Tag Archives: science

5 Reasons people need a framework to succeed –

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short & simple today.

Enjoy,
Ross

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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:
 
5x60kg
5x100kg
5x140kg
5x180kg
5x200kg
 
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
 
Just something to think about.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Memories

Having measurable data is a great way to assess your progress, so why don’t you have any?
 
Fitness testing, body measurements, lifting records are all great ways to see how you are improving and also what you may need to be doing in order to continue to make headway if it is starting to slow down.
 
There are a lot of people who claim they never need to record things, they just remember it all and while they may indeed remember the highlights it’s very hard to keep everything in your head.
 
Typically once we get past a certain point we might as well be exposed to white noise.
 
According to a lot of research in to the field of memory, the average person can retain 7 pieces, plus or minus 2, given you a top limit of 9 and a lower one of 5; obviously there will be exceptions that can remember more just as there will be people who remember far less, it’s just a part of being on the bellcurve.
 
Writing things down and recording the specifics will take the pressure ands stress away from you having to remember each detail. Don’t get me wrong, having good ball park memory is great, however that won’t help you highlight weak areas that need work, specifically.
 
Personally I’m a big fan of making notes and writing things down, not matter who big or small it is, there’s a record. This little habit has saved many a hassle when it comes to wiring future goals for myself or clients, not to mention it give an honest overview of how everything has proceeded, no hiding behind white lies to protect the ego.
 
This is nothing more than simper advice for you, there’s no need for you to take it, honestly, there isn’t.
 
Before we finish I just want to ask you two questions;
 
1 – What sets and reps were you hitting on this day 3 years ago and how do they compete to now?
 
2 – What was your VO2 Max on the date of 22-6-13 and how has it improved?
 
I’m sure you can answer those from memory 🙂 for me.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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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:
 
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

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Back to the basics for us all.

What is there to write about training anymore?
 
The internet is filled with so much content, it’s almost impossible to read it all.
 
Keeping this in mind it’s probably best to keep things simple and hopefully point you in the right direction and to do that we need to circle back around to the basics and the simple sciences of training.
 
What should you look to circle back to first?
 
– Energy Systems
 
Why?
 
These are essential for understanding how the body works and what fuel is used for what training styles (aerobic – fat, anaerobic – glucose etc), here is a nice resource for that:
 
 
Next it has to be muscle anatomy.
 
– Muscle Structure
 
Once you know how they work you can conclude what style of training is best for your goal. Here are a couple of links:
 
 
 
One last topic that is crucial to have a basic underrating of in training is hormones.
 
– Testosterone, Cortisol and everything in-between.
 
This is a massive topic yet it’s one people ignore all the time and it really shouldn’t be. Your hormones are influenced not only by training but also your nutrition, sleep, life style and mach more, thus it is worth knowing how they work and what they do.
 
 
Above are some starting links to help you on your way, however it’s worth remembering that the body is a complex organism and if you don’t want to do the digging yourself then you’ll do well to hire a coach/trainer who can do it all for you.
 
Remember the basics, without those nothing else can be understood.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5-3-2 or 3-2-1 or maybe 1-1-1

What do they mean would be the best question to ask first of all.

These numbers are in reference to the frequency of training a muscle group, or if you are less about the aesthetic and more about performance it will be in reference to movement patterns.

So 3-2-1 is ideal for beginners and people who are short on time yet still want to make a decent amount of progress in terms of strength, hypertrophy, performance and fat loss.

For example:

Squat 3 days per week
Press 2 days per week
Deadlift 1 day per week

I’d also add in pulling (elbow flexion) and hip extension movements (rows, pull ups, face pulls, reverse fly, swings, rope pull throughs etc) to the three day group as these patterns are often left out.

Press vertically and horizontally both days, this would also encompass all elbow extension exercises – skull crushers etc.

The reason many will do well deadlifting once per week as they can often lift more weight in this lift and as such will cause more metabolic disturbance.

Taking in to consideration what is above you can guess where 5-3-2 is going.

Yep, more frequency for people with more experience who fall in the intermediate level and need more exposure to the movements.

Depending on goal you may find you squat 3 or 5 times per week, the sam gif true for pressing/pulling it might be 3 or 5 days, you can adjust this as you need to.

Example:

Press/Pull 5 days per week
Squat 3 days per week
Deadlift 2 days per week

Over the years it has been shown that more often than not the more frequently you train something (the more exposure it has to training stimuli) the stronger it is and the more developed the muscle/area/movement looks.

Now these guidelines aren’t gospel, they’re just a guide to give people some direction.

What is 1-1-1 then?

Yep, you’ve probably worked it out.

You may even find that you’re one of the luck ones who can train things once per week and make progress, if that is the case then stick with what works because there is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. If this is you, just make sure each session you give it your all for maximal progress, due to the low frequency you will need to hammer the muscle to hit your required volume/intensity/work capacity needs.

In terms of my own training I will tell you that higher frequency has very much helped me gain high levels of strength relative to my size (what is needed for the combative sports is partake in), however when I dropped my frequency – it was still a minimum of twice per week per muscle group – I made more hypertrophic progress, this was due to not only a different style of training but also eating in a caloric surplus*.

*You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight, you’ll struggle if you’re not in one, regardless of set or rep range. If you want to shift fat you can train int he same way you will just need a caloric deficit, fact.

Take a look at your training and compete the frequency of your lifts to what body parts you have developed the most, you’ll probably find the ones you train the most are the best, or as some might say “Those are you naturally strong areas” – well duh, you train them more, they’re going to be stronger than the ones you avoid.

Training is all about learning, applying and adapting until you find what work best for YOU.

Let’s get started.

Ross

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A progression option

Accumulation & intensification

Basically the way you can structure blocks of training to help improve one or multiple elements of training.

These can be used in 2,3,4 week blocks each time or even sometimes as long as 6 weeks a piece, you can even do 6 weeks accumulation and 2 weeks intensification, this will all be down to how the individual responds.

Let’s look at some examples:

Day 1
A1 – Squat
A2 – Chin

Day 2
A1 – Press
A2 – Row

Day 3 – Off

Day 4
A1 – Deficit Deadlift
A2 – Dip

Day 5 – Off

Day 6
A1 – Front Squat
A2 – Dumbbell Clean & Press

Day 7 – Off

Acc – Weeks 1-3 – 6×6-8×70% 1RM wk 1, 72.5/75% wk 2&3
Int – Weeks 4-5 – 8x3x85% wk4, 87.5% wk5
Acc – Weeks 6-8 – 6×6-8×72.5% 1RM wk 6, 75/77.5% wk 7&8
Int – Weeks 9-10 – 8x3x87.5% wk9, 90% wk10
Deload (volume reduction or 30-60%)
Start process again for another 10weeks, starting Acc 75%, starting Int 90%

You get the idea.

The same would apply for CV training, you’d start off with a moderate intensity based on the fitness assessment results of your clients initial tests, then plan in steady state work, intervals and so on.

Each Acc/Int phase will differ in set/rep/load planing based on the clients goal, etc.

Example rep/loading ranges:

Strength – 1-6 – 85%+ 1RM
Hypertrophy 6-20 – 60-85% 1RM

Some people will need more variety and change ever couple of weeks (dopamine dominant), others may do well to stay on the same protocol for 6weeks (balanced across all neurotransmitters), it’s up to you as the trainer to find out what is best for the client.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Can you train everyday?

The short answer to the question of training everyday is, yes.

You can train everyday so long as it adheres to the following:

  • Daily lifting corresponds with your long/short term goals
  • Training is programmed correctly (intensity, total volume, workout density)
  • It doesn’t exceed your MRV – Maximum Recoverable Volume
  • Deloads/Easy days are planned in
  • There is logical progression
  • Session do not exceed 1 hour
  • You enjoy it – Arguably the most important

There is a good book covering the the recently popular ‘Squat Everyday’ that was based on the Bulgarian Style of training, however it is wroth noting that these and typically other athletes who train daily are weightlifters. This is because weightlifting requires a high degree of skill and while the sets will be high the reps will fall in the range of 1-3 for main lifts and 4-7 for accessory lifts.

When it comes to training daily you need to vary the loading parameters, this can be done from working off a daily  1 rep max then performing back a off set(s) for your volume needs – for example, going to a heavy single then taking 60-70% of that number and doing 1 back off set of 20 reps. You could simply work up to a daily Rep Max say 5,3,2 and cycling these for each lift so some days you have a 5rm squat, 3rm bench and 2rm DL, then the next time it would  be a 3rm squat and so on.

This isn’t gospel, it’s just a suggestion. You’ve also got the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown for each lift, this will then allow a strength circuit to be performed, it might look like this:

  • A1 – Squat
  • Rest 1-2min
  • A2 – Press
  • Rest 1-2min
  • A3 – Power Clean
  • Rest 1-2min
  • Back to A1 and repeat until 5-4-3-2-1 reps done

You can find another great example of how to program daily training by reading Easy Strength by Dan John & Pavel – here is link to some chapter notes from it: http://danjohn.net/2011/06/even-easier-strength-perform-better-notes/

In short, training daily is perfectly doable, however it lends itself better to strength/skill based training. Fatness & Hypertrophy will be achieved, however it would require programming to be spot on to avoid pushing the envelope too hard. You will often leave the gym feeling worked but strong, almost like you could do more, however you must resist the temptation to do more as the volume over the week is cumulative and takes a toll.

Enjoy,
Ross

Here are some good links to resources on this subject:

http://www.salisbury.edu/sportsperformance/Articles/INTENSITY%20OF%20STRENGTH%20TRAINING%20FACTS%20AND%20FALLACIES%20-%20ZATZIORSKY.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Zourdos/publications

https://www.myosynthesis.com/squat-every-day

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Butt Hurt to Commence in, 3…2…1…

Monday, Monday
So good to me
Monday morning
It was all I hoped it would be…
 
That means gym 7-8am, 2 meals already eaten, 2 articles written and a back tweak, yay for me :/.
 
Morning Guys,
 
I trust you all had a productive weekend, if you didn’t, well… shame on you.
 
There is a lot of protection for peoples ego/pride in the modern age and it seems to be having a negative effect because it is making people lazy, more lazy than they have ever been.
 
Obviously there are those who are the other end of the spectrum and are anything but, however those are not the majority, sadly.
 
What ever happened to tough love?
 
You know, people would see you fail in a catastrophic manor, give you a pat on the back with a few words of wisdom and then tell you to crack on and stop wallowing in the mud.
 
These days that approach would be considered insensitive, inconsiderate to peoples feeling, belittling, demotivating and not supportive of people. I’m all for helping people but wrapping them in cotton wool? Nope, not my style, it does nothing for building character or more importantly, resilience.
 
Now that’s a word from the past, resilience.
 
What happened to it?
 
It seems to have been forgotten in the channels of time along with – that’s life, get over it, better luck next time, toughen up and “perhaps you should try knitting”.
 
All joking aside, the kid gloves of the modern world are actually a very dangerous thing, they hold people back and give false expectations or rather, they give people a sense of entitlement and that is a very slippery slope, let me give you an example oh how this relates to fitness.
 
Person A – Works hard, does everything they should be doing to get their desired results, accepts set backs and take on board constructive critique on the chin for what it is (advice to help them grow) to allow progression. The they achieve results because they understand they have to work for them and that nothing ever comes easy. They earn their success. 
 
Person B – Works semi moderate to not really doing anything meaningful, does some of what they should do, feels life is against them and no one ever helps them, rejects critique because it hurts their feelings, stays in the comfort zone but feels they should get the same results as person A because they just should. Sadly results will happen initially then taper off fast, potential regress too and this is obviously not their fault at all… They feel entitled to success (this is not good). 
 
Now these are actually real examples of people, they haven’t been made up I am sorry to say.
 
Many of you know that nothing in life comes easy and chances are for the majority it never will, that’s just life. While I agree we need to be mindful of people and encourage them there also has to be a line where we say “Stop pissing about, the problem is you.” which we seem to be afraid to say nowadays.
 
Maybe it’s my attitude… It’s definitely my attitude, it doesn’t have time to waste on people who feel entitled, yep, that makes me an asshole but hey ho, we can either work hard or not, it’s that easy.
 
Which camp do you fall in to, honestly…
 
Work hard and you will achieve what you deserve in the end, accept life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, become resilient and earn your success, don’t expect it all to be given to you on a plate, you’re not entitled to success, work for it, earn it, deserve it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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