Tag Archives: progressive overload


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
Day 4 – Pull Ups/Prowler (10-20m is one rep)
Day 5 – Squats/Curls – because curls (Y)
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.

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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:
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
Just something to think about.

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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:
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.

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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.

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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:



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


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


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


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.


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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.


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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…


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


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How to make progress: Part 2 – Overload

After the last post you know the importance of having a goal and numbers to go with said goal, next up is something a great many don’t achieve in their training.
In each session, or at the very minimum over time, you need to lift more than you did perviously so that you force the muscles to adapt, pretty simple.
The overload aspect of training is something that can easily be planned out and can happen in a great many ways, however regardless of which way you decide to achieve this you’ll find in the end these two factors will have increased:
– Total volume
– Intensity
It’s not uncommon to see people lifting the same weights for the same reps day in, day out and wonder why they don’t make any progress (it’s because they’re not stimulating the muscles and achieving overload).
With all the options, which is best?
The silent answer is this; the one that you can keep doing because it doesn’t bore you.
Perhaps a cop out answer however it’s a relevant one because with adherence and consistency nothing will work and you need to achieve progressive overload over a period of time to keep progressing, here are some examples:
– Linear progression with fractions plates: add 0.5kg each session, keep reps/set the same.
– Weekly undulating periodisation: (example weights) week1 5x5x100kg, week2 6x4x105kg, week3 8x3x110kg, use a heavier weight each week, then after 3 weeks go back to 5×5 and use a heavier weight than before.
– Rep/set progression: 3-5×6-12, start at 3×6, add a rep each session until you hit 3×12, then add a set and repeat until 4×12 is hit, then do it again until 5×12 is hit, then add weight and start it all over again.
As you can see, three simple yet very effective methods of achieving overload and while boring they work.
The biggest issue we face is that people want constant novelty in their training and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it can make overload hard to achieve if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Truth be told, you’ll find the most effective programs are usually the most boring.
Take a look at your training, do you achieve overload?
If you’re making progress then the answer is yes, if it’s no the you’re not, it’s that simple.
The key to progression is progression, find anyway to do more than you did.

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Fractional Plates = Fractional Progress = Long Term Gains.

It’s not the fastest thing in the world but by god it’s effective.
Morning All,
This is a slow grind, it takes around 7 weeks to add 10kg to the lift, training said lift 3xpw.
After the 7weeks you have the choice to keep adding weight and take off a rep or drop the weight back and add reps.
As an example…
SQ 8×3 = 120 to 130
SQ 8×2 = 130 to 140
SQ 8×1 = 140 to 150
*You can use other rep progressions if you choose – 8,7,6 for example. It doesn’t have to be 8 sets either is can be more or less.
The fractional plates you will need are 0.25kg in weight, giving you a 0.5kg increase each session.
Your accessory work can be of your choice for 25-50 reps, stick with the movement for two weeks minimum (ideally all 7 is good), you can then choose to pick a different variation if needed. 1-4 accessory lifts are sufficient.
Using a workout A/B schedule in an alternative fashion works best, this can be done Monday-Wedneady-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday
A typical full body workout might look like this:
Workout A:
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
A2 – Chin up x6-8
B1 – Squat 5×5-10
B2 – Leg Curl x10
C1 – DB press 5×5 or 5×10
C2 – Chin up x6-8
Workout B:
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
A2 – Dumbbell or Barbell Row x6-8
B1 – DL 5×5 – Working to a top set of 5 for the day
B2 – Lunge x6 per leg
C1 – DB press 5×5 or 5×10
C2 – Dumbbell or Barbell Row x6-8
Aim to be in and out f the gym in 45-60min, you can feel free to chuck in some planks and smaller accessory work if you have time, do 3×8-12 for these movements.
If you are someone who is pressed for time in the gym then this abbreviated full body workout will be right up your street.
Workout A:
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
B1 – Squat 5×5-10
C1 – Pressing Movement (Dip, Incline etc) 5×5 or 5×10
Workout B:
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
B1 – DL 5×5 – Working to a top set of 5 for the day
C1 – Pressing Movement 5×5 or 5×10
*Have a pulling movement in between each pressing movement, chin/pull ups are good, as are face pulls and rows. This wants to have a focus on getting in some good volume so use 6-12 reps.
What is written above is simple and effective, you can be in and out of the gym in 45-60min in the first option and 30-45in the second (perhaps less if you keep your rest to only what you need). If fat loss is your goal then make sure you have correct calories and do plenty of walking wherever possible.

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3 Ways to Train Using RPE

Morning Guys,

I’ve written bout RPE before, however I was asked by a member of a gym I visit for some training ideas on this style so I thought I would share them here for all to potentially use. Below will be some useful likes to learn more about RPE.

RPE Refresher:

Rate of Perceived Exertion is a scale of measuring intensity, with it you can program the load for your workout based on how you’re performing on the day, this allows for natural back off’s and peaks according to your bodies own biofeedback.

Be it a 1RM or a 10RM, this guide applies to all (Str = Strength Focus, HYP = Hypertrophy Focus) –

10: Maximum effort. No reps left in the tank. – STR
9: Last rep is tough, but could have done one more rep. – STR
8: weight is too heavy to maintain fast bar speed, but is not a struggle. 2-4 reps left. – HYP
7: Weight moves quickly when maximal force is applied. “Speed Weight”. – HYP
6: Light speed work. Bar speed was fast with only moderate effort
5: Most Warm Up Weights
4: Recovery. Usually 20+ reps sets. Not hard, but intended to flush the muscle.

Now for the methods which will all be based off of achieving a daily max with a 9 RPE (use can use RPE 10,8,7 or what ever you need, this is merely a few example of how to use this method):

1 – Daily Max to 9RPE

Pick an exercise and work up to your desired RPE for your chosen Rep Max, once you hit both you call it a day and move on to your accessory work.

2 – Daily Max to 9RPE with Back Off Set Repeats

Let’s say it’s a squat day. You go in and decide on working up to a 5RM at RPE 9 (one rep left in the bag), once you hit that number you make a note of the weight used and drop the weight, from here you stick on this weight and do 5’s until that weight feels like an RPE 9. A great way of working strength while also getting in volume. Simple.

*How much you drop is up to you, the larger the drop the more fatigue/mechanical stress you will accumulate.

3 – Daily Max to 9RPE with Weight Drop & Reloads

As with the example above you work up to a Rep Max, it can be any of your choosing or programmed in using a DUP (daily undulating periodisation method – I will write about this at the end). Work up to your desired RM, say 3 for RPE 9. From here you reduce the weight and then start reloading the bar and try to hit the same weight for the same RPE again, if you did this correctly you might be abel to repeat this process 2-3 times, depending on how much weight you reduce, if/when you don’t make the top weight then that’s when you call it a day.

If you decide to use a DUP method for the RM’s you might have something that looks like this:

Day 1 – 3RM – RPE 9
Day 2 – 7RM – RPE 9
Day 3 – 5RM – RPE 9

You could also have the same RM but different RPE’s:

Day 1 – 5RM – RPE 10
Day 2 – 5RM – RPE 6
Day 3 – 5RM – RPE 8

The options are almost endless. All you have to do is look at try the examples above to start to find your flow, once that is done you will be abel to adapt the method to your own needs.



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