Tag Archives: Training age

Do You Really Need That Specialist Exercise?

Walkouts, Partial Reps, Banded Moments, Movements with Chains, Lockout Reps, Board Pressing, the list of specialist exercises is numerous but do you really need them?

Too many people get caught up in doing things they have no real need for. I am guilty of this on the odd occasion but found that it only severed to hinder my progress in the long run because there was no need for the specialist movements.
You will find these types of exercises common for high level power lifters but they serve little purpose for us normal folk. If I had to give people some variations of lets say the big 3 I would suggest the following:
– Pause Squats
– Front Squats
– Box Squats
– Paused Bench
– Narrow Grip Bench
– Pressing Overhead or High Incline
– 1/2 – 1 inch Deficit Deadlifts
– 2-4 inch Block Pulls
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Overhand Deadlift
That’s pretty much it. While it’s nice and quite fun to try some of the specialist exercises there is little to no need unless you’re squatting/deadlifting 3xbw and benching 2xbw. The variations I’ve suggested will be more than enough to help keep you busy for months if you rotate them properly.
Do you need some guidance on a program too?
Warm Up Sets x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
Week 1 – 10×1 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 2 – 5×2 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 3 – 3×3 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 4 – 2×5 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
*increase weight and start over.
*2 lifts per day – EG Squat/Row, Deadlift/Press
*Lower body would work better with this programs set rep progression.
*Upper body = Volume or Ramping, try 8×8 on the volume with only 30 seconds rest on upper body pressing/pulling movements or Ramp up to a 3-5RM (meaning you do 3-5 reps and add weight each set until you hit technical failure, then you’re done).
An example day might be as follows:
Workout 1 – Squat/Pull Up
Warm Up Sets – Paused Squat x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Paused Squat – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Pull Up – 8×8 – Wide Grip Body Weight/Weighted or Pull Down
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
Workout 2 – Deadlift/Press
Warm Up Sets – Overhand Deadlift x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Overhand Deadlift – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Press – 5RM Ramp Start with Overhead Press and hit 5RM (You can alternate your Pressing movement to your own personal desire, one day might be overhead press, the next time around it might be bench and so on.)
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
A weeks training might look like this:
Monday – Workout 1
Tuesday – Workout 2
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 1 – Front Squat/Pull Down Neutral Close Grip
Friday – Workout 2 – Snatch Grip Deadlift/Incline Press
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Repeat last weeks exercise selection, keep weights the same on SQ/DL but move on to week 2’s reps (5×2).
There is nothing stopping you from adding in a sprint day on Saturday or some CV just regulate the intensity so that is doesn’t disrupt your recovery and adaptation phases.
In the world of lifting it’s best not to try and run before you can walk. Learn the basic movements and learn then well, then once you’ve started to hit the upper limits of your natural strength (around 3xBW SQ/DL & 2xBW Bench) then it will be worth adding in some specialist exercises to help you past your sticking points.
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 Keys to More Muscle

Morning Guys,

There are a few different ways you can build lean muscle, three in particular come to mind:
– Heavy Lifting
– Constant Tension
– Volume/Cumulative Fatigue
Each method will help you build muscle, along with strength but they do it through different pathways and depending on your overall goal or bias you might be better suited to one over another. Lets take a look at the differences in how each method works and what style of training is involved in each of them.
Heavy Lifting –
When you undergo a program that is largely focused on lifting heavy sub maximal loads you stimulate muscle grow because of the micro trauma (basically a high force output leads to a large amount of protein degradation in the muscle), neurological stimulation factors (more recruitment and fatigue of high threshold motor units) and hormonal factors (increase in free testosterone).
This becomes even more true when you are logically following a progressive overload where by you are trying to increase the subsequent load over X-amount of weeks. This is because it forces the muscle to adapt and become stronger so that it can continue to recruit the maximal amount of fast twitch fibers and motor units to continue it’s required performance.
An added bonus with this style of training is that it ‘wakes up’ the rest of the body neurologically and allows for more fast twitch recruitment in the following exercises.
Training in this way (heavy lifting) has a great effect on increasing muscle density and myogenic tone (basically the muscle looks ‘harder’ at rest, meaning you look as strong as your likely are), however the danger with this style of training is people will want to chase 1RM’s all the time which can be very draining on their CNS and lead to a drop in performance which is not what we want. Depending on a persons training level they will be best of using the following recommendations for this style of training:
Beginners – Intermediates: 80-85% 1RM using the 6-8 rep range in a ramping fashion
Advanced: 90% 1RM using a 3-5 rep range in a ramping fashion
*Ramping is where you add 5-10% until you reach your maximal weight with good/smooth form, you would then stay there for anywhere from 3-8 sets depending on your % of 1RM used.
Constant Tension –
As the name suggests this style of training is all about keeping the muscle in a contracted state and will certainly generate a massive pump. This style of training utilises drop sets, partial reps, isometric contractions, EQIC and any other methods to keep the muscle filled with blood and tension because the second you ease off the gas and the muscle gets a chance to relax you will lose some of the effectiveness of the set.
The weights used int his style of training are normally on the lighter side of the scale, especially when compared tot he first method described above.
This style of training is very effective because when the muscle is severely deprived of oxygen several things start to happen; unfortunately lactate production increases making it very hard both physically and mentally but if you can keep pushing through the burn you will also have a dramatic increase in hGH and IGF-1 which are two highly anabolic hormones, there is also some evidence to show that as the fatigue increases so does the activation/recruitment of some deeper fast twitch muscle fibers which lead to increases in strength along with size. It’s worth pushing through each set to reap the rewards of this training style.
How long does each set need to be?
40-70 seconds is ideal, this would be a tempo of 4-0-2-0 and will work best with isolation exercises or variations of compound lifts (dumbbell pressing, single arm rowing, leg press etc).
Volume/Cumulative Fatigue –
In the hefty book that is known as Super Training by Siff & Zatsiorsky wrote that muscle fibers not only need to be recruited but also fatigued to stimulate optimal growth. This is why those who only ever train in one style are missing out because invariably there will be some fibers that aren’t stimulated because of the one dimensional training style.
When you start adding volume work in to the mix you can certainly increase the number of muscle fiber being recruited because of the cumulative fatigue effect. Typically the added volume is better for a hypertrophy bias because the loads used will be light to moderate, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried high volume with sub maximal weights but it’s brutal and leaves you destroyed for days.
To achieve maximal benefit from this style of training you will find reps int he range of 8-12 (upper body) and 15-20 (lower body) with short rest periods (30-60 seconds) are quite effective, something like Vince Gironda’s 8×8 falls in to this style of training perfectly and he looked awesome!
If you’re a more advanced lifter then the use of Super Sets, Pre/Post Fatigue, Drop Sets, One and a Half Reps Sets and alike are great methods to help you amass some rather taste volume amounts. The reason this method works so well is that is enables you to fatigue every last fiber and squeeze almost everything you can out of the muscle in one session.
Now you know about three great methods of training the trick part is being able to apply them to a workout. Is it best to do them separately or all together? Personally I would say for the best possible results you would do well to use all three in one session but you would need to understand come principles/rules on how to apply them first.
Take a read of these:
1 – Heavy movements first (larger more CNS demanding)
2 – Intermediate movements or as some call the assistance work (8-12 & 15-20 reps respectively with moderate loads)
3 – Isolation movements (constant tension lasting between 40-70 seconds)
How might that look in a workout?
A1 – Compound Lift – 5×3 – ramping to 90%
B1 – Assistance Lift 1 – 4×12 –  (aim for 40-70 sec TUT)
C1 – Assistance Lift 2 – 4×12 –  (aim for 40-70 sec TUT)
D1 – Isolation Lift 1 – 8×8 (light/moderate load with 30 seconds rest between sets)
The above will help you not only build a body that looks good but one that is also strong too.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Build A New Body: Part 1

There are a great deal of programs floating around on the internet and today i’m going to give you another one to consider.
This will be one of several programs I will be writing for you that will help create a 12 week training cycle to help you add lean mass, strength, strip fat and feel much more confident because of the results you will achieve.
Today’s program will consist on what you will ideally be looking to do for the first 3 weeks of your training block. It will help you build a good foundation of lean mass while starting to bring up your base strength in preparation for the next 3 week block, here is what the basic outline of what the primary goals of each will look like:
Weeks 1-3 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 4-6 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 7-9 – Strength/Conditioning
Weeks 10-12 – Strength/Conditioning
The first 6 weeks is based on building the foundation, then the second 6 weeks will be about utilising/realising the strength you’ve gained from your newly built muscle to it’s full potential while also adding in some conditioning style work to help keep you lean and feeling ‘fit’ don’t worry if you think they will contradict each other, they won’t if programmed properly and the correct volume/approach is used.
So now you’ve got the basic idea shall we get started?
4-4-4 is the first method you will be using is based around the following:
– 4 Workout days per week
– 4 Exercises per workout
– 4 Sets with varying rep ranges
The days you workout are down to you, that could be Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday or whatever.
As for exercises you will want to cover the full body in as little movements as possible, I will give you two guideline workouts A/B where you will hit all the major muscle groups, here they are:
Workout A –
– Front Squat
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Bent Over Row
– Supinated Grip Pull Up
Workout B –
– Press – Shoulder Width
– Bench Press – Medium (narrow is you want more triceps, wider if you want more chest)
– Dip
– Face Pull – Pronated Grip W/Thumbs Facing You (think you’re hitting a double bicep pose when pull to your face)
*You can do which ever day you want first, it’s down to personal preference.
Now it’s time for the rep/set scheme I will recommend for you.
– 12,10,8,6
– Use a 4-1-1-1 tempo (4 second eccentric, 1 second pause, 1 second concentric, 1 second pause)
Suggested loading:
– 12 – 65%
– 10 – 70%
– 8 – 75%
– 6 – 80%
A very simple descending pyramid that will help you begin to build a base. As for a warm up I would advice doing what you need to do so that you feel mobile and ready, remember a good mobility routine will help you stay injury free and improve your performance and overall life for that matter (There are lots of options on YouTube, you’ve got a great book called Becoming a Supple Leopard and much more to get ideas from).
I can’t tell you your weights but the suggestion I have given will be a good starting point, but remember the stronger you get the higher these numbers will go, not only % wise but also because you will be able to lift more. Start off light so you have somewhere to go, if you start too heavy you will stagnate and can even get hurt if you’re not careful.
The above program is designed to be followed for 3 weeks, then you will move on to the second 3 week block which I will get uploaded in due course.
You will obviously need to know about nutrition as well, here is a good starting point for you:
LBMx 17-19 = Muscle Gain Caloric Range
Protein – LBM x1 = Grams per day, multiply this by 4 to get calories of protein for the day.
Carbs – Protein x1-3 = Grams per day (depending on style of training/overall daily activity, desk jockeys use x1, site workers use x3 and people in the middle use 1.5 or 2), multiply this by 4 to get calories of carbs for the day.
Fat – What ever calories are left divide them by 9 to get your fat in grams for the day.
Example Equation:
175lbs x 19 = 3325 total cals
175lbs x 1 = protein 175g x4 = 700 cals
175g x 2 = carbs 350g x 4 = 1400 cals
3325 – (700 + 1400) = 1225 cals
1225/9 = 136g fat
So these example calories/macros would be:
3225 Total Cal
175g Protein
350g Carbs
136g Fat
Get the idea?
*Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods to get the bulk of your calories, doing this will sort out your micronutrients without you having to worry too much. think 80/20 – 80% single ingredient foods 20% what ever you fancy. Just keep the callers correct and the overall macronutrient ratio sold and you can’t go far wrong.
Breakfast/AM – Fat/Protein
Snack/AM – Fat/Protein
Lunch/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Snack/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Dinner/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Post Workout Protein/Simple Carbs – regardless on time of day.
This will be a good place to start, you can make adjustments according to your own persona needs as you see fit.
You now have the first 3 weeks and some basic ideas for nutrition, it’s time to get in to the gym and start working (Y).
Enjoy,
Ross

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Do You Even S-R-A?

What does SRA stand for?

Stimulus – Recovery – Adaptation

No typically this is something that is done over the course of several weeks/months and fits in with the principles of progressive overload because you will have the initial Stimulus (volume/intensity) followed by a period of recover (de-load) and then aim for some new personal records (adaptation). A simple concept but one a great many people get horribly wrong.

The common fault people come across is that they don’t follow this simple process, well, not for long anyway. Many will start out a program that lines up nicely with these principles, they will even follow them for perhaps one mini cycle (3-4 weeks) and actually make some progress. Obviously the are pleasantly surprised because it worked, which should really be a surprise considering this methodology has been around for close to 100years now, but I digress. After hitting some new PR’s in the gym they think they can continue to do this and that is where the wheels start to fall off the wagon and I’m going to tell you why.

If a person follows a program that adheres to the SRA principle they will progress, simple. They might even be able to ‘cheat’ they system and hit a few more PB’s, thus leading them to think they’ve cracked this weightlifting malarky and can’t fathom why people struggle when they themselves are making such superb gains and this is when it starts to go wrong. Trying to continuously peak is something that in the worst possible scenario will destroy most people (major injury) if they’re not careful, at best they will stagnate and maintain the level their at, but most likely they will experience regression in both strength and lean body mass because of the excessive cortisol (stress hormones) they’re being exposed too.

How can you avoid this?

Simple, you stick with the plan!

Depending on the end goal, style of your training program, you training age/experience and personal genetics there will be some discrepancies in how long you run things for in terms of Marco/Meso/Micro-Cycles but regardless of this fact following the SRA crude will help you continually progress until your program is at an end, at which point you will certainly have hit a new peak but you would also have amassed a decent level of accumulated fatigue, this is when a complete week off might be necessary at either the 3-6-9-12 month point, sometimes people might take a longer lay off but that’s down to the individual.

What might an example mini cycle that follows this rule look like?

Like this perhaps:

  • Week 1 5×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 2 5×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 3 5×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 4 3×5 – At Original Weight
  • Week 5 5RM – PR Attempt
  • Week 6 5×5 – 70-80% of calculated 1RM based on new 5RM and Repeat

You could also have something that looks like this:

  • Week 1 1×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 2 3×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 3 5×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 4 1×5 – At Original Weight
  • Week 5 5RM – PR Attempt

Now those are based off of short 5/6 week cycles, you could have a longer one that would have be doing what is described as a volume/intensity wave or sorts.

  • Week 1 1×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 2 3×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 3 5×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 4 1×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 5 3×5 – Set at weight in week 4
  • Week 6 5×5 – Set at weight in week 4
  • Week 7 1×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 8 3×5 – Set at weight in week 7
  • Week 9 5×5 – Set at weight in week 7
  • Week 10 5×5 – Original Weight
  • Week 11 5RM PR Attempt

Remember these are only example of how the overall program might look,, they are not set in stone, some people use the SRA principle on a weekly basis.

  • Day 1 – Monday 5×5
  • Day 2 – Wednesday 2×5
  • Day 3 – Friday 1×5 – Build to new 5RM

The main thing to remember is that you want a period of accumulation (increasing volume/intensity) followed by a short phase that allows adaptation (de-load to all recovery) and then you attempt to realise the progress you’ve made with a new PR.

Take some time and plan out a sensible program with some logical progression, put in periods of ramping up volume/intensity followed by a slight de-load and then go for a new PR. Keep it simple and watch the progress come in waves.

Enjoy,

Ross

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20/20/20

Everyone is looking for the magic set/rep range, with the ideal tempo to stimulate the mTOR pathway and the ability to add 5% strength each session.

What ever happened to simply getting under the bar and actually lifting?
Too many are wasting precious time searching the forums, books, magazines and various YouTube videos for the ‘perfect’ system. It’s frustrating to see.
What gives me the right to speak in such an impertinent manner?
I have been this person, no… I am still this person. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers, especially when it’s what your business revolves around. It might just be me but when I set a program for a client that is set to their needs i will remove all bias and write something that will help them achieve what they need but then it makes me think “I forgot about this method, I should be doing this” thus the madness continues.
Are you up for a challenge?
If you can stick with this for 6 weeks I can assure you that you will add muscle, you will strength, you will shift excess fat and best of all you will get more efficient at all of the movements as well.
What do you have to do?
You have an 2 Workouts only A & B
You do 3 lifts per workout only
Each lift is done for 20min starting with the larger exercise first
Lift 3-7 days per week
Pick a rep or distance goal and stick to it*
Work Hard & Eat Plenty of Nutritious Foods
*Reps of 5 = do 5 reps on every set for 20min. Distance of 20 meters = carry the load that distance then stop for a second before repeating the process.
The exercises you pick are the ones you will stick to for the duration of this challenge. No deviation!
Here are some suggestions:
– Squat, Press, Farmers Walk
– Squat, Dip, Pull Up
– Snatch Grip Deadlift, Bench press, Walking Lunge
– Deadlift, Behind Neck Press, Zecher Walk
– Front Squat, Push Press, Power Clean
– Thruster, Clean, Chin Up
– Snatch, Get Up, Overhead Lockout Walk (all done with kettlebells)
– Clean & Press, Overhead Squat, Renegade Row (all done with kettlebells)
There are 8 different combinations, you can pick two of those for your A/B workouts or make your own up. You can use barbells, dumbbels, kettlebells, large awkward objects, basically anything you want as long as you stick with it.
Day 1 – A
Day 2 – B
Day 3 – A
And so on.
Write down what you do each workout and lifting as much as you can with good form. Listen to your body, learn to accurately assess how you ‘feel’ each workout. if you did heavy 5’s on workout A at day 1 why not do 8’s on workout A when day 3 arrives. There is no specific number or reps or distance you SHOULD do, go on how you feel.
*Use some common sense and keep your reps/distance suited to your goal.
Strength – 3-6 reps
Hypertrophy – 8-12 reps
Sadism – 15-20 reps
If you are going to make your own I would advise you cover the whole body (within reason) with the first 2 movements and use the third as either a loaded carry or some other form of posterior chain movement.
Following this challenge means you only have to worry about doing it each movement for 20min (the warm up is included in that time). Stick with the number of reps or distance and do as many sets as possible in the given time, if you can keep adding weight then do so, if you can’t add more weight without sacrificing form then stay on that weight and repeat the reps until you can add more weight. If needed you can even wave the weights (70,80,90,80,90,100,90,100,110 etc) until the time is up. The secret is not to worry too much but concentrate on good from and hitting your reps for the time limit.
Now go and pick 6 movements and split them in to 3/3-workouts A/B and make soem progress.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Yesterdays Results

Morning Guys,

Building is the aim, but with all the set and rep ranges out there which one should you use?

There was the famous 6×6 & 8×8 that was used by Vince Gironda

Or the hugely successful 7-5-3 Wave Loading System found under the tutelage of Charles Poliquin

You even heard stories of how well people did on Dorian Yates’ ‘Blood & Guts One Set to Faliure’

Some even did phenomenally well on the very simple 4×8-12

But the truth is that all of the systems work, lets be honest and accept that if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be spoken about.

The hardest part isn’t finding a set/rep scheme that works, it’s finding one YOU can stick with for the long haul, in our society of quick fixes and instant gratification we want to add 30lbs of lean muscles, drop 50lbs of body fat and look akin to a Greek God all by last week.

Sadly life doesn’t work that way. If you want to build some decent lean muscle you will need to be prepared to put in the hard work, eat adequately and have everything pretty much on point. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life but you must understand that the more effort you put in and the more sacrifice you’re willing to make the faster and less time you will need you will achieve your results (which could still be in the years in most cases).

Now the obvious points are out of the way it’s time to give you some options to help you on your way to a better you.

The rotation of set/rep schemes will be set using a 3 days on 1 day off rotation until you have done the particular set/rep scheme 4/5 times (this will last mean each set/rep system will last around 3 weeks or so) with a total of 4 different rep/set options to go though. The main exercises will stay the same for all 4 mini blocks, as for assistance work you can add in some DT (Density Training) that should take no more than 10min and the chosen assistance movements can change every 3/4 workouts if you feel the need, but remember a change is only needed if you have become stagnant on that particular exercise.

Parameters for the mains lifts:

First 5 Workouts (weeks 1-3):
Reps/Sets: 10,8,6,20
Loading % of 1RM: 70%,75%,80%,60%
Tempo: 6-1-1-1 and 2-1-1-1 for the 20 rep set
Rest: 90 Seconds

Second 5 Workouts (weeks 4-6)
Rep/Sets: 6×6
Loading % of 1RM: 75-80%
Tempo: 4-1-1-1
Rest: 30 Seconds

Third 5 Workouts (weeks 7-9)
Rep/Sets: 5×5
Loading % of 1RM: 80-85%
Tempo: 3-1-1-1
Rest: 90-120 Seconds

Forth 5 Workouts (weeks 10-12)
Rep/Sets: 5,4,3,2,1
Loading % of 1RM: 82,85,87,90,92%
Tempo: 2-1-1-1
Rest: 120 Seconds or as needed

The main lifts will be comprised of the following:

– Squat (Front or Back)
– Bench Press (Incline of Flat)
– Deadlift (Overhand only)
– Bent Over Row (Supinated Grip)
– Press (Military or Behind Neck)
– Pull Up (Weighted or Body Weight)

Now it’s time for the interesting part, the workouts themselves.

Based on 3 working days you will only be required to do 2 movements per workout, plus 1-2 assistance movements if you feel the need.

Day 1:
A1 – Squat
B1 – Pull Up
C1 – Dumbbell Curl (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 2:
A1 – Bench Press
B1 – Bent Over Row
C1 – Skull Crusher (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 3:
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Press
C1 – Lateral Raise – Do one set of C1 followed by C2, minimal rest between transitions.
C2 – Face Pull or Reverse Fly (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)

Day 4: Off

Repeat.

The above is a very simple progression that will help you build some quality lean muscle tissue while keeping things fresh and interesting. as I mentioned above you can change your assistance exercises as you see fit but try to keep the main movements the same as this will help with the accumulation f overload stimulus.

One benefit of these workouts is that they won’t take long to complete, perhaps 40min tops meaning that you will have lots more free time to spend with friends and family, eat lots of good foods and because the workouts are so short you will look forward to your next one, unlike some other extreme training programs that kill your motivation to train.

You will also need to make sure you’re eating enough, if you want my opinion on how to make a educated guess then do the following:

LBM (Lean Body Mass) x 17-19 = Daily Calories

LBM x 1-1.2 = Protein in Grams for the day x4 = calories from protein.
Protein x 1.5-3 = Carbs for the day (1 if you’re a desk jockey. Use 2 if you’re somewhat active at work and 3 if you’re job is very physical) x4 = Calories from carbohydrates.

Daily Calories – (Protein Calories + Carb Calories) = Calories of Fat per day, divide this number by 9 to get your daily grams of fat.

Now go and make some progress.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Daily 90%?

Morning Guys,

I was asked a very interesting question recently:

“Can you train heavy all the time?”

The person who asked the question defined heavy as 85%+, closer to 90% of 1RM truth be told.

Now considering all the varying factors that need to be taken in to account – Training Age, Recovery Ability, Nutrition, Stress Load, Sleep, External Influences to name a few. The answer is not a simple one, that said I will give you my opinion and my own personal answer to this question which has been gathered from my experience.

Yes. Yes you can.

HOWEVER!

To train at higher intensities more frequently you need to have everything else in your life on point (nutrition, stress, recovery etc etc) and have a minimum training age/experience of at least 5 years.

Why 5 years? Because by that time you will have made all the novice mistakes (hopefully) and built a solid foundation of strength, skill and movement patterns, not to mention you would actually have a very good idea of what your 1RM’s would actually be. If these are present then you could quite possibly train at 85% or even 90%+ frequently.

Now I believe it was the great Louis Simmons who said if you train at 90% for longer than three weeks you will in fact go backwards in your training, and I have to agree with him…

I know, curious isn’t it.

Given my last statement how can I say ‘yes’ to being able to train at 90% frequently then? Because what Louis Simmons was referring to was staying at 90% for one specific exercise for more than three weeks, this is where you would run in to problems, mainly due to CNS/overall fatigue in that one movement. However if you were to use movements that targeted similar muscle groups/movement patters but required a different total loading then this is how you could train at 85-90% of more for extended periods of time.

Are you following me?

For example you can Squat for lets say 2 weeks (possible 3 if you’re so inclined) then change this to perhaps a box squat, then a front squat after that and maybe an overhead squat next.

Can you see what’s happening? You’re loads int he other lifts won’t be as heavy as in the standard squat, meaning your nervous system won’t be taxed as heavily but you will still be working in a maximal strength range for each lift. In doing this you will also generate some good crossover to your other lifts (crossover helping the main lifting movement improve).

Example:

Weeks 1-3 – Squat
Weeks 4-6 – Front Squat
Weeks 7-9 – Overhead Squat
Weeks 10-12 – Box Squat

This style of training will require you to make copious notes and track your numbers, but it also helps produce some great results.

When it comes to loading parameters I would suggest using the following as guide lines:

Training Days – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

– 85,87,90% 1RM – 3-6 sets 1-3 reps
– 87,90,92% 1RM – 2-5 sets 1-3 reps
– 90,92,95% 1RM* – 1-4 sets 1-3 reps

This way if you were cycling though 6 exercises you would use the first suggesting on all 6 then when the next time round comes you can use the second, if you don’t fancy testing a new 1-3RM that is to establish a new baseline for the 85-90%.

*The last suggestion would only be advised for people who compete or are very experienced, personally I would steer people towards the first guideline.

All in all this style of training is based around 2-3week mini cycles that have constantly changing exercises, the same is true for your accessory work which can be focused on your weaker areas and done for more bodybuilding style reps/sets. What I have given you is simply an example of intensity %, sets/reps, training days and exercise ordering, you can change/adapt this as you see fit.

One thing to remember about working at higher intensities more frequently is that you need to keep the volume per session on the low end, if you set this to high you’re in for trouble.

As you can see there is certainly a possibility of being able to work at 85% and above consistently, but you will need to make sure you have a solid plan of action when doing it.

Enjoy,
Ross

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LOSE 4 INCHES OF BELLY FAT IN A WEEK!

Now I have your attention, I have an important message for you.

You’re being LIED too.

Everyday you see the stories of ‘ 6 week success’ that companies and some individuals spout out and how you can achieve the same results, all you have to do is buy their products and you will be endowed with the knowledge you need, but sadly this is all bollocks. Lots of the photos are either photoshopped, stolen from people who have taken years to achieve their results or the results of shall we say ‘Enhancement’ (steroids).

I hate to be the one to say it, well… Actually I don’t.

If you see a head line that claims any of the following:

  • Lose X amount in X.
  • Gain an inch to your arms in X.
  • Fat Loss without exercise.
  • Pack on muscle in just X weeks.

Basically anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. I understand how desperately people want results and for things to be better/sorted but life doesn’t work that way, trust me. You should always believe half of what you see and less of what you hear.

What is seen in the clever marketing campaigns is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, like that used by the magicians of old it’s all a clever act to get you to part with your hard earned cash. But guess what, it works, again, and again…. and again.

There is no quick fix, magic pill or secret to success.

Okay, there is a secret list of things to do and I’m going to give it to you for free.

Seriously…

FREE!

For the more dedicated and goal driven person:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Plan out how to achieve said goal (yourself or by hiring a coach)
  3. Establish your individual caloric/dietary needs.
  4. Begin exercising (lifting weights) 2-4 times per week – Goal dependent.
  5. Begin exercising (steady state cardio) 2-5 times per week – Goal dependent.
  6. Keep multiple dairies – Training, Nutrition, Progress.
  7. Work hard and be consistent.
  8. Enjoy the journey, it’s going to be a long road. Remember this is a life style change, not a quick fix.

If that list seems confusing here is a much simpler one that will cater for the general goal of ‘look and feel better, while increasing confidence’:

  1. Eat more protein from whole foods.
  2. Eat more fibre from whole foods.
  3. Eat less refined/man made foods.
  4. Move more – Ideally 3 sessions of vigorous exercise (weights+cardio) per week should be enough.

Don’t believe everything you’re told and blindly follow like all the other sheep, be different, after all, being different is something that sets us apart from he rest of the animal kingdom.

Hard work, patience and consistency is what achieves results, not quick fixes.

Enjoy,

Ross

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You’re Not Training Hard Enough…

Morning Guys,

You’re not training hard enough.

No, you’re not.

If you were then you wouldn’t be looking of rate next best program, you would be slowly and steadily making progress.

I have noticed that lots of people seem to be training much LONGER but not HARDER.

While this is only my opinion and lots will disagree, if you spend more than 45-75min in the gym then you’re not working hard enough, period.

In my opinion if you can train ‘hard’ for longer than that then you’re not training hard enough or you’re on some form of PED (steroid) because there are very few exceptions to this rule.

Why between those times?

Depending on the length or warm up you need (some people need up to 30min with all their pre mobility etc), once you’re body feels ready you start lifting and pushing yourself.

What does hard work feel like?
How should your reps feel?
How should your breathing be when running (cardio training)?

Reps –

Lets say you’re doing 6 sets of 6 reps, the first 2 sets of 6 should feel easy ish, the next two you will want to be struggling to get 6 and the last two you should only get 4, perhaps 5 reps out and those should be a struggle. This is coming close to hard work.

Alternatively you could go in with the ind set that even on your first set the 6th rep should be a fighting struggle to achieve (I like this mind set).

Cardio –

You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. Simple.

Too much chatter when CV training means you;re not working at the correct intensity, you should be abel to get out maybe 3-5 words or single sentences, but if you can talk almost normally then you need to be working harder.

This all sounds quite logical doesn’t it?

You’d be surprised at the amount of people who have ‘pseudo intensity’. What is it?

Pseudo Intensity is when people are working hard ish, but they often hold a lot back, this is why allows them to stay in the gym for upwards of 90min and sometimes even 3 hours.

There is a simple equation I like to remember, it goes like this:

Hard Work + Consistency = Results

Okay, there are some nuances to that but the general ethos is solid.

Now stop faffing about and go do some proper training!

Enjoy,
Ross

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Mobility, it’s not just the name of a scooter.

Today it’s time to talk about technique, or more importantly your ability to preform correct technique.

There are lots of compound exercises that require certain amounts skill, but that’s not really in question that often because the average gym goer forgets one crucial element,  most compound exercises also require adequate mobility to be preformed correctly.

Before I move on let us establish what mobility actually is.

Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a limb through the full range of motion with control, people often get mobility and flexibility confused.

Mobility is based on voluntary movement (squatting to full depth for example) while flexibility involves static holds (touching your toes) and is often dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility demands strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive and not strength-dependent.

It is possible to have good mobility without being especially flexible, after all, someone who is able to perform a full overhead squat won’t necessarily be able to do the splits. Just as someone who is flexible can have poor mobility, i.e., control. Of the two, mobility is more important. It is better to be inflexible with good mobility than flexible with poor mobility.

Mobility isn’t just required for lifting weights though. having good mobility will also improve your quality of life too. In an ideal world you would wake up every morning and perform a mobility routine to help prepare your body for the trials of the day. it doesn’t have to take long, 5-10min is more than sufficient and you can do it while your breakfast is cooking.

Here is a sample routine that you can do at home and before your workouts each and everyday.

  • Rocking Ankle Mobilization (walking on the inner/outer portion of your foot for 20 meters per side)
  • Quadruped Crawl (bear crawl) 20 meter
  • Squat with chest expansion and arm swings
  • Squat hold with shoulder dislocation (sit in a deep squat and hold a towel in both hands and try to take it fro the front of your body over your head and touch your lower back)
  • Spidermans  (also called a low lateral lunge from side to side)
  • Reverse Lunge

Bonus: Static Stretching

*Hip Flexor Stretch (rear foot elevated on sofa or chair, push hips forwards)

* Door Frame Chest Stretch (have your elbows at shoulder height and lean through an open doorway)

There are lots of mobility routines available on YouTube and other such websites, the one above is a simple suggestion, i would do some research and find one that works for you and takes less than 10min to do each day.

Enjoy,

Ross

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