Tag Archives: strength

4 Little lung busters that also get you strong.

Morining All,
 
Given the nice weather it’s understandable that people want to shift unwanted fat.
 
Many also want some decent levels of muscle too.
 
Here are some suggestions from me to help you with both, be warned however, they are not as easy as you’d think.
 
They play in to the anaerobic nature of training, this will help by creating a large oxygen debt and have a positive effect on not only your VO2 Max, Strength, Calorie Expenditure but also some small increase in EOPC as well.
 
If you want to dig in to this here is a place to start:
 
 
Now it’s time for the suggested sessions 🙂
 
1 – Litvinov’
 
A1 – Front Squat x4-8
A2 – 400-800m sprint
Rest 1-5min, repeat 3 times.
 
I find higher rep front squats are great with double kettlebells, while with a barbell you’re better of sticking to 5 and under.
 
Sprint as in run, however if you have not running track feel free to sub this for rowing, watt bike etc.
 
2 – Flaming Death
 
(No idea where that name came from)
 
A1 – Sand Bag Shoulder Carry (sprint if you can) 30-50m
Drop, swap sides, run rack.
Rest 2min, repeat 5 times.
 
If you don’t have a sandbag that’s cool, just find something awkward to pick up an drop on your shoulder.
 
3 – Tabata Fun
 
A1 – Thrusters: 20seconds on, 10seconds off, 8 times
Rest 2-4min, repeat twice more if your form hold up
 
Double kettlebells work a treat for this, dumbbells are okay, bar is good, awkward objects are awesome, just watch your form. Aim for 4-8 reps per round (20 seconds).
 
4 – Homemade Highland Games
 
A1 – Single Arm Kettlebell Clean & Shoulder Throw x100m (alternating sides)
Rest 2min, repeat 3-5times
 
The single arm clean is easy, it’s the catch that tricks people, here is a nice little video from the Kettlebell Kings explaining how:
 
 
^^ Once you catch the bell here, launch it as far forwards as you can, like a shot-putter would. Repeat alternating arms, start on your weaker side.
 
These can be used as finishers or even stand alone sessions if you really wanted to give them some oomph.
 
All are easy on paper, however in practice you will find this not the case.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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60 second read

Front squats are great.

One issue may have is getting it in to the rack position, some can overcome this, great, however a few just never get that chance due to injury.

What are we to do?

The answer; same yet different – kettlebell squat (which is often a front squat).

I’ve found people who can’t utilise a barbell can often use a kettlebell in the rack position, then once they progress they can use two bells.

Seems easy, however if you get strong and work up to a pair of 48kg bells I can tell you that makes from one difficult front squat. Perhaps one day even a pistol might be the long term goal.

Here is a video example (pus there are some other great movement other as well) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQEFc6rSKvA

You can program in the same way you would for barbell work.

All done.

Ross

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The best, or worst 4min of your life.

Depending on your point of view 🤗
 
Morning All,
 
Given how the sun is being dispensed in sparse amounts it will be wise to keep your training sessions as concise and effect as possible.
 
In doing so it will give you more potential time to spend outside.
 
So what is this 4min then?
 
Well those of you who are well versed in training will probably have already guess it is a Tabata.
 
20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.
 
A true thing of beauty.
 
You will find that plenty of people claim to do these on a regular basis, some even attend Tabata classes where they do up to 10 of them.
 
While they may indeed speak the truth, their intensity will be a tad compromised, how do we know this?
 
Body composition.
 
As a general guideline, if you are performing/training as hard as you claim you’re body composition will be rather good, if it isn’t then you’re either the one true exception to the rule, or you just don’t work as hard as you think.
 
You can mull over that one yourself.
 
Okay, so the aforementioned, what is it performed on?
 
Pick one of these three movements
 
– Thruster (double kettlebell is good)
– Double Kettlebell Snatch
– Loaded Carry (any variation)
 
Once you choose you’d do just one Tabata because if you truly go all out it will leave you pretty toasted, if you can do more than one then you may have sandbagged some of your effort.
 
The above is of course great for conditioning and fat loss, however doing it alone may seem a tad pointless to some, as such here is are 3 example training sessions for 30min each (including WU/CD).
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Deadlift: 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
A2 – Pull Up: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Thruster – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – FS: 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
A2 – Press: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Double KB Snatch – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Power Clean: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
A2 – Bench Press: 2,3,5,3,2,3,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Loaded Carry – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
As with most things shared here, this is not gospel, it’s an option. You could run this for 3-6 months and make progress if you really pulled your finger out of your ass and utilised the ‘same but different’ philosophy and actually tried to progress.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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One arm, one barbell, one tough session

Unilateral barbell work.
 
A cracking way to progress that is very under-utilised.
 
If you were to add these movements to your training twice per week you’d see some rather impressive results.
 
All are done with a standard 20kg Barbell, you can load them if your wish, however you’ll do well to start lighter than you think. No, really.
 
– TGU (turkish get up)
– Overhead Press
– Bent Over Row
– Suitcase Deadlift
– Farmers Walk
 
By adding these you’ll achieve the following:
 
Postural balance, coordination, improved total body tension, stronger stabilisers, body awareness and strength.
 
The follow 6 points are key:
 
1 – Keep tension
2 – Control the movement
3 – Don’t twist excessively on any of the movements
4 – Start on your weak side, match those reps with the strong side
5 – ‘Pull’ yourself back to the starting position in the negative portion of the lifts*
6 – 3-5 reps seems to be the sweet spot (do as many sets as possible with good form, vary the total amount of work from session to session. Some days can be hard, others easy, a few in the middle of that)
 
*For example, in the overhead press, once it’s overhead, grip the bar even tighter and pull it down with your lat.
 
The length of the barbell will mean that you have to ensure that everything is in correct alignment, otherwise the lift will be very difficult if not unable to perform.
 
You will notice immediately if you’re not doing the movement right, the bar will tell you.
 
Add this in to your training and watch your strength, balance and body awareness improve.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6 movements, 6 varied rep schemes, 6 months of training.

Behold, the 6-6-6 you’ve been waiting for.
 
Well, I have no idea if you were waiting to be fair, there was just a passing thought that is sounded cool, however now after reading it that might not be the case.
 
Never mind, we must press on.
 
Morning All,
 
This came to mind in the early afternoon yesterday while in the midst of loaded carries.
 
The overall aim of the above is to give people the following:
 
– 6 months of training to follow
– A test in mental toughness and consistency
– Results because the first lot of lifts are done by few
 
You will also find it’s quite fun as well.
 
First up, the movements.
 
Push – Incline Press
Pull – Pull Up (weighted or unweighted, grip may vary)
Squat – Uhh, well, yea… Squats 🙂 (high bar)
Hinge – Deficit Deadlift (1-3inch block or whats available)
Loaded Carry – Farmers Walk*
Full Body Lift – Clean & Jerk
 
Now the rep schemes.
 
These will be progressed in a simple linear fashion (added weight where you can) once you are hitting each set comfortably.
 
Medium – 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
Medium – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
Heavy – 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
Light – 3,5,7,3,5,7,3,5,7
Light – 2,4,6,2,4,6,2,4,6
Heavy – 1,1,1,1,1,1
 
^^^ with all you will rest as needed.
 
*Loaded carry schemes
 
– 30second on, 30second off = one round, 10-30 rounds
– 10min time limit to cover as much distance as possible
– 3min on, 1min off, 3min on
– Tabata x1-3 (20 on, 10 off x8rounds)
– 20m carry EMOM (ever min on the min)
– +10m EMOM, so 1st min = 10m, 2nd = 20m, 3rd = 30m until you can’t keep up the pace/distance
 
 
The above will work on a H-L-M rotation, essentially you have the ability to let the weight dictated the reps, however once you pick a rep scheme from the day you stick with it.
 
Time to put these together in a logical training schedule, I will give you several options, pick the one that best suits your training availability.
 
Option 1 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 4 – Rest
Day 5 – Repeat
 
Option 2 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
Option 3 –
 
Day 1 – Squat
Day 2 – Push
Day 3 – Hinge
Day 4 – Pull
Day 5 – Full Body Lift
Day 6 – Loaded Carry
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 4 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Press, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Off
Day 10 – Repeat
 
Option 5 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Full Body Lift, Hinge, Pull
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 6 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
You have a lot of choice, optimally you want to train each movement every 3-5days.
 
This overall protocol gives you some autonomy to pick and choose your training for the day to either be heavy, light or medium, the main aim is that after sticking with the same movements for the entire 6months you will have added some decent weight to each lift.
 
Push hard when you feel strong and back off when you don’t.
 
My advise would be as follows: in every 6 workouts 1 is heavy, 1 is light and 4 are medium.
 
The above plays in to the realms of ‘inch wide, mile deep’ & ‘Easy Strength’. While you may leave sessions feeling strong and that you could do more you’d be wise not to be tempted too.
 
That being said, if you wish to add in one ‘pet lift’ such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, calve raises, reverse flies etc for either aesthetics or postural reasons then feel free, the volume can be up to you, I’d recommend 50-100 total reps with the isolation lift IF you choose to put one in at the end of a session.
 
The same goes for core work, some added planks are welcome, as are 1-2 solid sets of 5 in the Ab Roll Out. You may also add some movements such as the windmill, TGU etc in your warm up too.
 
A session itself may look like this all in all:
 
W/U:
– TGU to Windmill: 3-5x-3-5 (each arm)
– 2×3-5 on the lift you’re about to do x 50% & 75% work load
 
Main:
A1 – Deficit DL 1-2-3-4-5 (all at 160kg) -4-3-2-1+5kg per set.
A2 – Incline Press 2-3-5-2-3-5-2-3-5 all at 80kg
 
Conditioner/ *Optional Isolation:
B1 – Farmers Walk Tabata x3 @ 50%BW in each hand
*C1 – Curls 5×10
*C2 – Ab Roll Out 2×5, 2x Side Planks, 1x L-Sit
 
W/D:
– Foam Rolling/Static Stretching: Full Body
 
One thing to remember is that the above is just a lifting philosophy, or at best a set of guidelines, it’s not set in stone. You may also find adding in 1-2 session a week of gentle CV work to your liking, however you need to remember that more isn’t always better and that you can only progress as much as you can recover.
Be sure to eat a large amount of nutritious foods, set you calories acceding to your desired goal (maintenance, deficit, surplus etc), drink enough water and get at least 6 hour son quality sleep a night.
 
Chase performance, not fatigue, always.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The sun is shining & the cardio is in full swing.

Giving the good turn in the weather many will take to the streets to run, this is cool however not everyone runs well and when done repeatedly it can lead to injuries.
 
If you want to dig in to that more you’ll need to look up the biomechanics of running, perhaps starting here.
 
 
To help you avoid injury here are some other alternatives to running the toys can do to help shift some summer lbs.
 
Here are some of my personal favourites.
 
– Kettlebell Swings
– Skipping
– Loaded Carries
– Complexes (any piece of kit)
 
Now some examples of what you can do with the above.
 
– 10,000 Kettlebell Swings (ala Dan John).
 
500 swings a day, either on their own or with a big lift (presses or chins on alternating days for 3-5 reps in-between sets of swings.)
 
– Intervals on the rope.
 
30/30 is a great little protocol, again ala Dan John (kinda have a bit of a crush on that man).
 
Do 30 seconds of a sprint, 30 seconds skipping slower for recovery, repeat for up to 30 rounds. This is also a cracking protocol for hill sprints or sprints.
 
You’ve also got the option of simply doing a long skip of 30-45min while listening to a PodCast or AudioBook.
 
– Pick up awkward objects and carry them.
 
This is the most primal fat loss option. You can either lift rocks, sand bags, dumbbells or anything you can get your hands on and then walk with if for say 20m, put it down, then walk it back to the start. Do this for 20,30 or perhaps 45min.
 
While it may seem easy on paper it can guarantee you that it will strip fat because it’s not the sort of thing you body easily adapts to.
 
That’s the secret after all, to lose fat effectively you want to pick movements that are inefficient (hard to do and highly calorically demanding), this does’t mean unsafe just to be clear, just not easy.
 
– 4-6 lifts, 4-8reps per lift one after the other, without rest 🤗
 
You can do these with varied bits of kit, you just have to plan the movements logically and pick a weight that is challenging yet not impossible to use.
 
Example: Dumbbell Complex 4-8 reps per movement
 
Burpee (holding DB’s), Swings, Clean, Press, Squat, Renegade Row
 
Example: Barbell
 
Deadlift, Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Back Squat, Good Morning, Behind Neck Push Press, Bent Over Row
 
Endless options.
 
All of the above are effective for fat loss, you also have many more choices available to you when it comes to hitting some cardio based training, it doesn’t just need to be running.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Too easy to work, or is it?

Rep variability, it’s kind of a big deal.
 
If you are a seasoned lifter you will know roughly what your max effort rep sets are and the weigh that goes with them.
 
For example, 7RM = 160kg on squat.
 
Knowing these is quite useful when it comes to programming for strength, hypertrophy and much more.
 
Today we will look at an underrated method for getting stronger.
 
It’s almost feels too easy when you do it.
 
The best part is that’s exactly how it should feel because you will be doing 1/3 to 1/2 the total reps you possibly could do with the load you pick.
 
Here is an example of how it works.
 
9RM – 150kg – Squat
 
Sets – you can do up to 25, just start off low, say 10 sets
 
8 reps – half = 4.5 (round to 5), third = 3
 
Your reps per set will look like this:
 
3,5,3,5,3,5,3,5 and so on.
 
You do a max of 5 and a minimum of 3, while resting 2-3 min between sets while practicing fast and loose drills.
 
Personally I’ve found pairing movements up works nicely for this if like me you can’t sit still too long.
 
A1 – Press 3,5,3,5,3,5
A2 – Weighted Chin Up 3,5,3,5,3,5
 
Now this will seem ridiculously easy, laughably so in fact.
 
One thing you will want to aim for is finishing your session feeling as if you could have done more, strange as is sounds you’d be surprised how fast the volume builds up (that is what contributes to hypertrophy, provided you’re eating optimally) doing this, especially since you’re able to use heavier loads.
 
If you did 10 sets of 3,5 that’d give you 40 solid reps with what your 9RM, each rep would be quality.
 
Some would say you could do 4×9 and only be 4 reps short, which is true in theory, however the first set you’d get maybe 5/6 good reps the rest would be a struggle, then the second set you’d maybe only hit 7 repps total with 3/4being good, perhaps 2/3 of rate next set and 1/2 for the last.
 
Taking the higher ones (being nice) that give you 15 good quality reps, that is a third of the volume you’d get doing the method I’ve prescribed above, 40 quality reps.
 
The toughest part of this stye of training is learning to stop and fight the urge to do more and just make yourself tired for the sake of it.
 
Many will go after volume for volumes sake, as such a lot of what they do is junk, this leads to little (or no) meaningful progress.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A little gem

While writing another post for somewhere else this morning my mind wandered to this little gem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S91hxuldho

Give it a watch, listen to what is said and repeat this until you learn at least one thing.

Enjoy,
Ross

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3 is always a magic number

3 Simple tricks to easier progressive overload planning.
 
They manipulate volume, density & intensity.
 
1 – Adding reps, then sets. (Volume)
 
Weight on the bar stays the same, add a rep each session until you hit your target, then drop to the original set/rep scheme add weight and bering again.
 
Example:
 
3-5×3-5 =
 
W1- 3,3,3
W2- 4,3,3
W3- 5,3,3
W8- 5,5,5,3
W9- 5,5,5,4
All the way to 5×5, then add weight and go back to 3×3.
 
2 – Reduce rest time. (Density)
 
Start with say 3min, then take of 10-20 seconds each session (for an arbitrary example), repeat until resting 60 seconds, or perhaps less, that’s up to you. The add weight and crack the rest back up to 3min between sets.
 
Example:
 
W1 – 180seconds (3min)
W2 – 160seconds
W3 – 140seconds
W7 – 60seconds – add weight and up rest.
 
3 – Fractional Plates to 10kg. (Intensity)
 
Following classic linear progression (adding weight each session), however you add up to half a kilo each time, the reps/set/rest stay the same.
 
You would do well to keep the reps lower and the sets higher for this and hit the lift 3 times per week, aim to add 10kg then perhaps tweak the reps/set or lift variation.
 
Example:
 
W1 – S1: 80kg, S2: 80.5kg, S3: 81kg
W2 – S1: 81.5kg, S2: 82kg, S3: 82.5kg
W7 – S1: 89kg, S2: 89.5kg, S3: 90kg
Perhaps change lift variation (overhead press to incline press for example).
 
There you have it, some simper ways you can achieve progressive overload without needing a CSCS level understanding of programming.
Bonus Trick – Increasing lifting/training frequency.
Simply add an extra day of lifting on a weaker or lagging body part/movement (so 4 session a week cineast of 3 and so on), you can apply one of the above in injection with this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A snippet from some late night reading.

Morning All,
 
As per routine there is always 30min of reading before bed, sometimes more.
 
The book that was randomly grabbed was called ‘Beast Tamer
How to Master the Ultimate Russian Kettlebell Strength Challenge’
 
It is geared around completing the Beast Challenge.
 
1x Pistol, Single Arm Press & Chin/Pull Up with a 48kg kettlebell.
 
While looking through some of my old highlights and making newer ones, as you always get more from books when you look at them multiple times, I say this nice simple training protocol.
 
It combines the PTTP/GTG concepts and is remarkably simple.
 
*Power to the People & Grease the Groove*
 
– Living in the Gym
 
It is based on 5 days training per week.
 
Each day you will do the following in the gym.
 
A1 – DL (DL variant) 2×5
B1 – Double Kettlebell Press 2×5
 
You can vary the loads as needed, set in simple progression protocols, perhaps follow the Easy Strength ethos and much more, that is down to your preference/ability/need.
 
That was the PTTP part.
 
As for the GTG, it’s easier on paper than in reality.
 
Every hour perform
 
2-3 Pistols each leg & 2-3 Pull Ups (you can add in 2-3 single arm push ups too if you feel your recovery can handle it.)
 
Now it might not seem like much, however doing 2-3 reps of each every hour, 5 days per week soon build up the volume.
 
In regards to training days you can do Mon-Fri with rest on the weekend, or the variation I tend to give people is Mon-Wed-Rest-Fri-Sat-Rest, this give you the chance if using ES to go heavy more often when feeling strong due to the days off in between.
 
All in all a cracking little protocol.
 
As with anything though you will need to plan in your progressions, vary the loads and track your progress because it’s easy to forget that the idea of this style of daily practice is to progress and become strong without ever feeling like you’re putting in too much effort.
 
If this is something you find interesting, give it a go.
 
I’d also advise getting a hold of the book as well, it’s less than £5 and well worth the investment.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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