Tag Archives: simple

Old & Effective

We humans do like to overcomplicate things.

In my experience it’s because of these reasons:

– Complexity carries the idea of it being ‘better’
– It provides the perfect excuse to fail

Sometimes stripping things back to a simple form can yield far more results than people would like.

Yes, getting better results in whatever goal isn’t what everyone wants.

Many like pretending, playing at training all so that they can gain some desired attention and also any pandering they need.

If this is you, fair enough.

However if you’re someone who wants to move forwards physically, mentally and in life then wha tis written below will take away the stress of deciding upon a training protocol.

This works for the larger majority of people.

While it’s not perfect, because nothing ever is, the key point is this – it works provided you do.

The Protocol – Heavy Set & Back Off

Work to a heavy set of the following:

Weeks 1-3: 10 reps
Weeks 4-6: 8 reps
Weeks 7-9: 6 reps

Take 80% of the top weight for the day, hit these back-off rep numbers in as few sets as possible:

Weeks 1-3: 50 reps
Weeks 4-6: 40 reps
Weeks 7-9: 30 reps

Perform this on one or two main lifts for the day.

For accessory work your aim for all weeks is as follows:

– 50 reps total in 3 sets or less.

Here is an example day:

A1 – RDL x10 > Back Off – 80% x50 total reps
B1 – Bent Over Row x50 reps
C1 – Curl x50 reps

The goal for each week of the three week wave is to either repeat the same numbers with top set being easier and the back ff reps taking less sets (or less rest, etc).

Over time you may choose to change the top set rep choice and the amount of back off reps, that’s cool because the overall ethos of the protocol is this –

Work to a heavy set, then take weight of and do reps.

Simple, effective, brilliant.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

The Universal Training System

Did you know that there is one simply training system that pretty much everyone can do.
 
Squats & Push Ups 🦵💪
 
Taking away all the movement options, calisthenic skills such as hand balancing and the almost endless options for training with next to nothing except your own body and some floor space.
 
Squats & Push Ups are what essentially everyone has.
 
(Unfortunate medical conditions/accidents will be the exceptions to this, sadly)
 
Narrowing things down suddenly people will complain it’s too simple, too boring etc 🦵💪
 
Ironically these are the same people that won’t willing to do some of their own investigation into training and want it all handed to them on a plate, they’re ‘training entitled snobs’.
 
Basically they want it all for nothing, same goes for magical results with no effort too, they’re an odd breed.
 
Anyway, the two basic human movements above can be very fruitful in training when done correctly 🦵💪
 
Believe it or not you can get in full body training with these two movements (to a point).
 
The keys to achieving that would be to PULL yourself down into the bottom of each movement, and creating total body tension (braced abs through each movement)
 
In the press up this means scapula retraction, lat engagement and really pulling yourself towards the floor to feel all the muscles int our back working.
 
Plus also keeping your glutes squeezed as tight as humanly possible too, not sagging here please.
 
Same applies to squats, using the hip flexors & hamstrings to pull yourself down feeling them creating as much tension as possible.
 
Simple yet very effective 🦵💪
 
You’ll find that in limiting oneself to these suddenly all the other options for training with nothing other than the floor and yourself start to find their way into your head.
 
Many will say “Can I do XYZ as well?”
 
Of course you can, yet you didn’t do them before so why should it be believed that you’re going to do them now?
 
We shall look at some options to train the two above 🦵💪
 
Option 1 – 30/30/30
 
30 seconds of Press Ups (5-10 reps)
30 seconds of squats (10-20 reps
Repeat for 30min
 
Option 2 – 10×10 + 6-0-X-0 Tempo
 
10 sets of 10 reps, simple enough.
 
The tempo is what makes things interesting because int he eccentric you won’t simply be lowering yourself for 6 seconds, you’ll be PULLING yourself down for 6 second.
 
Ideally creating max tension on the eccentric each rep, then explosively coming out of the bottom position.
 
Rest 60 seconds between sets & alternate Squats & Press Ups (meaning you’ll do 20 total sets).
 
Option 3 – Climbing the Ladder
 
Perform 1 Press up
Perform 2 Squats
Perform 2 Press ups
Perform 4 Squats
 
Keep adding 1 press up and 2 squats each set for one of these time periods – 20-30-40min.
 
You’ll wonder how the toilet ever go so low to the ground the next day.
 
🦵💪🦵💪🦵💪🦵💪🦵💪🦵💪
 
There you have it, the universal training system for everyone.
 
Of course there are a plethora of variations of the two movements above, meaning you’ve got an almost endless amount of variation.
 
I’d suggest repeating the same sessions for 2-3weeks, then chaining something up, be that the movement variation, the tempo, the rep schemes, etc.

Often time when people complain of not knowing what to do, stripping things back to the bare essentials suddenly has them remembering they know more than they let on. 

 
Now there really is no excuse not to train productively.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Gym Free

Soon I am to be without a gym.
 
The place I currently train is set to close, it has had a good run however as with all good things it must come to an end.
 
A few good memories have been had at this simple place.
 
You’d find the beauty of this particular gym in the fact it had very little kit and very limited weight (200kg ish in plates, total), a pull up bar, TRX, small section of dumbbells (2-20kg) and 2 DAP cable machine.
 
Honestly it made for some of the most productive training I’ve had in years.
 
It also helped break my addictive mindset.
 
Personally I enjoy doing 3 movements per training session.
 
This seems to be the right amount of work that allows a solid focus with ample variety while also cutting out any chance of bullshit and exercise fodder.
 
Junk volume became a thing of the past.
 
Typically sessions were about 45-60min, if time was short only the main movement would be done, thus resulting in a one lift training session.
 
The other two lifts tended to be accessory, unless I felt like doing something more taxing.
 
My most favoured one lift sessions:
 
Deadlifts
Squats
Presses
Rows
Pull/Chin Ups
 
When the main lift didn’t feel like it was enough some ultra basic superset tactics would be utilised:
 
Front Squat & Straight Leg DL
Sumo DL & Floor Press
Press & Pull Up
 
The typical session would look like this:
 
100x Rows (bodyweight, bar or DB)
Main lift – 45min of S/B/DL/P
100x Reverse Flies*
 
*Alternated session to session with tricep work
 
Yep, back would be done first and last, mainly for postural purposes and some feeling of the posterior chain.
 
I’m also not adverse to doing a few hundred kettlebell swings in a day (or perhaps 100 snatches) just because I feel like it, the posterior chain is king and needs to be treated as such.
 
It’s not much, at least it’s honest though.
 
You’ve now had an insight into the training I do.
 
There is less emotional attachment to specific movements these days, for that I’m thankful.
 
Training is just training at the end of the day.
 
If you don’t squat for 6 months no one is going to care, not really. That doesn’t mean you won’t train your legs in some way shape of from, it just means you wont necessarily do it by squatting.
 
Oh yes, you don’t need to train in the classic body building or Frankenstein method (by body part).
 
You can choose to train the way you desire.
 
There are not training police. No underground triad that will cut off the tip of your little finger for not training like a body builder (they only do that if you dishonour/fail them, phew).
 
You may be aware my philosophy of training evolved.
 
It was once about doing it all,now it’s about simply doing better.
 
Get really really good at something, or a few things, take them to their limit then be happy and give them a break and do something entirely different.
 
You know when it’s time to give something away (movement/exercise wise) when you start to get emotionally attached to it.
 
Ideally you give it away before this happens.
 
One way to hep you do this is to find a gym that has very little to offer in the way of kit because in that you’ll find it’s true gift, freedom.
 
Remember this the next time you’re presented a choice.
 
Instead of choosing fashion (creature comforts, shiny kit and all the trimmings).
 
Choose freedom.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

One Tool, Multiple Results

Rack-less Progress.
 
You’ve probably read posts on here before about making progress without the need for anything more than one piece of kit.
 
Today we shall circle back around to the classic barbell & plates without the use of a rack.
 
(Could be fixed barbells as well)
 
In the modern world of programming sessions there are some people that have finally started to come around, or back to, the idea of movements first, muscles second.
 
The reason being that you’ll find by prioritising movement you cover essentially all of your muscles.
 
Some isolation/specific accessory work is cool, however for the majority of people it shouldn’t be their entire program.
 
As for the barbell, we shall be looking at the movement options and then put together ideas so that you can do more with less.
 
I reckon 2-5 for each section should be enough to get you started.
 
Okay, here we go.
 
Movement/Full Body:
 
– Clean & Jerk (or press/push press)
– Snatch
– Bent Press
– TGU (Turkish Get Up)
– Roll Out (kneeling or standing)
 
Loaded Carry:
 
– Zercher
– Farmers Walk (single arm)
– Waiters Walk
– Drag Curl Carry
– Spartan Carry
 
Hinge:
 
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
 
Squat:
 
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
 
Pull:
 
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
 
Push:
 
– Press (multiple variation, flat, overhead, floor, reverse, etc)
– Tricep Extension (multiple variation, overhead, flat, etc)
 
As you can see there is a lot of choice, and this is without even going into barbell complexes either.
 
This is an example three day training week using the movement premise above.
 
To make this a challenge worth your time you may only use 10-20kg plates when loading the bar or progressing.
 
Yep, no small plates, this will mean you put more emphasis on how to progress/plan things going forwards.
(You can of course change this based on your goal/needs, it’s not gospel, merely a suggestion)
 
Day 1 –
A1 – Snatch – 7×2-3
B1 – Floor Press – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Drag Curl Carry – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 2 –
A1 – Clean & Jerk – 7×2-3
B1 – Supinated Bent Over Row – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Waiters Walk – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 3 –
A1 – TGU x5-10 reps per side
B1 – Bent Press x5-10 reps per side
C1 – Hack Squat 5×20
 
Once you hit the rep goals (7×2-3 = 21 total reps top end), either choose to add load or change the exercise for that movement.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Trusty Rusty

A man and his kettlebell.
 
Because no dogs were available at the time.
 
Have you ever thrown around the aforementioned cannonball with a handle?
 
They offer a plethora of benefits.
 
Strength, mobility, CV, power and much more.
 
Their beauty comes from their simplicity because you don’t need much to accomplish a lot, provided you don’t have a kettlebell that is little more than a door stop in regards to total weight.
 
I’m sure many will disagree with this.
 
Oh well never mind.
 
What will transpire below is not for the very de-conditioned although it can be adapted for such.
 
Here is what weight I’d recommend for you have as an essential starting out:
 
Gentlemen – 24kg
 
Lady – 16kg
 
With such limited choice you’ll have to be clever with training and keep things simple yet effective.
 
Try this short 26 week protocol –
 
Weeks 1-6 – Get Up & Single Arm Swings
 
– Up to 10 total get ups per day
– 75-250 single arm swings per day
 
Weeks 7-12 – Clean & Press (or push press, or jerk)
 
– Clean ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 with 1 Press
– Press ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,19 with 1 Clean
– Alternate between the above per day
 
Weeks 13 – 18 – Single Arm Swings & Squats/Push Ups*
 
*can be pistols/single arm push ups*
 
– Single arm Swings 75-250 per day
– Goblet Squat or Push Up* ladder 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
– Alternate SQ/PU each day
 
Weeks 19-24 – Single Arm Swing, Clean, Press, Squat
 
– Complex ladder 1,2,3,4,5
– Perform up to 5 ladders each say (one at a minimum)
 
This isn’t fancy, however it is effective as you can tweak movement variations to your hearts content and add in some GTG (grease the groove) work if you feel strong enough.
 
^^ I’ve found a pulling movement works well for GTG.
I’ve personally done the above with a 32kg and found limiting the choice was a great way to give myself a much needed kick up the arse.
Give it a go and as always –
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

5×5, just not as you know it.

A great little protocol that will be good for fat loss, hypertrophy, strength endurance and fun.
 
I had this little training program come to me while walking last night.
 
This it by no means anything groundbreaking.
 
Keeping that in mind, I reckon it will humble a fair few if the proper effort level is given.
 
The basic set up –
 
– Pick 1-5 movements
– 5 sets total
– Each set is a 5min time block
– No Sloppy Reps
– Rest 3-5min between each set
– Train 2-3 days per week
– Enjoy for 6-12 weeks
 
A 5min block of time where you simply perform only one lift, sounds easy on paper, not so much in reality, especially if you don’t put down whatever it is you’re lifting.
 
Keeping a hold of a bar or piece of kit for 5min is quite the challenge both physically and mentally.
 
Of course in some instances it won’t be possible.
 
This is where the beauty of he above comes in to play and helps you regulate the intensity.
 
You don’t have to keep a hold of whatever kit you’re using or keep moving if it’s a bodyweight exercise you’ve chosen, you can stop an rest.
 
The main focus is on training density & work capacity.
 
You simply not what weight you used, how many reps you got an aim to beat that next session, simple.
 
I’d personally stay with the same movements for 3 week blocks, you can either repeat the same session for each of your 2-3 days or change the lifts each time, that’s up to you, just keep that the same for the suggested block.
 
Example 3 days –
 
*The warm up of the rest will be int he first 5min set, doesn’t have to be, it just saves time.
 
Day 1:
Set 1 – Kettlebell Snatch (don’t put down)
Set 2 – Farmers Walk
Set 3 – Kettlebell Push Press (don’t put down)
Set 4 – Pull Up – any variation
Set 5 – Kettlebell Double Racked Squat (don’t put down)
 
Day 2:
Set 1 – Sandbag Clean & Carry
Set 2 – Thruster BB (don’t put down)
Set 3 – BB Row
Set 4 – Kettlebell Single Arm Swing (don’t put down)
Set 5 – Press Up – any variation
 
Day 3:
Set 1 – The Bear Complex
Set 2 – Squat – any variation (don’t put down)
Set 3 – Power Snatch
Set 4 – Ring Dip
Set 5 – Power Clean
 
*Warm down with a good old stretch and marvel in all the good effort you put in.
 
^^ One thing to keep in mind with the above is there needs to be a focus on quality reps.
 
(Now imagine trying to do this with just one movement for all 5 sets of 5min….. Brutal)
 
Even though in the example I’ve said in some cases not to put the kit down, if your form is going to pot then don’t be a hero, put it down, grab some rest and try for a few more reps.
 
There will always be next session to try and make the full time.
 
Feel free to add in smaller movements as well, thing such as face pulls, reverse flies, bicep curls, skull crushers and so on.
 
The idea behind this little protocol is to get you focusing on achieving a decent amount of quality work.
 
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A new take on an old classic

Ever read Super Squats?

It’s an older book however it’s well worth a read, not to mention 6 weeks of your time following the training program itself.

Wile easy enough to understand it certainly separates the strong from the weak.

It’s brutal mentally because it’s so simple.

The original training went something like this:

Press behind neck – 2-3 x 12
Squat – 1 x 20 supersetted with Pullover – 1 x 20
Bench press – 2-3 x 12
Rowing – 2-3 x 15
Stiff legged deadlift – 1 x 15
Pullover – 1 x 20

Done 2-3 times a week.

Worth a go for the experience if nothing else, you’d also do well to have the aim of getting to 300lbs in the squat or 20, the ultimate goal in the book.

So while the above is fun it’s not the only way to utilise this style of training, you can take the basic skeleton (sets/reps) and apply it to a great many things.

Staring movement on a weak area – 2-3 x 12
Select a large compound lift (DL, C&P, SQ, etc) – 1 x 20 superset with antagonist – 1 x 20
Pick a secondary lift for adding muscle – 2-3 x 12
Pick a lift antagonistic the the one just before this – 2-3 x 15
A little something for pump – 1 x 15
The movement you did in the compound 20 rep lift – 1 x 20

Here is an example of how you can use that structure.

Weeks 1-6 the classic Super Squat routine

Weeks 7-12 (you fancy some back and arm focus)

Kettlebell Clean & Sots Press– 2-3 x 12
Trap Bar Deadlift – 1 x 20 supersetted with Barbell Curl – 1 x 20
Incline Press – 2-3 x 12
Close Grip Pull Down – 2-3 x 15
Split Squat – 1 x 15
Barbell Curl – 1 x 20

Perform 2-3 times per week, perhaps aim to hit the 20rep on TBDL with 400lbs, ala Brawn and Stuart McRoberts.

I’m sure you get the idea.

The beauty comes from the simple structure that allows you to simply plug and play, just with some exercise variations.

Obviously you don’t need to do this and the overall specificity is lacking, however for people who just want general training (strength, fat loss, hypertrophy) and some guidance it’s quite useful.

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

All too easy.

Think about training movement patterns as opposed to muscles.

Not new by any means, just not popular anymore.

We’re very caught up in the minutia these days, married to one training style as it were.

There are hundreds of exercises for each movement patter.

  • Push-Pull-Squat-Hinge

You also have rotation, full body, locomotion (carries) crawling & climbing.

Pick a movement each day you train, just one and with one choose three exercises.

Example: Push

  • Push Press (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Bench Press (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Dip (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Pull

  • Muscle Snatch (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Pull Up (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Bicep Curl (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Squat

  • Front Squat (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Split Squat  (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Walking Lunge (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

Example: Hinge

  • Power Clean (main lift) – 15-25 total reps – 85%+ 1RM
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift (accessory lift) – 25-50 total reps – 65-85% 1RM
  • Kettlebell Swing (isolation lift) 50-100 total reps – 65% 1RM & under

You see, putting training together isn’t hard, it’s even easier if your goal is GPP.

*GPP – General Physical Preparedness, or just to be fitter, stronger, leaner etc.

Train each movement every 5 days consistently and you’ll surpass 90% of gym members.

I like to keep things simple these days because I’ve learned over time it’s often better.

If we can’t progress with something simple then we’ve no right making it complex.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Good Old Arthur.

As a youth I did some classic work labouring, you know the kind, on building site being a gopher essentially.
 
There was another lad who worked at the same time, a couple of years older and the rest of the lads on site used to call him Arthur.
 
Being of the ilk who enjoyed a good book my mind went to the realms of the King of Knights, Excalibur and the Holy Grail.
 
Turns out if was because he’d often leave things half done.
 
Thus his full name was “Arthur Job”, say it quickly and it will all make sense if you’re still unsure.
 
This attitude is not something exclusively for the youths of the world, in fact there are a lot of adults who will only ever do things half heartedly and really finish anything meaningful.
 
Perhaps it’s because they fear putting in the effort required and what might happen if they fail epically, or they could just be lazy I suppose.
 
How many times has you only ever doing half of something?
 
I can say there has been a fair share of things my end and the reason for it was always the same; it just wasn’t something I really wanted to be doing.
 
Given this insight I will always ask myself these two questions before undertaking a task.
 
1 – Is this something I absolutely NEED to do?
 
2 – Is this something I WANT to do?
 
If the first is a yes then regardless of if I want to do it or not it gets done because of necessity.
 
If the first is a no and the second is a yes, then I will do the thing, however if both are a resounding no then I just won’t do them because it’s not important.
 
A simple way to live really.
 
These simple questions avoid me promising things I can’t or don’t want to deliver and trust me it saves a lot of hassle in the long run.
 
You should take these on board and apply them to some elements of your life.
 
Let us take fitness for example, given this is a fitness bias page.
 
Fat loss:
 
1 – Do you NEED to lose fat?
2 – Do you WANt to lose fat?
 
The first might be a no, fair enough.
 
The second could be a yes, then you will have to understand why you want to lose fat, perhaps it is to attract someone else, or just to feel better, or to feel comfortable having sex with the lights on, or whatever.
 
Once you make the decision to do something, you see it through to the end.
 
Take these two questions, apply them and don’t end up becoming just another Arthur of the world.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

100 reps per lift for 100 days.

It’s beauty is in it’s simplicity.
 
The basic premise of what to do:
 
– 100 reps per lift
– (each 3rd micro-block drop the volume by 30-60%, if needed)
– Set a minimum rep limit, there is no max rep limit
– Have the following lifts (Main, Secondary, Accessory)
– Utilise a Legs, Push, Pull rotation
– Train 3 out of every 5 days
– Rest as needed
– Add load as needed
– You warm up sets are included in your 100 reps
 
A couple of options:
 
Pull Day
 
Main – Trap Bar DL
Secondary – Arm Over Arm Sled Pull
Accessory – Curl
 
Starting to get the idea?
 
There is nothing special about this style of training, it is simply a simple guideline that sets out some basics and has one thing that a lot of people miss.
 
A countdown.
 
Or you could call it a time specific focus, meaning the 100 total sessions, training 3/5 days will take you well in through a decent part of the year and if like many you’ve not been that consistent with your training before then you will see results just because of sticking at it.
 
As with anything this will take commitment, however that’s the point.
 
You don’t have to try this, and I don’t think many will because these days we lack the long term dedication to a cause.
 
Just an observation.
 
By the way, I’m doing the above because I needed to break my hair of low reps.
 
I made it a public announcement too, simply because it will keep me in line.
 
I can understand that most people will turn round and say the classic things such as “It does’t matter what others think” blah blah blah.
 
That’s bollocks, I can tell you that for nothing.
 
We do care and anyone who says differently is more than likely someone who cares far more than others, they just want to hide behind a wall.
 
That however is a topic for another day.
 
If you have yet to set your goal, be sure to set a time frame and also make yourself accountable by telling people your intentions.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health