just one thing.

We have the ability to be good at many things, so why waste that opportunity.

Take a look at your current training and see what you’re missing, then perhaps consider adding it in.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Always an alternative

Sadly squats were not on the cards today.
Well, at least not with a bar.
The adaptation was simple, yet sinister.
100 total reps of Pistols.
This was 50 per leg with half being working sets of 32kg (5×5) and recovery sets at 50% of that (5x5x16kg).
In-between each set of pistols was a set of swings with 32kg hitting 15-35 reps per set.
Seems easy on paper, in reality not so much.
You are never short of the ability to train if you’re honest with yourself.
Of course if you feel like a rest day or are jammed working/traveling, cool to skip a day, however just skipping the gym because of being lazy isn’t a good path to go down.
One way to get around the dogmatic view of –
“I can’t get to the gym to do XYZ exercise.”
Think about movement patterns: Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Locomotion (loaded carry) or Movement (crawling, climbing etc) at the simple level, hitting one or tow of those daily will be life changing for most people.
We have gotten stuck in the gym mindset.
Meaning we can only get the results we want when we go to the gym, this isn’t true.
Now if you are to say that one can only get specific results desired from training in a gym (or with specialist kit) then that is a different topic with a valid point and requires more discussion.
If the goal is simply to feel better, move better, look better and stave off the cold hand of the reaper a little longer, then there is no inherent need for a gym or specialist kit, not really.
Don’t get me wrong, specialist kit is great and makes training good fun and easier to adhere to.
Not to mention of the tools are there then they should be utilised because that is what tools are for.
What do you do when your normal routine is compromised?
I look forwards to reading your answers below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Reps for days

It isn’t uncommon for people to ask – “What sets/reps should I be doing?”

While perhaps not that exactly, it will be something along those lines, as such I’ve found that cycling them based on a classic Heavy-Light-Medium rotation applied to a Pull-Push-Legs split.

One element to remember is that Heavy doesn’t mean hard and light doesn’t mean easy, however that is a topic for another day, for now I will give you something you can apply immediately.

Rep/Set Schemes:

  • Heavy  – 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2 (heavy yet not hard)
  • Light – 20-15-10-20-15-10 (light yet not easy)
  • Medium – 5-8×1 + 1×20 – ramp to heavy single for the day, then take 60-70% of that and do one set of 20 reps

Split Options: 4 day split examples

  • Pull-Push-Legs-Off-Repeat
  • Lower-Upper-Posterior-Off-Repeat
  • Strength-Conditioning-Mobility(restorative)-Off-Repeat

^^ 2-4 lifts per day is often sufficient, 1 main with the rep/set scheme, the rest can be 2-3×10-15 or 4×6, your choice.

If we take the PPL and apply the rep schemes over a small cycle.

No change in lifts, only reps.

Day 1 – Pull – Heavy
Day 2 – Push – Light
Day 3 – Legs – Medium
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Pull – Light
Day 6 – Push – Medium
Day 7 – Legs – Heavy
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Pull – Medium
Day 10 – Push – Heavy
Day 11 – Legs – Light
Day 12 – Off

Many will then say – “What now?”

Once you’ve gone through this you’ll find you’re back at the heavy day being for pull, you can choose to keep the lifts the same and try to hit a higher load or you can perhaps change the lifts, pick your poison.

This allows for a constant rotation of days and keeps things interesting, if you are constrained be the working week and days you can train then you may need something a little different, in which case all you need do it ask for the answer.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Do you really need that many sets?

When it comes to getting big it is pretty undeniable that volume is king.
Density is Queen and Intensity is the Mistress.
From being around for quite a while I’ve found that those who are the biggest often go down the route of metabolic stress/metabolite production for their gains.
That being said, they still understand that you can’t build decent size with piddly weights.
Then again on the opposite side of that coin you can’t get in enough volume if the loads are too heavy to amass the required volume/fatigue to cause an adaptive response.
Not enough stimulus = no change
Too much stimulus = no change, just survival at any cost
It’s known as the Goldilocks effect.
Things have to be just right, and as such it brings up the classic ‘it depends’ and ‘find what works for you’.
Those two statements really do irritate me.
Not for any other reason than people fall back on them when they don’t want to admit the fault is theirs.
It’s easy to hide behind ambiguity after all.
So how many sets is too many?
If you look in to the science you’ll find that it states anywhere from 3-30 sets can be optimal for hypertrophy.
For the love of all that is holy, that doesn’t help anyone, especially when it’s combined with “Well it depends.”
No, fuck you, fuck off, people don’t want that bullshit, they ask a question for an answer that will yield some useful info they can apply, or confirm a bias.
Hey, you can’t win them all.
Here is what I’ve found from personal & professional experience for the majority of lifters
^^ The majority being beginner to intermediate at best.
Sets can go out of the window for now as they will vary base donate reps/load.
Reps/Load are the key factor for most people.
Utilising a good 12RM for 2-6 sets will leave you feeling pretty done.
*RM = rep max.
I know 2-6 seems low, however these are WORK SETS.
This means each one takes a good amount out of your tank and you need to recover from the set.
Same is true for an 8RM, or 6RM, essentially anything that you are actually lifting the amount you should on.
This doesn’t include warm up sets or perhaps a couple of back of sets for pump (if you need that feeling, which some do, and that’s cool).
Say you’ve got 3 warm up sets, 3-4 working sets and 2-3 back off sets, that will give you at the top end 10 sets.
That is provided you’re using the land you should be using and that is the hardest part to get right.
For example.
If your absolute 6RM with near perfect from on Press is 60kg you have couple of options on how to work with it.
1 – Do a set of 6, rest 3-5min, repeat 2-3 more times.
2 – Do sets of 4, rest 2-3min, repeat 4-6 times.
Same load, very different levels of intensity.
The first option will be more optimal for people who know their body well, the second is better for those that find auto-regulation difficult.
As mentioned above, this is based on my own personal/professional experience.
If you have the weight right then 2-6 total working sets on your main lift (not including warm up or back off sets) is sufficient.
The same goes for secondary lifts and accessory ones.
I’ve found 2-6 for the secondary tends to go well with the main, and of the accessory 2-3 sets if often enough for most.
Think about that for a second, if we have the top end of all the sets thats 6+6+6 (tow accessory lifts), 18total sets.
Wait…. 18…. That falls right in between the 3-30 mark.
Holy shit, the science was right?!
Indeed it was/is, however it’s how you apply it that matters.
Most people look at the science and don’t know how to apply it or what it really means, as such they just want simple answers and this is what leads to the ambiguity.
Plus the majority will go in straight at the top end of the amounts of sets, this isn’t wise.
Picking an RM to work with and allowing your body to tell you when enough is enough is key, however it’s not an easy skill to learn.
Does the above help you?
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.
That being said, here is what I would advise you to try moving forwards if you need guidance.
Main Lift: 2-4 working sets
Secondary Lift: 2-4 working sets
Accessory Lift*: 2-3 working sets
*Typically you pick 2-3 accessory movements, and just one main/secondary lift.
Remember those are working sets, the money makers if you will, as such you want to aim to use as close to a true RM as possible.
^^You find each set, if you have the load right there is a 2.5% drop off in performance each set, which equates to 1 rep (or 1.25kg), if using a true RM, or a slightly slower speed, I will go over this another time.
So, how many sets do you really need?
Well, it depends 😂

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A new take on an old classic

Ever read Super Squats?

It’s an older book however it’s well worth a read, not to mention 6 weeks of your time following the training program itself.

Wile easy enough to understand it certainly separates the strong from the weak.

It’s brutal mentally because it’s so simple.

The original training went something like this:

Press behind neck – 2-3 x 12
Squat – 1 x 20 supersetted with Pullover – 1 x 20
Bench press – 2-3 x 12
Rowing – 2-3 x 15
Stiff legged deadlift – 1 x 15
Pullover – 1 x 20

Done 2-3 times a week.

Worth a go for the experience if nothing else, you’d also do well to have the aim of getting to 300lbs in the squat or 20, the ultimate goal in the book.

So while the above is fun it’s not the only way to utilise this style of training, you can take the basic skeleton (sets/reps) and apply it to a great many things.

Staring movement on a weak area – 2-3 x 12
Select a large compound lift (DL, C&P, SQ, etc) – 1 x 20 superset with antagonist – 1 x 20
Pick a secondary lift for adding muscle – 2-3 x 12
Pick a lift antagonistic the the one just before this – 2-3 x 15
A little something for pump – 1 x 15
The movement you did in the compound 20 rep lift – 1 x 20

Here is an example of how you can use that structure.

Weeks 1-6 the classic Super Squat routine

Weeks 7-12 (you fancy some back and arm focus)

Kettlebell Clean & Sots Press– 2-3 x 12
Trap Bar Deadlift – 1 x 20 supersetted with Barbell Curl – 1 x 20
Incline Press – 2-3 x 12
Close Grip Pull Down – 2-3 x 15
Split Squat – 1 x 15
Barbell Curl – 1 x 20

Perform 2-3 times per week, perhaps aim to hit the 20rep on TBDL with 400lbs, ala Brawn and Stuart McRoberts.

I’m sure you get the idea.

The beauty comes from the simple structure that allows you to simply plug and play, just with some exercise variations.

Obviously you don’t need to do this and the overall specificity is lacking, however for people who just want general training (strength, fat loss, hypertrophy) and some guidance it’s quite useful.

Give it some thought.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health