Tag Archives: strength

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 a kilo per session = long term progression

Half a kilo each session.
 
That’s all you need to add to the main lifts.
 
Devilishly simple, some may even say dull, yet super effective.
 
It give your body plenty of time to master the weight.
 
You will not miss any reps (well, you shouldn’t if you start at the correct load).
 
Here is how it’s laid out:
 
Main lift:
 
– Working set/rep options 2×5, 3×3, 5×2
– Warm up sets are as needed
– Pick a large compound movement e.g: Squat, Press, Deadlift, Chin etc
– Rest 3-5min
 
Loading & Progression:
 
– 2x5x70%, 3x3x75%, 5x2x80%
– Add half a kilo to the main lift each session without fail, hence the low starting weights.
 
Accessory work:
 
– 1-3 lifts depending on your time available
– 2-3 sets
– 6-25 reps
– Loading will be dictated but the reps chosen
– Rest 1-2min
 
Split:
 
– Legs/Push/Pull
– Hit each every 3-5 days ideally
 
This can last for months and months and months, I’d change up the accessory lifts every 2-3 weeks to keep things interesting, however the main lifts can be milked for all they are worth as it will take 20sessions to add 10kg to the weight you’re starting at.
 
Avoid the temptation to rush.
 
That’s it.
 
Nothing fancy, however it works very well for developing strength skill, your accessory work will give you either a bolster on strength, hypertrophy, fat loss etc depending on how you plan those.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Words of Old

“If you can’t work hard enough in 2 sessions, why do you feel you can do better with 6?”

^^ That made me think.

In a world where more is seen as better, and in certain circumstances it is 100% true, however that might not be the case for your training in the gym.

Recently the writings of one Marty Gallagher have found their way in to my library once again.

He speaks a very similar message to that of Brooks Kubik, Kirk Karwoski, Ed Coan and many other strong individuals who each champion not only focus, tracking your numbers to ensure increasing volume, but also putting in a solid effort in your main training sessions, then taking your foot of the gas when you have deload weeks.

It’s easy to get caught running through the motions when it comes to lifting weights.

This is in fact very easy, so much so that many of us may have even been in this place for years unknowingly.

A scary thought.

One good way to know if you’re there is to ask yourself this simple question – When was the last time you made progress?

That progress could be in the form of better form, more weight on the bar, an aesthetic goal, it doesn’t matter, what is important is when did you last make progress, real progress.

As fitness enthusiasts we often get caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, unable to escape it, often for fear of losing what we have, if we’re not doing what we’re doing.

Surely you could get better results only doing 2-3 sessions per week, you’d be silly to keep doing 6+, right?

Right.

However many will not change their ways, they can’t, it’s too hard and the fear of loss kicks in. I’ve been there, it’s a terrible pace to be.

If we are to look back at some of the strongest people over they years they seemed to train at most, 4 days per week.

In this time they hit each muscle group twice (due to exercise cross over).

Now as mentioned above and in the writings of old, 2-3 sessions per week was more than enough to make solid progress on, especially at the level most of us are at (not world champion lifters).

So why do more for the sake of it?

Ask yourself these questions:

– Am I making progress?
– When was my last PB?
– Do I need to do more, really?
– Is my recovery 100%?
– Are each of my sessions focused?
– Could I be doing too much?

Just some food for thought.

If you fancy a good read give the Purposeful Primitive some of your time, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy,
Ross

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How the early 1900’s can help you in 2018

Are you looking for a new year challenge?

It’s good for Strength, Fat Loss, Hypertrophy, Mental Toughness and much

I have a very simple one for you that you.

20 rep squats.

They’re glorious.

Say you’re training 3x a week, this would be perfect as you can have either 1,2 or 3 20 rep sessions, I’d probably go for 2 initially.

It might look like this:

Day 1 –

A1 – Squat – 1×20
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

Day 2 –

A1 – Hinge – 5-15 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

Day 3 –

A1 – Squat – 1×20
B1 – Press – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
B2 – Pull – 25 total reps, rep/set method of your choice
*C1 – Remedial movement of your choice – 50 rep total

*Optional postural/remedial exercise if time is a plenty. Perhaps reverse flies, curls, tricep extensions, etc.

Simply marvellous 🤗

It also offers a great method of progression too.

You start at 50% of your current 1RM, so if that is say 120kg, you start at 60kg.

From the starting 50%, add 0.5-1kg every successful session.

When things start to get hard and say you only hit 13/20 reps, you keep the weight the same and focus on building those reps to a solid 20/20.

At this point you could drop the 20rep day to once per week and use one of the following set/rep protocols for the other squat day:

Rep/set protocol examples for the 25 rep goal:

– 5-3-2-5-3-2-5
– 5×5
– 5-5-3-3-2-2
– 3×8
– 8×3
– 5-4-3-2-1-10
– Ramp to heavy 3-5RM (alternate 3-4-5RM each time)

^^ You can imagine this goes a similar way for the 50 rep goal, so 5×10, 3×15 etc

Plenty of choice.

The seconds day also doesn’t need to be a back squat, it could be a front squat, a zecher squat, or any other variation, again this would be cycled, ideal spend 3-6 weeks on each variation before changing it, aiming to add a small amount of weight each session.

Personally I quite like changing the variation as it allows you to drop the overall intensity while keeping up the relative intensity, however that’s a chat for another day.

The same is true for the press/pull/hinge – you can stay with the same variation (bar, dumbbell, trap bar etc) for 3-6 weeks adding anywhere from as little as 0.5kg to as much as a whole 20kg plate each side, although the latter would mean you’re literally a god among mortals.

It might seem like 3 training session per week is not much, however if you follow this and apply the basic progressive overload as described above, you’ll find you can stay on this almost indefinitely.

If needed you could also do this program only twice per week, meaning you drop day 3. Very useful if you also have other goals, such as sports or martial arts.

I wish you all the gains for the new year.

Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s old is new again

The Purposeful Primitive:

From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:

Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change

by Marty Gallagher

Have you ever read it?

You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.

Success requires heart.

Morning All,

If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.

Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.

Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.

This is understandable, however not too wise.

We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.

I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.

As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.

They hold not only training principles and methodologies.

Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.

Heart.

They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.

Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.

Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.

In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).

Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?

I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.

This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.

We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.

If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.

Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –

Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.

Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.

He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.

From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.

The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.

In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.

The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.

If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:

The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher

Super Strength – Alan Calvert

Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson

There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:

http://superstrengthtraining.com

What’s old is new again.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A less then appealing hybrid

A random workout protocol that came to mind.
 
You might find it useful.
 
You might not.
 
The only way to know is to try it.
 
Morning All,
 
This culmination of the Bear & GVT for some reason came out of the ether, not sure who would ever want to do it, it’s a short term thing, I doubt many could do it much longer than what will be suggested, I could be wrong though.
 
I’ve written about the Russian Bear Protocol before, GVT as well.
 
Here is a hybrid of the two.
 
– 4 days per week
– 3 main lifts
– 1 accessory movement of your choice per session
– Eat plenty of nutritious foods
 
Once you pick your variations you stick with them for the foreseeable (until the end of the entire program)
 
Day 1 & 3 – Monday & Thursday
 
A1 – Deadlift Variation 3×3 (heavy yet manageable)
 
B1 – Press Variation 2×5 – take 80% of last 5 & repeat sets of 5 until you lose good form
B2 – Chin Up x3-5
30 between seconds rest between B1-B2 only
 
C1 – Accessory lift of your choice 50 reps in as few sets as possible
 
Day 2 – Tuesday
 
A1 – Press Variation as day 1 5×2
A2 – Chin as day 1 x3-5
 
B1 – Deadlift Variation as day 1 – 2×5 – take 80% of last 5 & repeat sets of 5 until you lose good form, rest no longer than 60 seconds
 
C1 – Accessory lift of your choice 50 reps in as few sets as possible
 
Day 4 – Saturday
 
A1 – Squat Variation 10×10*
A2 – Hamsting Variation 10×10
Rest 60 seconds between each set – A1/Rest/A2/Rest/A1Rest etc
 
*the GVT action is set in two week repeats (so do 10×10 twice then move on) – first 10×10, then 10×8, then 10×6, last 10×4, the DL/Press stays as is.
 
Nothing magical, just something to consider if you’re feeling a bit lost and want something to follow.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Three things you don’t do that you should

Been away for a few days.
 
Did you all miss me?
 
….
 
Of course you didn’t hardly anyone reads these posts anyway 😂
 
Morning All,
 
There are a lot of underrated exercises out there.
 
The reason most people won’t do them is because they’re hard, put simply.
 
Not to mention everyone is caught up in doing all the standard isolation/mirror muscle work.
 
3 such movements that will literally change how your feel and perform are:
 
– Kettlebell Swings (Kettlebell snatch when you know it)
– Turkish Get Ups
– Loaded Carries
 
Let us take at look at all three, their benefits and how you can apply them in to your training.
 
Kettlebell Swings –
 
If you know me you’ll know I love these because they load your posterior chain, teach you how to hinge, improve your grip strength, VO2 max and are great for posture too.
 
Once you have the adequate skill requirements I would advise moving on to the kettlebell snatch, it offers all the same benefits with the added bonus of anti-rotation and shoulder stability/strength/ROM+Health.
 
They’re not easy when done properly.
 
That said, you should have them in your workouts, especially if you work at a desk.
 
10-20min per day will be enough to literally change your life.
 
Turkish Get Ups (TGU’s) –
 
A great way to warm up and start your workouts because they will mobilise and activate pretty much every muscle in your body.
 
They’re easy enough on paper, however once you start doing them and progressing to a heavier weight you’ll find this soon changes.
 
Balance, core strength, coordination, mobility, strength and most of all fun, that’s what TGU’s will be to you.
 
You might think that simply standing up and then reversing that movement is easy, you’re welcome to think that, even if it is incorrect, 😁
 
On a serious note, 10min of alternating side TGU’s as a warm ups will change how your workouts feel and make your body feel 10times better, or at least 7 times better.
 
If you want challenge in the 10min block aim to do 3 TGU’s consecutively before swapping arms.
 
Lastly we have a favoured movement of Strongmen the world over.
 
Loaded Carries –
 
Want to strip fat? Loaded Carries.
 
Want to build some muscle and an impressive back with an iron clad grip and legs that won’t buckle when the going gets tough? Loaded Carries.
 
Want to build mental resilience? Loaded Carries.
 
These are literally one of the most under utilised movements and it shows.
 
In daily life we are always having to pick things up and having to take them from point A to B, yet when people go to the gym the sit or lay down to move things.
 
Madness.
 
Did you know that in an idea world you should be able to carry your own bodyweight at least 100m?
 
^^ Okay, that’s not an absolute thing, however it’s a good test of your strength.
 
Picking things up and wandering around with them is primal and one of, if not the most effective movement/exercise you can do, especially if you’re short on time.
 
You have many various of loaded carries, you can hold something close to you, by your sides, over your head, one by your side one over head, with bars, bags, dumbbells, plates, anything, just pick it up ann move with it.
 
If you want to make yourself robust and strip fat, try doing 10-20min of carries at the end of your usual workout, trust me, you won’t regret it.
 
If you don’t do these three things, you should.
 
They will make you feel healthier and help protect your from injury.
 
If all you did was Swings (or snatches), TGU’s and a variety of Loaded Carries, you’d be strong, conditioned and look pretty dam awesome too.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Same yet Different, Part 2

Morning All,
 
We started looking at a little lifting philosophy a couple of days ago.
 
Same yet Different
Remember that this isn’t just a throwaway thought process, it’s one that will require some attention, however once you know it all you can choose to apply it or not.
If you take the time to truly grasp the philosophy you’ll see that you can use this for the rest of your lifting career and make some great progress form it, just be sure to take in each part and write each part down as described.
 
We looked at picking exercises, now it’s time for rep ranges.
 
This is a lot simpler than people think.
 
The purpose will be to allow the use of heavy-medium-light days, to this effect you have a the option of letting the reps dictate the weight.
 
The suggested rep goals are as follows:
 
H – 15-25
M – 25-50
L – 50-75
^^ You can pick your own rep ranges, I suggest toys write down three, like the example above.
 
This is per movement, meaning if you may have something like this for each rep goal day:
 
H –
A1 – Deadlift 3-2-1×3
B1 – Weighted Chin Up 4×6
B2 – Supinated Grip Row 4×6
C1 – Barbell Curl 3×8
 
M –
A1 – Snatch Grip DL 5×5
B1 – Single Arm Dumbbell Row 5×10
B2 – Straight Arm Pull Down 5×10
C1 – Dumbbell Curl 4×12
 
L –
A1 – Box DL 10×5
B1 – Cable Row 8×8
B2 – Reverse Fly 8×8-10
C1 – Cable Curls 5×10-12
 
You an see this is al with straight sets or super sets, not drop sets of other training methods which can be added in to make things more interesting.
Alos let the reps dictate the weight used –  you’ll need to keep a training log.
 
The rep goal will keep you from going too heavy, while for example your 8RM might be quite high, to be able to do it for 8×8, it will need to be closer to your 10-12rm to make sure you hit each set with solid form.
 
You can apply this to each workout individually, meaning you can stick with the same movements and vary the rep ranges each session, or change the lifts and keep the reps the same.
 
It fits nicely with the flow of ‘same yet different’.
 
It may look like this:
 
Movement sessions (we’ll say you have 3 for each) 1-2-3-1a-2a-3a-1b-2b-3b
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
Session 1 – rep goal 25-50
Session 2 – rep goal 25-50
Session 3 – rep goal 25-50
 
Session 1 – rep goal 50-75
Session 2 – rep goal 50-75
Session 3 – rep goal 50-75
 
Session 1a – rep goal 15-25
Session 2a – rep goal 15-25
Session 3a – rep goal 15-25
 
Or….
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
Session 1a – rep goal 15-25
Session 2a – rep goal 15-25
Session 3a – rep goal 15-25
 
Or…
 
Session 1 – rep goal 15-25
Session 2 – rep goal 25-50
Session 3 – rep goal 50-75
 
Session 1 – rep goal 50-75
Session 2 – rep goal 15-25
Session 3 – rep goal 25-50
 
Session 1 – rep goal 25-50
Session 2 – rep goal 50-75
Session 3 – rep goal 15-25
 
You can see all the possibilities.
Once you have your ranges, you can write then next to the movements you did from last time and start to build a structure from day to day based on the above.
It will take time, however it will be worth it.
 
This philosophy will take some careful thought, however once you’ve gotten all the parts and written out your matrix you’ll see it all fits together.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Same yet Different, Part 1

We like to do more & all, however it’s not always best to struggle & crawl.
 
Morning all,
 
There are so many training options, we’ve spoken about several and shared them on here, however I’d like to give you something.
 
Something a little more akin to a concept or a philosophy.
 
It’s based on the basics, the tried and tested principles.
 
I’ve used it, my clients have used it.
 
Now I want to give it to you, use it or not, I do not care it’s just a simple share.
 
It will come in several parts.
 
When you put them all together you” understand the concept and philosophy of ‘Same yet Different’.
 
Here is the first :
 
Same yet Different – Movement Patterns
 
First you want a list of movements:
 
– Push
– Pull
– Hinge
– Squat
– Locomotion
 
Now start off by picking 3 main movements for each category, I will give you an example:
 
– Press, Incline Press, Close Grip Bench
– Pull Up, Row, High Pull
– Deadlift, Power Clean/Snatch, Kettlebell Swing
– Front Squat, Squat, Zecher Squat
– Farmers Walk, Sand Bag Carry, Waiter Walk
 
From here you will also want 1-2 accessory movements for each category (meaning an extra 3-6 exercises per movement pattern).
 
The idea is that you now have a pool of exercises to pick from and rotate through to help you achieve constant progression by utilising the main principle of this philosophy by keeping this ‘the same, yet different’.
 
Let’s continue on the first part.
 
Once this is done you can organise your training sessions, here is an option or several:
 
– Full Body
– Upper Day, Lower Day
– Pull Day, Push Day, Leg day
– Anterior Day, Posterior Day
– Strength Day, Power Day, Accessory Day
 
I will expand on one of them:
 
Pull Day –
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Chin Up
B2 – Farmers Walk
C1 – Curls
 
Push Day –
A1 – Barbell Press
A2 – Dumbbell Press
A3 – Handstand Press or Handstand Hold
B1 – Dips
 
Leg Day –
A1 – Front Squat
B1 – Lunge
B2 – RDL
C1 – Calf Raise
 
How might one of these be adapted once a plateau has been hit?
 
How can it be ‘same yet different’?
 
Like this:
 
Pull Day –
A1 – Power Clean
B1 – Pull Up
B2 – Waiter Walk
C1 – Hammer Curl
 
Similar movements, yet not exactly the same.
 
Now you’ve got this first part you’ll do well to go and put it in to practice.
 
– 5 movement patterns
– 3 main lifts per movement pattern (minimum)
– 1-2 accessory lifts per movement pattern
– Pick a training split (full body, upper/lower etc)
 
Part two coming soon.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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