Tag Archives: training

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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One move to almost rule them all

The clean & press (push press/jerk) is a great movement.

Whether you do it with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, odd objects or people, it yields some great results.

As far as looking for a movement that covers everything, this is pretty damn close to being perfect.

I say close to because you can’t get maximal speed/power like you could with a snatch, nor the raw pressing strength like that of a bench press, or even the leg strength from a squat, you get the idea.

That being said, it’s still epic.

If you have any of these in your list of goals:

– Strength
– Increase LBM
– Lose Fat
– Increase Athleticism
– Look Cool

Then this is a movement you should be doing in abundance.

These days we have a lot of choice when it comes to training, and while this is great it’s also a problem because the level of results based on the average gym goer have gone down over the years.

Having too many options is the devil.

Back in an almost forgotten time when I would teach classes (well, small groups), the training would be simple, so much so that some used to complain and not come back.

I didn’t miss them, they didn’t have faith int he process and just wanted to have their bis appealed to and their ego stroked.

One thing with training is often the most effective stuff (once you’re past the point of beginner gains) is often a little dull and very repetitive.

To add in all the fancy and flamboyant stuff requires skill.

Not skill in coaching, although that is a necessity in my eyes, it requires skill from the participants in said training because if they can’t keep up then they need to take a step back and start at a level appropriate for them, less the don’t progress.

Anyone who’s worked with large groups will be able to give you lists of what works well and what requires some extra time/attention.

Anywho, back to the C&P.

Here is how you might apply this glorious movement to a three day per week training protocol.

This would yield Fat Loss as the primary function, LBM would be secondary and Strength as a by product.

All C/P variations done with a bar.

Day 1 –
W/U – Kettlebell Swing x15min (5/15 interval)
A1 – Clean & P/P x5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2
B1 – Front Squat x10-8-6-8-10
C/D – Stretching

Day 2 –
W/U – Bear Complex 3-5reps x15min (vary load as needed)
A1 – Clean & Press x1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
A2 – Bent Over Row or Pull Up x6-8
C/D – Stretching

Day 3 –
W/U – Loaded Carry (hug & shoulder, alternate) 20m x15min
A1 – Clean & Jerk x3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1
B1 – Floor Press x4-6×4-6
C/D – Stretching

Rest periods can be kept int he 60-120second mark after each wave, rest only long enough to change the weights int he way or briefly if you are going to keep the load static in a wave.

Example:

– 5 > add load, 3 > add load, 2 > add load > rest 120sec
– 5 > 20sec, 3 > 20 sec, 2 > 20sec > add load and rest 90sec

You get the idea.

This is one example, there are many more.

Enjoy,
Ross

P.S –

There are endless videos on how to do this, here is one decent one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcCGLoNqN2U

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How Fashionable

As I begin to write the a wave of new people disembark from their train journey.
 
People of all shapes and sizes, ages, social standings & attitude – smiles, frowns, tears and laughter.
 
Out of this group the thing that interests me most, apart from how each person thinks/feels/is, has to be their attire.
 
With the exception of a few business woman in suits and workmen in high-vis, everyone else is in gym gear.
 
None look like they’ve been to the gym yet.
 
Sure enough some are off to the gym, others may go in lunch, yet it seems gym clothing is now very much standard clothing.
 
Speaking as someone who lives in gym clothing and has done for many years due to literally living and breathing all things fitness, it’s quite interesting to see.
 
Business in gym fashion truly has become lucrative.
 
Just hope over to IG, or any social media platform and you’ll find a whole host of people dropping you discount codes to their affiliations.
 
You see ladies leggings now that enhance their posterior chain with outstanding effect, truly the 8th wonder of the world.
 
Same is true for the chaps as well.
 
Tops cut to enhance a v-taper, give more illusion of broader shoulders, thicker chests and bigger arms.
 
You can’t help but applaud really.
 
Then you’ve still got scruff urchins like me in decades old shorts and moth eaten vests, true story.
 
What you wear in the gym doesn’t really matter so long as you can train productive, yet people really do put a lot of effort into what they wear.
 
These days the gym floor it’s more a fashion show than a place to progress.
 
What is it they say, men dress to impress the women, and the women dress impress the other women too 😆
 
What do you throw on when a session is in your daily plan?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A little knowledge is dangerous, and a lot will leave you paralysed

Squats & press behind the neck, 2-3days per week.
 
That was the recommendation of Perry Rader in regards to abbreviated training (from reading Dinosaur Strength Training, by Brooks Kubik).
 
Just two simple movements.
 
Coming from a weightlifting bias you can see the logic.
 
Other people of that era also used to do very little, for example Bob Peoples would put in a lot of time deadlifting (many days per week).
 
Another chap, who’s name current escapes me, did pull ups everyday, even getting to the point of hammering out 200+ in single sets.
 
It wasn’t uncommon either for people to pick one lift and specialise in it for several weeks/months until they hit a new personal record with it, then move on to something else.
 
Being spoilt for choice with our training options, and training information seems to have left many people frustrated and lacking direction.
 
Even if they are to stumble across something that will work provided they’re consistent in their application of said protocol, many give up within a couple of weeks.
 
Often drawn in by something flashy and new.
 
I get it though, the allure of flitting from one thing to the next.
 
It keeps people interested, yet such an attitude also keeps them in the same place physically, and while some might be happy miring in the mud, it’s nothing more than a waste of time for most of us.
 
How long do you stick with a training program?
 
4 weeks or maybe even 12?
 
You could be one of the few who changes things daily due to getting bored too quickly.
 
The attitude of ‘something is better than nothing’ has been around for a long time, however that has been born form the modern working world where staff would rathe robe seen as simply being ‘busy’ than being productive.
 
Middle management with inferiority complexes pounce on staff that have stopped for even the briefest of moments.
 
Usually spouting some bullshit such as – “I can find something for you to do.”, good old micromanagement.
 
Well obviously, we can always find something to do however that doesn’t mean it’s productive, and in that case doing something is not better than doing nothing because it will often be done with a half assed attitude.
 
In fitness the above attitude leads people to treating themselves at night after they’ve successfully ‘done something’.
 
These are the same people who wonder why nothing ever seems to change and mentally they’re still stuck and unhappy.
 
A little consistency, dedication and mental toughness to stick with something will go a long way.
 
Dear readers, or those who’ve made it this far.
 
Does your training cover these three key elements:
 
– It is Consistent
– Has Progressive Overload Planned
– Enjoyment
 
While the first two are crucial, they’re often going to fall by the wayside if the last one isn’t present.
 
Do share your current training (and current training thoughts/philosophies) below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Take your own advice.

It’s fair to say that many of us who are embroiled in this life where the training tick has bitten and firmly taken hold, that we all see ourselves are ‘that exception’.

This is referring to the things that we would tell other people, or our would-be clients if we are trainers.

Yielding our hard earned knowledge to others for their betterment is something many are more than willing do.

You’ll find it’s often pretty sound advice too.

If followed then plenty of progress will occur, in every sense of the word, and if the goal of ‘becoming the best version of yourself’ is to be believed then no one with that attitude would want to stay in the same place.

Knowing this though, knowing what we do, we still see ourselves differently.

Take something I’ve been speaking about again recently.

– Train 2-3 days per week with purpose

This really works wonders for people, especially when combined with any of the training protocols/suggestions you’ll find trawling through the archives on here.

Yet in regards to myself, training less and recovering more is something I struggle with massively.

As such methods to force rest, recovery and not going near places to train gets put in place.

Even then that doesn’t always stop me.

Many other people are like this as well.

The say one thing and do another thing entirely because enterally they don’t put themselves in the same bracket as the person they’re giving the advice to.

Talk about ego.

Physiologically humans are not that different.

As such recovery tactics, training modalities, even understanding the fine balance of chemicals in our body that regulate life, mood, feelings and everything else can be (are already) understood to the point that if we apply that knowledge logically and perhaps with the idea of process & elimination, we’d do all right.

Yet, we ourselves struggle to apply our wisdom to the person ho probably needs it most.

Why don’t you listen to your own advice?

Genuine question.

What do you feel has taken you beyond the realm of all the people you connect with that means they should do things in XYZ way, yet you can do it differently because, well, you’re you.

It’s no wonder the general populous is frustrated.

Many go round in circles.

Habits are often the reason, in so much as when people go back to ‘what they know’ (even if it’s never really worked), it shows that they don’t trust in the process or plan/knowledge before them.

Same goes for you.

You don’t listen to your own advice because deep down you don’t really trust it, or perhaps you don’t have enough faith in your own ability, who knows.

When you read on here about ‘looking inwards’, it’s referring to being honest with yourself.

Setting aside pride, vanity and the person you try to portray you are to others and just being alone with yourself.

Often times you know what needs to be done (training wise).

Applying this knowledge, well, that’s the hard part.

You should investigate this thoroughly.

Enjoy,
Ross

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A little spice perhaps?

Take a look around your gym or current place you train.

Now ask yourself, why are you there?

What emotions are driving you to become better than you currently are, if that is intact the case.

After spending one lifetime in the gym, a lot has been seen.

So many failures, stagnations and regressions.

Most people hit their initial goal, they have their first and seemingly last hoorah, only then to spend any further time after they let their starting success slip by trying to get back to ‘where they were’.

A nobel notion, yet it’s still a foolish one.

Speaking from experience, trying to achieve or relive past glories just isn’t wise because everything is different now.

What you did won’t happen in the same way again, you can than the law of accommodation and GAS (general adaptation syndrome) for that.

You see our bodies remember what we did, they adapt and make is so that if we end up doing the sam things again it is less metabolically costly, meaning the results won’t be on the same standard as they were before.

None of this finding what works for you gubbins because what works for you is simply what works RIGHT NOW.

Thing stop working for a reason.

That reason is noted above, you adapted.

While you might really enjoy something if it yields not further result then it’s largely if not entirely a waste of time.

You’d have no hesitation in telling a child that once all their juice is gone from the carton that continue to suckle on it won’t magically produce more juice, same is true for your training, the only difference is that because you’re an adult you seem to have forgotten that the rules of life apply to you.

Another pitfall in doing what we did before, training or nutrition wise, is that we remember how it was and if it’s not up to par we mentally berate ourselves.

This also gives us a reason to fail as well.

Hours then get put into finding all the excuses as to ‘why’ progress can no longer happen, essentially we chase sympathy and pity from others, rather than dragging ourselves forwards out of the mud.

Mud is warm in some cases I suppose, so the appeal is logical.

If the above resonates with you then instead of going back to do what you did before, bin it all off and take another route entirely.

No excuses, no bullshit, just action.

Ask yourself, why am I doing this?

For what reasons emotionally do I want to progress?

Why do I need to be better?

Fond memories of the past should remain as exactly that, memories.

You’re not writing a new chapter because that book is done and now up on a shelf somewhere, it’s time to write a new story instead of repeating and rehashing the same sad old one.

If variety is the spice of life then why not seek change.

Enjoy,
Ross

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One Tool, Multiple Results

Rack-less Progress.
 
You’ve probably read posts on here before about making progress without the need for anything more than one piece of kit.
 
Today we shall circle back around to the classic barbell & plates without the use of a rack.
 
(Could be fixed barbells as well)
 
In the modern world of programming sessions there are some people that have finally started to come around, or back to, the idea of movements first, muscles second.
 
The reason being that you’ll find by prioritising movement you cover essentially all of your muscles.
 
Some isolation/specific accessory work is cool, however for the majority of people it shouldn’t be their entire program.
 
As for the barbell, we shall be looking at the movement options and then put together ideas so that you can do more with less.
 
I reckon 2-5 for each section should be enough to get you started.
 
Okay, here we go.
 
Movement/Full Body:
 
– Clean & Jerk (or press/push press)
– Snatch
– Bent Press
– TGU (Turkish Get Up)
– Roll Out (kneeling or standing)
 
Loaded Carry:
 
– Zercher
– Farmers Walk (single arm)
– Waiters Walk
– Drag Curl Carry
– Spartan Carry
 
Hinge:
 
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
 
Squat:
 
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
 
Pull:
 
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
 
Push:
 
– Press (multiple variation, flat, overhead, floor, reverse, etc)
– Tricep Extension (multiple variation, overhead, flat, etc)
 
As you can see there is a lot of choice, and this is without even going into barbell complexes either.
 
This is an example three day training week using the movement premise above.
 
To make this a challenge worth your time you may only use 10-20kg plates when loading the bar or progressing.
 
Yep, no small plates, this will mean you put more emphasis on how to progress/plan things going forwards.
(You can of course change this based on your goal/needs, it’s not gospel, merely a suggestion)
 
Day 1 –
A1 – Snatch – 7×2-3
B1 – Floor Press – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Drag Curl Carry – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 2 –
A1 – Clean & Jerk – 7×2-3
B1 – Supinated Bent Over Row – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Waiters Walk – 10min xTotal Distance
 
Day 3 –
A1 – TGU x5-10 reps per side
B1 – Bent Press x5-10 reps per side
C1 – Hack Squat 5×20
 
Once you hit the rep goals (7×2-3 = 21 total reps top end), either choose to add load or change the exercise for that movement.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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***Why training 2-3 days per week is actually better for you than 5-6***

Across the years of ramblings you’ll find many a message on here.
 
Some align and fit together nicely while others contradict each other.
 
Each post is often written based on its own context, however in fitness you will find that most of the time things don’t really line up, unless you loos specifically for things to make it happen.
 
Take the above, training 5-6 days per week is 100% the best option for some people, especially competitive types or those with specific goals.
 
In fact, hitting up to say 15 sessions or more per week is the way for some, just not all.
 
Would it be great if everyone could train multiple times per day?
 
Yes, if you look at all the information, both imperial and anecdotal, you will find that training for around 45min per session (that is time spent in the working zone, that doesn’t include warm up/cool down) done multiple times per day is literally the best way to train.
 
There is only not problem, it’s not viable for 99% of the people.
 
Okay, maybe 98%.
 
You see while the above is great on paper it doesn’t take in to account that little thing called ‘life’ for most average people.
 
Yes you are an average person, just like me.
 
As such you don’t need to total 800+ training sessions in a year, you just don’t, I mean come on people, yo’ve got to live as fulfilling life that has more than just training in it (unless you’re a super athlete and paid to do a sport/train, in which case you do your job).
 
This is where you find training 2-3 days per week helps.
 
It seems like it’s not enough.
 
Trust me I understand that agonising pang.
 
At one stage in my life even saying those words would freak the shit out of me and I could swear that I’d just instantly gained 3% body fat from uttering such heresy.
 
Obviously that didn’t happen, however it was quite the large clue that the ‘healthy mindset’ of fitness has become poisoned and in fact my addictive personality had taken over.
 
You see my end there is a tendency to replace one addiction with another, that’s a story for a different day though.
 
So what can training 2-3 days per week do for you?
 
Well….
 
– More freedom to have a life & pursue other pleasures
– Require logical training (no fluff, just productivity)
– Ample recovery
– Higher adherence as getting 2-3 days in out of 7 is easy
– Reduced stress
– Progress (due to actually recovering – SAID, GAS, etc)
– Time, you get more time and that is a precious thing
 
With the points about they are all pretty self explanatory.
 
The big three though are having less Stress due to not needing to live in the gym, if you only train twice that’s cool, whereas having set rota of 6sessions and when miss one you freak out it just doesn’t make for progress.
 
Also training less days means that you are more productive and can really give it a good effort and then actually recover enough from said session to legitimately progress your next session. Very hard to do if you train all the time.
 
Lastly is the fact you’ve just got more time.
 
This means you can give more attention to life, perhaps even tidying up your nutrition or just generally being more chilled because training is there to enhance your life not take it over.
 
Now I can’t just let you go without a little something.
 
This is not body body building, it will be for overall strength and conditioning, if you would like a specific example let me know in the comments below.
 
Here is a small template for training 2-3 days per week.
 
Day 1 – Posterior Chain Focus
Day 2 – Full Body Focus
Day 3 – Performance Focus (optional)
 
Some training ideas:
 
Day 1 – Posterior Chain Focus
A1 – Deadlift (any variation): 5-25 total reps
B1 – Pull Up: 50-100 total reps
C1 – Odd Object Clean & Press: 10-100 total reps
 
Day 2 – Full Body Focus
A1 – Squat: 50-100 total reps
A2 – Dip: 50-100 total reps
B1 – Bent Over Row: 50-100 total reps
B2 – Press Overhead: 50-100 total reps
 
Day 3 – Performance Focus (optional)
A1 – Power Clean or Snatch: 5-25 total reps
B2 – Push Jerk: 5-25 total reps
B2 – Sprint: 30-60m
C1 – Loaded Carry (any position/variation): 10-20min
 
Give training less an honest effort, you’ll be amazed at the results you can get from doing less better.
 
Enjoy.
Ross

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Traning vs Testing

Are you training or testing when you’re in the gym?
 
Hitting the gym is a ‘healthy’ habit of many these days.
 
While shifting some iron is all good, as is spamming out a 10k, consistently trying to one-up them can soon become problematic.
 
A common training trap to fall in to is the one of constantly testing your limits rather than building/increasing them.
 
This happens in part due to the ego we all have.
 
After all, once you start getting a name for yourself it becomes easy to link your very soul to that thing you do and to drop off some time on a 10k to allow recovery or perhaps run less total distance freaks people out.
 
Same goes for lifters, they end up using the same weights as they don’t want people looking down on them.
 
Insecurity really does become exacerbated in the gym.
 
Taking the time to step back and allow yourself to actually progress can be the hardest lesson to learn.
 
Cycling training loads, playing with total volume, deliberately programming to allow progress can be the hardest lesson for many to learn.
 
I’ve spent years trying to reach people in the right way for them.
 
Some have a lightbulb moment, others dig their heels in.
 
Most have the attitude of – ‘well a little more won’t hurt’.
 
Dear friends, when was the last time you made decent progress?
 
Answer this to yourself honestly.
 
Cut all the bullshit and excuses that you may dream up and really assess the place you’re in and compare it to say 5 years ago, have you really progressed or not?
 
If the latter is the answer then that may come from the fact you’ve been testing yourself too much, instead of building.
 
I speak from experience on this one.
 
Don’t waste years of your life going nowhere.
 
You’re not that important, no one cares if you go in and run 5k instead of 10, or press the 30kg dumbbells for sets of 12 instead of the 40’s.
 
Only your ego cares about such trivial things.
 
Don’t become a slave to it. Don’t succumb to the allure of constantly testing your body, train it to be better, train it to progress.
 
By all means plan in a test perhaps once or twice per year, just don’t do it every session.
 
Any questions please leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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I guess that was a Press Up, kinda….

The humble Press Up truly is a skill many don’t have.

It is one of the most butchered movements you’ll seem a great many people perform.

Truly a shame because this simple movement can offer a lot of benefits, not to mention the variations it has can help you build some decent mass and strength in your upper body.
Here is a list of common flaws in the form:
  • No core bracing
  • Underused lats for stability
  • Collapsed shoulders
  • Poor alignment (weak neckline especially)
  • Hips sagging
  • Excessive elbow flare
  • Poor ROM
  • A general look of someone having a fit on the floor
The list could go on, however, you get the idea.
Most people will be quick to jump up and down defending their form, or why they are doing it a certain way, often saying a super-wide arm press-up is a basic form and one where your elbows stay close is more advanced (military style, or as some say – tricep press up).
It’s understandable to feel attacked when your form is poor.
Especially on what many consider a beginners movement.
It’s ironic though, with the number of press-ups people do in classes or group training you’d think that eventually, they’d be able to actually perform them well.
Sadly we are left wanting.
What is the correct form?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IODxDxX7oi4

^^ This is essentially identical to how I teach the movement so it fits my bias 😂

To teach people this is the progress I personally tend to follow:
1 – PUPP – push up position plank hold
2 – High Incline Press Up (lowered over time)
2a – Suspension Kit if available
3 – Negatives
3a – Negatives with multiple pauses
4 – Full Push Up
There may be some other bits for individuals that need some extra help, however, this is the typical path.
You will notice none performed on the knees and the reason for that is because in my experience it doesn’t yield any real progress in a respectable time frame.
^^ This can also be used to learn a single arm push up.
Ture enough, we have plenty of press-up variations, however, if you can’t do these following arbitrary numbers (below) you’ve got no reason to any other variation until you master the basic one first.
  • Ladies – 10 Strict
  • Gentlemen – 20 strict

    ^^ As a beginner those are reasonable numbers to aim for.

When you’ve nailed down your form and the strict reps are climbing towards 30 for ladies and 50+ for the gents then exploring explosive variations or even extended ROM options become very useful.
You will find a lot of benefit in this movement.
Racking up volume becomes easy because it’s the kind of thing you could do daily, much like Pull Up variations and Pistols, add in some sprints/bounding/jump training and you’d build quite the impressive physique.
How often do you do Earth Downs and what are your thoughts on progressions/regressions and the overall level of the form you see?

Enjoy,
Ross

 

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