Tag Archives: tips

How doing less helped me progress.

Yesterday we touched on who doing too much can hold people back, today we shall look at how the opposite can help you being to once again make headway.
 
MED, remember that?
 
Minimum effective dose.
 
Find what the bare minimum you can do and make progress form and do that until you no longer make progress, then perhaps add the next smallest amount and progress once again.
 
A simple thought that still adheres to the GAS/SAID principle.
 
It will allow you more time to recover, spend time doing other things you enjoy and for the average person, give you results while also having a life.
 
Sounds perfect, right?
 
That being the case, why don’t people do it?
 
Because as we discussed yesterday, too many think more is better and even more than that must mean even better still, not always true, sadly.
 
You will also find that when you take down how much you’ve been doing, you recover and allow the super-compensation element of GAS to happen, meaning gains.
 
Keeping in mind MED, how many times per week do you need to train to make progress?
 
Twice, that’s a great start.
 
Both sessions would follow a full body approach with limited moves that will give you the best bang for your buck.
 
Day 1 – Monday
 
A1 – Front Squat or Squat 10×5
A2 – DB Row 10×6
B1 – Press 8×6
B2 – Chin 8×6
C1 – Dip 50 reps in as few sets as possible
D1 – Loaded Carry 10min x Total Distance (famers walk, etc)
 
Day 2 – Thursday
 
A1 – Deficit Deadlift (any grip) 10×5
A2 – DB Press 10×6-8
B1 – Bench Press or Incline 6×6-8
B2 – BB Row 6×6-8
C1 – Curl 50 rep goal in as few sets as possible
D1 – Prowler or Sprints 10min x total Distance
 
Combine this with solid nutrition (plenty of whole foods and a calorie deficit or surplus depending on your goal) and three simple factors to progress and you’ll be laughing at the gains you make.
 
How to progress:
 
– Add weight where possible (fractional plates are good)
– If you can’t add weight, reduce rest
– Rest at it’s lowest, increase TUT (time under tension) with a slower negative portion of the lift
 
In each session aim to keep a good pace and finish within 45-75min, you’ll find the less you faff the better the workout you get.
 
Obviously over time you will potentially need to add more frequency taking training to 3 days per week, but the longer you can progress on 2 the better.
 
Funnily enough you will find that most elite lifters seem to find 4xP/W is their optimal limit because in each session they train HARD and create a deep ‘in road’ meaning they’ve stimulated growth, you need to do this too.
 
Remember, doing less can help your progress.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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A simple answer to a common question.

“How many exercises should I do each workout?”
 
^^ A common question, to which there is a very simple answer.
 
2-7
 
The average for a decent workout seems to be around 4, however the option to go a little higher or lower is useful planning an accumulation or intensification phase of training.
 
If you’re lifting heavy, then perhaps a simple A1-A2 set up is best, this will allow maximal weigh tot be shifted and ample time for recovery in your 45-60min training slot.
 
The same is true for using more exercises, you’d usually find this happens when you’re lifting a little lighter and aiming for more volume.
 
There’s your answer.
 
Pick anywhere from 2-7 exercises per session, utilise the following methods to help you regulate training and stave off boredom.
 
– Super sets: A1-A2
– Tri sets: A1-A2-A3
– Giant sets: 4 or more exercises for the same muscle group
– Circuits: 4 or more exercises for different muscle groups
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Two simple nutrition swaps for added fat loss.

Morning All,

Tweaking your nutrition can be hard, especially when it comes to knowing where to start if you find yourself working all the hours under the sun. Keeping this in mind here are two little tweaks that you can make that will help reduce excess calorie intake and start you on the right path.

1 – Buy more water to drink instead of smoothies, fizzy drinks or genera soft drinks.

2 – Swap your store bought sandwich for either meat from the deli and a bag of salad, or a pre-made one, you’ll find them under the sandwiches.

These will start to get you in the habit of making better choices for eating. You’ll also start to feel better as well.

Remember you can always have a little of what you enjoy, just don’t eat it in excess, unless you don’t mind the excess calories the goes with it as well.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The most common deadlift flaw.

The deadlift is a great test of strength, you simply grab something and lift it off the floor. If that isn’t a the best indicator of someones ability to generate raw force then who knows what is.
 
When it comes to this lift there are a great many faults that occur, however the most common is not the rounded back, although that is a very close second.
 
The most common flaw is not pulling the slack out of the bar.
 
Addressing the bar with a correct set up is something everyone can learn easily, the same is true for keeping a fairly neutral spine, however pulling the slack out of the bar take some time to master because it removes any extra momentum and this is what people usually use to break the weight off the floor.
 
If you use a jerky momentum to get the weight off the floor you will fin that you lose position, end up with no leg drive and make the lift quite difficult.
 
The reason people use momentum is due to the fact that they feel the bar won’t break the floor unless they do, which is wrong and also dangerous until you’ve got 100% solid form. The bar won’t break the floor if you fail to generate the necessary amount of force to do so, taking the slack out gives you the best chance of achieving this. Even if it does feel like it won’t move to begin with.
 
How do you pull the slack out then?
 
Once you’ve set up and taken hold of the bar, start by gripping it tight and locking in your lats, then start to lift your chest and pull the bar up, if you do this correctly you will feel the bar flex slightly, meaning you’ve pull out the slack. You should hear a small ‘chink’ if you’ve done it correctly.
 
 
Keep the slack out by staying tense and pulling against it, then use your legs and push the floor away.
 
Spend some time mastering this technique and you will find your deadlift numbers increase and you injury rates go down.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 Steps to Uncomplicated Training

Nothing fancy today, just really simple advice to boost your performance and make training fun again.

Here we go:

1 – Select 3 lifts per workout, ideally all free weight movements with at last 2 being compound. Spend less time of faff.

2 – Set a rep goal of 25-50 reps per movement.

  • If you want more muscle use higher reps and less sets – 4-6 on main lift, 6-8 on the second and 8-12 on the third.
  • If you want more strength use less reps and more sets – 1-3 on main lift, 4-6 on second and 6-8 on the third.

3 – Train 3 days per week using a full body training method, unless you can afford the luxury of more, in which cause you a 3 on 1 off rotation in which cause use Pull-Push-Legs – you could do PPL if you wanted to do 3x per week but you’d have to program correctly for maximum effect.

If you can only train 3 days per week and want to use Pull=Push-LegsL

  • Pull + Light Pressing lift in-between each set
  • Push + Light Pulling lift in-between each set
  • Legs + A full body lift such a clean/press, loaded carry etc.

4 –  Walk, Jog or Run? None of them, SPRINT!

Aim for 5-10 30-60 second rounds of all out sprinting at the end of a session for maximal VO2 Max benefit, you can also swap this for battle rope work, Strongman style loaded carries, medleys etc, jus make sure it’s an all out effort every round.

5 – Keep workouts between 45-60min. You can workout hard or work long, not both, you may as well go in, work hard and get out, this will give you more time to spend doing other things you enjoy or extra time with your family.

Simple but far from easy. Work hard and you’ll get results.

Enjoy,

Ross

 

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Neglected??

Morning Guys,
 
Have you stalled on a lift or a CV element?
 
A lot of people get caught in trying to bring up one lift or specific elements of their CV training only to neglect the bigger picture, which ultimately stalls their  overall progress.
 
If we took Bench Press for example, it will only go so far if that is all you train, perhaps your close grip bench/Incline/Overhead are all dramatically weak and you avoid them because they hurt your ego. This is a problem, taking a hit to the ego and brining up those three will have some carryover to the BP.
 
This can also happen when it comes to training CV elements.
You enjoy running and want to get faster but you find you just can’t break a certain time or increase your VO2 Max, usually because you’ve now become incredibly efficient at your chosen task (this is great, however it also means you need some spice added). To change things up you might add in a 2K sprint row which leaves you breathless because you’re not adapted to it, yet 🙂 however that means you can now start progressing again.
 
In short, hitting weaker lifts, or unfamiliar CV protocols/equipment will help you in the long run, it’s worth the ego sacrifice to gain that extra strength or lung capacity.
 
Neglecting your weaker elements of training in favour of the ones that boost your ego will eventually lead you to stagnation. While it’s understandable that no one wants to look like they are struggling it’s far worse to be known as that person who trains all the time and does’t look and different than they did, or is the one who is not any stronger or fitter than they were last year. I’m sure you all know someone who fits that bill and if you don’t… It might be you.
 
It’s okay to have weak areas because they mean you can improve and keep progressing.
 
Embrace your weakness and make it a strength.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Methods for more freedom.

Morning Guys,

The amount of training knowledge/resources that have become available over the last decade are absolutely outstanding, however knowing which ones to read and then apply for you can be difficult.

Here is a quick guide to the types of methods that will work well deepening on a persons experience levels. Obviously that is not to say that the methods can’t be used in any level, this is just a frame/guide for the most optimal use of them from my experience.

Beginners – Less than 2 years training experience

– Linear Progression (think 5×5)
– The Hepburn Method (think double/triple progression)

Intermediate – Between 2-4 years training experience

– Block Periodisation (think 1-3month strength, hypertrophy, cutting)
– RPE Based Programming (look up reactive training systems)

Advanced – 4+ years training experience

– DUP/WUP (weekly or daily undulating periodisation, this would be a heavy-light-medium rotation on either daily or weekly sessions)
– Daily Maxing & Back Off Sets (working to a heavy rep range then backing off for volume, look up auto-regulation)

Now all of these methods can be used at any level, however you will notice that the more advanced the lifer becomes in terms of training age the more intuitive the workouts become, this is because they will have gained a sense of how their body works and how hard to push themselves, something some intermediates have but a form of training beginners should not go near quite yet.

You will find that some top level athletes use block periodisation and have a very structured program because that’s how they work best, there is technically no ‘best’ training method, however there are ones that are better suited depending on a persons level of experience.

Take the tips in this post and look objectively at the information you seek so that you can find what is best for you at this current stage. Once you find something that you want to put in to action I suggest you do it for at least 3 months, perhaps 6 because only then will you know if it’s working for you.

As Captain Barbossa once said “They’re more like guidelines than actually rules.”

 

Enjoy,
Ross

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One Reason You Can’t Lose Weight!

There are obviously many reasons people can’t shift excess weight, but the main factor is often the fact they consume more calories than they expend (basic energy balance).
 
Now before people start chanting about how they are a unique and special little snowflake you must understand some basic physiology, these two resources will get you started:
 
 
 
No matter how much you’d like to be exempt from this, you’re not and you’re going to have to accept that simple fact of life.
 
There are many people who claim to be in a calorie deficit (eating less than they are expending) and not be able to lose weight (be that fat or unfortunate muscle). This means one of two things:
 
1 – You’re consuming more calories than you think.
 
^^ Most likely.
 
2 – You have suffered muscle atrophy and have been doing less physical activity with no calorie adjustment as a result your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is lower than what you’re eating each day.
 
^^ Possible, but number 1 is more common.
 
How can you combat this problem?
 
Simple, keep a food diary and track what you eat but be honest. That means including alcohol, sugary drinks, lattes and so on. You’ll find you can easily consume 500 calories extra per day from drinking them unknowingly.
 
In short the mantra to achieve your weightless goals is as follows: “Eat less and move more.”.
 
You’re not above science, if something isn’t happening they way you want it to 9/10 times you’re doing something wrong. All you need to is educate yourself and learn from our mistakes :).
Enjoy,
Ross

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Improve your deadlift in 5min

Give this post a read, it should take 5min and you will improve your deadlift.

Considering you’re all intelligent people I’m sure you’ve heard to the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) and the role it plays in movement.

*A nice link for those who want some more science on it: http://www.scienceforsport.com/stretch-shortening-cycle/

*Here is the lay version: think pulling back and elastic band to store potential energy and then releasing it (kinetic energy is the result). “to shorten muscle you must first lengthen it”. Where you are right now do vertical jumps… Good, now do it without first bending your legs in to the starting position (preventing and pre-stretching of the muscles used for the jump)… Doesn’t really work, does it.

I want to talk about its relevance in lifting weights and how you can use it to improve your deadlift (all will become clear, trust me).

If we look at the squat and the bench press, they both have one thing in common that is missing in the deadlift.

Do you know what it is?

…..

A loaded eccentric start to the lift (bar on your back/in your hands), this helps you create tension and the potential energy to overcome the required force on the concentric portion of the lift from being in the hole, where are the deadlift starts on the floor and you’ve got no real help. It’s you VS the bar and unless you’re a well trained lifter who understands how to use the SSC or at least prime your body by creating tension (pre-loading) in the required muscles yo’ll find you can’t even shift the bar from the floor.

I’m sure you’ve seen many great dedadlifters such as Eddie HallEd Coan, Richard ‘The Ant’ Hawthorne, Andy Bolton to name a few, have a certain something about their set up. You know, when they pull against the bar taking the slack out (getting tight), followed by a brief pull down (or 3 in Andy’s case) and then effortlessly hoist it off the floor to victory. This pre-lift routine is their way of firing up the muscles required, creating tension and utilising the SSC to help them generate the force required to overcome the inertia and lift the weight. (This is harder to write down than I anticipated).

Here are some videos, watch for the points mentioned above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRO51Qqt-I8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9Y4o_BqC0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNvONtw-94g

The reason for this post is a simple one. I see a lot of people fail to do the following in the deadlift:

– Take the slack out of the bar
– Get tight (create massive amounts of tension/pre-load muscles)
– Not utilise the SSC
*Obviously a correct individual set up is required, if you don;t have those hire a coach and get the foundations, then refer back to this.

In Dynamite Deadlift (written by Pavel Tsatsouline & Andy Bolton) they cover a lot of great info and give lot’s of tips. One that Pavel has given throughout the years is to set up to the brain the deadlift and from standing PULL yourself in to your starting position from standing to create more tension (remember tension = force).

Enjoy,

Ross

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It’s all on YOU

A short post today to tell you who is in control of your nutritional habits.
 
You might think it’s one of the following:
 
– The Government
– Social Media
– Your Friends
– Family
– Personal Trainers/Coaches
– Work
 
While they can al have an influence, there is only one person who is in complete control of your nutrition, are you ready to find out who?
 
It’s you. No one else, just you.
 
Excuses can come in fast and hard about how life isn’t fair and the whole world is against you but the truth of the matter is that you have control of what you choose to do in a nutritional sense. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head, no one is forcing you to have that entire packet of nuts, that was your choice.
 
We live in a world where we are told that we are what we are, but we don’t have to be. There is always a choice to be made an with each choice comes a price to be paid, chose wisely.
 
Be accountable for you own nutrition, learn new things and find what works for you.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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