Tag Archives: training

Productive or Destructive?

Chances are you’re aware of the evolution of how many training days I will now suggest most people do per week.
 
2-4 works well for many, with 3 splitting the difference 😂
 
While it is true that this attitude comes from years of making mistakes and doing too much it is not without some aspects of the past.
 
You see training less, or doing less better doesn’t mean pissing about.
 
Your sessions still want to be worth your time.
 
This will mean putting in a decent amount of intensity/effort each time you step foot in the gym, that doesn’t mean killing yourself for the sake of it.
 
There is a big difference between intense training that is productive and and intense one that is destructive.
 
Which would you rather – Productive or Destructive?
 
Many think that the training they do is the former when in reality it’s the latter and because of this they struggle to make progress.
 
When you delve into the training literature you’ll find that volume & intensity are not as inversely related as you might think.
 
True enough you still need to wave the loading and play with the volume* levels however many can work far harder than they realise and the result of not doing so is progress/gains being left on the gym floor.
 
*A volume reduction every third or fifth session by 40-60% is a good way to not burn out, intensity can be kept in the 70-85% 1RM range by doing this.
 
**If you venture in to the 90%+ realms you will last about three weeks as this level, then you may need to back off for 6-9weeks before going back to this height again.
 
Many are becoming more aware of this though.
 
The introduction of ‘Effective Reps’ lately has helped many.
 
You will find the common theme is that you need to have 15-35 effective reps per movement to make progress.
 
Say you do 5 sets of 5 with 90% of your 5RM, fresh yo will find the first 2 sets of 5 may have no real effective reps due to the muscle recruitment needed, set 3 you might get 2, then 3 on set 4 and perhaps 4 on set 5, yielding 9 total effective reps.
 
This is not new information.
 
I remember writing about this back in 2010 (the muscle fibre recruitment side of things and how more sets lead to greater fatigue and thus great muscular recruitment), I shall try and dig it up.
 
You see often 5×5 isn’t 5×5, it’s actually 2×5.
 
The first three sets while they are ‘working sets’ they’re not ‘WORKING SETS’ due to the bodies neurological firing/ramping processes.
 
It is at times like these where knowing how the numbers work can make all the difference.
 
Here is a short version that you can apply literally today:
 
– Lifting sub max RM loads you’d do well to add 2-3 extra sets (7×5 instead of 5×5)
 
– Using 100% RM loads you’d do well to do 2-3reps less than the RM load (sets of 8 with 10RM load)
 
– TUL is important, you want to create as much tension from rep 1 as possible and aim to keep this throughout the entire set (or ideally generate more tension if possible)
 
A nifty way to apply this in training without needing to know the numbers though is as follows – Ramping.
 
Ramping:
 
– Pick a rep range (6)
– Do sets of 6 adding weight until you hit the 6RM for the day.
 
Next Options:
 
– Drop down 10% and rep sets of 6 until you lose a rep, then drop another 5% and repeat.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -10% to 90kg 6,6,6,6,5, -5% to 85kg 6,6,6,4 – finished for the day on lift movement.
 
Alternatively:
– Hit the top 6, rest 5min and repeat the same load, do this as many times as possible with good form.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, rest 6, rest 6, rest, 6 rest, 4 now done for the day.
 
Finally:
– Hit the top 6, drop 20% off the load and re-ramp, repeat this from the original 20% drop until speed/tension/form can no longer be maintained.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>97kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>90kg, -20% 80kg re-ramp>85kg – a good place to stop for the day.
 
While simple they are effective ways of getting in more quality work.
 
Remember that you don’t need to spend hours training.
 
You do however how to train with intent, otherwise you’re merely there for the sake of being there and while people may say that you doing something is better than nothing I can tell you without any hesitation it’s not.
 
Something isn’t better than nothing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5-4-3-2-1 an odd take on an old system

No long monologues today or musings on how the modern world has gone batshit crazy, just a simple training concept you can apply immediately.

5 = Number of days between lifting (e.g you train once every 5 days)

4 = The number of main movements patterns to cover each session (push, pull, squat, hinge)

3 = Total amount of working sets for all your movements

2 = Minimum amount of minuets rest between sets (rest in minutes can be as high as you like, not less than 2)

1 = The only lift you will be pushing the envelope on, the other three will be easy

Now you have the overall idea, here is what you might end up with training wise:

Weeks 1-6
W/U – Front Squat x5-3-2 & *Ab Roll Out x2-2-2
Main Lift – DL Ramp to 6RM (as many sets as needed) + two more working sets 5%@less.
Accessory Lifts – Clean & Press 5×2 + Weighted Pull Up 2×5

*Not necessary however it’s just nice to have in.

Easy on paper yet pretty effective. I’d stick with the same set of movements for about 6 weeks, then change the focus. In fact here is 24weeks of training (the first 6 being the example above).

Week 7-12
W/U – Kettlebell Swing x50-30-20 & Inch Worm x5-3-2
Main Lift – Bench Press Ramp to 6RM (as many sets as needed) + two more working sets 5%@less.
Accessory Lifts – Rope Climb 5×1 (arm only ascend/descend) + Zercher Squat x4-2-4

Week 13-18
W/U – Ring Dip 2×5 & Ab Roll Out 2×5
Main Lift – Power Clean Ramp to 4RM (as many sets as needed) + two more working sets 5%@less.
Accessory Lifts – Overhead Squat 2-3-5  + Bear Hug Loaded Carry 5x20m

Week 19-24
W/U – Rope Climb 5×2 (arm & leg) + No Leg eccentric lower on single arm
Main Lift – Front Squat to 7RM (as many sets as needed) + two more working sets 5%@less.
Accessory Lifts – Sumo DL 5-3-2 + Push Press 3×3

Enjoy,

Ross

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Giving to Yourself

Amateur athletes, weekend warriors & those who train hard.

Give yourself the gift or more time.

Give yourself the gift or more rest.

Honestly, you’ve got plenty of time to make progress, even if you’re in your 60’s you can still move forwards.

Too many rush and injury is their reward.

This doesn’t mean you will become slothful or lacklustre in your training, oh no.

You will still be required to lift with intent, focus and gusto.

The only difference is that you allow yourself a little more rest between sets, perhaps an extra day off here and there all to allow you more recovery which will translate in to more progress in the end.

You see for the majority of us training is suppose to enhance our lives, not absorb or detract from them.

In my years of training I’ve been obsessive, too rigid, unwavering in adherence to the routine and while it did indeed yield results, would it really have been so bad if I arrive at that point perhaps 2-3 years later?

My prize was glory when the flame burned bright.

Even for a short while I was untouchable, then it all fell to pieces and burnout was my enteral reward.

This took almost as many years to recover from.

Yep. 5 years of the true iron path ended up in 5 years to recover from it, and the kicker is I wasn’t even anything worth shout about in the grand scheme of things.

While we talk about enjoy the journey, which I did, I can tell you it wasn’t worth it, breaking yourself for ego is never worth it, yet many will do this because it’s the message of the world.

Work hard and what you seek shall be yours, oh and it will, you just wont be able to hold on to it for very long.

Sensible training, reasonable & repeatable sessions, more recovery days and optimal nutrition choices, that is what will yield the best long term results.

True you may decide to test/peak/push yourself perhaps once of twice per year, and in truth that’s all you need.

Anything more is superfluous.

As I sit here typing this I do wonder, will you listen to me?

Will these words of warning resonate or run off like water from a ducks back because like a far younger me you still think you currently know better.

The truth is we never know better, we only know what we know, or what we choose to believe and that’s rarely whats best for us.

Anyway, here are 7 suggestions for you, garnered from years grinding away for little reward.

1 – Nutrition trumps training
2 – Consistency is key, so train reasonably & repeatably
3 – Train every 3-5 days
4 – Take 5min rest after heavy sets, maybe even up to 10
5 – Test yourself once or twice per year
6 – Set mini goals that require some effort, not all your effort
7 – Have a greater purpose behind you for training, training for the sake of training rarely ends well

Enjoy,
Ross

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Random Protocol for Easy Strength

This little training protocol just popped into my mind, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Train every 3 days, this will equate to training three times a week in some weeks and two times in others.

You’ll be alternating Heavy/Light/Medium sessions.

Each day will have a slightly different focus, the overall goal of this protocol is to build strength in a steady and more importantly easy fashion.

Heavy Days:
DL – Ramp to 1x5x5RM, 2-3x5x80% top weight – working up to a top set of 5
Press – Ramp to 1x5x5RM, 2-3x5x80% top weight – working up to a top set of 5
Squat  – Ramp to 1x5x5RM, 2-3x5x80% top weight – working up to a top set of 5

Medium Days: Based on 85% of 5RM from heavy day – adjust +/-:5% on feel for the day
DL – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5 -Rest 30-60 sec between 2-3-5, then 3-5min each wave
Press – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5 -Rest 30-60 sec between 2-3-5, then 3-5min each wave
Squat  – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5 -Rest 30-60 sec between 2-3-5, then 3-5min each wave

Light Days: Based on 85% of 5RM from heavy day – adjust +/-:5% on feel for the day
DL – 6×6, rest 2-4min between sets
Press – 6×6, rest 2-4min between sets
Squat  – 6×6, rest 2-4min between sets

*Accessory work: 1 to supplement DL/Press, 2 Lifts to supplement Squat – 2-3×8-12reps

** You can use any DL/P/SQ variations you like on this protocol, once the cycle starts
again choose a different variation, Example: Cycle 1 = FS, Cycle 2 = HBBS, Cycle 3 = LBBS

*** The +/- 5% allows you to add load when you feel strong, use this as a guide to progress, if you can hit two weeks of +5% then that is the new working weight, the -5% serves as a nice deload if needed, however the way this is set it you shouldn’t need it too often meaning the small increases in +5% based on the % of 5RM will have you by the end of the cycle potentially working with what was your old 5RM as new working weights.

Here is the basic set up of days for a full cycle, it’s roughly 13 weeks, as the cycle repeats your can choose on the Monday (when Heavy DL/Press comes back around) to retest your 5RM on all three lifts, then take the rest of the week off before starting  new cycle with your new variations.:

Monday: Heavy – DL/Press
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Light – Squat
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Light – DL/Press
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Medium – Squat
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Medium – DL/Press
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Heavy – Squat
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Light – DL/Press
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Light – Squat
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Heavy – DL/Press
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Medium – Squat
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Light – DL/Press
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Light – Squat
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Medium – DL/Press
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Heavy – Squat
Saturday: Off
Sunday:  Off
Monday: Light – DL/Press
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Light – Squat
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Heavy – DL/Press
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Medium – Squat
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Light – DL/Press
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Light – Squat
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Medium – DL/Press
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Heavy – Squat
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Light – DL/Press
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Light – Squat
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Medium – DL/Press
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Medium – Squat
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Light – DL/Press
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Light – Squat
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Heavy DL/Press – This would be the start of a new cycle.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Training programs on the internet are a dime a dozen

There are two types of people in the fitness world.
 
Well, there is actually a lot more however for the purpose of this post I’m saying there is two because the premise demands it to be so 😂
 
You have those who wish to train every day and those who don’t.
 
Both can utilise what I will share below.
 
You might have seen I’m on a bit of a thing with planned randomisation lately.
 
I know, it’s an impressive oxymoron.
 
As such we shall be call in on our friend the coin, once again utilising the wisdom of Harvey Dent and letting fate decide.
 
You will have two options for training:
 
Session Type:
Heads = Strength
Tails = Cardio
 
Strength Sessions:
Heads = Push, Hinge, Loaded Carry
Tails = Pull Squat, Movement
 
Strength Session Rep/Set Structure:
Heads = 1-2-3-4-5, Up to 5 total set
Tails = 3-5min per lift (constant lifting), 2-3 sets
 
^ Progress can be down to you going on feel or mastery of the loads you’re using.
 
^^ Pick any lift your feel fits the movement pattern, I’d say to stick with that movement for 4-6 sessions in total.
 
Cardio Sessions:
Heads = Intervals
Tails = Steady State
 
Cardio Session Structure: Intervals
Heads = Burst Cardio: 20-30min total, HR Zones 70-95%*
Tails = 30on/90off x5-15 sets
 
*You work until you hit 95% of your max heart rate, then slow down and stop to recover, focus on on breathing and lowering your HR, once it’s back at 70% you sprint again, repeating this for the desired time.
 
Cardio Session Structure: Steady State
Heads = 45min, HR Zones 60-70% MHR
Tails = 30min HR 70-80% MHR
 
^ You can choose any method to get your CV needs met.
 
^^ This also means things like kettlebell swings, snatches etc.
 
There you have it, a simple and planned structure that is also random, ish 😂
 
Oh yea, for those who don’t want to train all that often you flip the coin to decide if your’e training that day or not.
 
Heads = Training
Tails = Not Training
 
Please be aware that they above is just something novel.
 
You may love this idea, or you might think it’s terrible, either way who you train is your own choice.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Playing with Time

After writing a small piece on Gains Central the idea of ‘Timed Sets’ got touched on.
 
Given these are great little tools for giving people a variable shock and devotion from the norm they’re worth sharing here too.
 
As the name suggests you’re performing a set based on a length of time and not just a number of reps.
 
These are great for 3 reasons:
 
– Overload
– Mental Toughness
– Easy to Program
 
Here is an example of how you might utilise a timed set.
 
A1 – Squat x2min x4 sets
 
Pretty simple right?
 
Now you don’t need to have the time being a static thing, it can change set to set if required, this can allow for harder sets first or hard-easy sets.
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x120sec
Set 2 x90sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x30sec
 
Alternatively
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x30Sec
Set 2 x120sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x90sec
 
Honestly these are very enjoyable and also great for people who are short on time in their training because it will allow for accurate planning so that an effective session can be squeezed into very little spare time.
 
How long you decide to have the time of each set can be to your discretion, you might even choose to do 5min of non-stop squatting, tough yet 2 sets of that will be a good session for the day.
 
Here are two sessions I’ve personally alternated in the past when time has been tight, please be aware there was no specific warm up and I’d often use the first timed set as the warm up.
 
Session 1 – Kettlebells
A1 – Clean & Press x2min x3sets
B1 – Swings x5min x2sets
60 seconds rest
 
Session 2 –
A1 – Inverted Rows* x 2min x3sets
B1 – Squats** x5min x2set
60 seconds rest***
 
*Or renegade rows, or pull ups depending on gym kit
**Or kettlbell, barbell, sandbag, depending on gym kit
***Variable depending on what time I had, most session ended up being 20-25min only.
 
Very minimalistic, very effective.
 
If you’ve never tried timed sets before add them in as accessory work on smaller isolation lifts first because they catch a lot of people out because they’re easier on paper than they are in reality.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Desire, Inclusivity & More

One thing that people universally desire from any for of exercise is a result.
 
Now what this result is can differ, however there is still one that is sought after.
 
Believe it or not this is why people actually start training.
 
What keeps people training is them actually achieving the result, not just enjoying the training.
 
In my experience people always seems o enjoy their training more when they feel it’s working, doubly so when it actually works, funny that.
 
If you are honest with yourself how much would you really enjoy something that isn’t giving you any real benefit or providing you a satisfactory feeling/result?
 
Not long I’m willing to bet.
 
I don’t say this on a whim either.
 
I say it because it’s true and working with hundreds of people of the years has only proven this, despite what conventional wisdom and popular opinion may say.
 
When you’re getting nothing from something you won’t do it for long, and even if you enjoyed it at the start that won’t last.
 
One of the biggest reasons we do anything is because we want something.
 
The modern attitude will say this is selfish and should be shamed, yet is there really anything so wrong with wanting more or the best for yourself?
 
No, there isn’t.
 
(so long as you’re not hurting other people to achieve it)
 
These days we allow people to fail.
 
In fact we almost encourage it by saying things such as:
 
“You’re fine just as you are.”
“If you enjoy doing it then keep doing it.”
“Do what makes you happy.”
 
While on the outside they all seem like the right and good things to say, this isn’t always the case.
 
There are many situations where when people do what makes them happy the consequences are disastrous, same goes for not pushing people out of the comfort zone to grow and shed their shell so that they can gain a new one.
 
Personally I hold inclusivity in contempt for this.
 
You see in trying to include everyone there were two paths to take to achieve this.
 
1 – Bring them up to higher levels
2 – Lower the current levels to make it easier
 
Our modern world went for the latter and as a result it’s made a lot of people weak, both physically and mentally.
 
This isn’t good.
 
Why would you not want to bring people up?
 
Now there will be plenty of people who say this isn’t fair, it makes people feel bad and so on, which may indeed be the case, however life isn’t fair. Life has never been nor will ever be fair.
 
The easy and fair life is a pipe dream.
 
The sooner people realise that the better, and the more willing they are to accept that it’s okay to want to improve on what they have and strive for more the faster they’ll progress.
 
While it may be considered selfish to want more, that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile thing to chase.
 
Thinking back to your own training over the years, what did you enjoy the most?
 
Now think about when you got the best results (or achieve a goal you really wanted), did you enjoy the training/process purely because of the training/process or was it worth it because of the reward at the end?
 
Share your thoughts below.
 
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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Controversial…

Three things in business you need as a PT/Coach that are undervalued and overlooked way too much.

1️⃣ – An application form to train with you.

^^ This helps with information gathering and will also allow you to know if people are willing to put in the effort for you to work with them.

Think of it this way, if they can’t get past filling in the form then they’re not ready for you yet.

2️⃣ – Minimum commitment agreement.

^^ Further refining the type of client you work with can have you find the people that are truly ready to change.

Example: 6months, 3 sessions per week, only 10 client spaces, etc

As nice as it will be to train once a week for a month and have all their problems solved that’s not how good coaching works.

Setting up minimum’s is very useful, in the example about having 3 sessions per week would also be a good place to start, that way if someone says “Can I do just one per week” you can honestly say “I’m afraid the minimum is 3 per week as this provides more favourable results.”.

It’s a test of commitment and dedication to the cause.

3️⃣ – No free trials.

^^ Controversial, however it will serve to further your business.

This doesn’t mean you can’t offer a discounted first session because this still gets people into the frame of mind that if they want your time/expertise they need to be ready to invest.

Free stuff is nice, however too much of it can, in regards to trial sessions etc, can devalue how people see your services.

🤔🤔🤔

Food for thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Do we even need to train?

We get told there are things we have to do in regards to training, and in regards to specific goals it’s 100% accurate, however for general life it’s more like set of guidelines.
 
The goal of all life is death.
 
Well, avoiding it for as long as possible is what most desire.
 
To achieve this you need optimal health.
 
Does this necessarily mean you’ll be able to run a marathon, deadlift 3xBW or do 10 rounds in the ring with Tyson, no it probably doesn’t.
 
When it comes to your training do you ever ask yourself what is it you actually need to life a full and fruitful life?
 
Then I suppose that begs the question of if you want a long life (quantity) or a life filled with adventure, memories and learning (quality).
 
🤔🤔🤔
 
Once you know what it is that you desire, your training can reflect that.
 
In general life we can say that realistically we may need three type of strength – lifting, carrying, getting up.
 
As for CV, well the need is to be able to walk for extended periods of time, at potential pace without getting winded.
 
Pretty simple really.
 
You can achieve this many ways.
 
That being said, one of your life goals might be to have an epic physique, godly strength, skills galore or generally be an all round badass, if so then you’ll need to dial in some specifics.
 
There isn’t much we need to do in this life, especially fitness/training related.
 
Before you go down a rabbit hole be sure to ask yourself why you’d choose to go down it and what it will do for you in the long run that when you look back you can say without hesitation – “Totally worth it.”
 
Choose your path for you, otherwise you’ll end up going down someone else’s.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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