Tag Archives: training principles
– Training until momentary muscular failure
– Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank and doing more sets
– Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts
*Progress typically being strength, hypertrophy, performance related for the context of this post and those who asked.
In truth they’re all viable, in fact you’d probably do well to cycle through phases of doing each in a periodised fashion or you could link them all together in a holistic approach.
Honestly at the stage of lifting most people are at they just need to get their reps in for the most part.
Also before you say it might be dangerous that is only if form is bad, if for is good there’s no real issue.
Let us look at each of the above and see who we can optimally use them.
– Training until momentary muscular failure –
A lot of solid research has been conducted based on the idea that it’s the last few reps (we’ll say the last 2-5) that really give you that much needed hit of adaptive stimulus to grow and every prior rep was just there.
^^ This is relevant for each method in this post.
Now some people would then be lead to think that doing lower rep set would bypass this and go straight to the stimulus.
Fair enough, however it doesn’t work like that.
The above is based on the accumulation of fatigue in the formative reps (depletion of energy system reserves etc) and depending on the rep ranges you use will then link in to the gains you get.
6-20 being said as optimal for hypertrophy.
^^ You can use compound movements however I’d say stick with lifts that have a lower potential for injury until you’re what the books consider an experienced lifter (2 years of solid lifting 3+ times per week).
It’s easier to get close to that momentary failure being meaningful with reps at 8+ I’ve found, less while personally I enjoy is just not viable for people who are not experienced lifters.
While finding the right weight and reps can be a bit of a tricky element (downside), the massive benefit is that you’ll only need a few sets per movement (upside).
Next time you train try this: 3-4 x fail on accessory lifts.
– Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank (RPE work) –
Favoured by many a lifter and great for all movement be those compound, supplementary or isolation.
In short yo’d be going to the point where you feel a bit of a grind beginning to happen. It is at this point over time you’ll learn that you’ve only got 1-2 reps left.
One problem with this though is that people will stop short.
They think they’ve got 1-2 reps left when in reality it’s more like 6-10.
Yes I’m being serious.
The danger here is that people will be leaving gains on the table because for lack of a better term they’re being a little bit soft.
As such this is where in the beginner days having them utilise the ‘going until failure’ is useful (provided they have good form) because they won’t be lifting that heavy so it will be more viable.
Once they’ve learned their limits using more weight and stopping short of failure becomes useful because it then allows more total volume as going to failure with heavier loads causes more overall damage and need more recovery time.
I’m not sorry to say that heavy isn’t relative, heavy is heavy.
Regardless of if you personally feel you lifting say 70kg x5 is the same as someone lifting 250kg x5 it’s not, apples & oranges as they say.
Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank is a great way for the more experience and stronger people to progress because they can add more total volume and build up fatigue over multiple sets.
It means that say 4 of your 6 sets might be the ones that are just there and the last two sets that have reps that are money makers.
^^ All of this is linked in to RPE (rate of perceived exertion), so the next time you train after each set write down on a scale of 1-10 how hard the set was, most of yours will want to be 8/9 on the scale (look up Reactive Training Systems – Mike Tuscherer).
That bring us to the last one.
-Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts-
A Russian weightlifting favourite because I do love the Russians.
This is a great method however it requires people to have been hitting some solid progress for a few years as it will be largely based on low reps and endless sets.
So what is set effort precisely?
Put simply, say your 6RM (rep max) is 100kg meaning you can do 1 set of 6 at 100kg and no more, yet you want to, how can this be done?
Easy, 6RM is 100% set effort, so if you work at 50% efforts you’d be doing sets of 3 reps.
This means you might be able to do 3,4,5,6, or perhaps 20 sets of 3 with your 6RM as opposed to just one set of 6 with your 6RM.
An epic way to train that will leave you feeling fresh at the end of most if not all of your sessions and that’s the dangerous part.
People chase fatigue so as valuable as this method is it doesn’t hit their emotional/cognitive bias and as such they’d end up doing more and burning out.
You’d also have to be well versed in what is known as CAT (compensatory acceleration training) – you lift each rep with everything you’ve got, basically.
*Using CAT on your sets of 3 you’d go until you feel speed of reps is lost, which could be as mentioned above, 3 sets or 23 sets. When speed is lost it means you’ve hit your stills for the day, even if you don’t feel fatigued you are, trust me.
It is this that would provide the stimulus we’ve touched on above.
^^ Fred Hatfield is the man to look up for CAT.
So, which is best?
Based on how long you’ve been lifting:
<2 years: Training until momentary muscular failure
2-4 years: Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank and doing more sets
4 years +: Not going anywhere near failure staying at <% set efforts
Not everyone will like this answer and while for some rare exceptions it’s the right answer for the average person.
If like me you’re just an average person then don’t fear doing the simple things.
These days we live in an age where everyone is trying to keep up with everyone else and unless you’re doing HIIT, or some sort of ‘Ultra-Mega-Oblivion Set’ you’re some kind of lesser human.
Yea that’s complete bollocks.
It’s only the highly insecure that feel the need to make their training look more complicated or fancier than is it.
Sharing our experience, knowledge and understanding is all many of us can do to help others grow.
“I can tell you everything you NEED to know yet it won’t be what you WANT to know and because of this truth you’ll reject me.”
^^ I heard that recently, really made me think.
There are certain doors in our mind that will remain shut until the day we’re ready to open them, and to tell you the truth that day may never come.
In the sots you’ve perhaps read on here over the years you’ll find the topics vary somewhat however they are largely bis toward fitness/training.
Which makes sense as this is a fitness related page 😂
Everything that is shared has no ulterior motive.
It’s simply shared because it can be.
Some find things useful, others don’t, that’s life and in the end something that we will just have to accept because we’ve got no other choice.
Speaking of training, lately I’ve been doing a fair amount of higher rep work.
Things such as 10×20, or 20×10, 20 down to 1, 25×5 and other high volume madness.
After spending a fair few years doing no more than 6 reps on big lifts (often no more than 3 in reality) I felt there was a need for change because my mental strength has wained somewhat.
Yep, I got lazy and was merely running through the motions.
In most session to be fair and I used a lot of different logical justifications for this when in reality I was just being lazy because I’d lost the oomph and joy for lifting I once had.
This happens to us all because after the peak there will always be a cliff.
I fell off that cliff and while now at a higher low point the the previous one I was in (strength/ability wise etc), it was still a drop off from what was.
I didn’t want to accept the fact I now had another mountain to climb ahead of me.
Thus I warped reality to suit what I wanted to believe.
^^ Sounds familiar to you?
Anyway, back to the point.
We try to stay on the peak and begin to lift the same weights, perform the same movements, attempt to train at the same level of intensity all to remain on our self appointed pedestal.
Our ego won’t allow us to gracefully step down.
As such reality comes along and gives us a rather vicious push.
I get it you know.
It’s hard to accept that many things in life come in the form of peaks and valleys.
This is why these days I quite like this question:
‘Are you progressing?’
^^ or moving forwards, or learning, or adapting or whatever you wish to call it.
I also like to ask it 5 times because the first 2-4 are often hyperbole and the last one can yield the true/real answer.
Combine this with also asking ‘why?’ and you’ve got a potent mix for some internal growth and learning.
Be warned though because it’s not comfortable.
To truly accept all that you are and become who you want to be you must first accept all the things you are not and that you pretend to be all to keep up appearances.
^^ That shit is hard.
So my dear readers, if you’ve made it this far I applaud you.
It’s fair to say I ramble on a fair bit.
Now that you are here though ask yourself the following three questions:
– Am I really progressing?
– What do I not address (in life, training etc) and why?
– Is this really me or just what I think I should be?
If you’re up for it leave your answers in the comments section below with they all important ‘why’.
GPP vs SPP.
General physical preparedness.
Special/Specific physical preparedness.
Some will ask which is better and the answer will always be; it depends.
If you have a solid goal then SPP will rule the roost and GPP will fall in line to help bolster the goal.
Yet say your goal is a loose one, you merely want to be a half decent allrounder, then in that case you ca pick and choose when you use SPP and have the majority of your training in the GPP area.
Do remember though that it often means you will never excel at anything and in fact more than likely not even end up as mediocre in the majority of things because of too much choice.
All this being said, here is something those of you that don’t really have a goal and just want to train can utilise in your training.
I call it the 50%-100%-200% Method.
You will use the above percentages in reference to your body weight on the movements you’re going to do.
So that could mean bodyweight barbell curls and double bodyweight press overhead as a superset if you’re some sort of genetic beast lobster (50% curl and 100% press will do for most).
Sets and reps can be up to you because the options for that are endless.
Take this example 3 day template for starters:
W/U – Clean & Press w/sandbag x50% x AMRAP x 15min
A1 – DL x 200% x6x4
B1 – Bench Press x100% x3 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga
W/U – Farmers Walk x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – SQ x 200% x8x3
B1 – Bent Over Row 100% x4-5 xAMRAP
C/D – Stretching/Yoga
W/U – Sled Push/Pull x50% x max total distance in 15min
A1 – Press x 100% x12x2
B1 – Pull Up x 50% x 8×3
C/D – Stretching/Yoga
The above if with mostly standard gym kit, however doing the above with awkward objects can be a great way to build ‘old time strength’ along with an epic amount of conditioning.
Often times we get some of our best results when we limit our choices because we have no other option than to put in some hard graft that has a defined purpose.
Try the simple loading strategy above and see how you get on.
Personally I’d lean towards working on volume/density as the main drivers, so getting out max reps (with good form) in specific time frames or more reps in the same time.
You might have heard this called EDT (escalating density training), Charles Staley is the man to look up for article on this.
Getting in all the volume you need can be a bit of a grind.
Not just physically but mentally too.
Here is a little method to help break up the monotony of lots of sets in a session.
Main lift – 1/2 of your working sets
Accessory work – one or two lifts
Main lift – the remaining 1/2 of you working sets
^^ this can also be done in 1/4’s set volumes where you have an accessory or supplementary lift in between the main lift and all the set you need to do.
One thing to not is that this works well if your main movement has a total amount of sets creeping over 15+. 10 sets can be done in one go, might be hard however very doable, when you’ve got to do say 20 sets of just one lift (for whatever reasons that may be) you’ll find it can be the mentally draining aspect that gets you as opposed to the lifting itself.
*Ideally you’d simply break down all your set volume across the week and train more frequently for higher MPS and all that jazz, however life isn’t always going to provide us with the ideal training environment.
Just something to consider.
Now that I have your attention let us get started.
It’s fair to say people desire a nice strong core.
The big question people often have though it this one:
How do I get a strong core, crunches?
Now crunches have a place in training, they’re not the devil people make them out to be, however they’re far from the best movement you could be doing.
Today I have 6 simple core crushing methods for you.
1 – Inch Worms
Bend down, touch your toes, walk your hands out as far as possible (try to finish with your arms fully extended overhead).
Sets of 3-5 reps will do you justice.
2 – Lizard Crawling
Keep your chest as close to the floor as possible and crawl to your hearts content.
Sets of 20m is surprisingly effective.
3 – Turkish Get Ups
A full body movement that punishes a weak core.
Sets of 2-3 reps each arm will be quite the challenge.
4 – Awkward Object Clean & Press
Find a sand bag, slosh pipe (this is a brutal bit of kit), log, anchor or whatever is tricky to hold and proceed to clean and press it.
An object half your bodyweight is a good start.
Go for as many reps as you can in say 20min for a surprisingly effective little session.
5 – L-sits
A classic gymnastic movement that is far harder than it looks.
Saes of 10seconds will prove enough for most people, once you’re stronger add 5 seconds, keep adding time until you get to say 60second because if you can hold an L-sit that long you’ll have an iron clad core.
6 – Diaphragmatic Breathing
Less a training session and more a consideration for daily life.
Learning to breath correctly will not only fortify your core, it will also help lower stress levels and make your posture better as well.
There you have it, some different ways to train your core.
It’s also worth noting that you can have the strongest core in the world and not have ‘abs’ because those are down to your nutrition choices.
I wonder how many people will try the above over the classic Instagram nonsense, if it’s just one then I can die a happy man.
As with any good hero’s journey they have to meet their mentor, yet this is only after they get a little bit of a pasting from the villain.
It is as this stage they realise that while they have gifts and they’ve trained somewhat hard it just wasn’t enough when faced with someone who didn’t have their genetic advantage and gained a plethora of skill from planned training.
Once humbled and left questioning just how good they really are the wise old mentor appears and take them under their wing, such famous ones include Phil (Hercules), Obi-Wan (StarWars), Mary Poppins (a total bad ass really), Hippolyta (WonderWoman), Athena (God of War) and Wade Garrett (RoadHouse).
All of the above added in some minimum standards to be met and also a path to follow.
While the young hero knows a thing or two, and may even take a swing at their new found friend, they find that even though many years their senior they’re still rather spry and knock them on their ass easily.
Time to get some structure in to that training and really make some progress.
6 Weeks of training –
Day 1 – Week 1&2
W/U – Barbell Complex – 3×4-8 reps (Clean, FS, Press, BS, Good Morning, Row, RDL)
A1 – FS x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Barbell Row x3-5
B1 – BB Clean & Press x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Bear Hug Carry (bodyweight +) x20m
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min
Day 2 – Week 1&2
W/U – Kettlebell Snatch x5min – AMRAP
Kettlebell Pentathlon: 6min of work followed by 5min rest
- Cleans 120 reps (20 RPM – reps per minute, once hit go up in load)
- Long cycle press 60 reps (10 RPM
- Jerks 120 reps (20 RPM)
- Half snatch 108 reps (18 RPM)
- Push press 120 reps (20 RPM)
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x5min
Day 3 – Week 1&2
W/U – Sled Push 20m, Sled Drag 20m x400m total
A1 – Weighted Chin 7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Trap Bar DL 7-5-3-7-5-3
B1 – Dumbbell Row (chest supported) 6×6-8
B2 – Barbell Curl 6×8-10
B3 – Reverse Fly x6x10-12
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min
Day 4 – Week 1&2
W/U – Kettlebell Long Cycle (2bells) x10min AMRAP
A1 – Weighted Dip x7-5-3-7-5-3
A2 – Farmers Walk x20m
B1 – Incline Press x7-5-3-7-5-3
B2 – Suitcase Carry x20m (left arm our, right arm back)
C/D – Stretching/Correctives x10min
This structure starts to give our would-be hero some targets to aim for.
In week one there are two waves (7-5-3) in week two those will have two progression options
1 – Increase by 1 wave , so 7-5-3-7-5-3-7-5-3, a nice hefty chunk up in volume
2 – Increase overall load wheel keeping the waves at 2
The accessory work is auto-regulated meaning each set is done by feel, remember this is to enhance the training day, not to smash one in to the ground.
Soon though things will get much tougher for our rising start.
So you want to look like a superhero.
Who doesn’t right?
They are everything we wish we could be and more, always doing the right thing and never having to sacrifice anything, they always find a way to save everyone.
While in this life we might not be able to achieve such heroism we can more than give it a good go. Failing that at least their aesthetic is something achievable for us.
Yep, the majority of people can look like a true hero with the right training.
*Please note this is a guide and there will of course be specific needs to each individual, however this will help get you started on the right path.
When we first meet our hero in any story they have a decent base.
Keeping this in mind we must ourselves create a solid foundation from which we can build something truly awe-inspiring. To do this we shall carve out the pre-mentored hero in 4 weeks of training at least 3 days per week that while effect, is unguided.
Day 1 –
W/U – Farmers Walk x10min
A1 – Squats 20reps, as many sets as possible in 20min
B1 – Clean & Press x10, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – Stretching x10min
Day 2 –
W/U – Rowing, as far as possible in 20min
A1 – Presses 10reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
B1 – Bent Over Row 10 reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
C/D – Stretching x10min
Day 3 –
W/U – Hill Running x10min
A1 – Romanian Deadlift x10reps, as many sets a possible in 20min
B1 – Bear Crawling for 10-20m, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – C/D – Stretching x10min
Our would-be hero has no real reason behind what they do, they just do it because it’s all the know.
The above will be a great place to start building your base of strength, conditioning, movement skill and mental toughness.
Soon enough though this base will be put to the test.