Tag Archives: progressive overload

The element of programming you’ve forgotten

I’m not pinned, I’m doing pause reps….
 
Believe it or not I’ve sad this before.
 
Once because I was genuinely doing paused reps and people were rushing over.
 
The other time I was legitimately stapled by the bar in a bench press and felt a little silly as I had only moments before declined a spot.
 
In the more modern realms of lifting the eccentric-less styles of training have taken quite well and gained in their popularity.
 
Think weightlifting as an example.
 
In fairness most power related sports don’t really have a heavy eccentric component in them, some do however not the ones most people are enamoured by.
 
The stronger they get concentrically with out looking at how much they can stabilise and lower, the closer they edge towards injury.
 
Many have never heard of the term strength deficit before.
 
As such let us delve in to it for a spell.
 
Eccentrically you should be able to handle around 30% more than you can lift concentrically for all things to be considered equal, or at least not to be on the brink of royally snapping your shit up.
 
When this number starts to drop below 30% things need to be looked at, if yours is 20% or lower then you may have a problem.
 
A good example is that of an average runner.
 
Potentially strong in the quads, the hamstrings/glutes not so much.
 
They need the hamstrings to allow them to achieve their full potential for running, along with helping any potential change of direction that may occur in the blink of an eye.
 
Make them try some sprinting style drills that involve moving in anything other than a straight line and they’re more often than not very slow, or the go for it and something goes ping.
 
 
How do you know if you have a strength deficit on a lift?
 
The 4+2 method is a great way to find out what it is.
 
I got this from Poliquin.
 
Actually there is probably an article, hang on.
 
….
 
 
^^ There you go.
 
I wonder how much thought you give to the eccentric portion of your lifting?
 
Perhaps you’ve taken up the current in thing of ‘tempo work’ – tempo bench, tempo squats etc, which is actually just lifting normally truth be told.
 
If you were going to do tempo work then your lifting owed be done to a metronome.
 
Training eccentrically with maximal/supra-maximal is very taxing, best suited for 3 week blocks maybe 2-3times per year for most people.
 
Having a focus on the eccentric portion of your lift however.
 
Well that is something you should always have in mind for all you lifts, unless specially programmed otherwise by your coach.
 
What is the optimal ‘everyday’ eccentric pace?
 
4-6 seconds seems to be the sweet spot because it allows for a decent load to be lifted multiple times so that you’re not missing your volume/intensity needs.
 
Concentric should in my opinion always be performed as fast as possible (with control, obviously).
 
The top end of a lift you can choose to pause there for a second to re-brace/stabilise or just go straight in to the next rep if you’re already in the groove.
 
At the lowest part, of the end ROM, like the top you can just crack on or you can utilise a pause.
 
^^ A minimum of 4 seconds in the hole will greatly debilitate the stretch reflex (stored tension/potential kinetic energy and all that jazz) meaning you need to generate more tension/force to get the weight back up.
 
^^Klokov has had a method named after him for his length pauses, the ‘Klokov squat’ it looks like this: 1 rep x 6-10-X-0 tempo. They’re horrid yet so so much fun.
Try using this little gem in your programming and let me know of all the gains you make.
 
Eccentric/Pause Focus:
 
– Pick 1-3 main lifts
– Accessory work will be 2-3 sets of AMRAP
– Rest as needed
 
Week 1-2: Acc – 6×6-8: tempo 8-0-X-0
Week 3-4: Int – 8×2-4: tempo 2-6-X-0
Week 5-6: Acc – 6×6-8: tempo 6-0-X-0
Week 7-8: Int – 8×2-4: tempo 2-4-X-0
Week 9-10: Acc – 6×6-8: tempo 4-0-X-0
Week 11-12: Int – 8×2-4: tempo 2-2-X-0
 
Week 13 – Deload
Week 14 – Test new RM on the lift(s) you focused on
 
As always leave any questions below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Progress Time

I don’t know what it is.
 
You might.
 
Regardless of the answer though, you can’t beat a bit of 90’s classic pop songs to make you smile.
 
They’re even better when you know all the words too.
 
Anyway, it’s time for a little lesson in time.
 
Programming sessions based on Density (work capacity, basically how much you get done in said time) is a great way to work with individual clients or groups.
 
Especially groups to be fair.
 
As a PT you get quite familiar with living your life y the clock.
 
Each second is of vital importance and not to be squandered.
 
A wise policy for life too.
 
Given most sessions are 1hour in length, you need to be optimising them.
 
Personally I love programming.
 
It’s always fascinated me, it’s truly an art to get right.
 
That being said, not all people or clients want to know the numbers unfortunately, they’re just looking for a good time.
 
As such who are we to disappoint them, right?
 
When it comes to progressing either Volume (reps/sets) or Intensity (loading %) you can end up increasing the time of a session.
 
If people can train longer than an hour then these two are the first ports of call for progression and achieving progressive overload, density would be an afterthought and taken in to account last.
 
However when the luxury of time isn’t there, Density rules.
 
Taking away the W/U-CD elements, which would total about 15-20min, we have 40min left to play with to help people achieve results.
 
That my friends is plenty of time when you know what you’re doing with it.
 
Given there are endless options on how you can use this time effectively I can’t go through them all, hopefully 4 will be enough to get you delving further in to the topic.
 
1 – Time Block & Rounds –
 
Typically AMRAP means ‘as many reps as possible’ however it could also mean ‘as many round as possible’, for the purpose of hitting a good stimulus you’ll find using rounds more useful than reps.
 
Example:
 
Reps: 5-10-15 (can be meters)
Movements: Pull Up, Farmers Walk , Med-Ball Slam
Time: 20min
Focus: Posterior Chain
Result: Hot Death
 
How to progress this is easy, you set number of rounds to achieve in time block and if it is hit then you can either change the movements or increase the loads of each of them, if not you just stick with it for as many sessions as is required until the target is hit.
 
2 – Time Block & Wave Loading –
 
A little trickier as you will need to know people strength levels ideally, not a necessity, just an ideal.
 
Example:
 
Reps: 6-6-6 (light load, medium load, heavy load)
Movements: Press Overhead
Time: 20min
Focus: Anterior Chain
Result: Shoulders for days
 
How to progress, you will need to watch the last set of reps and how the land is handled. If it flies up and the timer is at say 19min then you can logically add some load, if the person needs a chunk of rest before lifting it then keep it as it is.
 
Think of it this way. Press = 30kg, 45kg & 60kg, the first two sets are 50/75% of the top weight, they are meant to be easy so that speed/form can be focused on while still getting some work done.
 
The focus is the top set, if the top set can’t be hit then they will go between the 50-75% loads until they feel ready to hit the top one or the rest after the 75% as long as they need to hit the top set.
 
Sounds complex, it’s actually easier to do it.
 
3 – EMOM –
 
Every minute on the minute, a popular CrossFit staple, however by no means created by CF.
 
Ideally your EMOM will last 15-20 seconds in the first round, then slowly end up being longer as it takes the person more time to complete.
 
If you’re EMOM start off in round one at say 30 seconds you’ve gotten the exercise choice/flow very very wrong because it leaves no room for fatigue of any sort.
 
Reps: 3-3-3
Movements: Power Clean, Push Press, Front Squat
Time: 10min
Focus: Whole Body
Result: Kill me now
 
4 – For time, yep it’s a race –
 
As you may have guessed, you simply set out a task to be achieved and set people off, the idea is to finish it as fast as possible, with good form.
 
If you have the time limit of sat 10min and someone does it in 5, well, add load to their movements, if someone doesn’t finish it in the allowed time then they stay as they are.
 
Reps: 800m
Movements: Bear Hug Loaded Carry
Time: 15min
Focus: Posterior Chain & Core
Result: Much harder than expected
 
All in all pretty simple to grasp and when your life is ruled by three hands, this style of programming is invaluable.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Gym-less Results

My friends, did you know?
 
I did, as I’m sure you did too, however many don’t.
 
Shall we tell them?
 
Everyone, you don’t have to go to the gym to achieve health/fitness/aesthetically related results.
 
😮😮😮😮😮
 
A shocking revelation.
 
Let us look at some alternatives to making the perhaps repetitive and dull decision to train a little more interesting.
 
You will find that all of these activities have the body working as it is meant to; a collective unit.
 
That body of yours is meant to work in synergy, not isolation with I am aware goes against the classic body building notion of the 70’s which has stuck, however it is true.
 
Given this little nugget of information, here are some things you may enjoy that will get you results that are far better than you’ve currently achieved trying to follow the classic way or Arnold.
 
– Martial Arts (Judo, JiuJitsu, Boxing, Capoeira, etc)
– Climbing
– Calisthenics
– Parkour
– Swimming
– OCR activities
– Kettlebells 😂, could’t resist
 
Finally there is one thing that has proven itself over the millennia to forge a body of solid granite and here is the best bit; you get PAID to do it.
 
Seriously, how epic is that.
 
You ready for it?
 
Getting a job in Manual Labour, or a Physical Job.
 
*If you don’t fancy a job in this you can mimic it by having various odd objects in your garden to lift, carry, put over your head, etc. That will be similarly as effective.
 
Seriously, that is not a joke.
 
If you take a second to think logically you’ll find we are far weaker than our ancestors because of the rather luxurious lifestyle we can now lead.
 
Many moons ago you’d find people would spend all day lifting variable loads from point A to point B to accomplish a task, they got fairly muscular and strong from it too, and there was also a hefty amount of conditioning that found it’s way in to this work as well.
 
Being able to shift several tonnes of shingle in less than a few hours is one heck of endurance feat if you have no slow down in pace.
 
Keeping all of this in mind it can hep you understand what role the gym really plays for people in various walks of life.
 
For people who work in the manual field it’s for extra aesthetics, if they feel inclined.
 
To office workers it’s for their health and looks.
 
In regards to athletes it is a necessary evil for this job to improve their performance.
 
Just worth remembering.
 
Back to my original point, you don’t NEED to hit the gym to get the results you desire, there are far more ways to do it and a lot of them are more social and fun because you learn a lot along the way.
 
Just because the majority is doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd.
 
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

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

The 30 set workout structure.

An easy to follow method for those who don’t have time to workout out the exact weights they need for every set.
 
This is based on using auto-regulation and going by feel, it’s also a great way to progress provided you have a training diary and track what you’re doing.
 
Here is what you do:
 
– Train 2-3 times per week
– Pick 3 exercises per workout (10 sets per exercise)
– Stay in the 5-10 rep range
– Use which ever training split you feel is most appropriate*
– Warm ups are included in your sets
– You may use Straight Sets (A1, B1, C1), Superset (A1/A2) or Tri-Set (A1/A2/A3) movements if you choose
– Rest as needed
– Track weights/reps achieved
– Aim to keep sessions between 45-60min
– Repeat for 3-6months and make all the progress
 
*Upper/Lower, Push/Pull, Pull-Push-Legs, Full Body
 
This is what one exercises might look like on paper:
 
Deadlift:
 
Set 1 5x bar 20kg
Set 2 5x 60kg
Set 3 5x 80kg
Set 4 5x 100kg
Set 5 5x 120kg
Set 6 5x 140kg
Set 7 5x 140kg
Set 8 5x 140kg
Set 9 5x 140kg
Set 10 5x 130kg
 
^^ Calculate total volume – Sets X Reps X Weight
 
10x5x1070 = 53,500kg total volume lifted in the session.
 
You’d make a note and aim to lift more total volume next week.
 
The stronger you get you’ll find you may nee dress warm up sets or that they stay the same and you can lift more in your later sets to increase your volume. 
Make sure you’re eating correct for your goal, if you need to establish your calories then check out this page for those answers:
 
There is no right or wrong as to how many warm ups you need, just do what you feel is adequate so that your form feels grooved and the speed on the bar is moving nice and fast.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

How Odd.

Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?

You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?

if not here are some links to get you started:

http://www.oddlifts.com

https://www.onnit.com/…/how-to-become-a-strongman-the-5-b-…/

Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.

– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.

1 – The bottom up kettlebell press

This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:

– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego

https://breakingmuscle.com/…/bottoms-up-kettlebell-presses-…

2 – There Renegade Row

Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:

– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHN0SGa-68Q

3 – Zecher Lifts

What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.

You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link

The benefits:

– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living

https://www.t-nation.com/training/complete-guide-to-zerchers

Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.

If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:

– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)

*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM

For example:

Day 1:
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press

Day 2:
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row

Day 3:
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift

How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Some variety is good, too much isn’t.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the classic line of “You need to change up your training to keep the body guessing” or something along those lines.

While having some changes in your training program is good for novelty and staving off the boredom, too much change too often will leave you without any real progress due to a lack of suitable adaptation.

Look at is this way; if you want to get better at a certain skill you practice that skill over and over and over again, the same is true fro lifting weights/training, you need repeated and sustained efforts to adapt and progress, chopping and changing every session won’t provide too much in the way of progress.

While you might not like that fact is it very much the case.

Take a look at people who do an ever changing amount of classes, they shift their excess fat and build some small amount of muscle (this is great btw), however past that point they end up looking no better because they don’t want to buckle down and stay with a training program for longer than a couple of weeks.

It’s a common issue that everyone falls victim to.

Now it is worth noting that some people do indeed need change every 2 weeks in there training, however those people are usually genetically gifted and 9/10 times you’re not that person, you’re the one who needs to stay consistent to a program for at least 12-16 weeks, sorry, that’s how it is.

When all that is said and done these words are only simple bits of advice, you can do what ever the hell you want, in the end it makes no different to me personally. If you’re happy with your training and your results then fill your boots, however if you’re not then you’d do well to take this on board.

You will often find the most successful training programs are often the most boring.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

You don’t need to squat heavy…

Do you need to squat heavy?

It pains me to say this, however there is technically no need to squat heavy weights…

That said, there is a basic necessity for the squatting movement pattern as it will ensure healthy ankles, knees, hips and loads more.

The squat is a fundamental human movement pattern, you need it, fact.

I am personally bias towards heavy squats, I love them, however they are not for everyone, some people may have injuries that prevent them going heavy, this is fair enough, they can adapt and do things such as goblet or front squats as substitutes, so long as they are performing the movement pattern all is good.

This short post is just to remind you that it’s okay not to squat heavy, you just need to be performing the movement in some way, shape or form to stay healthy.

Here is a simple workout structure for those who need some guidance, you can pick which ever :

W/U – Squatting pattern – Example: Goblet Squat 50 reps
A1 – Hinging movement 15-25 rep goal
B1 – Pressing movement
B2 – Pulling movement 25-50 rep goal for both
C1 – Core movement or Loaded Carry 30 rep goal or Distance for Time (e.g., 10min)

Easy, all you need do for exercise ideas is simply find a list of movements and pick ones that you feel like doing on the day.

Actually, hold on…

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

^^ A great resource, they’ve got some fantasist bits on there to read, enjoy it.

Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health