Tag Archives: programming

4 Little lung busters that also get you strong.

Morining All,
 
Given the nice weather it’s understandable that people want to shift unwanted fat.
 
Many also want some decent levels of muscle too.
 
Here are some suggestions from me to help you with both, be warned however, they are not as easy as you’d think.
 
They play in to the anaerobic nature of training, this will help by creating a large oxygen debt and have a positive effect on not only your VO2 Max, Strength, Calorie Expenditure but also some small increase in EOPC as well.
 
If you want to dig in to this here is a place to start:
 
 
Now it’s time for the suggested sessions 🙂
 
1 – Litvinov’
 
A1 – Front Squat x4-8
A2 – 400-800m sprint
Rest 1-5min, repeat 3 times.
 
I find higher rep front squats are great with double kettlebells, while with a barbell you’re better of sticking to 5 and under.
 
Sprint as in run, however if you have not running track feel free to sub this for rowing, watt bike etc.
 
2 – Flaming Death
 
(No idea where that name came from)
 
A1 – Sand Bag Shoulder Carry (sprint if you can) 30-50m
Drop, swap sides, run rack.
Rest 2min, repeat 5 times.
 
If you don’t have a sandbag that’s cool, just find something awkward to pick up an drop on your shoulder.
 
3 – Tabata Fun
 
A1 – Thrusters: 20seconds on, 10seconds off, 8 times
Rest 2-4min, repeat twice more if your form hold up
 
Double kettlebells work a treat for this, dumbbells are okay, bar is good, awkward objects are awesome, just watch your form. Aim for 4-8 reps per round (20 seconds).
 
4 – Homemade Highland Games
 
A1 – Single Arm Kettlebell Clean & Shoulder Throw x100m (alternating sides)
Rest 2min, repeat 3-5times
 
The single arm clean is easy, it’s the catch that tricks people, here is a nice little video from the Kettlebell Kings explaining how:
 
 
^^ Once you catch the bell here, launch it as far forwards as you can, like a shot-putter would. Repeat alternating arms, start on your weaker side.
 
These can be used as finishers or even stand alone sessions if you really wanted to give them some oomph.
 
All are easy on paper, however in practice you will find this not the case.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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60 second read

Front squats are great.

One issue may have is getting it in to the rack position, some can overcome this, great, however a few just never get that chance due to injury.

What are we to do?

The answer; same yet different – kettlebell squat (which is often a front squat).

I’ve found people who can’t utilise a barbell can often use a kettlebell in the rack position, then once they progress they can use two bells.

Seems easy, however if you get strong and work up to a pair of 48kg bells I can tell you that makes from one difficult front squat. Perhaps one day even a pistol might be the long term goal.

Here is a video example (pus there are some other great movement other as well) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQEFc6rSKvA

You can program in the same way you would for barbell work.

All done.

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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The low rep approach to higher total volume.

One thing many want to achieve it a greater amount to total volume, which is fair enough as the higher the volume one can tolerate, while maintaining a good level of average intensity, the more gains will be made.
 
Well, provided you can recover that is.
 
Oh, then there is making sure the calorie surplus if adequate too.
 
Okay, so how can we use lower reps to achieve higher total volume, quite easily.
 
Here is an example protocol for two movements –
 
A1 – Press 2-3-4
A2 – Chin 2-3-4
 
You would press for two reps, then do two chins, hollowed by three presses, and so on. Once you ge tot four you tart over again at two, simple.
 
You’d be using a sub-max load, so if 4 is the top rep range then perhaps a 7RM is advisable.
 
There is the option to go for a total amount of sets, say 5, which will give you 45 reps of each, or more depending on your time.
 
Another thing to remember is that all of the reps will be crisp, clean and solid with no decrease in speed, once that starts to happen on say the sets of 4, you drop them and just do 2-3, which you repeat until you need to drop to just doing 2’s, or alternatively you stop the session when you can’t perform 4.
 
The overall idea is to allow you to focus on solid form and using slightly heavier weights.
 
Here are some other options on the rep format:
 
– 1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1
– 2,3,5,3,2,3,5,3,2
– 6,3,6,3,6,3,6,3,6
– 3,5,3,5,3,5,3,5,3
– 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
 
The options are endless really.
 
From personal preference the top rep range is usually 6, from here you can look at taking 50% of that for the next set,so 3 reps and so on.
 
Why do this?
 
If you are hitting a solid 6 reps with say an 8/9RM the set of 3 will be a nice little rest set where you can really focus on the speed of the rep.
 
You also have the option of using close to your 6RM for the sets of 6 and then that means the next set of 3 is a lot easier.
 
There is also the option of keeping the reps the same, say 5 and playing with the weights each set, it may look like this:
 
Set 1 – 5x 16kg
Set 2 – 5x24kg
Set 3 – 5x32kg
Set 4 – 5x16kg
Set 5 – 5x24kg
And so on.
 
You’d perhaps end up with upwards of 15 total sets utilising this method, again with a focus on the speed/form/tightness of each rep ensuring no degradation in form, once it goes you stop.
 
If you are looking for something a little different then this is for you, be warn though, you’ll probably make progress like you’ve never made before if you start off lighter than you think you should.
 
Always leave your ego at the door.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Why Goldilocks had it right.

I’m sure you’ve all heard or read the story of Goldilocks & the three bears.
 
She essentially goes after what is ‘just right’ in ever situation which is actually very inspired and quite clever.
 
Now it may seem like common sense to want to have what is just right, yet getting there is the issue.
 
Goldilocks didn’t know exactly how, yet she did in the end.
 
So, how did she do it?
 
It wasn’t by stumbling across it by accident.
 
That’s how a lot of people this they will find their own ‘just right’.
 
Oh no, first of all she went too far to one extreme, then way over to the other side in to another extreme, then when she found the middle point it became apparent that this was optimal.
 
Yep, the hidden moral of the story is that you sometimes need to explore the extremes to find the place in-between that is called optimal.
 
This is true for pretty much most things, so much so I will say it again.
 
Explore YOUR extremes then you will be able to know where to find optimal.
 
Take training volume for example; too much will cause you to you burn out or get injured, too little means no progress of even regression. Knowing both can help you find the point where it all comes together nicely and allows you to know how to program for your physiology.
 
Remarkably simple, yet often ignored.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 lifts that will make you mobile, strong & robust.

The lifts:
– Kettlebell Swings
– Sots Presses
– Front Squats
– Pull Ups
– *Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry
 
*If this is just too uncomfortable then a trap bar DL with carry is also a good alternative, or a Suitcase Barbell deadlift with carry.
 
Why these 5?
 
They offer a full complement of power, conditioning, strength, mobility and above all else are not done by many people, as such there will be a lot of room for progressions.
 
Here is an option on how to program these lifts based on training 3 days per week.
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swings 10×25
A2 – Sots Presses 10×1-3
B1 – Front Squats 8×2-3
B2 – Pull Ups 8×4-6 (weighted if possible)
C1 – Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry 10×1 + 10-20m carry
 
Add weight when you can complete all reps with solid form, if you want a starting weight use 70% of your max – if you don’t know this then go lighter than you think to allow for longer progression.
 
Repeat this and watch your body change for the better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Training, Vegeta & what is means to really break your limits

One quality that will improve your training instantly.
 
Effort.
 
It’s effort.
 
Like, real effort.
 
I’m talking about that which forces the body in to a place where it has but two choices – Adapt and overcome, or lay down and die.
 
If there is a better way to initiate change, I have yet to hear it.
 
Well, that’s a tad extreme to say, there are a lot of ways to get change, however this is one that has proven itself throughout the decades.
 
Now training like this is not something you can do very often, it takes a hefty toll on the body.
 
If you undergo a solid 6 months of this you’d only need 2-3 training sessions per week, along with plenty of nutritious food and sleep.
 
Dear god don’t forget about sleep, it’s a precious commodity.
 
This style of training is hard, yet very rewarding because of all the extra time you have to do other things.
 
Many will not value it.
 
Most try it for a few weeks and always end up saying that they don’t feel like they’re doing enough and in the initial stages this might be the case because they haven’t yet broken that barrier mentally.
 
You know the one.
 
It tells us to stop, yet if you are it past that one the next screams at you to relent, keep going and you hit the wall where you will either stop or find that little something extra, something special and break through to the next level.
 
Very much like the attitude of Vegeta from Dragon Ball.
 
While Goku, being the main protagonist seem sot always get there due to creative writing, Vegeta is the real one to learn from.
 
He is prideful, driven and above all else hungry to catch Kakarot and even though he is devoid of the natural gifts and opportunities his rival possess and has been given, he does everything he can because he has a purpose.
 
Eventually he realises that he doesn’t want what Goku has, he will break his limits in his own way regardless and as a result gives everything he has.
 
It’s taken hundreds of episodes for him to get to this stage in his character development, however that’s what makes him worthy of respect.
 
 
Anyway, back to the point as I’ve drifted.
 
Put in some real effort.
 
This does not just mean doing more, it means doing better.
 
Even if you do less, do it better and with true grit, determination and gusto, give it YOUR all.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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An overly simple explanation/example of potentiation

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

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8 Tips to help improve your deadlift.

Some call this the King of lifts.
 
Whether you think this deserves that title of perhaps the Snatch, Clean & Jerk or Squat are better suited to it, we can all agree that there is nothing most satisfying that hoisting a hefty weight off the floor to a solid lock out.
 
It’s a truly great feeling.
 
If you’ve hit a bit of a plateau with yours, here are some tips to help you hit some new numbers 🙂
 
1 – Film yourself
 
Ideally you want to get all of your lifts on camera, that way you can make sure your form is on point.
 
2 – Get a stronger grip
 
People will complain that their grip give out, this is cool and means that they can work on it.
 
Adding in Farmers Walks with your bodyweight (50% each hand) for 10 sets of 15-30 seconds (rest double the time you did) 2-3 times per week will fortify this fingers of yours.
 
3 – Reset every rep
 
No bouncing of any deadlift.
 
Ideally place the bar down, step away, step back in, set up again and lift, repeat for your desired amount of reps.
 
This is a great way to groove your set up form and makes for some interesting sets of 5.
 
4 – Add front squats/pause FS to your training
 
These have a nice carry over effect to deadlifts because you have to stay tight and hold posture to make the lift, especially the pause variations.
 
Aim for 15-25 reps in a session, capping the reps per set limit at 3, so that might be 8×3, 12×2, 5×3, 15×1, and so on.
 
5 – Super slow eccentrics
 
You deadlift as normal, while fusing on keeping your form a solid and tight as possible.
 
Next hold the bar at the top for 5 seconds, then proceed to lower over the next 10 seconds, do singles only for this and use anywhere from 50-70% of your max weight you can hit with solid form.
 
Easy on paper, ridiculously hard in practice.
 
6 – Remember the deadlift is a hinge
 
If you watch good pullers they have the following in common:
 
– Almost vertical shin at set up and second part of the pull
– Hips just higher than knees, shoulders just higher than hips
– They push the floor away
– They push their hips forwards
– They keep the bar close
– Tension is not lost at any point in the set up or the lift
 
A lot of people try to squat a deadlift, as such the squat it off the floor (badly), then continue to back extend the weight he rest of the way up and wonder why they hurt themselves.
 
Here is a great little resource explaining this (it’s easier to watch than read):
 
 
Your DL might take a hit in terms of numbers lifted while you re-pattern, however it will be worth it in the end.
 
7 – Strengthen your back
 
This might seem obvious however you’d be surprised how many people put most of their training focus in to pressing and wonder why they have a crap pull.
 
Bent over rows, pull ups, pull downs (various grips), single arm rows, bear hug carries, face pulls, reverse flies are only a few examples of back exercises, make sure you get in some solid volume for your back and make it grow.
 
You’ll also find the bigger your back is the better at pressing you become as your back is responsible for stabilising you and the stronger it is, the stronger human being you will be.
 
8 – Stop chasing weight
 
Kind of a contradiction to this entire post, yet a very relevant one.
 
Time in the gym is meant for BUILDING STRENGTH, not testing it.
 
Many are guilty of testing too often in the gym and wonder why they never make progress.
 
Ego must be left at the door. If you can pull 5 plates, that’s great just don’t think you have to pull 5 plates every time you’re in the gym otherwise people will think you’re weak, they won’t, they don’t care about what you lift, trust me.
 
In the gym sticking between 70-85% of your max is more than enough to help you build some impressive strength and avoid snapping yourself up.
 
If you need to lift some big weights for instagram do what most of those who are famous on it do and buy some fake weights for your videos, simple 😂
 
There you have it, 8 tips to help you improve your deadlift.
 
Obviously don’t try to do them all at once.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Same yet Different, Part 1

We like to do more & all, however it’s not always best to struggle & crawl.
 
Morning all,
 
There are so many training options, we’ve spoken about several and shared them on here, however I’d like to give you something.
 
Something a little more akin to a concept or a philosophy.
 
It’s based on the basics, the tried and tested principles.
 
I’ve used it, my clients have used it.
 
Now I want to give it to you, use it or not, I do not care it’s just a simple share.
 
It will come in several parts.
 
When you put them all together you” understand the concept and philosophy of ‘Same yet Different’.
 
Here is the first :
 
Same yet Different – Movement Patterns
 
First you want a list of movements:
 
– Push
– Pull
– Hinge
– Squat
– Locomotion
 
Now start off by picking 3 main movements for each category, I will give you an example:
 
– Press, Incline Press, Close Grip Bench
– Pull Up, Row, High Pull
– Deadlift, Power Clean/Snatch, Kettlebell Swing
– Front Squat, Squat, Zecher Squat
– Farmers Walk, Sand Bag Carry, Waiter Walk
 
From here you will also want 1-2 accessory movements for each category (meaning an extra 3-6 exercises per movement pattern).
 
The idea is that you now have a pool of exercises to pick from and rotate through to help you achieve constant progression by utilising the main principle of this philosophy by keeping this ‘the same, yet different’.
 
Let’s continue on the first part.
 
Once this is done you can organise your training sessions, here is an option or several:
 
– Full Body
– Upper Day, Lower Day
– Pull Day, Push Day, Leg day
– Anterior Day, Posterior Day
– Strength Day, Power Day, Accessory Day
 
I will expand on one of them:
 
Pull Day –
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Chin Up
B2 – Farmers Walk
C1 – Curls
 
Push Day –
A1 – Barbell Press
A2 – Dumbbell Press
A3 – Handstand Press or Handstand Hold
B1 – Dips
 
Leg Day –
A1 – Front Squat
B1 – Lunge
B2 – RDL
C1 – Calf Raise
 
How might one of these be adapted once a plateau has been hit?
 
How can it be ‘same yet different’?
 
Like this:
 
Pull Day –
A1 – Power Clean
B1 – Pull Up
B2 – Waiter Walk
C1 – Hammer Curl
 
Similar movements, yet not exactly the same.
 
Now you’ve got this first part you’ll do well to go and put it in to practice.
 
– 5 movement patterns
– 3 main lifts per movement pattern (minimum)
– 1-2 accessory lifts per movement pattern
– Pick a training split (full body, upper/lower etc)
 
Part two coming soon.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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