Tag Archives: skills

3 training tools you really want to try.

Indian Clubs
Gymnastic Rings
Because they’re awesome.
Chances are you’ve heard of the rings before, they got popular in about 2010, and in all honesty are one of the best upper body training tools you’ll ever find.
Going beyond merely doing press ups, drips, chins and even muscle ups on them you’ll find you can progress to low skill level ring routines that will hit almost every muscle in your torso.
The only down side for people is such things don’t provide instant gratification, as such they lose favour.
People are fickle after all and lack patience.
Anyway, the other two items are a little more niche.
Indian Clubs, while not new, are great for shoulder health, core stability, building movement flows and will send your cardio vascular health through the roof without you even realising it.
Then you’ve got the macebells, their benefit can be found in the fact that they’re incredibly difficult to use.
Swinging one around in a basic figure of 8 around your head in a controlled fashion will hit essentially every muscle you have, that is if you don’t fall over first – which is exactly what happened to me first time round, lol.
Here is a video that utilises the uncommon pair above:
One for the rings:
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to do something a little different.
While I still love barbells and the classic lifts, there’s more to life, so go and explore.

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An old joke with an important lesson

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
A poignant question with an answer that few would dispute.
The same is true for many things because in essence the only way to get better at something is to practice said something.
Now this doesn’t just mean random practice.
Oh no.
It’s deliberate practice that has focus, purpose and meaning, otherwise you’re just wasting time being busy.
I mean, by all means be busy and do with your time as you choose because it’s your time, however don’t expect anyone to care if you don’t end up going anywhere.
A lot of people waste time, especially these days, the waste time doing things which make them happy instead of things that make them better.
Before they know it they’re no longer happy because everyone and everything else has moved on and they’ve stayed the same.
Such a shame really, yet that was their choice.
Lately I’ve had the pleasure of discussing programming with various different people who are looking to learn more about this Alice like Wonderland of a topic.
One common theme being seen is the frustration from acc individual that they just can’t get it.
Now given how complex the topic can be their frustration is understandable, yet as with anything the only way they will get better is with practice.
That means writing program after program after program.
Using things such as classic block periodisation, undulating, non-linear, concurrent and more.
It’s all exposure that will help in their skill.
The hardest part is asking for feedback on their triumphs, because sadly feedback has a couple of positive and many areas from improvement.
Some take it to heart, which of course they shouldn’t, lacklustre programming doesn’t make them a bad person, it simply means they’ve still got more growing to do, and that is never a bad thing.
While it will sting to hear criticism, you take it on the chin because that’s just what you do if you want to get better.

(Remember this, if people take the time to give you such time/feedback it’s because they care.)

Much like a lot of things in this life, we can only grow through time and we can only get better over that time if we practice.
Not just any old practice though.
Deliberate practice that has focus, purpose and meaning.
You should investigate this thoroughly.

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Deliberate Practice FTW!

Did you know you’ll never be good at the things you don’t do.


I know right, quite the mind blowing sentence.

Funny thing is this is something a lot of people actually forget or just don’t seem to be aware of.

When it comes to fitness, or movement as a whole the use/disuse principle is quite really one people should keep in the back of their mind at all times.

If you are looking at having a certain set of skills they need to be practiced.

^^Once you acquire the skills maintaining them (depending on how high a level you want to retain) can take minimal effort.

Same goes for an area you’re aiming to improve or build upon, it needs some attention. 👀

All that being said, you’ve also got to accept there may be some form of sacrifice of what you have to gain what you want.

The cosmic balance must be maintained as it were.

I like to think of it like spinning plates.

You can spin only so many as one time, those will be the ones that are looking good yet there will be some that are slowing, others that are about to topple and a few that are already in free fall, that’s just life.

Using fitness as an example.

You are rather unlikely to bench press 500lbs while also being able to run a sub 5min mile pace on a marathon.

True enough it’s not an impossible task to achieve, however it’s just not probable or reasonable for many.

In our mind we see ourselves at our peak or what was our last peak of fitness, this leaves us with a hefty dose of cognitive dissonance in regards to our abilities.

You’ll also find it’s another reason people won’t push themselves out of their comfort zones and be humbled.

Unless it’s proven it can be ignored. 🤔

Many would rather live in blissful ignorance than uncomfortable awareness.

Sad but very true.

So to wrap up this little mid morning musing take some time to be honest with yourself.

What areas do you need to work on more than you do?

^^This can be in relation to fitness, life, business and more.

Give it some thought.


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An old favourite

Ladders, not just for handymen. 
This training method is an old favourite of mine.
It’s one I’ve used for years and it never fails to help improve strength, lean mass and provide enjoyment in training.
What is a Ladder Set?
Well it’s kinda like a pyramid in a sense, yet at the same time it’s not, it’s completely different.
Let us say that you train on your own, this would mean you pick 2 exercises and pair them in and A1/A2 fashion (you could also have more than two exercises, it’s up to you and what best suits you goal) starting off with one rep each to then aadd a rep each subsequent set, like this:
– Chin Up: 1
– Dip: 2
– Chin Up: 2
– Dip: 2
– Chin Up: 3
– Dip: 3
And so on.
You can climb a ladder as high as you choose, so perhaps 1-5, or 1-10, maybe even higher if you’re the type of person to work to a time limit – 10min to climb as high as possible.
If you do 1-5 that’s 15 reps, 1-10 it’s 55, 1-3 it’s six and so on.
As you can see these are excellent at getting in both volume and quality of work, essentially increasing your work capacity/density of training.
Now a lot of people will not make it very high and here is why; once you miss a rep you start pac at 1 again, you’re not allowed to continue adding reps as you’ve reached technical failure in your form/strength. This means that you will potentially get a lot of qualify low reps that help solidify your form, rather than trying to hash out higher reps with flailing about.
You can do this with a partner and one exercise, you’d both go back and forth until one of you misses a solid rep, then both start again at one.
I know I said you will do this on your own with 2 exercises, however in a pinch you can do it with one, giving you the option of perhaps unilateral work (single arm or leg, 1 rep each side, then 2 then three etc) or you could perhaps use something like a dumbbell clean & press in which you’d do one clean, 1 press, 1 clean, 2 presses and so on.
The premise of the ladder is to help build volume over time while keeping your form smooth.
A nice workout is to start off with say 1-3 repeated 3 times, then build that to 5 times, once at 5 go back to 3 round but for 1-4, keep repeating until you do 1-5×5 (that give you 75 total reps). If you start off with a technical 5 or 6RM by the end of it you will have shifted some serious tonnage, built strength, lean mass and general awesomeness.
Here is a list of the most effective exercises I’ve found to use with this:
– Clean & Press
– Pistol Squat
– Pull Up/Press
– Single Arm Push Up
– Single Arm Row
– Kettlebell Swing
– Kettlebell Snatch
Essentially anything unilateral, anything opposing (antagonist superset or upper lower).
Add these in as finishers to start with and one you’ve found your flow with them start applying to your main lifts.
Here’s a quick guide to what you’d get from a few rep options:
1-3 = Strength
1-5 = Strength/Size
1-10 = Size
*Timed ladder blocks are also great, 5,10 or 20min blocks are pretty good.
I suggest a total of 10 rounds for the 1-3, 5 rounds for the 1-5 and 2 rounds for the 1-10 that you build to over time.
As you can see ladder sets open up a whole host of options, you might enjoy this one:
A1 – Squat
A2 – Chin
A3 – Press
– 1-10 ladder :).
Take the info above and see what you can create.

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3 Lifts – 2 Super Sets – 1 Hour or Less

We all like simple.
It’s easy to follow, leave very little to the imagination and above all else don’t cause too much stress and worry.
The short protocol I will give you today is nothing fancy as a basic structure of a session and will allow for multiple styles of loading to be used with it for a variety of goals.
Here is the breakdown:
3 Lifts –
As you can imagine, you pick three lifts ONLY for your workout, no more. This limitation will cut out the temptation to add more movements for the sake of adding more and as such you can prioritise.
Some examples:
– Squat, Pull Up, Dip
– Deadlift, Press, Row
– Clean & Press, Farmers Walk, Prone Fly
The general idea is to pick at least 2 compound movements, the third exercise can be either a compound lift of a smaller isolation one, you will find out why shortly.
When picking movements it’s worth taking a look at your training week and making sure you have the following:
– Power/Performance
– Lower body knee dominant
– Lower body hip dominant
– Upper body horizontal pushing
– Upper body horizontal pulling
– Upper body vertical pushing
– Upper body vertical pulling
– Core/Full Body/Loaded Carry
Check each one off against your workouts and make sure you hit each of them, ideally twice per week. This will ensure balanced development throughout your body.
2 Super Sets –
This is where it gets interesting.
The reason for the suggestion of 2 compound lifts and then either a third or an isolation lift is because the third lift picked will be the on that is the second lift out of each super set, here is what that means.
A1 – Squat
A2 – Dip
B1 – Weighted Pull Up
B2 – Dip
This will allow a lot of extra volume in the third lift, which would do well to be a weaker movement pattern or lagging body part, here is another example.
A1 – Clean & Press
A2 – Prone Fly
B1 – Farmers Walk
B2 – Prone Fly
The application of this pairing system will not only save time but give you the opportunity to keep the intensity (% of 1RM) fairly high on the first lift of each pairing as they will be performed in a ‘Jump Set’ fashion, this means A1 – Rest – A2 – Rest – A1 – Repeat, however if the rest for you chosen rep/set scheme is normally 2min you can cut it in half to 60 seconds.
1 Hour or Less –
This structure will work well if you;re in a pinch and only have 30min to train or right up to a full hour, the determine factor in the length of your session would actually be the set/rep scheme you decide to use, which can be specific to your goal.
To help you with this choice, here are some rep goals that would be useful to work towards to achieve a specific goal.
– Power: AMRAP until you lose speed or form, 1-5 reps per set
– Strength: 25-35 reps per main lift, 1-6 reps per set
– Hypertrophy: 50-75 reps per main lift, 6-20 reps per set
– Endurance/Met-con: 100+ reps per main lift, 10+ reps per set
You will notice there are no set options, just rep goals and reps per set ranges. You can pick the reps that best suit your needed from the ranges given.
It might look like this:
A1 – Squat 8×3
A2 – Dip x3-5
B1 – Weighted Pull Up 8×3
B2 – Dip x3-5
A1 – Clean & Press AMSAPx3-5 reps (stop when 3 reps no longer achievable with good speed)
A2 – Prone Fly x12
B1 – Farmers Walk AMSAPx20-40 meters (stop when 20m minimum can’t be sustained)
B2 – Prone Fly x12
You’ll notice the second example differs greatly from the first, yet that’d both be very effective, the main difference would be the amount of time spent training, they could be 30min or indeed a full hour, who knows.
This simple structure will give you a guide of what to follow, just make sure you tick off the following points:
– Hit the full body each week, ideally twice
– Train up to 5 days per week (say MTW – FS – )
– Sessions are not longer than 1hour
– Track your workouts
– Use rep goals that suit your specific goal
– Stay on this for 3-6month minimum
– Stress less and have fun with it
If you have any questions about this protocol, feel free to ask.

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