Tag Archives: Training program

Not just for legs

The other day a little kettlebell hypertrophy/strength based protocol came to mind for the festive season.

It’s very much a bit of a quick peak kind of protocol.

Based on the classic M-L-H set up.

Main Movement – Double Kettlebell Front Squat.

Rep Goal – 100

This is where the magic can happen because we can play with either keeping the overall load within the 70-80% of RM range, or we can play with the loads while keeping reps consistent.

Option 1 – Static Load 40kg (heaviest bells at home)

H/Day – 10 Sets – aim form 10 reps per set – 2-4min rest

L/Day – 10 Sets – 40% of total reps from H/day – so if 50 reps achieved then 20 reps is the total (10×2, or 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-2, broken down as you see fit)

M/Day – 10 Sets – 70% of total reps from H/day – rep breakdown can be as you see fit, however you don’t ideal want to miss or grind any (same goes for L/day).

^^ To make the L/M days more interesting if they feel easy, pauses in the hole can be added, rest can be reduced (to increase density/work capacity) and a focus on the RFD (rate of force development) can be thought of ala Dr Squat’s CAT (compensatory acceleration training).

H-L-M-L-M-L-H-L-M-L-M-L-H = roughly 4 weeks

^^ Based on 3 sessions per week.

Option 2 – 3 different loads

The rep goal is 100 each session.

H/Day – 40kgs
L/Day – 24kgs
M/Day – 32kgs

Set/Rep wise you may choose to do 10×10 (aiming for 10 res each set, however no grinding, this means you may not get all 10×10, so you build to this) for the heavy day, and sets of 10 for the light/medium days.

The can be up to you how you hit them, its simply about getting good quality reps in.

This came from the notion of doing more with less.

Limiting what we have on offer so we become creative.

I did this in the summer with my sandbags and found it way harder than I thought I would which gave me a rather nifty lesson.

^^ The strength I had was only useful in the gym (in specific movements), while not a terrible thing it was nice an humbling.

If we can’t transfer what we gain from the gym to real life, why did we invest so much time into it?

My current ponder ^^.

While this was floating around the old noggin it became apparent that the overall idea of having nice rep target and then improving the quality of the reps was very appealing.

You may be able to hit all the reps from day one, however our ever obsessive chasing of progression in the form of volume/intensity isn’t the only way we can progress.

We’ve also got density/work capacity (less rest/better efforts/form), technique improvements, more time under load/tension (adding in pauses or slowing down the tempo), the options are endless.

The above might not be relevant to you, however it was worth sharing.

What little ideas have you had float through your head that you applied in your training this year, and what was their result?

Incase you’re wandering the DKB-FS is surprisingly hard due to how it teaches you to stay tense and breath deeply.

While 80kg is way off my own personal BB-FS max (about 50%) there is the understanding it’s an entirely different animal that requires respect.

If you ever get the chance, give them a go.

^^ You can also apply this to various other lifts too.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Evolution of Mind

Another day another opportunity to move.
 
The longer I spend in the realm of training and all things fitness related the more enjoyment is taken from smily moving.
 
While lifting is still a love, it’s not the dictator it once was.
 
Being able to have some fun and play is great.
 
Movement skill is something we all lose eventually, well, that is unless we are truly diligent and stay moving for as long as we can.
 
Across the experience gained there are somer interesting types of strength that can be gained form utilising only what your mother gave you (you).
 
– Quadrupedal
– Contralateral
– Unilateral
 
Single arm push ups from all angles.
 
Pistols that transition into fully supporting your bodyweight as you move.
 
The ability to hold you weight in a dead hang from one arm, and perhaps even begin to pull yourself up eventually.
 
All offer real world transfer/benefits.
 
Now this doesn’t mean you give up lifting because as great as moving and playing with a plethora of positions is, there’s no substitute for building impressive and raw absolute strength, that has plenty of real world applications too.
 
Pressing your own bodyweight or more overhead (or carry them for distance) and deadlifting 2-3xbw has plenty of positive benefits to life.
 
Now the truth is we can’t do it all, however we can do a lot.
 
– You can move daily and practice various skills.
– You can lift every 3-5 days and really put in an effort.
 
Think of it this way, crawling, climbing and practicing transitional work can be fun and great for basic strength & conditioning.
 
Then every 3rd or 5th day you go to the gym to Press & Hinge some hefty loads and build volume (you can also do carries here or do those as daily strength practice).
 
I can already here people panicking about the lack of balance.
 
You can alternate squatting and hinging patterns, you will still build some strong legs, swapping those every 3 days works nicely.
 
Press each time you train (vary the variation), as for puling you can do that daily in the form climbing, or just put in some heavy rows, cleans, weighted things etc.
 
Honestly unless you’re an athlete or training for a specific goal you can do what you like.
 
In fact these options make a great session rota:
 
Option 1:
– Snatches (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Pull Ups (any kit/variations)
 
Option 2:
– Power Clean (any kit)
– Front Squat (any kit/variation)
– Press (any kit/variation)
 
Option 3:
– Press (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
 
Option 4:
– Zercher Squats ((any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
– Clean & Press (any kit/variation)
 
You’ll get a lot out of those, plus one combined with daily movement/play/practice there will be plenty other benefits as well (physique, strength, conditioning, mobility, life).
 
Funny how we change as we get a little older.
 
Something that has found it’s way into my thoughts is this:
 
“I’d like to become like Bamboo, strong yet able to flex, bend & flow with the wind.”
 
Not what I’d expect if you’d asked me 5 years ago what my thoughts would be.
 
Back then it was – “To become Flexible Steel.”
 
Which in essence is similar, yet not quite as free as Bamboo.
 
I guess looking at them together they’re almost one and the same, huh, funny.
 
How often do you make time to simply play and have fun?
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Are you brave enough to try this?

Once again we will be calling upon our friend the dice.
 
Instead of training 2-3 days per week though you’ll be training everyday, or if you want to also leave that to fate you can flip a coin to see if you’re training, then go to the dice to find out what you’re doing.
 
Here is how your training would work.
 
You’ll be doing one these movement parings:
 
– Push & Hinge
– Squat & Pull
– Loaded Carry & Sprinting
 
^^ You can do them in this sequence, meaning they repeat every 4th day, or you can choose to do only one pairing, it’s entirely up to you.
 
The exercise choice is up to you.
 
Next you will roll the pair of die, the number you see is the reps you’re doing, so 2-12 and in the case of the carry/sprint it means 20-120m.
 
Next up you will roll the pair three times, this will give you the time limit you’re training for, so 6-36min (this includes your warm up because you’ll be ramping/waving the loads/effort each set).
 
Once you’ve gotten your reps and your time limit you train.
 
The aim of this is to improve density/work capacity.
 
Give me a second I will roll the dice and see what I get for three days of training, I will pick movements too.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift & Floor Press: 4reps, 27min
Day 2 – (clean) Front Squat & Bent Over Row: 7reps, 13min
Day 3 – Bear Hug Carry & Sprint: 80m, 24min
 
Not a bad little rep/time count.
 
Th difficult thing with the above would be for the times you get a session lasting 10min or under, it would get it to the heads of most people as they’d feel their training wasn’t one enough.
 
Now this might be true, however it would give you focus in the time you had.
 
Too many people mess about and waste time and this eliminates this issue entirely, the only hard part will be picking the movements you wish to work on.
 
“It is vain to do more with what can be done with less.”
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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We’ll let fate decide

Harvey Dent, he was on to something. 

You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time! But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced… fair. His son’s got the same chance she had. Fifty-fifty.” *Holding two-headed coin*

In the past you’ve probably seen a post of five about how to use a dice to decide your training.

Today we’re going to go even further down the rabbit hole of randomness and find out the secrets of the humble coin. 

Admittedly you will end up with some very minimalistic training, however it will take any excess thought away from you.

This is ideal for those who claim to get lost with training or are unsure of what to do.

One simply has to have faith in the coin and follow the pattern it leaves. 

Here is how you can apply it to your training, be warned though, this is also an exercise in faith, do you have the courage to do what they coin dictates or not?

Okay, to decide if you are training today or not grab a coin and flip it. 

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Now for the interesting part, if you’re training today it’s time to find out how.

Heads = Strength 

Tails = Conditioning 

This is where you can play with all the nuance.

Say you got strength, here are some options once you flip the coin again:

Heads = Push, Hinge, Loaded Carry 

Tails = Pull, Squat, Loaded Carry 

Now for some reps/sets:

Heads = 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2

Tails = 6-1-1–1-1-20

There you go, training for the day. 

If you got tails for conditioning this might be your menu.

Heads = Fartlek at 70%> MHR 

Tails = Steady State at <70% MHR

^^ You choose whichever modality you feel like. 

One thing you’ll find with the above is that the less chose the better, however there is another reason for it. 

You will suddenly find out that you know exactly what you want to be doing, you were just being a bit lazy in making a choice because if you really want a strength day and end up with a conditioning one it soon makes you realise your goals. 

Same is true for a day you want to train and end up having the coin tell you not to.

Flip 1 –

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Flip 2 – 

Heads = Strength = 10x TGU (5 per arm) 

Tails = Conditioning = 100 Single Arm Swings (50 each arm) 

Super simple, super effective. 

This concept isn’t new, however the unpredictability just makes for some interesting times. 

How would you progress?

Who knows, perhaps if you use the TGU above you could keep doing that until you hit a half-bodyweight get up for all the reps with ease, the options are many, power if you only train for fun like you claim then just pick a random target and see what happens.

Personally I prefer the dice, yet can apply the train/don’t train to the dice by say 1-3 = train and 4-5 = don’t train, then go from there. 

In a world where there is so much confusion, stress and uncertainty leaving your training in the hands of fate can make for quite the change. 

I’ve found that things like the coin/dice and total randomness of training days makes you appreciate the days you do train and you also put in more effort because from experience those who train with intent & heart, even if infrequently, tend to get more progress than some of the workout-warriors who do 2-3 hours in the gym each day. 

^^ When applied to the gen-pop.

All in all it’s just bit of fun, which is what you said you wanted, right?

Or perhaps now seeing this you know it’s not fun you want, it’s emoting else entirely.

Give it some thought. 

Enjoy, 

Ross 

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You probably won’t like this

Dear friends and even my enemies too, you also deserve to hear this.
 
Sadly I bring you a harrowing truth.
 
You’ll struggle to break you cycle of self-loathing, depression, anxiety and overall indifference if you continue to pose, filter, edit and photo shop every god damn picture you upload on social media.
 
Seriously people, why go to the hassle?
 
Is your ego that fragile that to truly expose the real you would leave you crushed under the wave of critics and trolls?
 
We create our of downfall you know.
 
I see so many people talking about being ‘the real them’ or ‘living their best life’ and it’s just such fucking bullshit because they don’t live up to their own ideals.
 
Please don’t do it to yourself.
 
The thoughts and feelings of the masses is nothing more than metal fodder or pointless words served to keep you in a specific place.
 
Yes words hurt, however they can only cause a true trauma if YOU allow them to and if you keep living a ‘fake real life’ or ‘real fake life’ (not sure which I prefer to say), you’ll always be cut down by the words, opinions, views and values of others.
 
In a world where how we look matters the more you try to turn yourself into to cold hard plastic to retain your youth the more unhappy you’ll be.
 
Why?
 
Because while looks matter, they only matter to those who have nothing else of substance.
 
How we come across to other people is a mere part of ‘us’ or the global ‘you’. As such you’ll find some of the prettiest people lose their shine once you really begin to know them.
 
Action define us, not words or in this case social media photos.
 
What are your own ideals?
 
Do you even have any?
 
As egotistical and foolish as it sounds, having something to live up to can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself.
 
^^ These can, and often will change over the years as you become older, wiser and more mature.
 
Often because you realise the shit you thought mattered really didn’t in the grand scheme of things.
 
Since I’m in one of this moods I’m going to share something I’ve shared before, listen to the words and enjoy 🙂
 
Ross
 

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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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