Tag Archives: strength

Your Personal Fountain of Youth

The fountain of eternal youth really does exist.
 
It just might not be what you think it is though.
 
Many picture it as some grand structure with overflowing waters that are of the purest quality.
 
Some see it as something small, humble and little more than a tiny water flow in something akin to a birds drinking fountain.
 
Both are admirable visions, however here is what it really looks like –
 
Your Posterior chain 🍑
 
Yep, all the muscles that cover the back of your body (the ones you can’t see standing head on in the mirror).
 
A strong posterior chain is responsible for solid structure, stability, strength power and it trained well will often covet this phrase for both ladies & gents:
 
“Look at that ass” 🤤🤤🤤
 
If you take a look at anyone in their more senior years you’ll notice that have poor posture, struggle to move quickly and pretty much everything is sagging.
 
Let’s be honest for a second and admit that no one wants this to happen to themselves.
 
It’s not shallow to value your physique, your overall health and want to retain a youthful stature well in to your 70’s.
 
Well maybe you do think it’s shallow however that’s your choice.
 
Personally I’d rather keep as much muscle (especially in my posterior chain) as I can for as long as possible, not only because of aesthetic reasons, for health and longevity reasons too.
 
Ask yourself, why does it change from:
 
“They fell over.” to “They had a fall.”
 
If you are weak and old then a fall can literally mean death for you, perhaps not from the fall itself, rather from your inability to recover because you’re just too weak.
 
This is where as strong posterior chain will help.
 
Think about all the muscles in the back of your body.
 
Lats, spinal erectors, QL, glutes, hamstrings, calves, triceps, traps, rear delts and just how having them be as strong as possible will mean good things for you.
 
There are plenty of movements you can use to train the PC.
 
My top ones for you are as follows:
 
– Loaded Carries (variations)
– Clean & Presses
– Swings
– Snatch (variations)
– Sprinting
– Rowing
– Climbing
– Rows, Face Pulls, etc
– Levers
– Pull Ups (variations)
– Deadlifts (variations)
– Squats because they’re awesome
 
The list could go on, however what you’ll find is that most of the best posterior chain movements also hit many other elements/parts of the body as well.
 
You’d do well to have a bias towards this in your training.
 
Think along these lines and you’ll never go far wrong, that is if you have no ultra specific goal that you’re training for; if you do then train for that and just accept there will be a price to pay for it.
 
Set up your training sessions like this:
 
1 x anterior chain movement
2-4 x posterior chain movements
 
Done.
 
Doing 2-3 times the amount of work on your posterior chain will serve you well you might have a session like this:
 
A1 – Weighted Dip 6×8-10 x10RM
A2 – Rope Climb x 10-20M
 
B1 – Deadlift 6-4-2-6-4-2-6-4-2
 
C1 – Farmers Walks 10x20m
C2 – Bodyweight Skull Crusher*
 
*yes triceps are posterior chain and a BW-SC will force total body tension and engage your lats massively if done well.
 
There you have it my good people of the world.
 
Your fountain of youth.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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A little something arbitrary for y’all

GPP vs SPP.

General physical preparedness.

Special/Specific physical preparedness.

Some will ask which is better and the answer will always be; it depends.

If you have a solid goal then SPP will rule the roost and GPP will fall in line to help bolster the goal.

Yet say your goal is a loose one, you merely want to be a half decent allrounder, then in that case you ca pick and choose when you use SPP and have the majority of your training in the GPP area.

Do remember though that it often means you will never excel at anything and in fact more than likely not even end up as mediocre in the majority of things because of too much choice.

All this being said, here is something those of you that don’t really have a goal and just want to train can utilise in your training.

I call it the 50%-100%-200% Method.

You will use the above percentages in reference to your body weight on the movements you’re going to do.

So that could mean bodyweight barbell curls and double bodyweight press overhead as a superset if you’re some sort of genetic beast lobster (50% curl and 100% press will do for most).

Sets and reps can be up to you because the options for that are endless.

Take this example 3 day template for starters:

Day 1:

W/U – Clean & Press w/sandbag x50% x AMRAP x 15min
A1 – DL x 200% x6x4
B1 – Bench Press x100% x3 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 2:
W/U – Farmers Walk x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – SQ x 200% x8x3
B1 – Bent Over Row 100% x4-5 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

Day 3:
W/U – Sled Push/Pull x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – Press x 100% x12x2
B1 – Pull Up x 50% x 8×3
C/D – Stretching/Yoga

The above if with mostly standard gym kit, however doing the above with awkward objects can be a great way to build ‘old time strength’ along with an epic amount of conditioning.

Often times we get some of our best results when we limit our choices because we have no other option than to put in some hard graft that has a defined purpose.

Try the simple loading strategy above and see how you get on.

Personally I’d lean towards working on volume/density as the main drivers, so getting out max reps (with good form) in specific time frames or more reps in the same time.

You might have heard this called EDT (escalating density training), Charles Staley is the man to look up for article on this.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A little time

You might that guessed I’m in quite the pensive mood of late.
 
Today I shall break with that trend and give you something you can use in the gym 🤗
 
It’s called ’25-35-45′
 
This is the length of time you will spend training in minutes.
 
You will cycle through them each session.
 
Why?
 
Because it will stop you faffing about.
 
You might be thinking that you can’t get anything done in 25min.
 
Well you can, in fact you can get quite a lot done however it relies on you pulling your finger out and being productive.
 
The cycling of session time will get you out of the mindset of –
 
“I need to train to feel tired/worked/like you did something”
 
Instead it will get you in the realms of –
 
“What can I do that is productive and not a waste of time?”
 
There might be some trial and error while you find the flow of it all, however once you do you will find that it’s not about the amount of time you spend in the gym, oh no.
 
It’s about the amount of effort, the quality of work and having a purpose that makes all the difference.
 
Don’t believe me?
 
Try to do 10 Thrusters & 5 Pull Ups without rest for 25min solid (wave loads as needed) and tell me you’ve not achieved something notable.
 
Here are a couple of ways you can set up the rotations.
 
1 – Pull/Squat, Hinge/Push, Loaded Carries/Movement
 
This takes 9 sessions before you start the cycle again, meaning each of the above (Pull/SQ etc) gets a 25-35-45min session.
 
2 – 25-35-45 & 1/2/3
 
25min session = 1 lift
35min session = 2 lifts (ideally in superset fashion)
45min session = 3 lifts (tri-set is good)
 
1 lift = pick a big movement that hits the entire body
2 lift = choose 2 solid half body movements
3 lift = 1 big lift, 1 auxiliary lift & 1 isolation/weak-point lift
 
3 – EMOM or AMRAP
 
Pick one or two lifts for an EMOM (ever minute on the minute), or choose as many lifts as you like and complete as many reps/rounds as possible in the given time.
 
4 – 200-300-400
 
The above are rep targets.
 
25min = 200reps
35min = 300 reps
45min = 400 reps
 
You can cycle the days as in option 1, I’d go for a simple Pull-Push-Legs so you might end up with something like this:
 
25min – 200 Presses (a combination of press/dip etc)
35min – 300 Squats (Squats, lunges, step ups etc)
45min – 400 Pulls (Dl, rows, chins, swings etc)
 
It will take 9 sessions to have each movement go through each rep/time set.
 
5 – Recovery, Run & Ramp
 
25min = Recovery work day – foam rolling, stretching etc
35min = Cardio work of your choice
45min = Lifting day where you ramp the weights/volume up
 
There are many options, however the 4 above should be enough to get you started.
 
Take some time to think about how much time you waste in the gym and for what other reason than you just feel like you should be in there for a certain amount of time.
 
Do less better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Split Set Training

Getting in all the volume you need can be a bit of a grind.

Not just physically but mentally too.

Here is a little method to help break up the monotony of lots of sets in a session.

Main lift – 1/2 of your working sets
Accessory work – one or two lifts
Main lift – the remaining 1/2 of you working sets

^^ this can also be done in 1/4’s set volumes where you have an accessory or supplementary lift in between the main lift and all the set you need to do.

One thing to not is that this works well if your main movement has a total amount of sets creeping over 15+. 10 sets can be done in one go, might be hard however very doable, when you’ve got to do say 20 sets of just one lift (for whatever reasons that may be) you’ll find it can be the mentally draining aspect that gets you as opposed to the lifting itself.

*Ideally you’d simply break down all your set volume across the week and train more frequently for higher MPS and all that jazz, however life isn’t always going to provide us with the ideal training environment.

Just something to consider.

Enjoy,
Ross

 

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Are you the average man or woman?

Do you want to train for health, performance and to feel better because if that is the case keep reading.
 
Three things in the gym you should ideally be able to do.
 
Ladies:
 
1 – 1x Double Bodyweight Deadlift
2 – 5x Chin Ups
3 – 1x 3/4 Bodyweight Press
 
Gentlemen:
 
1 – 1x Double Bodyweight Deadlift
2 – 10x Pull Ups
3 – 1x Bodyweight Press
 
None of the above requires astronomical strength.
 
Hit the above though and chicness are you’ll have some good base results.
 
Say you struggle to achieve these then it can mean a few things, such as you might have been injured one upon a time, have a legitimate medical excuse that makes you exempt etc.
 
If you have no aliments (real ones), then it may mean this:
 
– You’re too heavy
– You’re too weak
 
Now a lot of people will get the hump reading this.
 
Some will scream and shout about their not being any cardio goal however I shall explain why there are none.
 
CV is easy to build.
 
(I’d recommend a sport, like boxing, BJJ, skipping etc)
 
Think about it logically for one moment, please.
 
You can go from couch to 5k in a matter of weeks, perhaps even train to run a marathon within 6months (I’ve known people to go form never doing any fitness to that feat, it was most impressive).
 
Yet when it comes to building strength you’ll find that shit takes a long time, especially if you’re very de-conditioned.
 
Strength, or base strength has a universal crossover to life.
 
As does mobility, as such here are three other things you should be able to do:
 
– Sit in a full ROM squat pain free for 5min
– Lay down, stand up, crawl and climb things pain free
– Pass all minimum ROM tests (google this)
 
Many will see me as overly harsh, other will know my intentions are good though.
 
Like a post I shared a few weeks ago about being abel to haul around a sandbag of your own bodyweight.
 
Ideally you should be able to carry it for at least 1min without any real trouble. get it to your shoulder and even over head too with not too much soul crushing effort.
 
^^ All of this will build decent CV levels by the way.
 
(If you want to build strength and CV use kettlebells)
 
We’ve become so sedentary.
 
All of the above seems like truly huge feats and they’re not.
 
Not really.
 
Investing in your own strength, mobility and base levels of conditioning will help stave off meeting Charon too soon.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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***Wickedly Simple Core Crushers***

Now that I have your attention let us get started.

It’s fair to say people desire a nice strong core.

The big question people often have though it this one:

How do I get a strong core, crunches?

Now crunches have a place in training, they’re not the devil people make them out to be, however they’re far from the best movement you could be doing.

Today I have 6 simple core crushing methods for you.

1 – Inch Worms

Bend down, touch your toes, walk your hands out as far as possible (try to finish with your arms fully extended overhead).

Sets of 3-5 reps will do you justice.

2 – Lizard Crawling

Keep your chest as close to the floor as possible and crawl to your hearts content.

Sets of 20m is surprisingly effective.

3 – Turkish Get Ups

A full body movement that punishes a weak core.

Sets of 2-3 reps each arm will be quite the challenge.

4 – Awkward Object Clean & Press

Find a sand bag, slosh pipe (this is a brutal bit of kit), log, anchor or whatever is tricky to hold and proceed to clean and press it.

An object half your bodyweight is a good start.

Go for as many reps as you can in say 20min for a surprisingly effective little session.

5 – L-sits

A classic gymnastic movement that is far harder than it looks.

Saes of 10seconds will prove enough for most people, once you’re stronger add 5 seconds, keep adding time until you get to say 60second because if you can hold an L-sit that long you’ll have an iron clad core.

6 – Diaphragmatic Breathing

Less a training session and more a consideration for daily life.

Learning to breath correctly will not only fortify your core, it will also help lower stress levels and make your posture better as well.

There you have it, some different ways to train your core.

It’s also worth noting that you can have the strongest core in the world and not have ‘abs’ because those are down to your nutrition choices.

I wonder how many people will try the above over the classic Instagram nonsense, if it’s just one then I can die a happy man.

Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s your doctrine?

In fitness you’ll find many tomes.

Each has its own unique benefits, limitations and place in the realm known as physical culture.

You can probably guess I’ve followed a few over the years.

Becoming embroiled in one thought process is easily done, especially if it’s spoken with enough conviction. In the 70’s we had body building, the 80’s had step, the 90’s was functions training and the last couple of decades brought us CrossFit & HIIT and more recently Movement Culture.

As mentioned above, all have their good points and in truth once you find one that keeps you consistently training you’ll feel great, or at least a part of something bigger than yourself.

I’ve personally been in the industry a fair while now, a literal lifetime when compared to the age of some young adults just stepping in to the field.

In this span I’ve seen trends come and go.

Plus there are a few things that have stayed and will always remain important.

  • Strength
  • Mobility & Movement
  • Health
  • Enjoyment (purpose)

You might love running, if so cool you go run just be aware of what running is lacking from the above (strength).

Perhaps you’re a powerlifter, great just be sure to fill in the missing gaps (health, mobility & movement).

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

On a personal note I don’t really care what people do so long as they are doing it for the right reasons, that being it means something to them that is at the live of their very soul, none of this superficial bullshit, got no time for such pointless things.

Do you love what you do?

No, really, can you say without any doubt you love what you do (in the gym, this kinda applies for life as well – just saying).

If you have any hesitation or have to justify your answer then somethings not right.

You’ll find many a doctrine in fitness, ideal if you find one that have the elements mentioned above that’s the most optimal one, however it’s also rare.

Enjoy,
Ross

Oh, before I forget, it’s okay to create your own style you know. Learn from all the single views of the big picture and eventually you’ll have quite the impressive view to which you can then give back to the realm of fitness by creating something of your own.

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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 –
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A quick little bit of info on three ways you can split up some basic linear progression.

1 – Single Progression
2 – Double Progression
3 – Triple Progression
 
These can be tweaked using your understanding of the key principles of overload.
 
– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
 
(Specificity & Frequency also play a part)
 
Here is an example of how all three are written out.
 
*You add load once you’ve hit all the desired reps.
 
Single Progression = 3×8 💪
 
Once you hit 8 reps in each set you add weight, simple.
 
Double Progression = 3×8-12 💪💪
 
Starting out you might hit something like this: 11,9,8
 
The next session it might be : 12,11,9, get the idea?
 
Once you hit 12,12,12, you add load to the bar.
 
Triple Progression = 3-5×8-12💪💪💪
 
I’m sure you can see the pattern now. You want to hit 3×12 then you add a set and work towards 4×12 and finally 5×12 before adding load, however here is how things might look:
 
Session 1 – 12,12,10
Session 2 – 12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 3 – 12,12,10,8
Session 4 – 12,12,11,10
Session 5 – 12,12,12,11
Session 6 – 12,12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 7 – 12,12,12,12,10
Session 8 – 12,12,12,12,12 + load, drop back to 3×8-12
 
Personally I’m quite the fan of double and triple progression as they have their own built in de-loads via volume reduction.
 
The above deals quite nicely with Volume (total sets/reps) and Intensity (% of RM or load) for progression methods.
 
That leaves us with looking at density (work per unit of time/work capacity), this is easy to program in if you want to have people build al little more conditioning before adding load.
 
We will use double progress with a density consideration as the example.
 
3×8-12, 90-30 seconds rest.
 
Here is what the details might look like written down:
 
Session 1 – 8,8,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 2 – 12,10,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 3 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop rest by 30sec
Session 4 – 12, 8,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 5 – 12,10,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 6 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop erst by 30sec
Session 7 – 12,8,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 8 – 12,10,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 9 – 12,12,12 – Add load, take rest back to 90sec & reps back to 3×8
 
Hopefully that’s nice and clear.
 
Oh yea, frequency and specificity.
 
Specificity is linked directly to the goal (or the movement progressions) and you can use the progressions above and change the movement to make it more or less specific to the goal.
 
For example, You want to increase your press overhead.
 
Double Progression – Press until reps/set/rest hit however instead of adding load you change the lift to one that allows more load.
 
So it may look like this:
 
KB Bottom Up Press > KB Press > Z Press > BB Press
 
And so on.
 
Frequency is the easiest to play with , however it can lead to burn out if you abuse it.
 
Frequency = more training days on your desired goal.
 
EG 2 pressing days becomes 3 pressing days becomes 4 pressing days, using double progression it might look like this.
 
Press 2xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 3xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 4xP/W – 3×8-12 – – goal hit, increase load and drop back to 2 pressing days per week.
 
^^ That is without playing with density by the way.
 
As you can see once you apply the basic principles to even the simplest set/reps systems you have a method of programming that can literally last you a lifetime.
 
The thing about the above is that it’s all fundamental.
 
Mastery of the basics such as these will take you a long way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 2 – The Mentor

As with any good hero’s journey they have to meet their mentor, yet this is only after they get a little bit of a pasting from the villain.

It is as this stage they realise that while they have gifts and they’ve trained somewhat hard it just wasn’t enough when faced with someone who didn’t have their genetic advantage and gained a plethora of skill from planned training.

Once humbled and left questioning just how good they really are the wise old mentor appears and take them under their wing, such famous ones include Phil (Hercules), Obi-Wan (StarWars), Mary Poppins (a total bad ass really), Hippolyta (WonderWoman), Athena (God of War) and Wade Garrett (RoadHouse).

All of the above added in some minimum standards to be met and also a path to follow.

While the young hero knows a thing or two, and may even take a swing at their new found friend, they find that even though many years their senior they’re still rather spry and knock them on their ass easily.

Time to get some structure in to that training and really make some progress.

6 Weeks of training –

Day 1 – Week 1&2

W/U – Barbell Complex – 3×4-8 reps (Clean, FS, Press, BS, Good Morning, Row, RDL)
A1 – FS x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Barbell Row x3-5
B1 – BB Clean & Press x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Bear Hug Carry (bodyweight +) x20m
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 2 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Snatch x5min – AMRAP
Kettlebell Pentathlon: 6min of work followed by 5min rest

  • Cleans 120 reps (20 RPM – reps per minute, once hit go up in load)
  • Long cycle press 60 reps (10 RPM
  • Jerks 120 reps (20 RPM)
  • Half snatch 108 reps (18 RPM)
  • Push press 120 reps (20 RPM)

C/D – Stretching/Correctives x5min

Day 3 – Week 1&2

W/U – Sled Push 20m, Sled Drag 20m x400m total
A1 – Weighted Chin 7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Trap Bar DL 7-5-3-7-5-3
B1 – Dumbbell Row (chest supported) 6×6-8
B2 – Barbell Curl 6×8-10
B3 – Reverse Fly x6x10-12
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

Day 4 – Week 1&2

W/U – Kettlebell Long Cycle (2bells) x10min AMRAP
A1 – Weighted Dip x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Farmers Walk x20m
B1 – Incline Press  x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Suitcase Carry x20m (left arm our, right arm back)
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min

This structure starts to give our would-be hero some targets to aim for.

In week one there are two waves (7-5-3) in week two those will have two progression options

1 – Increase by 1 wave , so 7-5-3-7-5-3-7-5-3, a nice hefty chunk up in volume
2 – Increase overall load wheel keeping the waves at 2

The accessory work is auto-regulated meaning each set is done by feel, remember this is to enhance the training day, not to smash one in to the ground.

Soon though things will get much tougher for our rising start.

Enjoy,
Ross

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