Tag Archives: skill

6 Reasons Front Squats are awesome.

1 – They improve your postural & core strength.
 
2 – Increased sporting/athletic crossover.
 
3 – You get very strong in the upper back doing them.
 
4 – Their self limiting nature keeps your ego in check and your injures reduced. Once your form goes it’s gone, no cheating those reps.
 
5 – Mobility & stability benefits.
 
6 – You’ll finally start to build some impressive legs.
 
If you are looking for some great little resources I would suggest Juggernaut Training, they have some great videos.
 
Here is one to get you started –
 
 
Head Coach Max of JTS is also a mountain of knowledge for these too.
 
By adding these to your training you will yield some great results.
 
You may have some wrist discomfort in the early days, however this goes away once you nail the form, until then, better get practicing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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A different take on Eccentrics.

Morning All,
 
Chances are you’ve heard about lowering a weight slowly and under control when lifting.
 
Have you heard about ‘pulling’ the weight back to the starting position or in to the hole though?
 
Probably not.
 
It may seem like a strange idea however it will help build a lot of strength and serve to increase total body tension in your movements.
 
Here is an example:
 
Press a kettlebell overhead to lock out, stay tense and gripping it tight.
 
From the top you now want to engage your lat hard and star tot PULL the weight down, as opposed to slowly lowering it – think along the lines that you’re trying to do a one arm chin up.
 
At first it will feel weird, however the more you do it the better you’ll get and suddenly you will find yourself becoming a lot stronger.
 
This tactic works well on all movements, especially unilateral ones such as Pistols and Single Arm Press Ups.
 
Here are some books to delve in to to learn more about this (mainly because I can’t remember exactly which book I got it from).
 
All by Pavel Tsatsouline:
 
– Enter the Kettlebell
– Power to the People
– The Naked Warrior
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Front Squats FTW!

Struggle with squats?
 
You’re not alone.
 
Morning All,
 
When it comes to squats there are many ways to learn how to do them, my favourite two are as follows:
 
– Goblet Squats
– Front Squats
 
They keep you honest and will teach a natural movement patterns that perhaps the standard squat won’t (barbell back squat).
 
Especially front squats.
 
The most common issue is usually depth, people do some form of hybrid good morning/half squat – please note this is not and never will be a squat – if this sounds like you Id advise you stop doing them immediately.
 
Funnily enough the cause for the poor squatting form mentioned above is often circuit classes, body pump and things of a similar ilk.
 
Don’t get me wrong, classes are great for getting people motivated, however for learning good form and making progress they’re far from ideal.
 
Just saying.
 
You might be thinking that front squats hurt your wrists when you do them, if this is the case then I suggest that you’re holding the bar incorrectly because you probably are.
 
Yep, the fault is on you.
 
There is the option of a crossover grip, however I wouldn’t personally advise this as it’s not optimal for performance or safety.
 
If you jump on google and type in ‘Improve Front Rack Position’ you’ll find endless articles that tell you essentially the same things.
 
– Higher elbows
– The bar rests on your front deltoids
– Improve mobility in lats/upper thoracic spine
 
Do some digging, it’s worth it.
 
The front squat also keeps you humble because you can’t really cheat it, you either lift with solid/safe form or you don’t make the lift – most of the time.
 
Here is a great little resource –
 
 
Now go, start working on that squat.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Easier than you think.

What training should you be doing?
 
The answer is simple, or complex, I guess it all comes down o what you want.
 
Morning All,
 
Training isn’t hard, not really.
 
The main aim of it is to elicit an adaptive response so that you become stronger, more conditioned and improve your overall longevity.
 
That’s it.
 
What is so hard about that to achieve?
 
Well, quite a lot actually. Especially if you’ve been indoctrinated in to the thought process of the masses which is rarely conducive to YOU making progress unless you’re happy being a part of the mediocrity that is.
 
From my experience, people get confused as to what is best.
 
This is fair enough, with all the potential avenues to take, and by the way, they all work, it can be hard to find just one path to follow.
 
Guess what though…
 
You don’t need to follow just one, honestly, you don’t.
 
That is UNLESS you have a specific goal, say becoming a pro bodybuilder, then your path is already set before you in the down trodden grass of all those before you who chose to walk the same path.
 
What’s that?
 
There is no ‘one size fits all program’ – this is true, yet you’ll find all the people that have done what you have yet to even contemplate to achieve the goal you desire have all followed smithing that looks remarkably similar, trust me, you’re not as unique as you think you are.
 
Now let us say you don’t have a specific goal and just want to ‘lose some weight and get fitter’ – you’re not alone, as such here is an option for your consideration.
 
Run a 3 session rotation, this can be done as 3 days on 1 days off, 2 on – 1 off – 1 on – 1 off – repeat (this is optimal), or even just done three days per week if that’s all the time you have.
 
The sessions you will want are as follows:
 
– Skill
– Strength
– Conditioning
 
What do these consist of?
 
Here’s an example:
 
Skill = Learning something, perhaps the quick lifts (clean & jerk, Snatch, Kettlebell sport, gymnastic skills such as hand balancing and so on).
 
Strength = You lift heavy things and aim to cover the full complement of human movement patterns: Push-Pull-Squat-Hinge-Loaded Carry, could be all on the same day, or you might do an anterior chain/posterior chain split, endless options really.
 
Conditioning = Lung pump, the most horrible of pumps.
 
All joking aside, this would be in regards to improving your VO2 Max, aerobic capacity, endurance and locomotive abilities.
 
We can go on all day about what people ‘could’ be doing or perhaps even ‘should’ be doing with all the science and proof to go with it as to WHY it will work, however it’s been done to death and honestly, I just can’t assed anymore.
 
When you’ve spent a lifetime trying to help people learn and find the way, you gain a certain omnipotence to deaf ears & biases.
 
People often only want to hear what they want to hear, never what they need to hear.
 
As such if you have any questions leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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An Odd Lift for epic results.

The Bent Press.
 
Have you heard of it?
 
 
Here is a quick video to show you.
 
The world record in the bent press is 371 lbs by Arthur Saxon, but there were unofficial reports of him bent pressing 409.5 lbs.
 
This movement requires not only strength, it also requires mobility/flexibility, as strong core, coordination and skill to master.
 
Once you nail this movement you’ll find it does wonders not only for your lifting numbers and overall strength, it’s great for shoulder health too.
 
A solid way to program this is to use the ‘Ladder Sets’ sequence as described by Pavel Tsatsouline in his book ‘Enter the Kettlebell’.
 
^^ I would buy or download this book for more detailed info on what I will outline below.
 
There are of course other methods, however this one works especially well.
 
Here is what to do –
 
Start off doing 1-2-3 (that’s one rep each arm, then two, then three before resting) for three total rounds.
 
Next session add a 4th round while keeping the reps at 1-2-3 and sticking with the same weight you used.
 
Next session add a 5th round, this is as high as it goes for rounds, still use 1-2-3 for now.
 
After you’ve started doing 5 rounds start aiming to build up to doing 1-2-3-4×5, then 1-2-3-4-5×5 – when you can do 1-5×5 with good form and plenty left in the tank it’s time to increase the weight and start back at 1-2-3×3 or even 1-2×3 if you take a large jump in weight.
 
^^ I’d do this movement with kettlebells and take half pood jumps (8kg increases).
 
Add this to your training and rep the rewards of strength, mobility and above all else, challenge.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 reasons why you should add Push Press to your training.

1 – It allows you to handle more weight overhead, and even boost your volume in a strict pressing set by adding in a couple of extra push presses at the end.

(Plus it’s less technically than the jerk or push jerk)

2 – You can work on overload eccentrics with it which will have potential carryover to your strict press.

3 – Sporting benefit. The PP is multipoint movement, it has a quarter squat, a jump and a press, very useful for athletic goals.

When it comes to this lift you will find it can make for a great addition to your overhead or pressing sessions.

I would advise doing it first due to the high technical component required, unless you’re doing push jerks as well, in which case do those first, then push press, then finish with strict.

Here are a couple of method for you to try for planning push press 3x per week.

Day 1 – Monday – 50 reps in as few sets as possible
Day 2 – Thursday – 5x2x90%, this is just hard
Day 3 – Saturday – 30/30 (30 sec PP, 30 sec rest), for 30min

I’d chuck in some chins/rows, lateral raises, face pulls as accessory work as well.

Try this with dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells or odd objects, it’s quite fun.

Don’t forget to train legs as well 🙂

Enjoy,
Ross

 

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Strong side, weak side

Unilateral work.
 
A sure fire way to have your body even up any potential imbalances.
 
How much do you do?
 
Morning All,
 
Working one side of your body at a time is a worthy investment of your time.
 
That said, there is a reason many shy away from doing it.
 
Their ego.
 
Doing this style of lifting will naturally reduce the weights that you’re going to be able to lift.
 
It might also take a little longer to complete all your sets/reps too as you have to do both sides equally.
 
Regardless of those two considerations, doing this is still something you’d benefit from having in your training regime and perhaps even focusing on for a few months.
 
Unilateral training will also help keep you honest as well.
 
If you aim to lift with solid from and not allow your body to shift in to places to allow for a more beneficial leverage that is.
 
Apart from getting strong and balanced, you will also forge a rock solid core and excellent ability to create total body tension from all the extra stability that is required.
 
Here are some movements for your consideration that will give you the most bang for your buck.
 
– Barbell Pressing (single arm)
– Lunges & Pistol Squats
– Deadlift (single leg or suitcase)
– Waiter walk or farmers walk (single arm)
– Rows (single arm body weight, dumbbell, etc)
 
There are lots more options, however even doing a simple routine of single arm press ups & pistol squats (ala Pavel’s Naked Warrior – get this book) is tough when done correctly.
 
Then imagine working towards a OAPU (one arm pull up), now that is a feat of strength indeed.
 
If you find your training has taken a stale turn, add in some of the above.
 
Here is a suggestion:
 
*Always start on your weaker side first, match the amount of good reps you get on this side with your stronger side, DO NOT do it the other way around.
 
Pull day –
A1 – Deadlift variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral pulling movement
C1 – Unilateral pulling movement
 
Push day –
A1 – Press variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral pushing movement
C1 – Unilateral pushing movement
 
Leg day –
A1 – Squat variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral squat/hinge movement
C1 – Unilateral squat/hinge movement
 
Sets/reps & load are up to you, I’d suggest this:
 
A1 – 80%+, <25 total reps (8×3, 12×2, 5×5, 6×4, 4×6, etc)
B1 – Ladder sets of either 1-10, 1-7, 1-5 – 50-100 reps total
C1 – Ladder sets of either 1-10, 1-7, 1-5 – 50-100 reps total
 
The ladder set would mean you do one rep one side, then one rep the other, then two on the first side, two on the second and so on until you hit your target.
 
Aim to complete a full 1-10 ladder without breaking any of the sets, if you do, match the second side to the failed amount of reps on the first, then you start again at 1 rep both sides and start climbing again.
 
Ladders also work well if a time limit is set, something like 10-20min etc.
 
Simple.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The 3 Plate Sandwich

Do you ever do plate sandwich walks?
 
If not you should, they’re great for strengthening your upper body.
 
Morning all,
 
I also call these ‘plate compression walks’ however the one above sounds more fun.
 
They’re quite simple, yet very effective.
 
Take three plates, say 2x10kg & 1x5kg.
 
The 10’s are on the outside and the 5 is in the middle.
 
Keeping your hands flat (think palm pressure🙏), press the plates together hard, if you see your elbows slightly tucked you will feel this a lot in your pecs/lats.
 
From here go for a walk and only stop when you can’t hold the isometric contraction and longer.
 
Repeat for 10min, or longer if you choose.
 
You can of course to this with only 1 or 2 plates, I’ve just found three makes like rather interesting.
 
This also works great with kettlebells 🤗
 
Add this to your workouts and you’ll find upper body strength & progress you didn’t know you had in you.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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8 Tips to help improve your deadlift.

Some call this the King of lifts.
 
Whether you think this deserves that title of perhaps the Snatch, Clean & Jerk or Squat are better suited to it, we can all agree that there is nothing most satisfying that hoisting a hefty weight off the floor to a solid lock out.
 
It’s a truly great feeling.
 
If you’ve hit a bit of a plateau with yours, here are some tips to help you hit some new numbers 🙂
 
1 – Film yourself
 
Ideally you want to get all of your lifts on camera, that way you can make sure your form is on point.
 
2 – Get a stronger grip
 
People will complain that their grip give out, this is cool and means that they can work on it.
 
Adding in Farmers Walks with your bodyweight (50% each hand) for 10 sets of 15-30 seconds (rest double the time you did) 2-3 times per week will fortify this fingers of yours.
 
3 – Reset every rep
 
No bouncing of any deadlift.
 
Ideally place the bar down, step away, step back in, set up again and lift, repeat for your desired amount of reps.
 
This is a great way to groove your set up form and makes for some interesting sets of 5.
 
4 – Add front squats/pause FS to your training
 
These have a nice carry over effect to deadlifts because you have to stay tight and hold posture to make the lift, especially the pause variations.
 
Aim for 15-25 reps in a session, capping the reps per set limit at 3, so that might be 8×3, 12×2, 5×3, 15×1, and so on.
 
5 – Super slow eccentrics
 
You deadlift as normal, while fusing on keeping your form a solid and tight as possible.
 
Next hold the bar at the top for 5 seconds, then proceed to lower over the next 10 seconds, do singles only for this and use anywhere from 50-70% of your max weight you can hit with solid form.
 
Easy on paper, ridiculously hard in practice.
 
6 – Remember the deadlift is a hinge
 
If you watch good pullers they have the following in common:
 
– Almost vertical shin at set up and second part of the pull
– Hips just higher than knees, shoulders just higher than hips
– They push the floor away
– They push their hips forwards
– They keep the bar close
– Tension is not lost at any point in the set up or the lift
 
A lot of people try to squat a deadlift, as such the squat it off the floor (badly), then continue to back extend the weight he rest of the way up and wonder why they hurt themselves.
 
Here is a great little resource explaining this (it’s easier to watch than read):
 
 
Your DL might take a hit in terms of numbers lifted while you re-pattern, however it will be worth it in the end.
 
7 – Strengthen your back
 
This might seem obvious however you’d be surprised how many people put most of their training focus in to pressing and wonder why they have a crap pull.
 
Bent over rows, pull ups, pull downs (various grips), single arm rows, bear hug carries, face pulls, reverse flies are only a few examples of back exercises, make sure you get in some solid volume for your back and make it grow.
 
You’ll also find the bigger your back is the better at pressing you become as your back is responsible for stabilising you and the stronger it is, the stronger human being you will be.
 
8 – Stop chasing weight
 
Kind of a contradiction to this entire post, yet a very relevant one.
 
Time in the gym is meant for BUILDING STRENGTH, not testing it.
 
Many are guilty of testing too often in the gym and wonder why they never make progress.
 
Ego must be left at the door. If you can pull 5 plates, that’s great just don’t think you have to pull 5 plates every time you’re in the gym otherwise people will think you’re weak, they won’t, they don’t care about what you lift, trust me.
 
In the gym sticking between 70-85% of your max is more than enough to help you build some impressive strength and avoid snapping yourself up.
 
If you need to lift some big weights for instagram do what most of those who are famous on it do and buy some fake weights for your videos, simple 😂
 
There you have it, 8 tips to help you improve your deadlift.
 
Obviously don’t try to do them all at once.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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1-2-3 for you & me

Progress, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
 
An old school method for strength & lean mass.
 
Morning All,
 
You may have guessed that I enjoy things from yesteryear.
 
For good reason too, I might add.
 
Everything that worked back then still works today, in fact it’s usually more effective than what most people do these days.
 
You will find many a person runs to a fitness magazine, or some form of social media for a workout routine, which is fair enough, if something is free you’d be silly not to use it.
 
The only issue is that while the info might be good, the people using it only apply around 50% effort, especially when the weights get heavy.
 
This is bad… very bad.
 
Low effort means low results.
 
This is where for those of you who are a little more focused 1-2-3 will be something you enjoy.
 
Here is what to do:
 
– Pick an exercise or two (A1/A2 fashion)
– Put some weight on the bar, say 80% of your max
– Do 1 rep, rest a little, do 2 reps, rest a little, do 3 reps, rest longer
– Add weight after each successful 1-2-3
– Do 3-5 sets
 
 
You’d be surprised how this rest pause style of protocol allows you to lift heavier than normal and get in some decent volume too.
 
You’ll find that this style of protocol is are more sustainable than a standard 5×5 with repeating weight as you can manage fatigue levels far better while still lifting heavy-ish.
 
In between each of the prescribed reps you could rest 15-30 seconds, just enough to allow you to get the next reps easily while still lifting heavy.
 
Rest 2-5min after each full set.
 
After you’ve done your reps/sets you can finish off with some loaded carries and perhaps some isolation work for weak points, or for vanity reasons, your choice.
 
This is so easy to apply you’ll probably ignore it.
 
You can use 3 week rotations before adding more total load to the bar if you choose, it will look like this:
 
Week 1: 3×1-2-3×80%
Week 2: 4×1-2-3×80%
Week 3: 5×1-2-3×80%
Week 4: 3×1-2-3×82%
And so on.
 
I’ve it a try and watch your strength, lean mass, skill in the lift and enjoyment of training soar through the roof.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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