Tag Archives: sets

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
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Do You Really Need That Specialist Exercise?

Walkouts, Partial Reps, Banded Moments, Movements with Chains, Lockout Reps, Board Pressing, the list of specialist exercises is numerous but do you really need them?

Too many people get caught up in doing things they have no real need for. I am guilty of this on the odd occasion but found that it only severed to hinder my progress in the long run because there was no need for the specialist movements.
You will find these types of exercises common for high level power lifters but they serve little purpose for us normal folk. If I had to give people some variations of lets say the big 3 I would suggest the following:
– Pause Squats
– Front Squats
– Box Squats
– Paused Bench
– Narrow Grip Bench
– Pressing Overhead or High Incline
– 1/2 – 1 inch Deficit Deadlifts
– 2-4 inch Block Pulls
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Overhand Deadlift
That’s pretty much it. While it’s nice and quite fun to try some of the specialist exercises there is little to no need unless you’re squatting/deadlifting 3xbw and benching 2xbw. The variations I’ve suggested will be more than enough to help keep you busy for months if you rotate them properly.
Do you need some guidance on a program too?
Warm Up Sets x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
Week 1 – 10×1 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 2 – 5×2 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 3 – 3×3 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 4 – 2×5 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
*increase weight and start over.
*2 lifts per day – EG Squat/Row, Deadlift/Press
*Lower body would work better with this programs set rep progression.
*Upper body = Volume or Ramping, try 8×8 on the volume with only 30 seconds rest on upper body pressing/pulling movements or Ramp up to a 3-5RM (meaning you do 3-5 reps and add weight each set until you hit technical failure, then you’re done).
An example day might be as follows:
Workout 1 – Squat/Pull Up
Warm Up Sets – Paused Squat x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Paused Squat – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Pull Up – 8×8 – Wide Grip Body Weight/Weighted or Pull Down
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
Workout 2 – Deadlift/Press
Warm Up Sets – Overhand Deadlift x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Overhand Deadlift – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Press – 5RM Ramp Start with Overhead Press and hit 5RM (You can alternate your Pressing movement to your own personal desire, one day might be overhead press, the next time around it might be bench and so on.)
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
A weeks training might look like this:
Monday – Workout 1
Tuesday – Workout 2
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 1 – Front Squat/Pull Down Neutral Close Grip
Friday – Workout 2 – Snatch Grip Deadlift/Incline Press
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Repeat last weeks exercise selection, keep weights the same on SQ/DL but move on to week 2’s reps (5×2).
There is nothing stopping you from adding in a sprint day on Saturday or some CV just regulate the intensity so that is doesn’t disrupt your recovery and adaptation phases.
In the world of lifting it’s best not to try and run before you can walk. Learn the basic movements and learn then well, then once you’ve started to hit the upper limits of your natural strength (around 3xBW SQ/DL & 2xBW Bench) then it will be worth adding in some specialist exercises to help you past your sticking points.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Build A New Body: Part 1

There are a great deal of programs floating around on the internet and today i’m going to give you another one to consider.
This will be one of several programs I will be writing for you that will help create a 12 week training cycle to help you add lean mass, strength, strip fat and feel much more confident because of the results you will achieve.
Today’s program will consist on what you will ideally be looking to do for the first 3 weeks of your training block. It will help you build a good foundation of lean mass while starting to bring up your base strength in preparation for the next 3 week block, here is what the basic outline of what the primary goals of each will look like:
Weeks 1-3 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 4-6 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 7-9 – Strength/Conditioning
Weeks 10-12 – Strength/Conditioning
The first 6 weeks is based on building the foundation, then the second 6 weeks will be about utilising/realising the strength you’ve gained from your newly built muscle to it’s full potential while also adding in some conditioning style work to help keep you lean and feeling ‘fit’ don’t worry if you think they will contradict each other, they won’t if programmed properly and the correct volume/approach is used.
So now you’ve got the basic idea shall we get started?
4-4-4 is the first method you will be using is based around the following:
– 4 Workout days per week
– 4 Exercises per workout
– 4 Sets with varying rep ranges
The days you workout are down to you, that could be Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday or whatever.
As for exercises you will want to cover the full body in as little movements as possible, I will give you two guideline workouts A/B where you will hit all the major muscle groups, here they are:
Workout A –
– Front Squat
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Bent Over Row
– Supinated Grip Pull Up
Workout B –
– Press – Shoulder Width
– Bench Press – Medium (narrow is you want more triceps, wider if you want more chest)
– Dip
– Face Pull – Pronated Grip W/Thumbs Facing You (think you’re hitting a double bicep pose when pull to your face)
*You can do which ever day you want first, it’s down to personal preference.
Now it’s time for the rep/set scheme I will recommend for you.
– 12,10,8,6
– Use a 4-1-1-1 tempo (4 second eccentric, 1 second pause, 1 second concentric, 1 second pause)
Suggested loading:
– 12 – 65%
– 10 – 70%
– 8 – 75%
– 6 – 80%
A very simple descending pyramid that will help you begin to build a base. As for a warm up I would advice doing what you need to do so that you feel mobile and ready, remember a good mobility routine will help you stay injury free and improve your performance and overall life for that matter (There are lots of options on YouTube, you’ve got a great book called Becoming a Supple Leopard and much more to get ideas from).
I can’t tell you your weights but the suggestion I have given will be a good starting point, but remember the stronger you get the higher these numbers will go, not only % wise but also because you will be able to lift more. Start off light so you have somewhere to go, if you start too heavy you will stagnate and can even get hurt if you’re not careful.
The above program is designed to be followed for 3 weeks, then you will move on to the second 3 week block which I will get uploaded in due course.
You will obviously need to know about nutrition as well, here is a good starting point for you:
LBMx 17-19 = Muscle Gain Caloric Range
Protein – LBM x1 = Grams per day, multiply this by 4 to get calories of protein for the day.
Carbs – Protein x1-3 = Grams per day (depending on style of training/overall daily activity, desk jockeys use x1, site workers use x3 and people in the middle use 1.5 or 2), multiply this by 4 to get calories of carbs for the day.
Fat – What ever calories are left divide them by 9 to get your fat in grams for the day.
Example Equation:
175lbs x 19 = 3325 total cals
175lbs x 1 = protein 175g x4 = 700 cals
175g x 2 = carbs 350g x 4 = 1400 cals
3325 – (700 + 1400) = 1225 cals
1225/9 = 136g fat
So these example calories/macros would be:
3225 Total Cal
175g Protein
350g Carbs
136g Fat
Get the idea?
*Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods to get the bulk of your calories, doing this will sort out your micronutrients without you having to worry too much. think 80/20 – 80% single ingredient foods 20% what ever you fancy. Just keep the callers correct and the overall macronutrient ratio sold and you can’t go far wrong.
Breakfast/AM – Fat/Protein
Snack/AM – Fat/Protein
Lunch/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Snack/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Dinner/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Post Workout Protein/Simple Carbs – regardless on time of day.
This will be a good place to start, you can make adjustments according to your own persona needs as you see fit.
You now have the first 3 weeks and some basic ideas for nutrition, it’s time to get in to the gym and start working (Y).
Enjoy,
Ross

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Yesterdays Results

Morning Guys,

Building is the aim, but with all the set and rep ranges out there which one should you use?

There was the famous 6×6 & 8×8 that was used by Vince Gironda

Or the hugely successful 7-5-3 Wave Loading System found under the tutelage of Charles Poliquin

You even heard stories of how well people did on Dorian Yates’ ‘Blood & Guts One Set to Faliure’

Some even did phenomenally well on the very simple 4×8-12

But the truth is that all of the systems work, lets be honest and accept that if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be spoken about.

The hardest part isn’t finding a set/rep scheme that works, it’s finding one YOU can stick with for the long haul, in our society of quick fixes and instant gratification we want to add 30lbs of lean muscles, drop 50lbs of body fat and look akin to a Greek God all by last week.

Sadly life doesn’t work that way. If you want to build some decent lean muscle you will need to be prepared to put in the hard work, eat adequately and have everything pretty much on point. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life but you must understand that the more effort you put in and the more sacrifice you’re willing to make the faster and less time you will need you will achieve your results (which could still be in the years in most cases).

Now the obvious points are out of the way it’s time to give you some options to help you on your way to a better you.

The rotation of set/rep schemes will be set using a 3 days on 1 day off rotation until you have done the particular set/rep scheme 4/5 times (this will last mean each set/rep system will last around 3 weeks or so) with a total of 4 different rep/set options to go though. The main exercises will stay the same for all 4 mini blocks, as for assistance work you can add in some DT (Density Training) that should take no more than 10min and the chosen assistance movements can change every 3/4 workouts if you feel the need, but remember a change is only needed if you have become stagnant on that particular exercise.

Parameters for the mains lifts:

First 5 Workouts (weeks 1-3):
Reps/Sets: 10,8,6,20
Loading % of 1RM: 70%,75%,80%,60%
Tempo: 6-1-1-1 and 2-1-1-1 for the 20 rep set
Rest: 90 Seconds

Second 5 Workouts (weeks 4-6)
Rep/Sets: 6×6
Loading % of 1RM: 75-80%
Tempo: 4-1-1-1
Rest: 30 Seconds

Third 5 Workouts (weeks 7-9)
Rep/Sets: 5×5
Loading % of 1RM: 80-85%
Tempo: 3-1-1-1
Rest: 90-120 Seconds

Forth 5 Workouts (weeks 10-12)
Rep/Sets: 5,4,3,2,1
Loading % of 1RM: 82,85,87,90,92%
Tempo: 2-1-1-1
Rest: 120 Seconds or as needed

The main lifts will be comprised of the following:

– Squat (Front or Back)
– Bench Press (Incline of Flat)
– Deadlift (Overhand only)
– Bent Over Row (Supinated Grip)
– Press (Military or Behind Neck)
– Pull Up (Weighted or Body Weight)

Now it’s time for the interesting part, the workouts themselves.

Based on 3 working days you will only be required to do 2 movements per workout, plus 1-2 assistance movements if you feel the need.

Day 1:
A1 – Squat
B1 – Pull Up
C1 – Dumbbell Curl (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 2:
A1 – Bench Press
B1 – Bent Over Row
C1 – Skull Crusher (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 3:
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Press
C1 – Lateral Raise – Do one set of C1 followed by C2, minimal rest between transitions.
C2 – Face Pull or Reverse Fly (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 4: Off

Repeat.

The above is a very simple progression that will help you build some quality lean muscle tissue while keeping things fresh and interesting. as I mentioned above you can change your assistance exercises as you see fit but try to keep the main movements the same as this will help with the accumulation f overload stimulus.

One benefit of these workouts is that they won’t take long to complete, perhaps 40min tops meaning that you will have lots more free time to spend with friends and family, eat lots of good foods and because the workouts are so short you will look forward to your next one, unlike some other extreme training programs that kill your motivation to train.

You will also need to make sure you’re eating enough, if you want my opinion on how to make a educated guess then do the following:

LBM (Lean Body Mass) x 17-19 = Daily Calories

LBM x 1-1.2 = Protein in Grams for the day x4 = calories from protein.
Protein x 1.5-3 = Carbs for the day (1 if you’re a desk jockey. Use 2 if you’re somewhat active at work and 3 if you’re job is very physical) x4 = Calories from carbohydrates.

Daily Calories – (Protein Calories + Carb Calories) = Calories of Fat per day, divide this number by 9 to get your daily grams of fat.

Now go and make some progress.

Enjoy,
Ross

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LOSE 4 INCHES OF BELLY FAT IN A WEEK!

Now I have your attention, I have an important message for you.

You’re being LIED too.

Everyday you see the stories of ‘ 6 week success’ that companies and some individuals spout out and how you can achieve the same results, all you have to do is buy their products and you will be endowed with the knowledge you need, but sadly this is all bollocks. Lots of the photos are either photoshopped, stolen from people who have taken years to achieve their results or the results of shall we say ‘Enhancement’ (steroids).

I hate to be the one to say it, well… Actually I don’t.

If you see a head line that claims any of the following:

  • Lose X amount in X.
  • Gain an inch to your arms in X.
  • Fat Loss without exercise.
  • Pack on muscle in just X weeks.

Basically anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. I understand how desperately people want results and for things to be better/sorted but life doesn’t work that way, trust me. You should always believe half of what you see and less of what you hear.

What is seen in the clever marketing campaigns is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, like that used by the magicians of old it’s all a clever act to get you to part with your hard earned cash. But guess what, it works, again, and again…. and again.

There is no quick fix, magic pill or secret to success.

Okay, there is a secret list of things to do and I’m going to give it to you for free.

Seriously…

FREE!

For the more dedicated and goal driven person:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Plan out how to achieve said goal (yourself or by hiring a coach)
  3. Establish your individual caloric/dietary needs.
  4. Begin exercising (lifting weights) 2-4 times per week – Goal dependent.
  5. Begin exercising (steady state cardio) 2-5 times per week – Goal dependent.
  6. Keep multiple dairies – Training, Nutrition, Progress.
  7. Work hard and be consistent.
  8. Enjoy the journey, it’s going to be a long road. Remember this is a life style change, not a quick fix.

If that list seems confusing here is a much simpler one that will cater for the general goal of ‘look and feel better, while increasing confidence’:

  1. Eat more protein from whole foods.
  2. Eat more fibre from whole foods.
  3. Eat less refined/man made foods.
  4. Move more – Ideally 3 sessions of vigorous exercise (weights+cardio) per week should be enough.

Don’t believe everything you’re told and blindly follow like all the other sheep, be different, after all, being different is something that sets us apart from he rest of the animal kingdom.

Hard work, patience and consistency is what achieves results, not quick fixes.

Enjoy,

Ross

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You’re Not Training Hard Enough…

Morning Guys,

You’re not training hard enough.

No, you’re not.

If you were then you wouldn’t be looking of rate next best program, you would be slowly and steadily making progress.

I have noticed that lots of people seem to be training much LONGER but not HARDER.

While this is only my opinion and lots will disagree, if you spend more than 45-75min in the gym then you’re not working hard enough, period.

In my opinion if you can train ‘hard’ for longer than that then you’re not training hard enough or you’re on some form of PED (steroid) because there are very few exceptions to this rule.

Why between those times?

Depending on the length or warm up you need (some people need up to 30min with all their pre mobility etc), once you’re body feels ready you start lifting and pushing yourself.

What does hard work feel like?
How should your reps feel?
How should your breathing be when running (cardio training)?

Reps –

Lets say you’re doing 6 sets of 6 reps, the first 2 sets of 6 should feel easy ish, the next two you will want to be struggling to get 6 and the last two you should only get 4, perhaps 5 reps out and those should be a struggle. This is coming close to hard work.

Alternatively you could go in with the ind set that even on your first set the 6th rep should be a fighting struggle to achieve (I like this mind set).

Cardio –

You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. Simple.

Too much chatter when CV training means you;re not working at the correct intensity, you should be abel to get out maybe 3-5 words or single sentences, but if you can talk almost normally then you need to be working harder.

This all sounds quite logical doesn’t it?

You’d be surprised at the amount of people who have ‘pseudo intensity’. What is it?

Pseudo Intensity is when people are working hard ish, but they often hold a lot back, this is why allows them to stay in the gym for upwards of 90min and sometimes even 3 hours.

There is a simple equation I like to remember, it goes like this:

Hard Work + Consistency = Results

Okay, there are some nuances to that but the general ethos is solid.

Now stop faffing about and go do some proper training!

Enjoy,
Ross

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Mobility, it’s not just the name of a scooter.

Today it’s time to talk about technique, or more importantly your ability to preform correct technique.

There are lots of compound exercises that require certain amounts skill, but that’s not really in question that often because the average gym goer forgets one crucial element,  most compound exercises also require adequate mobility to be preformed correctly.

Before I move on let us establish what mobility actually is.

Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a limb through the full range of motion with control, people often get mobility and flexibility confused.

Mobility is based on voluntary movement (squatting to full depth for example) while flexibility involves static holds (touching your toes) and is often dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility demands strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive and not strength-dependent.

It is possible to have good mobility without being especially flexible, after all, someone who is able to perform a full overhead squat won’t necessarily be able to do the splits. Just as someone who is flexible can have poor mobility, i.e., control. Of the two, mobility is more important. It is better to be inflexible with good mobility than flexible with poor mobility.

Mobility isn’t just required for lifting weights though. having good mobility will also improve your quality of life too. In an ideal world you would wake up every morning and perform a mobility routine to help prepare your body for the trials of the day. it doesn’t have to take long, 5-10min is more than sufficient and you can do it while your breakfast is cooking.

Here is a sample routine that you can do at home and before your workouts each and everyday.

  • Rocking Ankle Mobilization (walking on the inner/outer portion of your foot for 20 meters per side)
  • Quadruped Crawl (bear crawl) 20 meter
  • Squat with chest expansion and arm swings
  • Squat hold with shoulder dislocation (sit in a deep squat and hold a towel in both hands and try to take it fro the front of your body over your head and touch your lower back)
  • Spidermans  (also called a low lateral lunge from side to side)
  • Reverse Lunge

Bonus: Static Stretching

*Hip Flexor Stretch (rear foot elevated on sofa or chair, push hips forwards)

* Door Frame Chest Stretch (have your elbows at shoulder height and lean through an open doorway)

There are lots of mobility routines available on YouTube and other such websites, the one above is a simple suggestion, i would do some research and find one that works for you and takes less than 10min to do each day.

Enjoy,

Ross

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The Workout Basics You’ve Been Missing.

Want to build strength and muscle with simple program?

All you will need is the following:

  • Spreadsheets (easy to write out and record progress)
  • Calculators (to workout of % of 1RM)
  • 45-60min Training Time
  • The Desire To Succeed

Below is a series of reps/sets with their desired % of 1RM (1 rep max) for starting weight that would be used (this might seem low on the outset but as you progress and add weight you will be glad your started out slightly lighter) and a list of exercises.

  • 8×3 – 85%
  • 6×4 – 80%
  • 5×5 – 75%
  • 4×6 – 70%
  • 3×8 – 65%

*A more experience lifter will start anywhere from 2.5-5% higher than the suggested % of 1RM, so 8×3 @ 87.5 – 90%.

  • Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhad Squat
  • Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Weighted Dip (bar or dumbbell)
  • Deadlift, Deficit Deadlift, Double Overhand Deadlift, Snatch Grip Deadlift
  • Overhead Press, Behind Neck Press, Dumbbell Press (neutral grip, clean grip, snatch grip)
  • Bent Over Row (overhand, underhand) , Weighted Pull/Chin Up,Single or Double Arm Dumbbell Row, Upright Row

With these you will be able to build a solid base of strength and mass easily. The best part is you can use them in various ways, the suggestions I will give you today are not gospel, they are only a few of the potential combinations that I have used with success so far.

I will be honest, these suggestions haven’t worked for everyone, I have had to change various things such as TUT, rest periods, weight progression, rep progression and much more for each specific individual, but what I will teach you today has had the most consistent results, with the majority of people.

Lets say you’re training 3 time days per week, above you have 5 different rep ranges and each rep range will give you a slightly different stimulus and result.

  • 8×3 – Strength
  • 6×4 – Strength
  • 5×5 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 4×6 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 3×8 – Hypertrophy

Now to build strength and mass equally you might do well to choose the following rep ranges that you will use for each day:

  • 8×3 – Strength
  • 5×5 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 3×8 – Hypertrophy

These rep ranges will stay consistent throughout the week but the chosen exercise will differ, this makes training a lot more fun and incredibly productive as you’re stimulating the muscles through varying training methods.

The you will need to assign one of the given compound movements above for each rep range on each day. I have used the following exercises: Back Squat, Weighted Dip & BNP, Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin. These offer a full body workout with a decent amount of balance. there will be a note on assistance movements later.

This is a full body workout. Below you will see how the exercises stay the same but the reps change on a daily basis, this will allow an good balance of strength progression with gaining respectable amounts of lean mass too. I would also suggest that you use your rest days as ‘active recovery’ by doing 30-45min of moderate cardio and some mobility work, this does not mean full out sprints, simply enough to get your heart working and build up a decent sweat.

  • Monday – Day 1 – 8×3 Back Squat, 5×5 Weighted Dip & BNP, 3×8 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Tuesday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Wednesday – Day 2 – 8×3 Weighted Dip & BNP, 5×5 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin 3×8 Back Squat + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Thursday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Friday – Day 3 – 8×3 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin, 5×5 Back Squat, 3×8 Weighted Dip & BNP + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Saturday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Sunday – Complete Rest Day

In terms of how you would progress the weights it’s pretty simple. If you hit all of the desired reps with good from then you can add a total of 2.5kg to your upper body movements and 5kg to lower body movements. If you miss a rep or feel your form wasn’t solid and your TUT was lacking* then stick on that weight for another week and attempt it again, if you still don’t get it then perhaps it’s time to change up the exercise and start building that up instead, this holds true for every exercise because you will only progress so far before you hit a proper plateau.

What about accessory work?

A good question, I have the following advise on that subject.

A nice simple rep range of 10,8,6,20 one 1 or 2 movements as a super set will be more than enough to help bring up those lagging areas that might not have had quite enough stimulation from the compound movements. These are some potential exercises you might use:

  • Hamstring Curl, Lunge, Kettlebell Swing, RDL
  • Cable Fly, Lateral Raise, Y-Press
  • Reverse Fly, Shrug, Face Pull
  • Bicep Curl or any variation, Tricep Push Down or any variation
  • Ab Roll Out, Leg Raise, Crunch, Windmill, Russian Twist

The possibilities for your choice of assistance work are only limited by your knowledge. If you’re stuck go and see the google-monster, it will help you find plenty of variation, but remember these are best used as EXTRA if you have time, they shouldn’t form the bulk of your workout, this is why I say 1-2 is enough.

*I have not mentioned much on TUT (time under tension) but aiming for a 4 second Eccentric, 1 second Pause, 1 second Concentric and another 1 second Pause should be adequate for now. You might have seen it written like this in some books: 4-1-1-1.

There are endless possibilities when it comes programming workouts, depending on your goal you might require more CV than just 30-45min on the days in-between your full body workouts.

Use this to help you stave off boredom and make the progress you deserve.

Bye Bye,

Ross

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Up, Down, Left, Right, Front, Back…

Planning a workout isn’t as easy as it seems sometimes.

You have to take in to account a lot.

However…

When you’re designing a program you will do well to build it around the Planes of Movement.

There are only 3, Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse but can you remember which is which?

Creating a workout based around these fundamental principles will help you create far more effective programs than simply thinking along the lines of “Chest & Tri’s” or “Back & Bi’s”.

If you can’t quite remember what they are here is a refresher for you.

The Sagittal Plane:

This divides the body into left and right.

When we move along this plane, we are using the strength of our muscles to move parts of the body forward or backward. Extension and flexion happen along the sagittal plane. This means most running, biking, rowing, and lifting movements make use of this plane.

For example, in a squat, both hips move from extension into flexion, and back into extension. The hips and knees in particular spend a lot of time in flexion, so mobility work should involve extending both joints.

The Frontal Plane:

The Frontal plane divides the body into front and back.

When we move along this plane, we are moving toward or away from the midline. Adduction and abduction are movements along this plane. Many of our daily movements and exercises involve very little abduction. We tend to stay fairly neatly hugged in toward the middle.

The Transverse Plane

The transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into top and bottom, but it is a little less straightforward. Any time we rotate a joint we are moving along the transverse plane. In daily life, this is the action we do least frequently, particularly with the large joints in the hips, shoulders, and spine.

When you begin to think in terms of what planes of movement you’re working it makes creating workouts that stimulate the whole body EQUALLY very easy.

For each horizontal push you must have a horizontal pull. Vertical push? Yep… You need a vertical pull.

You will want to match compound for compound, isolation for isolation. So if you do bench press, either a seated row or bar bell row would be a great opposing movement. While a reverse fly would also work it wouldn’t stimulate the same amount of muscles, nor produce adequate overload.

Balance is the key, yet it’s almost always forgotten.

I personally have always been a fan of having 2 pulling movements for every one pushing movement. It’s rare you see people with an undeveloped anterior chain (mirror muscles).

An example workout I often give is as follows (try and see if you can find what planes are worked):

Day 1:
A1 – DB Incline Press – 5×5
B1 – DB Chest Supported Row – 6×6
C1 – Dip 4×12
C2 – Supinated Chin 4×6-12
D1 – Russian Cable Twist 3x fail

Day 2:
A1 – BB Squat – 8×3
B1 – BB DL – 12×2
C1 – Leg Extension – 3×8
C2 – Leg Curl 3×8
D1 – Tornado Ball Slam (back to the wall, twisting left/right 3x 60 seconds

Day 3:
A1 – Overhead Press – 4×6
B1 – Wide Grip Pull Up – 5×10
C1 – Lateral Raise – 4×12
C2 – Upright Row – 4×12
D1 – Gym Ball Scorpion Kick 3 x 12 each side

Working the varied planes with a balanced mixture of compound/isolation movements will build lots of lean muscle and a balanced physique.

Bye Bye,
Ross

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