Tag Archives: Training age

The Workout Basics You’ve Been Missing.

Want to build strength and muscle with simple program?

All you will need is the following:

  • Spreadsheets (easy to write out and record progress)
  • Calculators (to workout of % of 1RM)
  • 45-60min Training Time
  • The Desire To Succeed

Below is a series of reps/sets with their desired % of 1RM (1 rep max) for starting weight that would be used (this might seem low on the outset but as you progress and add weight you will be glad your started out slightly lighter) and a list of exercises.

  • 8×3 – 85%
  • 6×4 – 80%
  • 5×5 – 75%
  • 4×6 – 70%
  • 3×8 – 65%

*A more experience lifter will start anywhere from 2.5-5% higher than the suggested % of 1RM, so 8×3 @ 87.5 – 90%.

  • Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhad Squat
  • Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Weighted Dip (bar or dumbbell)
  • Deadlift, Deficit Deadlift, Double Overhand Deadlift, Snatch Grip Deadlift
  • Overhead Press, Behind Neck Press, Dumbbell Press (neutral grip, clean grip, snatch grip)
  • Bent Over Row (overhand, underhand) , Weighted Pull/Chin Up,Single or Double Arm Dumbbell Row, Upright Row

With these you will be able to build a solid base of strength and mass easily. The best part is you can use them in various ways, the suggestions I will give you today are not gospel, they are only a few of the potential combinations that I have used with success so far.

I will be honest, these suggestions haven’t worked for everyone, I have had to change various things such as TUT, rest periods, weight progression, rep progression and much more for each specific individual, but what I will teach you today has had the most consistent results, with the majority of people.

Lets say you’re training 3 time days per week, above you have 5 different rep ranges and each rep range will give you a slightly different stimulus and result.

  • 8×3 – Strength
  • 6×4 – Strength
  • 5×5 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 4×6 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 3×8 – Hypertrophy

Now to build strength and mass equally you might do well to choose the following rep ranges that you will use for each day:

  • 8×3 – Strength
  • 5×5 – Strength/Hypertrophy
  • 3×8 – Hypertrophy

These rep ranges will stay consistent throughout the week but the chosen exercise will differ, this makes training a lot more fun and incredibly productive as you’re stimulating the muscles through varying training methods.

The you will need to assign one of the given compound movements above for each rep range on each day. I have used the following exercises: Back Squat, Weighted Dip & BNP, Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin. These offer a full body workout with a decent amount of balance. there will be a note on assistance movements later.

This is a full body workout. Below you will see how the exercises stay the same but the reps change on a daily basis, this will allow an good balance of strength progression with gaining respectable amounts of lean mass too. I would also suggest that you use your rest days as ‘active recovery’ by doing 30-45min of moderate cardio and some mobility work, this does not mean full out sprints, simply enough to get your heart working and build up a decent sweat.

  • Monday – Day 1 – 8×3 Back Squat, 5×5 Weighted Dip & BNP, 3×8 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Tuesday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Wednesday – Day 2 – 8×3 Weighted Dip & BNP, 5×5 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin 3×8 Back Squat + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Thursday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Friday – Day 3 – 8×3 Deficit Deadlift & Weighted Chin, 5×5 Back Squat, 3×8 Weighted Dip & BNP + 1/2 Accessory Exercises.
  • Saturday – Active Recovery Day: 30min CV 30min Mobility
  • Sunday – Complete Rest Day

In terms of how you would progress the weights it’s pretty simple. If you hit all of the desired reps with good from then you can add a total of 2.5kg to your upper body movements and 5kg to lower body movements. If you miss a rep or feel your form wasn’t solid and your TUT was lacking* then stick on that weight for another week and attempt it again, if you still don’t get it then perhaps it’s time to change up the exercise and start building that up instead, this holds true for every exercise because you will only progress so far before you hit a proper plateau.

What about accessory work?

A good question, I have the following advise on that subject.

A nice simple rep range of 10,8,6,20 one 1 or 2 movements as a super set will be more than enough to help bring up those lagging areas that might not have had quite enough stimulation from the compound movements. These are some potential exercises you might use:

  • Hamstring Curl, Lunge, Kettlebell Swing, RDL
  • Cable Fly, Lateral Raise, Y-Press
  • Reverse Fly, Shrug, Face Pull
  • Bicep Curl or any variation, Tricep Push Down or any variation
  • Ab Roll Out, Leg Raise, Crunch, Windmill, Russian Twist

The possibilities for your choice of assistance work are only limited by your knowledge. If you’re stuck go and see the google-monster, it will help you find plenty of variation, but remember these are best used as EXTRA if you have time, they shouldn’t form the bulk of your workout, this is why I say 1-2 is enough.

*I have not mentioned much on TUT (time under tension) but aiming for a 4 second Eccentric, 1 second Pause, 1 second Concentric and another 1 second Pause should be adequate for now. You might have seen it written like this in some books: 4-1-1-1.

There are endless possibilities when it comes programming workouts, depending on your goal you might require more CV than just 30-45min on the days in-between your full body workouts.

Use this to help you stave off boredom and make the progress you deserve.

Bye Bye,


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Up, Down, Left, Right, Front, Back…

Planning a workout isn’t as easy as it seems sometimes.

You have to take in to account a lot.


When you’re designing a program you will do well to build it around the Planes of Movement.

There are only 3, Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse but can you remember which is which?

Creating a workout based around these fundamental principles will help you create far more effective programs than simply thinking along the lines of “Chest & Tri’s” or “Back & Bi’s”.

If you can’t quite remember what they are here is a refresher for you.

The Sagittal Plane:

This divides the body into left and right.

When we move along this plane, we are using the strength of our muscles to move parts of the body forward or backward. Extension and flexion happen along the sagittal plane. This means most running, biking, rowing, and lifting movements make use of this plane.

For example, in a squat, both hips move from extension into flexion, and back into extension. The hips and knees in particular spend a lot of time in flexion, so mobility work should involve extending both joints.

The Frontal Plane:

The Frontal plane divides the body into front and back.

When we move along this plane, we are moving toward or away from the midline. Adduction and abduction are movements along this plane. Many of our daily movements and exercises involve very little abduction. We tend to stay fairly neatly hugged in toward the middle.

The Transverse Plane

The transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into top and bottom, but it is a little less straightforward. Any time we rotate a joint we are moving along the transverse plane. In daily life, this is the action we do least frequently, particularly with the large joints in the hips, shoulders, and spine.

When you begin to think in terms of what planes of movement you’re working it makes creating workouts that stimulate the whole body EQUALLY very easy.

For each horizontal push you must have a horizontal pull. Vertical push? Yep… You need a vertical pull.

You will want to match compound for compound, isolation for isolation. So if you do bench press, either a seated row or bar bell row would be a great opposing movement. While a reverse fly would also work it wouldn’t stimulate the same amount of muscles, nor produce adequate overload.

Balance is the key, yet it’s almost always forgotten.

I personally have always been a fan of having 2 pulling movements for every one pushing movement. It’s rare you see people with an undeveloped anterior chain (mirror muscles).

An example workout I often give is as follows (try and see if you can find what planes are worked):

Day 1:
A1 – DB Incline Press – 5×5
B1 – DB Chest Supported Row – 6×6
C1 – Dip 4×12
C2 – Supinated Chin 4×6-12
D1 – Russian Cable Twist 3x fail

Day 2:
A1 – BB Squat – 8×3
B1 – BB DL – 12×2
C1 – Leg Extension – 3×8
C2 – Leg Curl 3×8
D1 – Tornado Ball Slam (back to the wall, twisting left/right 3x 60 seconds

Day 3:
A1 – Overhead Press – 4×6
B1 – Wide Grip Pull Up – 5×10
C1 – Lateral Raise – 4×12
C2 – Upright Row – 4×12
D1 – Gym Ball Scorpion Kick 3 x 12 each side

Working the varied planes with a balanced mixture of compound/isolation movements will build lots of lean muscle and a balanced physique.

Bye Bye,

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2 Moves You Need To Do

Are you missing out?

A lot of people certainly are, but are you one of them?

There are two upper body exercises that will not only help you fill out a t-shirt but also build some impressive strength too.

The best part about these exercises is they work brilliantly for the ladies too. They will help you achieve those lean looking arms and sculpted back you desire.

What exercises do I mean?

The Dip & The Pull/Chin Up (pull ups hit more back, chin ups hit more biceps)

These are the upper body equivalent to the Squat & the Deadlift, or so some people say anyway.

Being able to perform a strict set of 25 dips & 12 pull ups (woman) and 50 dips with 25 pull ups (men) won’t just make you impressively strong, it will also help build your confidence and add some sought after lean muscle to your frame.

It is true that people will add weight to these exercises to help overload but personally I would advise hitting the numbers above with good form before you venture in to the realms of adding weight to the exercise.

For both men and woman focusing on mastering these bodyweight movements and increasing the reps until they have hit the desired numbers is the first and most important goal.

But what if you can’t do more than a few of each?

Fear not. There is a great method that will help you build up your reps and get stronger, the best part is because of the volume loading it can be done daily.

What is this miraculous method?

Ladder Training.

You simply do one rep of each exercise. The two, followed by 3, basically adding a rep for each successfully completed set of reps for each exercise. Once you fail start again at one.

This style of training has been proven over the years as a great way of adding strength and building lean muscle.

If you can take your ladder from 1 to 10 then you’re not he right path, you might then want to start working for unbroken ladder reps up to 15 or even 20! By doing this you will find you ability to crank out 25-50 dips in one set isn’t an issue. the same is true for pull/chin ups.

Now go and get practising.

*Please note that if you can’t do one of either then the use of resistance bands to assist you or an assistance machine is permitted.


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Early Bird & The Second Mouse

Morning Guys,

Do you really train better in the evening or is it just because that’s your routine?

Training in the early morning has been long said to be more beneficial because of higher levels of testosterone and your hormones being more optimal overall, but some struggle to get up.


Because it’s not a part of their routine.

Routine is something we all need and for those who have become used to training in the PM they can’t see it being any other way. If these people try to train early the feel weak, sluggish and are almost certain to have a bad session, but considering their hormones should be more optimal at that time how can this be?

Mental readiness is the answer.

If you are mentally prepared for what is coming then you will find that it doesn’t matter what time of the day you train, you will have a good session regardless. Being mentally ready can be the difference in hitting a PB and missing it, the same is true fro the times you decide to train.

That said…

If you FEEL training in the PM is really the only way for you and you get your best results from training at that time then more power to you, but I would suggest trying to build a new routine and start getting in at 6 or 7 AM, it will help free up lots of time in your day and potentially allow for a second session too.

Try early morning workouts for 6 weeks and you will soon find you start to become a morning person.

As they say, it’s the early bird that gets the worm but the second mouse that gets the cheese.


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Why You Don’t Get Results, Part 3.

You expect too much too soon.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see some results so that you know you’re on the right path, but from my experience it takes a good 3 months to make a real difference. There may  be some small change after 4 weeks but it’s round week 12 you will actually realise how things have changed and start to see some real progress.

12 weeks isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things but for those wanting to get a beach body or be holiday ready it can seem like an eternity. However, this feeling can be avoided by simply starting your quest sooner rather than later. Putting off going to the gym or starting because of some flimsy excuses just won’t cut it with me I’m afraid.

If you don’t achieve your goal then you probably didn’t start training for it soon enough.

I will be honest and say that for most people who are untrained the minimum amount of time you will want to allow yourself is 12 weeks, any less and you better expect to work dam hard or accept that you might not achieve your goal.

Starting sooner rather than later really is thefts way to go.



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PEDs in sport?

Drugs in sport are nothing new.

PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) have been in sports for a very long time, and almost all top athletes are using them.

Time to stop being naive.

The reason PED’s will help your performance so dramatically is because they allow your body to recover faster than you naturally can, steroids are a medicinal thing after all. This allows you to train harder, more frequently and achieve levels beyond that of even the most genetically gifted people.

It’s advised that you stay away from taking such substances, you’re not an endocrinologist and you will cause yourself problems. There are plenty of ways you can increase your performance without taking PED’s, you just have to be prepared to put in some times and effort to achieve the results you desire.

Here are some simple steps to help improve your recovery, boost your performance and take you to the next level NATURALLY.

– Eat more nutritious whole foods. This will promote an anabolic state in the body providing your calories are in a surplus.

– Stress less, meditate more. Lowering cortisol levels will help you recover much faster, remember cortisol is inflammatory and you need to bring this down asap.

– Have regular massages, or at least foam roll. This will help release some tension in the fascia and break down some unwanted muscle knots, allowing for increase blood flow which means more nutrients to the muscles to help them recover.

– Sleep in a completely dark room. This means no lights, no electrical devices, essentially nothing int he room that can disturb your sleep. The deep your sleep the better you will recover.

– Train Less. This might seem counterintuitive but there is a difference between chasing performance and facing fatigue. People want to feel demolished, but that doesn’t always mean that they will be getting results or progressing, these people are chasing fatigue and not performance. The best way to ascertain this is to always aim to increase either your reps, weight on exercises, increase time under tension or decrease rest periods. If you can’t achieve at lest one of these and progressively improve then it might be time to take a step back and bring down the volume, but keep the weights the same (3×3 @ 85% 1RM instead of 8×3 for example).

– Supplement. Supplements are not a substitute for real foods, but they can help aid in your recovery by providing precious extra nutrients, vitamins and calories.

Follow the advice above and always chase performance, not fatigue.



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I Have NO LIMITS! Except The Genetic Ones :(

Morning Guys,

How much muscle can you genetically build,

Drug free and only through hard training, ample recovery and solid nutrition,

Lets find out….

When it comes to building muscle ewe always want more, but exactly how much lean tissue (muscle) are we meant to have on our frame anyway, 170lbs, 200lbs more perhaps, lets delve int o this subject further.

There are some rather good writings by a Dr Casey Butt (google him to find his work if you want a more in depth look) and how much muscle you can build NATURALLY. He research was done on around 300 natural athletes ranked professional (body builders & strength athletes comprised the group) from he years of 1947-2010 if memory serves me correctly, and brings up some rather compelling points it has to be said.

The amount of mass you can amount if limited genetically by not only your general heigh/build but by your naturally occurring hormone levels too. True there might be the occasional genetic beast lobster who can break this rule, there are always exceptions, but to avoid disappointment just assume you’re not one of them for now.

There is a rather scientific equation he came up with that I shall link to below. But for those who don’t want to go trawling through the internet to find out more here is a a very basic and quick reference to his findings you can use as a guide.

If we were to take the average height of a male being 5,10′ then his alleged total lean mass genetic potential would be around 178-180lbs, if you were 10% body fat then your total weight would be roughly 200lbs.

If you’re not the average height then it is easy to know how you will establish where your lean mass potential, for each inch height increase or decrease you will simply take the base number above and add or subtracts 4-5lbs from it.

So for example a man at the height of 5,6′ would have a lean mass potential of 160lbs and a potential total weight of 176-80 at 10% body fat. Now a taller guy who hits the 6 foot mark would add 10lbs tot he guide and have a potential LBM of 190lbs.

If you were 10% body fat and you had pretty much filled out your genetic potential you would look pretty huge.

With the info above you can workout your genetic LBM total and then go and get some body fat reading done. The most accurate tests are stupidly expensive, but if you find a decent Strength & Conditioning coach they should be able to give you ar reading this is pretty much spot on the money.

Now go and grow to your potential.



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Getting Old?

Morning Guys,

Does it really get harder to progress with age or is that just an excuse?

Truth be told, it’s a bit of both excuse and change but all you have to do is learn from those changes and adapt accordingly.

While getting old comes there are changes in your bodies overall homeostasis which does mean some things need to be rethought, but there is no need to let yourself fall to pieces and pile on the pounds. If you were active as a youngster then there is no reason not to stay active well in to your golden years (look at farmers), in fact staying active could actually help you maintain a better quality of life overall.

As you age training might take a different avenue due to your physical capabilities/limitations but you can still train.

Here is what we suggest to keep in mind when training NOW so that when you get look back in a few years you won’t be saying “I wish I had done more of X”.”.

Mobility Work – It takes 5-10 min at the start of your workout, you can even do a mobility routine each to day help keep your body in tip top condition. Look up Ido Portal for all your mobility needs.

Strength Work – A staple of any workout program that should always be there. This helps increase your bone density and will also make you slightly more robust, which can help turn a slip trip or fall in to a hilarious you tube clip instead of a broken hip.

CV Work – The benefits of CV training have been well documented over the years so there is no need to delve in to them today, but keeping your heart strong will undoubtably mean you can still run and catch that bus and enjoy the benefit of a bus pass to it’s full potential.

You will notice that these three things are the basis of any decent gym program, they will become more diverse as you train specifically for different things but the basic skeleton will always consist of these elements.

No Stretching?

Provided you’re doing adequate mobility and keeping your muscles balanced in your training there is little need to stretch (unless you have problem areas).

Getting older is not a valid reason for becoming lazy.



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Tracking Tracking TRACKING

Afternoon Guys,

Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it won’t work.

There are crowds of people that advocate high reps, high volume while others take the mantra of low reps low volume and many more people in between. You will often find these opposing crowds bickering and finding scientific studies that back up their claims, the funniest part is there is plenty of evidence to back up both claims, thus making the question of who is right and who is wrong even more blurred.

There is no one size fits all and you will only find what works for you though years of trial and error, even after all that time you still might not have found your ‘Holy Grail’ but regardless of whether you do or you don’t you should have still been able to build a decent amount of muscle, strength and fitness over the years because of your consistency.

The hardest part of training is sticking with it and holding out with a program, in my experience it’s usually 8-12 weeks before you can see any real progress and that will come from looking back over your training notes/progress pictures and seeing how the weights have increased and your body has changed. It is this one simple aspect I have always found missing from people.

This is one of the REAL secrets to success that everybody knows, but very few ever do.

Tracking your progress with notes and pictures might seem tedious but it will give you more feedback than anything else. It will help you to learn how your body works and what your body needs, you will be able to see if you’re still making progress (in which case keep doing what you’re doing) and if you’re not then you can make changes, these can be training related or dietary, the latter being the most likely cause of stagnation or regression.

Eat too much and things might get bigger but you’ll also get soft, eat too little and you will get harder and more cut but your strength will diminish and your body will feel drained/deflated.

If you take the time to track what you’re doing you will make more progress than 90% of people, it will also allow you to see if you’re actually pushing hard enough in each workout, don’t lie to yourself because the only person who is being cheated is you, I can promise you that.



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What The TEF?!

A question popped up regarding the Thermic Effect of the Food (TEF) you eat the other day, but what is it exactly?

Basically this is when certain proportion calories used from the the food eaten is used to process/digest it (put simply). It’s worth noting that protein has a themic effect up to 5 times higher than that of carbs/fat
Each food has a different estimated value, here are the suggested % of calories from said foods used in processing:

Protein: 20-35% of calories burned through processing
Carbohydrates: 5-15% of calories burned through processing
Fats: 0-5% of calories burned through processing

To put this in understandable terms, if you eat 200 calories worth of protein, your body will use between 40 and 70 of them in digestion, roughly. The most common estimate for the total thermic effect of food is around 10% of your total caloric intake, but as your protein intake increases so does this number, the more protein you eat the more calories (proportionately) will be used as a result of the TEF.

*This is one of the reasons ketogenic diets work well when it comes to shifting excess body fat.

You can use this knowledge to help aid in fat loss or muscle gain, just remember that the rough % of of your daily calories used as a result of TEF greatly depends on how much protein you’re having each day. Therefore you could potentially increase your TEF if you’re on a high protein diet.
If you’re looking to lean down increase the protein (1.2-2g per lb of lean body weight), this will help not only with increasing your TEF but also your satiety too.

For people looking to add muscle on a diet high in protein might want to bring the overall protein content down a touch (0.8-1.2g per lb of lean boy weight) and increase the total carbs or fat. While your daily calories won’t change it will have an interesting effect on your daily TEF.


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