Tag Archives: simple

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
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
– 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.

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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 –

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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.

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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

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3 Different ways to hit your volume goals.

Evening All,
Increasing volume is one of the most time tested ways to make progress, in many training endeavours.
That being said, it can be pretty tough to keep getting in more volume through straight sets, purely for the monotony if nothing else.
This is something I’m currently battling with.
As such here are 3 little ways to get in extra volume without compensating on intensity (actual load).
Let us say that you’re aiming to hit a total number of lifts on your press of say 75 in a session, however 15 sets of 5 just aren’t grabbing you and those sets of 5 are flying up, in fact you’ve probably got sets of 7 with that weight you’re using, this is how you can break it up a little.
^^ If this sounds a tad specific it is because I’m thinking of my kettlebell press, with the 28kgs it’s a solid 7 and 8 at max effort, however the 32’s for reps elude me still. First world problems.
1 – Undulating Back Off Sets
Total NL to hit – 75, 2-4 reps will be used each set until 75 is hit and it may look like this:
This might be paired with a SuperSet of Pull Ups matching the reps.
Rest as needed.
So you undulate the reps between the rep option base don your own feeling of fatigue and speed of the reps.
2 – EMOM Sets
An every minute on the minute (EMOM) can actually be great fun, just make sure that each bout of lifting is 15 seconds or under in the initial stages.
25min, 3 reps per set, all snappy reps and the best part is everything is over nice and fast, be warned though, this is harder in reality than on paper.
3 – Ladder Sets
A personal favourite of mine, the reps in the ladder can vary depending on what it is your doing and the needs, however for the above this is what it might look like:
Ladders can be any style of sequential reps, 3-5-7, or 8,4,2 for example, and any other combination you can think of to hit your target NL for the day.
If like me you’re stuck on putting in the reps then these may help.

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Power & Pump, for the win!
I’m not personally one for seeking a pump, it’s too much effort for very little reward in the realms of strength.
That being said, here is a nice little set/rep protocol you can follow to really get that blood flowing that will also help stimulate your body with a novel amount of stress to maintain and perhaps even increase your strength.
Here is what to do.
– Pick on lift you wish to get a good pump on
– Do one or two warm up sets of that lift
– Progressively RAMP these reps 5-3-2*
– Take 80% of the 5 rep
– With the 80% do 4-6 reps
– Aim for 15-25 sets (build to this over serval sessions)
– 30-60 seconds rest only, if you rest longer then you stop
– Achieve pump
Looks easy on paper, it’s not, however it is rather good fun.
*Now you could look to use the 3 or 2 rep to take a % from, however if you did then I’d suggest 70% of the 3rep and 60% of the 2rep.
*The overall progression idea is that your focus will be on the 5-3-2 and trying to either make your double much smoother or adding some form of weigh tot those numbers over let us say a 6 week period (you can go for longer, however most people get bored after a 6 week block).
You can decide to follow a classic bro-split style of training, or maybe look to hit each movement every 3-5 days, perhaps it will end up being that you do 2 lifts per session using the above (one whole body lift and one half body lift, for example Squat & Pull Up)
Looking to hit about 45-60min is a good target each session as this will still allow for a fairly normal life to happen.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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Boring but Brilliant

Want to gain some strength & size?
Need a protocol to follow?
This simple little suggestion will help you.
– Hit a movement every 3-5 days
– Work up to a heavy-ish 3, 5 or 7TRM (no poor form)
– 3 movements per session (Main, Accessory, Isolation)
– After you’ve hit a top set back off to 70% of that.
– With the 70% do 50 reps in as few sets as possible
– Track your numbers in a training diary
– Repeat for at least 6 months and enjoy the gains.
Here is how you might set up the days like.
Day 1 – Hinging/Pulling Patterns
Day 2 – Pressings Patterns
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Squatting Patterns
Day 5 – Off
Repeat the above 5 days cycle.
Now for the TRM’s based on the above days.
Day 1 – Hinging/Pulling Patterns 5TRM
Day 2 – Pressings Patterns 3TRM
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Squatting Patterns 7TRM
Day 5 – Off
Day 1 – Hinging/Pulling Patterns 3TRM
Day 2 – Pressings Patterns 7TRM
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Squatting Patterns 5TRM
Day 5 – Off
Day 1 – Hinging/Pulling Patterns 7TRM
Day 2 – Pressings Patterns 5TRM
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Squatting Patterns 3TRM
Day 5 – Off
Repeat the above 15 day intensity waving cycle and aim for either a slightly higher TRM or hit the same TRM weight you did before and try to hit the 70% back off of 50reps in less sets.
You may have a session that looks like similar to this one.
A1 – Deadlift (main)
B1 – Pull Up (accessory)
C1 – Barbell Curl (isolation)
Personally I’d recommend keeping the main movements until you find progress stalling, the accessory.isolation lift would do well to stay for 3-6 sessions then change them up a tad.
None of the above is rocket science, however it is effective if you give it enough time and have faith in the process.
One key element is to record what you’re doing as that will allow you to see progression.

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