Tag Archives: strength

Currency

“Strength is the currency of the realm.” – Me 😛
 
Okay, it’s not, currency is the currency of the realm.
 
Strength just sounds more appealing to me and it can be attributed to many different forms.
 
– Physical
– Mental
– Emotional, etc
 
In trying to appease the hoard and make things ‘fair’ & ‘equal’ (there is no such thing in real life you know), I’ve been stripping away at my strength testing parameters.
 
Aiming to find concise movements that hit everything necessary to yield a good overall picture of how strong you are as a human.
 
Years have passed, many potential guidelines suggested.
 
One movement stands head and shoulders over most due to it’s simplicity, fairness and equality for everyone.
 
The humble Pull Up (or chin up if you want).
 
A full dead hang is the where you start, then hoist yourself in a strict fashion with no excess momentum to get you chin over the bar at a minimum (ideally chest to bar for real strength bragging rights), then lower under control back to a full dead hang and repeat.
 
The goal for Men is 10 strict, for Ladies it’s 5.
 
(Can’t do these, apart from medical exception that means one of, or these too things – You’re too weak or you’re too heavy)
 
Why 10 & 5, why not 10 and 10?
 
Well it can be 10 for all yet genetically men tend to be more predisposed to naturally having more upper body strength, so I’m trying to be fair here, yet those that get offended can aim to match reps for reps and they’ll find on average what they want reality to be is woefully far from their view.
 
Now to test everything else is where life gets tricky.
 
Can we use a squat, or a deadlift, or a loaded carry?
 
The truth is you can use whatever you want to test strength.
 
The point of this post is to simply show that there isn’t really any true tests that are fair for all.
 
So you’d best find some that provide you with the best angle of the bigger picture.
 
You’ll have seen in the past I’ve said thee three are good:
 
– Pull Up
– Clean & Press
– Deadlift & Carry
 
Or these
 
– Pull Up
– Deadlift
– Loaded Carry
 
Honestly it just doesn’t matter, just pick movements that provide as much information as possible and have a low technical skill requirement, that way people can’t bitch the movement is too hard from a motor learning standpoint.
 
So my friends, in regards to strict full ROM pull ups…
 
How much currency would they provide you in the real of strength?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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You can be anything, so why choose to be weak?

“I’m not saying you’re physically weak, the numbers are.”
 
🤭🤭🤭
 
Yep, I’ve said this to people.
 
Nope, I’m not even a little bit sorry.
 
You see strength in a physical sense isn’t this mythically subjective thing, it’s objective and based on moving an arbitrary thing from point A to point B.
 
Absolute strength is well, absolute.
 
It’s much like athletics in the sense of you either do or you don’t.
 
Did you win the race = yes or no.
 
No fuss, no politics, you either crossed the line first, threw the furthest, jumped the highest or lifted the most load.
 
Truly excellent that is.
 
While we can come up with excuses, justifications, rational and perhaps even the classic – “They’re on PED’s. That i why they won.”
 
^ Well in that case it’s a good thing no one else is on PED’s and they’re the only reason said person won because I’d hate to think that everyone was on them and that even with help some people still weren’t good enough.
 
🤔
 
There is no universal rule that you have to be strong.
 
If being weak, frail and incapable of performing certain tasks is what you want out of life, great, I’m happy for you.
 
Disappointed that you don’t want more or better for yourself, yet still happy that you’re happy.
 
On this page we’ve looked at various strength standards before, they’re largely arbitrary.
 
In full candour, it doesn’t matter how strong you really are.
 
My message for people is simply that they’d be far better off in life by not being weak.
 
What do I personally/professionally consider weak?
 
Here is a list:
 
– Can’t do 5 chin ups (10 for men)
– Unable to smily stand up off the floor without help
– Struggle to lift an object weight their own total BW
 
Don’t think its your fault about being weak though, it’s not.
 
That we can attribute to society and how we’ve become more technologically advanced and life has gotten easier than what it once was.
 
Simply meaning physical or labouring jobs are not the bread and butter anymore, so the average level of strength is lower, totally not your fault.
 
What is your fault though is choosing to stay that way.
 
Choosing to stay physically weak, 100% on you.
 
Luckily for you though we no longer live in a world where ‘might is right’, kinda.
 
That being said, how would you feel to be physically overpowered by someone else?
 
Seriously think about it, how would that make you feel being completely helpless and at the mercy of someone purely because you weren’t strong enough to escape?
 
You don’t have to choose strength because I’ve said so.
 
Just give it some consideration.
 
Here is one simple test, if you can do this you’ve probably got enough strength to do oaky in life:
 
Awkward object clean & press, 1 rep x your bodyweight.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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All the best ideas come at night

While staring up at the ceiling last night this little protocol came to me.
 
It’s nothing spectacular, however it is a nice framework.
 
3min work > 90sec rest > repeat 10 times
 
This would provide a 45min total bout of work.
 
While easy on paper it’d easily build up.
 
Alternating two movements will work well, that way you can give a decent effort each work set of 3min to the specific movements as you’d have four and a half minutes rest between each.
 
True enough you can also use one movement, just be warned as that gets hard rather quickly.
 
Say one movement is your chosen poison, the best way to apply the above would be to have multiple loads you alternate between.
 
Example:
 
Kettlebell Swing: 24kg, 32kg, 40kg & 48kg bells.
 
Each set you’d use a different load, not repeating the same load two sets in a row.
 
Perhaps you wish to use other movements, I’d suggest these:
 
Push: KB Jerk, Push Press, Dip, Press Ups
Pull: Rope Climb, Inverted Row, Pull Ups, DB Row
Squat: Back SQ, Lunge, Zercher, Sandbag
Hinge: Swing, RDL, Hamstring Curl, Pull Through
Loaded Carry: Bear Hug, Sled Push/Pull, Famers Walk
Movement: Flows*
 
The above would include the warm up sets as well.
 
You’d start your timer off and do some simple mobility/movement drills to RAMP for 90 seconds (basically doing the rest first), plus you can set up whatever it is you’re doing in this time as well.
 
Then at your first 3min round you start.
 
Alternatively you can go strait in at 3min and do a ‘light rounds’ or two, then use the last 90seconds rest before 45min time is up to do some cool down bits.
 
In the rest periods of the 90 seconds I’d personally advise some corrective work, usually in the form of upper thoracic mobility work, gentle trigger point release (not on areas wing worked) and so on, that way you’re resting and also being productive.
 
You may wonder how many days per week you are looking to do this, the answer is a minimum of 3, and the maximum is up to you.
 
Follow this rotation and you can even do it daily with little to no issue:
 
– Strength
– Conditioning
– Restoration – Stretching, foam rolling etc
– Flow State (nasal breathing only, no exceptions)
 
Worth some investigation.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Wait, you don’t want to be stronger?

“I’m not really interesting in getting strong or building much muscle, I just want to be a bit fitter and more toned.”
 
Usually when I hear those words I like to add in this –
 
“Ah, your a prime candidate for a darwin award then.”
 
While it’s fair that people may not wish to train to build strength and enhance their lean body mass, those people are stupid.
 
Yep you read that correctly.
 
Now unless said person is competing in a weight category based sport or has literally made out their genetic potential for strength that helps in their sports, those are the exceptions.
 
For everyone else in this world you’d do well to get stronger & build lean mass.
 
Apart from the numerous benefits to health, life and overall mental wellbeing you gain from the two things above, you’re also able to have more overall freedom in your life too.
 
Not needed to call on people for help moving things.
 
Being more robust so that injuries due to impact of accidents are reduced.
 
Maintaining your ability to move as you did in your formative years, all great additional benefits.
 
It always bothers me when people claim they don’t wish to get stronger or add lean body mass, like why wouldn’t you want those things?
 
Why wouldn’t you want to be better than you currently are?
 
Yes, again I just said something that would be considered offensive because it insinuates that people are not good enough as they are, which in a physical/health sense they usually aren’t.
 
Besides, being weak and skinny fat sucks major balls.
 
You may look acceptable in clothing yet strip that away and behold, Mumm Ra.
 
If you are one of these people I truly would love for you to share you opinions and views as to why you feel as you do.
 
Not to berate or bring you down, it’s to understand because in my narrow view of the world strength/LBM makes everything better and why someone wouldn’t want that is truly baffling.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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What do you think of this for a title –

‘7 reasons you’re not gaining muscle, despite doing everything right or so you think, for someone who doesn’t really even lift anymore and even when he did he didn’t look like he did 😂
 
Believe it or not when it comes to gaining ‘mass’ I’ve made al the mistakes.
 
True enough in the days long since committed to the dark corners of my lingering will for the gym, I was once strong.
 
Strong yet always small.
 
Upon deep reflection and looking back through various training logs these are the conclusions for my lack of gains, as some owed say.
 
1 – Not enough TUT.
 
Volume was there aplenty, there was literally thoughts of good quality reps, no joke.
 
However the one time I made progress in mass gaining on the recommendation of Poliquin (yes, I actually got told to do this by him face to face on a course), was because of adding in TUT tracking.
 
4-0-2-0 is a good starting point, also 6-0-X-0 is nice, as are pause reps.
 
However you do it, make your your muscle stay under tension longer if you wish to gain in size.
 
2 – Under eating.
 
No further explanation necessary.
 
Eat like a sparrow, look like a sparrow, simple.
 
3 – Training too much.
 
A little contradictory as more volume/frequency will be needed in time, yet you still need to have rest days, back off your volume (40-60% every 4th week is optimal).
 
If you don’t periodise this in training you’ll just be making yourself tired in the long run as opposed to better.

You need to recover to grow, it’s called the Stimulus-Recovery-Adaption curve for a reason.

Growth happens outside of the gym, not in it. 

 
4 – Lifting too heavy.
 
Yep, while you’ll often find bigger people tend to be strong, there are a great many people who are half the size of many a gym mammoth and poses twice the raw strength.
 
Don’t believe me?
 
Google Richard ‘The Ant’ Hawthorne, then take a second to realise that while lifting heavy is great for the ego and the gram, it’s not always the best for building muscle because it lacks one crucial thing… See point 1.
 
^ Also it’s largely neurological adaptation you get, strength is a skill after all.
 
5 – Your reps per set are too low.
 
In the modern research the suggest altho anywhere form 6-20 reps are optimal for hypertrophy, with a total rep volume per muscle group of 75-210 per training week, however that is a discussion for another day.
 
So, 6-20 reps, that means four singles digit (6-7-8-9) rep ranges out of 15, the other 9 being double digit, while not science and pure anecdote I’ve just though of for this post, you want 2/3rd’s of your rep rangers to be in the 10-20 range, with the occasional sprinkling of low rep (6-9) work.
 
Higher rep ranges, with RM’s perhaps 2 reps above*, will yield more results in size than lower rep ones, unless you’re a genetic anomaly, which I highly doubt you are.
 
*example – 4x10x12RM (this will allow for a good amount of working sets/reps).
 
6 – Leaving too many reps in the tank.
 
You’ve got more to give that set you just finished.
 
No, really, you have, if you pushed a little harder (while keeping good form)you’d be bigger than you are.
 
To create change you need a large enough or stressful enough adaptive stimulus, if you don’t dream your working sets then there is a very high chance you’re not really training, you’re simply running through the motions.
 
7 – Ignoring sounds advice.
 
Yep, like me you probably have ignored sound advice like the above.
 
I know full well I did and it’s why I had/have the look I do.
 
Be it due to ignorance or arrogance, you simply didn’t listen because you felt you knew better.
 
Trust me, we never know better so swallow that pride and listen to your peers.
 
💪💪💪
 
There you have it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Level Zero?

How would you define the following (in a fitness sense).
Beginners (novice)
Intermediates (amateur)
Advanced (elite)
Would you personally classify each by the abilities one may possess to be deemed worthy of said placing in this hierarchy, perhaps time served or level of progress.
You may see it as a combination of all of the above.
To me it’s down to these three simple qualities:
  • Body Composition
  • Base Strength
  • Athletic Ability (skill in their sport/thing)
These are my chosen markers due to their basic objectivity, just look at all the people who’ve trained for 10+ years and have achieved very little, they’re beginners in my eyes, yet on paper you’d think these people to be training sages.
While entirely arbitrary why don’t we look at these a little more for some context because i know some people will get butt hurt because it’s 2020 and the world is still hyper sensitive.
Body Composition:
Beginner (novice) – low levels of LBM in retaliation to the individuals total mass with potentially high or low levels of fat mass because skinny fat is totally a thing, arguably the worse thing to be in my ignorant opinion, that’s just me though.
Basically they don’t look like stye train.
Intermediate (amateur) – reasonable levels of LBM in relation to the individuals total mass, often these people have lower levels of fat mass as well, not always, just often.

Essentially they look like they’ve bumped a weight or two and in fact train the way they claim as oppose to simply talking about it.

Advanced (elite) – high level of LBM, often reasonably low levels of fat mass, not always just often. At a glance you’d stop and think, they look strong, and if measured accurately this would be confirmed due to high LBM.

Yep, these are the people many look up to in awe of.

Base Strength:
Rather dependent on what the person trains for, however as an arbitrary guide I base this off of what they can pick up and put overhead in a strict press.
Beginner (novice) – Less then 3/4 total bodyweight
Intermediate (amateur) – Their current total bodyweight
Advanced (elite) – 1.25x bodyweight or more
Why pressing overhead you ask?
It’s because it keeps people honest, and pressing overhead often reveals a multitude of sins and gaps in someones structure, stability and mobility as well.
Athletic Ability:
As with strength it will come down to the specificity of what they do.
If we take Running as an example, just because why not make it relatable to the gen-pop.
Beginner (novice) – 10min (or more) average mile
Intermediate (amateur) – 8min average mile
Advanced (elite) – 6min (or less) average mile
Of course each of the above will come down to the person we are looking at, yet even using the example above you’d find some decent trends in how well to do a person is in fitness.
Anyway, how do you see yourself fin regards to fitness?
Beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Why?
Why not, it’s just bit of fun and gets people thinking, plus we also need to remember that even if we are advanced in some things we may be absolute noobs in another.
After all, isn’t life about climbing as many mountains as possible and achieving a lot of different things, or is it just me who thinks that way?
Please do share your thoughts below.

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A Sinister 6 Sessions of Strength.

This nifty little protocol will help get many people strong.
 
There is no other prerequisites for doing it than to follow it to the letter.
 
🤓
 
Choose two lifts you wish to focus on (I suggest 1x Upper/Lower).
 
Before starting test your 5RM on your chosen lifts.
 
You’ll alternate which one you focus on session to session, so sweet up as an A-B alternating split, training every 5 days.
 
You will do 6 sessions of each (12 in total), this means 60 days of training.
 
^ On the days you’re not in the gym feel free to focus on mobility, going for long walks or if you practice a sport then do that.
 
Let us say it’s Close Grip Bench Press & Trap Bar Deadlift because my bias likes those.
 
For the Focus Lift this is the rep/set protocol:
 
Cluster Set:
– 5x 2-1-2 (rest 10-20 seconds between each)
– 3min rest after complete set
– Change loading each set by 20% Increase or Decrease
– DOn’t repeat the same load twice
 
For the Secondary Lift this is the rep/set protocol:
 
3×10 – 50%, 75%, 100% – 10RM (you should only just get 10 on the last set)
 
For your Accessory Lift, this is optional*.
 
In the suggestion below my suggestion is based on a PHA style to working on lagging areas for maintenance purposes, so quads, triceps, lats, etc.
 
Example for context:
 
15min time limit, if you can get out 4-5 rounds in the time increase the loading where needed or tweak the movements, you can change the movements each session.
 
C1 – Pull Up x3-6
C2 – Walking Lunge x10-12 (per leg)
C3 – Dumbbell Press OH x3-6
C4 – Hollow Body Hold x30sec
 
Set & rep wise you’ll be
 
Here is what a session will look like:
 
Session A –
 
A1 – CGBP – Focus Lift
B1 – TBDL – Secondary Lift
C1 – Accessory Lift (your choice)*
C2 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
C3 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
C4 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
 
Session B –
 
A1 – TBDL – Focus Lift
B1 – CGBP – Secondary Lift
C1 – Accessory Lift (your choice)*
C2 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
C3 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
C4 – Accessory Lift (your choice)
 
The idea of this is to focus on getting stronger each session, its not about conditioning.
 
By the end of the 6th test yourself with a 5RM once again.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A Training Protocol too simple to hurt as much as it does.

Morning Y’all,
 
Being a little bit of a nerd I personally enjoy the principles behind things not everyone wants that, so why not just get straight to the good stuff 💪
 
Protocol 1 – 6-12-25
 
A classic from Charles Poliquin.
 
Choose three movements.
 
Do a set of 6 for the first, 12 for the second & 25 for the third to fully decimate a muscle group/area.
 
Examples for each movement pattern:
 
Do 2-3 sets of the following with 2-4min rest after A3.
 
Push –
A1 – Weighted Dip x6
A2 – Close Grip Canadian Press x12
A3 – TRX Tiger-Bend x25
 
Pull –
A1 – Weighted Ring Chin Up x6
A2 – T-bar Row x12
A3 – Face Pull x25
 
Squat –
A1 – Front Squat x6
A2 – Squat (close stance, heels raised – cyclist squat) x12
A3 – Duck Stance Leg Press x25
 
Hinge –
A1 – Snatch Grip Deficit Deadlift x6
A2 – RDL x12
A3 – Prone Hamstring Curl (neutral feet) x25
 
If you do this correctly you will find a drop of in loading % of each set after 2, this usually because at our top weights we’ve got 1-2 good sets in us, then things start to fatigue so a reduction in load of 5-10% is sensible.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The 1 Superpower Y’all Really Want

In my experience if there is one superpower that most women would want it’d be this:
 
To eat /drink as much as they like and never get fat.
 
Which to be fair could be a something most people want.
 
Did you know though that this could be a reality, oh yes, you could have this superpower.
 
Chances are you’ve heard of it in its alias.
 
This is it – Strength & Conditioning.
 
Believe it or not when you train properly and give it a truly worthy effort good things tend to happen.
 
Moving starts to become easier, aches/pains begin to reside and your mentality improves too.
 
Your nutrition improves due to your body demanding higher qualities of nutrient sources.
 
Muscle mass increases as your strength does, this then in tern leads to high force/power outputs and when combined with legitimate aerobic work that build a formidable work capacity you’ve got a near perfect storm for longevity.
 
The price you’d need to pay for this would merely be effort and consistency.
 
You see when you get some solid years of training under your belt that takes you physically to decent levels of physical strength & work capacity, you will have created a massive reserve in your body for the consumption of calories.
 
While it’s true your body will send you after higher quality ones first and foremost, you will find that when you do suddenly fancy a cake or few cheeky beverages of an alcoholic nature they don’t even make a dent anymore, in fact they’d barely register.
 
Yet the biggest things you’d notice is that the cravings for the poorer quality food/drink would diminish.
 
Habits would change as your health improves,both physical and mental.
 
Remember though, effort and consistency would be required.
 
Now you’ve had this knowledge exposed what will you do with it?
 
Do you want to be what many would consider to be a physical superhero, or do you perhaps want something else?
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
While you do that here are two simple sessions that you can rotate in a 3 day per week training system.

300-200-100:
 
You can rotate these for added spice, be warned though, it can be brutal.
 
Session 1 – Swings x300, Hill Sprints x200 seconds, Dips x100

Session 2 – Squat x300, Loaded Carries x200 seconds, Pull Ups x100

Session 3 – Swings x200, Hill Sprints x100 seconds, Dips x300
Session 4- Squat x200, Loaded Carries x100 seconds, Pull Ups x300

Session 5 – Swings x100, Hill Sprints x300 seconds, Dips x200

Session 6- Squat x100, Loaded Carries x300 seconds, Pull Ups x200


 
*Higher rep targets (200-300) can have substitutes.
 
Try and do 50 of these sessions in total if you need somewhere to start (feel free to change up the movement variations as you see fit). .
 
Now this would be very basic S&C, literally scratching the surface however training more productive than what the majority of people are currently doing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Arbitrary Goals for 2020

Lacking direction for gym related targets?
 
Here are some to consider hitting if you’d like the fleeting respect of people you’ll never see again mias social media.
 
Barbell Curl 0.50xBW x20reps
Press – 0.75xBW x20reps
Pull Up – Bw x20reps
Bench Press – BW x20reps
Squat – 1.5xBW x20reps
Deadlift – 2xBW x20reps
 
Why 20?
 
Why are barbell curls in there, surely there are better movements to do?
 
My answer is as follows:
 
Because why not 😂
 
These are simply arbitrary goals that will yield a decent benefit to many people.
 
The loads are not astronomical, in fact all of the above are pretty reasonable unless you’re very weak.
 
If you are very weak then they’re the ideal goals for you because they will rid you of said weakness.
 
How you program to achieve these is up to you.
 
My suggestion is to train 3 days per week with a different focus lift on each day.
 
Monday – Day 1 – Deadlift & Curl
Wednesday – Day 2 – Bench Press & Pull Up
Saturday – Day 3 – Press & Squat
 
Being able to hit all the above for 1 solid set of 20 will be quite satisfying, if you wish to extend this goal for a little more bang for your buck try to achieve 2 working sets of 20 at the target weights.
 
When you can do that you’ll have built a good foundation of strength and potentially muscle as well (provided your nutrition supports it).
 
For accessory work pick 2-3 movements for your posterior chain, things like Loaded Carries, Reverse Hypers, Good Mornings, Reverse Flies & Tricep/Calf/Grip work are all good, 2-3×10-15 for these work well.
 
For the 20rep goal, establish the end goal loads.
 
Once you know these you work backwards to sensible starting weights (perhaps 50% of the end weight).
 
Here is an example based on my on BW rounded up for easy maths:
 
Barbell Curl 0.50xBW = 40kg /2 = 20kg start
Press – 0.75xBW x20reps = 60kg /2 = 30kg start
Pull Up – Bw x20reps = 80kg* /2 = 40kg
Bench Press – BW x20reps 80kg /2 = 40kg start
Squat – 1.5xBW x20reps 120kg /2 = 60kg start
Deadlift – 2xBW x20reps 160kg /2 = 80kg start
 
*For the pull up you’d use band if required, or personally I’d just start off doing lower reps and building on them until I hit 20 unbroken.
 
All decent starting loads that are very achievable.
 
Warm up set wise you won’t need much, perhaps 1-2×20, then crack on with the work.
 
For the working sets you’ll be having that set to 1 for the time being, aim to add load each session you successfully hit 20reps in your woking set.
 
E.G – Press – 0.75xBW x20reps = 60kg /2 = 30kg start
30kg x20 = +2.5kg
32.5 x20= +3.5kg
35kg x13 = stay at this load and aim to get 1-2 more reps and repeat until you hit 20.
 
Make sense?
 
Once you hit the end weight goals add in a second working set at that weight, if you hit the reps first try then it’s time to set a new goal, if not work on that until you hit 2×20 – working sets.
 
May your 2020 be filled with progress & success.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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