Tag Archives: Training program

You can do a lot with one plate

Cheeky Challenge that came up in discussion last night:
 
Load a barbell with 1 plate (20 or 25kg), pick one movement and proceed to repeat it for 45min (use a timer).
 
Tally up your total reps, and you can thank me for the DOMS later.
 
I know what some of you may be thinking.
 
“1 plate will be too light on some movements and too heavy on others.”
 
Just so you know, you are 100% correct, especially for strong/advanced lifters.
 
However, for the average gym participant, this provides ample difficulty 🤗
 
Here are a couple of my favourites –
 
– Squat (any variation, FS, OHS are brutal though)
– Floor Press, Push Press, Push Jerk
– Strict Press (if possible)
– Bent-Over Row
– Upright Row
– Power Clean or Power Snatch
– RDL, Stiff Leg DL on Box and Suitcase DL
– Barbell Curl (if you’re a monster)
 
You get the idea.
 
The beauty of this is found in its simplicity.
 
Personally, I would also say that if you feel the need then in the last 15min (if you wish to train for 60min) you can do some isolation work on minor muscles, or you can just go home.
 
The common resistance to this style of lifting meets is that of “Won’t it be boring?”.
 
Usually said by the same people who watch things like Love Island, thus my answer is this; maybe, you’ll just have to try it and find out.
 
An alternative option I quite enjoy, still loading up one plate, is to pick two movements and pair them in a classic antagonist super-set.
 
^^ This gets an epic pump going and feels great.
 
One thing to remember guys is that this is not a magic program or something that will revolutionise training because it’s not meant for that.
 
It is meant to strip away your bullshit and force you to do some good old fashion work.
 
(High work capacity/density)
 
Unless you’re a professional lifter it’s worth remembering that a key element in training is to make it fun, next is to not take it too seriously and thirdly, it’s largely arbitrary.
 
The love of training runs deep in me, yet I am under no illusion that unless you get paid to lift it’s a hobby and nothing more.
 
By all means, enjoy it, have some focus, drive and goals in mind just don’t let them take over your life. Doing so will lead to anxiety and one clue to this is a destination in the upper abdomen with excess fat storage in the lower.
 
Seriously, look at people who take training way too seriously and you’ll see it in all of them.
 
They’re lean, muscular, fit and yet seem a little bloated and have that small fat pocket they just can’t seem to shift.
 
^^ A topic for another day because I’ve waffled.
 
Yea, try the 1 plate challenge, maybe for say 50 sessions.
 
Why 50?
 
Why not 😂
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Which is better for progress?

– 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.

Make sense?

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.

Remember this.

Enjoy,
Ross

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An odd little protocol that’s good for strength & conditioning.

If general physical fitness is your goal then you’ll like this.
W/U – Antagonist to your main lift
A1 – Main lift
C/D – Movement Flow
Yep, just three things to do.
You can have a super set of A1/A2 if you like as that also works well.
Here is a little example based on something I did recently with the above.
W/U – Kettlebell Clean & Press – 3-5 reps, 10min
A1 – Deadlift x 5,5,5,5,5,3,3,3,2,2, 20min
C/D – Sandbag Carry & Lizard Crawl (10-20m each), 10min
^^ I tend to stretch or do corrective work while listening to a podcast/watching a seminar in dead time.
You might be wandering what this is all about: 5,5,5,5,5,3,3,3,2,2.
Put simply it is working up to a heavy double with a wavy loading scheme, here is how mine looked doing double overhand sumo DL the other day.
All in KG – 100,130,110,140,120,150,130,160,140,170
Rest was not timed just enough to feel ready and change the plates around.
The W/U & C/D served as extra volume and covered the rest of the body movement wise.
You could run the above 3-5 days per week, I’d go for 3 starting out because you’re training full body each session when you look at it.
The main lift will have a top set of 5-3-2 so pick some lifts you want to improve on, oh and you can keep it the same each time if you wish, I plan on having DL be the main lift each time due to a knee injury and inability to squat without pain.
Try to have some fun with your training, you’l find it’s easier to stay consistent that way.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Trigger me happy

People these days are very quick to react rather than respond.
Getting ‘triggered’ is commonplace.
You don’t like what someone said, get triggered and emotionally berate them in to submission.
That’s the modern way 🤗
This is why you’ve got to appreciate sports and physical tasks.
Q – Did you do XY or Z?
A – No, but it was because of the 5th ring of Saturn turning half a parsec faster than the 3rd & 4th that threw out my postural alignment.
Okay cool so you didn’t do it, that’s all that matters.
😂😂😂
The lies we tell ourselves can be quite creative at times.
Worst part is we say them enough times that we actually begin to believe them ourselves.
We delete, distort and generalise as much as we can to protect our own sense of self and fragile ego’s.
Did you know the ego itself fears death and rebirth because letting go of what we think we know is no easy task.
Obviously not being able to do something makes people feel bad, and depending now hat it is people won’t ever let you forget your failures.
Why?
Because it helps them come to terms with perhaps their own lack of something.
Not to mention we rarely want to help people surpass ourselves, often because when you’ve done it in the past there was never any thanks for it and those you helped tend to gain superiority complex and distort how things actually went down so that it was ‘all them’.
C’est la vie, eh?
Today I’d like you to try and catch yourself when you’re reacting emotionally.
Feel the tension in your body gather, your face tighten and your focus sharpen in preparation for the verbal attack you’re about to commence.
Even if you think to yourself that isn’t you and you’d never do it, I can tell you now you will because you’re human just like everyone else.
Gaining this level of awareness can save you a lot of hassle.
It will take time however it will be worth it.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Split Set Training

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.

Enjoy,
Ross

 

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***Wickedly Simple Core Crushers***

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.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A quick little bit of info on three ways you can split up some basic linear progression.

1 – Single Progression
2 – Double Progression
3 – Triple Progression
 
These can be tweaked using your understanding of the key principles of overload.
 
– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
 
(Specificity & Frequency also play a part)
 
Here is an example of how all three are written out.
 
*You add load once you’ve hit all the desired reps.
 
Single Progression = 3×8 💪
 
Once you hit 8 reps in each set you add weight, simple.
 
Double Progression = 3×8-12 💪💪
 
Starting out you might hit something like this: 11,9,8
 
The next session it might be : 12,11,9, get the idea?
 
Once you hit 12,12,12, you add load to the bar.
 
Triple Progression = 3-5×8-12💪💪💪
 
I’m sure you can see the pattern now. You want to hit 3×12 then you add a set and work towards 4×12 and finally 5×12 before adding load, however here is how things might look:
 
Session 1 – 12,12,10
Session 2 – 12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 3 – 12,12,10,8
Session 4 – 12,12,11,10
Session 5 – 12,12,12,11
Session 6 – 12,12,12,12 + 1 set next session
Session 7 – 12,12,12,12,10
Session 8 – 12,12,12,12,12 + load, drop back to 3×8-12
 
Personally I’m quite the fan of double and triple progression as they have their own built in de-loads via volume reduction.
 
The above deals quite nicely with Volume (total sets/reps) and Intensity (% of RM or load) for progression methods.
 
That leaves us with looking at density (work per unit of time/work capacity), this is easy to program in if you want to have people build al little more conditioning before adding load.
 
We will use double progress with a density consideration as the example.
 
3×8-12, 90-30 seconds rest.
 
Here is what the details might look like written down:
 
Session 1 – 8,8,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 2 – 12,10,8 – 90 seconds rest between sets
Session 3 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop rest by 30sec
Session 4 – 12, 8,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 5 – 12,10,8 – 60 seconds rest between sets
Session 6 – 12,12,12 – Rest as above, drop erst by 30sec
Session 7 – 12,8,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 8 – 12,10,8 – 30 seconds rest between sets
Session 9 – 12,12,12 – Add load, take rest back to 90sec & reps back to 3×8
 
Hopefully that’s nice and clear.
 
Oh yea, frequency and specificity.
 
Specificity is linked directly to the goal (or the movement progressions) and you can use the progressions above and change the movement to make it more or less specific to the goal.
 
For example, You want to increase your press overhead.
 
Double Progression – Press until reps/set/rest hit however instead of adding load you change the lift to one that allows more load.
 
So it may look like this:
 
KB Bottom Up Press > KB Press > Z Press > BB Press
 
And so on.
 
Frequency is the easiest to play with , however it can lead to burn out if you abuse it.
 
Frequency = more training days on your desired goal.
 
EG 2 pressing days becomes 3 pressing days becomes 4 pressing days, using double progression it might look like this.
 
Press 2xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 3xP/W – 3×8-12 – goal hit +1 pressing day, load stays the same
 
Press 4xP/W – 3×8-12 – – goal hit, increase load and drop back to 2 pressing days per week.
 
^^ That is without playing with density by the way.
 
As you can see once you apply the basic principles to even the simplest set/reps systems you have a method of programming that can literally last you a lifetime.
 
The thing about the above is that it’s all fundamental.
 
Mastery of the basics such as these will take you a long way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 2 – The Mentor

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.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 1 – Before The Call

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.

Enjoy,
Ross

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That Superhero Look

Look at any hero and most have an iconic stature.

The men have wide shoulders, a thick back, tapered waist, well developed legs and powerful looking arms.

The ladies are equally as proportionate with the coveted hour glass figure, a lean muscular structure that showcases their strength while still remaining what many consider feminine.

A lot of people desire such a look, and either is one that isn’t too far out of reach for many, so long as you know how to train for it.

I’ve always preferred the villains or anti-heroes myself.

The training required goes a little bit beyond 4-6×4-6 on front squats, wide grip pull ups, presses and deadlifts, however those 4 things would be a great start for anyone looking to work towards such a goal.

Since we’re coming up to the summer I might put together something surrounding this style of goal.

I’m thinking anywhere from 6-12 weeks worth will be enough of a starting point for most people to make a bit of a dent in this goal.

Is there any hero you’d like to look like in particular?

Leave your comments below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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