Tag Archives: strength

Pushing your sets all the way

Working out is easy, it’s training that’s hard.
 
When it comes to the mental aspect of lifting weights we’d all like to think that we’re putting in the effort we require and while some certainly do, most don’t.
 
You can tell by the results people achieve.
 
Let’s take for example the classic 5×5, if you look back at its inception the idea was to either do 3-4 warm up sets where you start working towards a top set for the day, some would even do 2 top sets after 3 progressively heavier warm ups, this would actually be quite hard.
 
To push a set of say 5 for everything you had, with good form of course, is quite draining and very few people will ever really do it. Most will lift a weight for 5 that they could have really don for 7, maybe 8 if they’re honest.
 
This is one reason a lot of us don’t get the progress we really want.
 
I’m guilty of this that’s for sure.
 
Now this isn’t to say that people don’t ‘work hard’, rather it’s just pointing out that many haven’t quite grasped the concept of really pushing a set to it’s limit. if they did they’d find training say 3 days per week is more than enough to make progress, rather than their standard 6 with back to back classes and AM/PM runs.
 
Good old fashioned honest hard graft isn’t pleasant, it’s tough, however it’s what produces results, especially when combined with solid nutrition and plenty of recovery.
 
Try doing 5×5 and having 3-4 of those sets being warm ups, then really go all out on the last set, you should feel sufficiently worked, you may have one more set of 5 at that weight, if you do then go for it, however if you get it right that one hard set of 5 will be enough.
 
The loading might look like this:
 
5x60kg
5x100kg
5x140kg
5x180kg
5x200kg
 
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
 
Just something to think about.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The 30 set workout structure.

An easy to follow method for those who don’t have time to workout out the exact weights they need for every set.
 
This is based on using auto-regulation and going by feel, it’s also a great way to progress provided you have a training diary and track what you’re doing.
 
Here is what you do:
 
– Train 2-3 times per week
– Pick 3 exercises per workout (10 sets per exercise)
– Stay in the 5-10 rep range
– Use which ever training split you feel is most appropriate*
– Warm ups are included in your sets
– You may use Straight Sets (A1, B1, C1), Superset (A1/A2) or Tri-Set (A1/A2/A3) movements if you choose
– Rest as needed
– Track weights/reps achieved
– Aim to keep sessions between 45-60min
– Repeat for 3-6months and make all the progress
 
*Upper/Lower, Push/Pull, Pull-Push-Legs, Full Body
 
This is what one exercises might look like on paper:
 
Deadlift:
 
Set 1 5x bar 20kg
Set 2 5x 60kg
Set 3 5x 80kg
Set 4 5x 100kg
Set 5 5x 120kg
Set 6 5x 140kg
Set 7 5x 140kg
Set 8 5x 140kg
Set 9 5x 140kg
Set 10 5x 130kg
 
^^ Calculate total volume – Sets X Reps X Weight
 
10x5x1070 = 53,500kg total volume lifted in the session.
 
You’d make a note and aim to lift more total volume next week.
 
The stronger you get you’ll find you may nee dress warm up sets or that they stay the same and you can lift more in your later sets to increase your volume. 
Make sure you’re eating correct for your goal, if you need to establish your calories then check out this page for those answers:
 
There is no right or wrong as to how many warm ups you need, just do what you feel is adequate so that your form feels grooved and the speed on the bar is moving nice and fast.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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4 Movements you should be able to do.

Well you don’t have to be able to do these, however life will be much easier if you can.
 
1 – A full ROM overhead squat
2 – A full hinge
3 – A get up without the use of your hands
4 – A full ROM pull up
5 – A handstand – advanced
 
Why those 4?
 
In terms of general health you’ll find it’s these qualities people lose over time and as such their quality of life depreciates, however if you keep a good amount of strength in these movements you’ll find you age proof yourself throughout the years.
 
Let’s look at them all individually.
 
1 – A full ROM overhead squat.
 
Now this doesn’t have to be with maximal loads, it’s just a movement that will show your bodies potential limitations in ankles, hips & shoulders which are common because of daily life.
 
This skill can be linked to getting out of a chair or up from sitting on the floor. 
If you’re really strong you can do this on one leg too.
 
2 – A full hip hinge
 
This is in reference to a full hip flexion with minimal knee bend while not losing upper thoracic position, it will basically allow you to lift things correctly and minimise injury while firing up your hamstrings, glutes, erectors and musculature of the posterior chain.
 
It will also cross over in to picking something up and carrying it for a distance or time, a skill we NEED in everyday life.
 
3 – A get up without the use of your hands
 
If you’ve ever watched the difference between a elderly persona and a youth when it comes to getting up you will see the difference, however keeping the ability to get up without the use of your hands shows total body connection and strength which if kept in to old age can help keep you out of a retirement home.
 
The above being said, having the ability to perform a Turkish Get Up is also a great skill to have at any age.
 
4 – A full ROM pull up
 
Climbing is something we are meant to do. The ability to pull up your own body weight is an essential skill because it shows health & strength, plus if you’ve gotten in to your golden years and have slipped over and perhaps twisted your ankle the ability to grab something and lift yourself up will be most welcome.
 
5 – A handstand
 
Balancing on your hands was an old favourite in the days past and showed not only strength and total body connection along with wrist, elbow and shoulder health.
 
Inversion is a great skill as it requires concentration, bracing, controlled breathing and calm.
 
Now these movements are very useful for overall health and longevity, if you wish to specialise in a sport then you will have different needs which may go against the best interests of your health/longevity, this is the sacrifice you make.
Being able to move is also great for your mental health too.
 
If you want to work on these then you can either take up a movement class or perhaps some form of advanced yoga.
 
Being able to move is important, don’t lose it, the difference between a young body an old one is the ability to move.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How Odd.

Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?

You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?

if not here are some links to get you started:

http://www.oddlifts.com

https://www.onnit.com/…/how-to-become-a-strongman-the-5-b-…/

Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.

– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.

1 – The bottom up kettlebell press

This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:

– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego

https://breakingmuscle.com/…/bottoms-up-kettlebell-presses-…

2 – There Renegade Row

Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:

– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHN0SGa-68Q

3 – Zecher Lifts

What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.

You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link

The benefits:

– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living

https://www.t-nation.com/training/complete-guide-to-zerchers

Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.

If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:

– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)

*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM

For example:

Day 1:
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press

Day 2:
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row

Day 3:
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift

How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Back to the basics for us all.

What is there to write about training anymore?
 
The internet is filled with so much content, it’s almost impossible to read it all.
 
Keeping this in mind it’s probably best to keep things simple and hopefully point you in the right direction and to do that we need to circle back around to the basics and the simple sciences of training.
 
What should you look to circle back to first?
 
– Energy Systems
 
Why?
 
These are essential for understanding how the body works and what fuel is used for what training styles (aerobic – fat, anaerobic – glucose etc), here is a nice resource for that:
 
 
Next it has to be muscle anatomy.
 
– Muscle Structure
 
Once you know how they work you can conclude what style of training is best for your goal. Here are a couple of links:
 
 
 
One last topic that is crucial to have a basic underrating of in training is hormones.
 
– Testosterone, Cortisol and everything in-between.
 
This is a massive topic yet it’s one people ignore all the time and it really shouldn’t be. Your hormones are influenced not only by training but also your nutrition, sleep, life style and mach more, thus it is worth knowing how they work and what they do.
 
 
Above are some starting links to help you on your way, however it’s worth remembering that the body is a complex organism and if you don’t want to do the digging yourself then you’ll do well to hire a coach/trainer who can do it all for you.
 
Remember the basics, without those nothing else can be understood.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Nothing fancy, just some options for people

3 Methods for your consideration.
 
One for strength, one for hypertrophy, one for fat loss.
 
All three are simple, sustainable and repeatable if you ever find yourself at a loss.
 
So, let’s get started.
 
Strength –
 
– Hit each muscle group 2-5 times per week
– 10-25 reps per lift
– Use a load of 85%+
– 3-5min rest
– A1/A2 jump sets resting 2min between each
– 2-4 lifts per workout
– Lower/Upper combination each workout
 
Example:
 
A1 – Deadlift 8×2
Rest
A2 – Press 8×3
Rest – repeat A1
 
Hypertrophy –
 
– Hit each muscle group 2-4 times per week
– 25-50 reps per left
– Use a load of 70-80%
– 90 seconds to 3 min rest
– Japanese Drop Set: 4×6 + 1×25 rep drop set
– 2-4 lifts per workout
– Legs-Pull-Push split
 
Example:
 
A1 – Bench Press 4x6x75kg,80kg, 85kg, 90kg
 
The first drop set is done at the weight you performed at your last set of 6 for as many reps as possible, once momentary muscle fail is hit drop the weight 5-10% and continue for another AMRAP, keep repeating this until you hit the 25 rep target.
 
Fat Loss –
 
– Hit each muscle group 2-3 times per week
– 20-50 reps per left
– Use a load of 60-70%
– <60 seconds rest
– 50-30-20, rep goals per exercise + 3 *Tabata finishers
– 3 lifts per workout
– Full Body
 
Example:
 
A1 – Dumbbell Clean & Press 5×10
Tabata
B1 – Inverted Row 3×10
Tabata
C1 – Squat 1×20
Tabata
 
* Tabata set up – 20 sec on, 10 sec off x 8 rounds – the choices of exercise are as follows: Swings, Sprints (rowing, run, cycle etc), Loaded carries, Battle ropes, etc.
 
All three of the methods above are simple, effective and can also work well if cycled together in small training blocks, for example: Strength,Hypertrophy, Strength, Fat Loss – using the numbers you hit in the Strength block to set the loads for the other two and so on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Too good not to share

I came across this article while browsing through the inter webs for knowledge and it’s too good not to share.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-get-ripped-with-4-rep-sets?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article4844

Christian Thibaudeau is one of my favourite and his knowledge is phenomenal, you’ll enjoy this read.

I will certainly be giving this a go as I am currently short on time in my own training.

Ross

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5-3-2 or 3-2-1 or maybe 1-1-1

What do they mean would be the best question to ask first of all.

These numbers are in reference to the frequency of training a muscle group, or if you are less about the aesthetic and more about performance it will be in reference to movement patterns.

So 3-2-1 is ideal for beginners and people who are short on time yet still want to make a decent amount of progress in terms of strength, hypertrophy, performance and fat loss.

For example:

Squat 3 days per week
Press 2 days per week
Deadlift 1 day per week

I’d also add in pulling (elbow flexion) and hip extension movements (rows, pull ups, face pulls, reverse fly, swings, rope pull throughs etc) to the three day group as these patterns are often left out.

Press vertically and horizontally both days, this would also encompass all elbow extension exercises – skull crushers etc.

The reason many will do well deadlifting once per week as they can often lift more weight in this lift and as such will cause more metabolic disturbance.

Taking in to consideration what is above you can guess where 5-3-2 is going.

Yep, more frequency for people with more experience who fall in the intermediate level and need more exposure to the movements.

Depending on goal you may find you squat 3 or 5 times per week, the sam gif true for pressing/pulling it might be 3 or 5 days, you can adjust this as you need to.

Example:

Press/Pull 5 days per week
Squat 3 days per week
Deadlift 2 days per week

Over the years it has been shown that more often than not the more frequently you train something (the more exposure it has to training stimuli) the stronger it is and the more developed the muscle/area/movement looks.

Now these guidelines aren’t gospel, they’re just a guide to give people some direction.

What is 1-1-1 then?

Yep, you’ve probably worked it out.

You may even find that you’re one of the luck ones who can train things once per week and make progress, if that is the case then stick with what works because there is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. If this is you, just make sure each session you give it your all for maximal progress, due to the low frequency you will need to hammer the muscle to hit your required volume/intensity/work capacity needs.

In terms of my own training I will tell you that higher frequency has very much helped me gain high levels of strength relative to my size (what is needed for the combative sports is partake in), however when I dropped my frequency – it was still a minimum of twice per week per muscle group – I made more hypertrophic progress, this was due to not only a different style of training but also eating in a caloric surplus*.

*You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight, you’ll struggle if you’re not in one, regardless of set or rep range. If you want to shift fat you can train int he same way you will just need a caloric deficit, fact.

Take a look at your training and compete the frequency of your lifts to what body parts you have developed the most, you’ll probably find the ones you train the most are the best, or as some might say “Those are you naturally strong areas” – well duh, you train them more, they’re going to be stronger than the ones you avoid.

Training is all about learning, applying and adapting until you find what work best for YOU.

Let’s get started.

Ross

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Some variety is good, too much isn’t.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the classic line of “You need to change up your training to keep the body guessing” or something along those lines.

While having some changes in your training program is good for novelty and staving off the boredom, too much change too often will leave you without any real progress due to a lack of suitable adaptation.

Look at is this way; if you want to get better at a certain skill you practice that skill over and over and over again, the same is true fro lifting weights/training, you need repeated and sustained efforts to adapt and progress, chopping and changing every session won’t provide too much in the way of progress.

While you might not like that fact is it very much the case.

Take a look at people who do an ever changing amount of classes, they shift their excess fat and build some small amount of muscle (this is great btw), however past that point they end up looking no better because they don’t want to buckle down and stay with a training program for longer than a couple of weeks.

It’s a common issue that everyone falls victim to.

Now it is worth noting that some people do indeed need change every 2 weeks in there training, however those people are usually genetically gifted and 9/10 times you’re not that person, you’re the one who needs to stay consistent to a program for at least 12-16 weeks, sorry, that’s how it is.

When all that is said and done these words are only simple bits of advice, you can do what ever the hell you want, in the end it makes no different to me personally. If you’re happy with your training and your results then fill your boots, however if you’re not then you’d do well to take this on board.

You will often find the most successful training programs are often the most boring.

Enjoy,
Ross

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