Tag Archives: training

6-10 week protocol to a new PB for you & your clients – new twist on a classic.

If you’re not interested in hitting some new PB’s, that’s cool, feel free to skip reading this.

Let’s say you are interested though, keep reading.

Below you’ll find a simple protocol to help you improve on one or multiple lifts.

This is not something you’d find in body building very often, it’s for people who chase strength.

The information in question is a favourite of many a Russian athlete oddly enough and one I’ve done many times to hit new heights.

I first learnt of this from reading older writing by Dr Fred Hatfield, if you’ve not read any of his books you should, they’re amazing resources.

As you may have guessed I quite like the Russian methodology.

Here is the premise:

– 80% 1RM is starting load, 105% is the end game
– Double Progression is applied
– Intensity is increased incrementally
– Train a 2-3 times per week
– Rest as needed
– Stay tough and you’ll reap the rewards
– Don’t get greedy, follow the protocol

This is how the classic program looks based on 3 days training per week (Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thur-Sat):

*All 6x sets are at 80% 1RM, % changes will be listed below.

^^ If you don’t know yours or your clients 1RM, use an RM calculator to establish an estimated one and go from there.

Week 1
– 6x2x80% 1RM*
– 6×3* (the volume progression begins)
– 6×2*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*
– 6×5*

Week 3
– 6×2*
– 6×6*
– 6×2*

Week 4
– 5x5x85% 1RM
– 6×2*
– 4x4x90%

Week 5
– 6×2*
– 3x3x95%
– 6×2*

Week 6
– 2x2x100% (old 1RM)
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for a new 1RM)

Week 7 Deload

Congratulations, a new PB to help you drive up old RM’s and add some much sought after muscle/strength.

Thats the typical way to do it, however if you’re short on time then this  may be of use.

The new twist for those short on time –

If you with to do this twice per week the cycle will end up being 10 weeks long (9 with the last being a deload).

Week 1
– 6×2*
– 6×3*

Week 2
– 6×4*
– 6×2*


Week 9 – Week 10 Deload
– 6×2*
– 1x1x105% (aim for new 1 RM)

From experience you can pair two lifts together when doing this and PB on both so long as they don’t interfere with each other.

It’s also good because you get a heavy day and a light day each week meaning you can really go for it each heavy session as it makes the overall progression far more manageable.

For example:

DL & Press (or weighted dip)
Squat & Pull Up
Bench Press & Row

You’ll find that some token accessory work of say 30 reps per accessory lift is enough to help the other lifts keep up and maintain some form of muscular balance.

Here is how I planned my sessions using the twice per week training schedule. I was forced to train this way because of upcoming events and life doing what it does best, however I hit new numbers and intact made progress.

Sometimes less really is more.

Lifting Day 1 & 2:
A1 – DL – sets/reps as above
B1 – Press – sets/reps as above
B2 – Chin – 5 reps each set
C1 – Squat 1×10-20

  • I would add in perhaps some postural work and make a few sets for smaller muscle groups if I had time
  • You can also add in some CV training (sprints etc) a couple of times per week that don’t require you going to a gym

The funny thing with this is it’s so simple people will ignore it.

We live in a world where people think that unless they’ve destroyed themselves they haven’t had a good training session.

This is not true.

Especially when you look at MRV (maximum recoverable volume) vs MED (minimal effective dose), however that’s for another day.

Give the above a go and see how you fair.




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Training Hard or Training Smart?

Train smart not hard.

A classic line.

Let’s look at why training hard is training smart.

Morning All,

In the world of lifting it’s common for people to use the phrase ‘train mart not hard’ and it’s quite easy to see why this is said.

This isn’t going to be technical.

Just a simple way of looking at it all.

Before we go on here is what people typically think about hard/smart training.

Training Hard:

– Lifting Heavy
– A lot of volume
– Keeping everything on the nerve
– Toughening up & pushing past old limits to force adaptation

Training Smart:

– Having a solid plan of progression
– Knowing your periods of pushing & backing off
– Listening to ones body
– Training specifically for the goal

Okay, if you look at both the concepts and how they’re typically perceived, you will see there is some similarities.

A lot of similarities.

You often find people who just preach ‘train hard’ are all about intensity.

Those who say ‘train smart’ are all about the planning.

The fact is that training hard is training smart because you can’t have one without the other.

If you have the right plan with no intensity it doesn’t matter how good it is, you won’t progress because you’re not putting in any real graft.

The same is true for aimlessly lifting heavy things and killing yourself without a plan, you just end up spinning your wheels, burning out and getting hurt.

So you see you can’t have one without the other.

Here is what Smart & Hard Training looks like:

– Planned accumulation, intensification, reduction periods
– Overall progressive overload/fatigue management
– Pushing each session and hitting all the numbers
– Listening to the body and doing more if the day feels good, less if it doesn’t

Does your training look like one or the other?

To get the most optimal progress possible you need to not only train hard, you need to train smart as well, they’re intrinsically linked after all.


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1-2-3 for you & me

Progress, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
An old school method for strength & lean mass.
Morning All,
You may have guessed that I enjoy things from yesteryear.
For good reason too, I might add.
Everything that worked back then still works today, in fact it’s usually more effective than what most people do these days.
You will find many a person runs to a fitness magazine, or some form of social media for a workout routine, which is fair enough, if something is free you’d be silly not to use it.
The only issue is that while the info might be good, the people using it only apply around 50% effort, especially when the weights get heavy.
This is bad… very bad.
Low effort means low results.
This is where for those of you who are a little more focused 1-2-3 will be something you enjoy.
Here is what to do:
– Pick an exercise or two (A1/A2 fashion)
– Put some weight on the bar, say 80% of your max
– Do 1 rep, rest a little, do 2 reps, rest a little, do 3 reps, rest longer
– Add weight after each successful 1-2-3
– Do 3-5 sets
You’d be surprised how this rest pause style of protocol allows you to lift heavier than normal and get in some decent volume too.
You’ll find that this style of protocol is are more sustainable than a standard 5×5 with repeating weight as you can manage fatigue levels far better while still lifting heavy-ish.
In between each of the prescribed reps you could rest 15-30 seconds, just enough to allow you to get the next reps easily while still lifting heavy.
Rest 2-5min after each full set.
After you’ve done your reps/sets you can finish off with some loaded carries and perhaps some isolation work for weak points, or for vanity reasons, your choice.
This is so easy to apply you’ll probably ignore it.
You can use 3 week rotations before adding more total load to the bar if you choose, it will look like this:
Week 1: 3×1-2-3×80%
Week 2: 4×1-2-3×80%
Week 3: 5×1-2-3×80%
Week 4: 3×1-2-3×82%
And so on.
I’ve it a try and watch your strength, lean mass, skill in the lift and enjoyment of training soar through the roof.

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Why you miss with HIIT.

Morning All,
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is one of the most popular training methods of a great many people these days.
While the concept is a solid one, it’s something that is being abused because there is only so much HIIT you can do each week.
Given this fact people actually end up doing MISS (moderate intensity steady state).
It’s not uncommon for people to do claim the do 4 and sometimes more session of HIIT per week, now the intentions are good however the body just can’t keep up with those kinds of metabolic demands.
I’m one to admit I couldn’t keep up with those kinds of demands and I’m actually quite conditioned.
If you’re one of the people doing this then I’m sorry to say that you’re not actually doing what you think you’re doing and the chances are your body composition reflects this too.
How many people do you know who claim to train this way, in this amount of frequency and unfortunately still have a fair amount of excess body fat, or at least more than you’d expect someone who does a lot of HIIT to have.
Quite a few I’d imagine.
One quick way to establish if your training has been successful if to test your VO2 max (the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise, used as a way of measuring a person’s individual aerobic capacity.).
You will find that most of the time people who have a high VO2 Max are typically quite lean.
Do you know yours?
If not then I suggest doing a test.
Here is a link to some tests and also a chart of averages:
So what can yo do with this information?
Well, once you know your VO2 Max you can correlate working to a % of it to your heart rate (this is what you should do for HIIT), that way when you’re training you will know where your HR should be for your intervals and so on.
If you do this you’ll soon find that your 4+ HIIT sessions of 1hour per week are perhaps reduced twice per week for at tops 20min.
Here is a quick example to try:
If you are lifting weights 2-3 times per week, do this after two of those sessions.
60 interval sprints at 92% HR (this is around 85% of your VO2 Max), rest 2min.
Try repeating that 5 times, this means 5min of work with 10min of rest.
Remember that each interval that your heart rate needs to be at or around 92% for the majority of the 60 second sprint, that’s how you maximise your training.
If you do this 2x per week (after you’ve lifted) you’ll notice a few things happen.
– Your fitness improves
– Your body fat starts to drop
– You learn what real HIIT is all about
It’s also advised to do perhaps 1-2 steady state sessions (70% average HR) for say 30-45min, I’d probably go for the 30min target.
So perhaps you weekly plan looks like this:
Monday – Weights + HIIT – as above
Tuesday – 30min Steady State Training (run, swim, row etc)
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Weights + HIIT -as above
Friday – Off
Saturday – 30-45min Steady State Training – as above
Sunday – Off
Try it and you’ll find things start to fall in to place.
Oh, also ensure that if fat loss/body composition is your goal then you have a sustainable calorie deficit in place and a decent nutritional protocol.

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Why 5×5 has stood the test of time

Chances are you’ve heard of the classic 5×5 workout protocol.
Many of the greats have done it starting off with Reg Park, ranging all the way to Arnold in his early days and is still used by many lifters of today.
Now something to consider is that there is no one way to perform 5×5.
Having the freedom to change the overall loading protocol not only helps with progression it also allows people to stave off the inevitable boredom that they may end up encountering.
Here’s some examples:
5×5 – 4 warm ups, 1 working set
5×5 – 3 warm ups, 2 working sets
5×5 – 2 warm ups, 3 working sets
5×5 – all working sets as warm up work done separately
5×5 – Heavy – Light – Medium
5×5 – Wave loading
5×5 – CAT
5×5 – Max Effort – 3-5% fatigue drop each set
5×5 – RPE loading set to set – EG 8-9rpe
5×5 – EMOM
Essentially you can make any adjustments you feel necessary to allow you to progress.
A personal favourite of mine if the H-M-L loading, as you may have guessed from my previous writings.
Using this protocol I’d suggest picking one lift that is lagging behind and proceed to train it 3xpw using the protocol like this:
H: 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
M: 5 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
L: 2-3 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
M: 5 working sets at 80% of your all out 5 on H day
H: 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
Repeat the above
You’ll notice that this give you plenty of sessions between heavy days, 3 to be exact.
This will allow your body to recovery and adapt to the 80% of your old 5, when the time comes around for the next all out heavy day your aim it to perhaps add a little bit of weight or maybe even complete the same heavy 5 you did before but with better form/speed etc.
If you hit a weight repeat then you’d take 85% of that weight for the upcoming sessions before attempting the heavy 5 again.
Let’s say you again stick on that same 5 rep weight and the form is again more solid. The loading would be 90% for the upcoming sessions.
When this happens to be the case, after the next M day when you you 5x5x90% of your current 5RM, you’d hope to now see a new total weight on the bar.
Once you do you go back to the 80% of that top weight and repeat as necessary. If you hit a new weight each time you do the H day then stick at 80% of that for loading, only increase that % if you find you can’t add a tad more weight to the all out set of 5 on your H day.
5×5 is safe, it’s effective and it leave little to the imagination.
You’ll make stay progress on it for quite some time, especially if you play with the variations of it.
Take some time and plan out you training.
Remember this protocol is mostly for strength with hypertrophy as a happy side effect.
When it comes to the other lifts/body parts you’re not doing 5×5 on, 2-4×8-12 will be good as accessory work, well any rep range will do, just go for a total of around 5 reps on 1-3 extra movements.
Give it some thought.

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Multiple reasons you should be doing the Dumbbell Clean & Press.

This exercises was a favourite of the lifters of yesteryear.
Here is why:
– It hits a multitude of muscles
– You can torch a lot of calories in a short space of time
– Higher reps equal an added conditioning bonus
– This one move can make you very strong
– The power generation will help with sporting endeavours
– A great time saver that will leave you feeling worked
– Daily activités will become easier
The list could go on, however you get the idea.
A good place to start with this lift in terms of sets/reps and loading is as follows –
3-5 sets
5-10 reps
1/4 bodyweight (each dumbbell, so if you weight 80kg that’s 20kg per hand)
The old strength standard for this was being able to successfully press half your body weight in each hand for a solid 5 reps.
Might seem easy on paper, not so machine practice.
Be sure to add this lot to your training and you’ll soon see the benefits.

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I bet you’re stuck, aren’t you

Do you suck at achieving the following:
Fat loss
Lean muscle gain
It’s okay, you’re not alone, we’ve all been there, some for years in fact.
If you search the internet you’ll find literally thousands of legitimate programs that if followed for an extended period of time would provide you with the results you desire.
However there’s a problem
You’re impatient
That’s what you struggle
You will often find that sustainability or rather consistency is the hardest part of a lot of truing programs, especially when people always want to be entertained and while you can make tweaks and even have different training sessions each time, they need to adhere to the basic principles of training.
– Specificity
– Progressive Overload
– Fatigue Management
Too many focus on the ‘individual difference’ side of things and as a result never get anywhere.
While it is true that people are not the same, you’ll find that a simple program of basic compound movements, sprints and whole foods won’t do many people any injustice.
If you take the time to read any of my posts (which I appreciate by the way), you’ll notice they all follow a very simple formula and that is for the simple reason that is works, every time.
The only issue is people wrongly assume they’re more advanced than they are, thus leading them to frustration.
Not to mention they also don’t train for their own reasons or goals, they go on goals they see other people working towards or goals they’ve been told to work towards.
Depending on YOUR goal there could be a number of programs that you may be given to follow that will help you achieve it, you may find there will be some monotony in the repetition, however it will probably work if you stick with it.
That said…
You can have a program that rotates and changes certain elements so long as they are not too far removed, kinda the same but different.
For example:
Back Squats to Front Squats to Split Squats and finally back to Back Squats once again.
In this cycle of movement the total reps/loads may change, al while still adhering to progressive overload.
This is where you need a good trainer to help you get this programmed correctly.
It’s also worth remembering that there is no inherent need for you have have an impressive physique, its not a mandatory things by any means, if you’re happy with how you look then more power to you.
Take a look at your current training and your results you’ve achieved, are you happy with them? Do you want more or are you content with the place you’re at?
Give it some thought.
You’ve no need to do more or change, however if you want to then just ask for help and you’ll receive it.

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7 Things Coaches & Trainers won’t tell you.

– It is your fault and only you can change it

– 4 week ‘programs’ aren’t a real program, it’s just a series of simper workouts to keep your mind occupied and any results that come from it will only be significant if you’re a pure beginner.

– To see significant results you’ll need to invest in a minimum of 3-6months of personal training.

– Their social media is largely a lie geared towards selling you their product.

– You’ll never hear about the clients that didn’t get results and why it happened, here’s a hint (both parties are to blame, however the coach takes the majority of this one as it’s often down to poor communication/coaching from the coach).

– Your excuse, no matter how logical, is still an excuse.

– This is their lively hood and all the time you dick about, slack off in training, forego behaviour change and don’t do what you NEED to be doing, the worse it looks for their reputation.

After being in the industry for many a year now, I can say with a clear conscious that I no longer have time for people who don’t want to help themselves.

Sound harsh?

I really don’t care.

A lot of coaches/trainers will literally bend over backwards to help you, however if you’re not willing to help yourself then why should anyone else?

When someone newly qualifies in to the fitness industry they’re told to be motivational, inspirational, caring, empathetic and selfless, however this can often cause them personal strife and this shouldn’t be the case.

In your current job would you accept a member of staff who wasn’t pulling their weight?

No, you’d give them a reprimand and if it continued to happen you’d sack them.

You wouldn’t accept a poor attitude or behaviour, keeping this in mind, why should trainers/coaches be any different?

Nothing more than a rant today.


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Recovery & Self-worth

“It’s not about how much you can do, it’s about how much you can do and still recover from.”
This may seem obvious, however a lot of people think they can do that little bit more to get the upper hand, and for a short time they might indeed achieve this, however if it is prolonged a great many will go past the point of which they are recovering and eventually burn out.
If you look at training you need to have planned phases of overreaching, this means dipping in to the bodies energy reserves and even having them below a homeostatic level for a period of time, then you back off and allow your body to recover, thus achieving super-compensation.
That means you train hard, get tired, push a bit more, rest/recover and come back stronger than before.
Pretty simple.
A lot of people do this and then try to do more on top, this goes from overreaching to potential overtraining, or worse, they simply do more at a less intense level and never make any progress what so ever.
You can train hard or you can train long, not both.
The idea of training is to push past your limits, then back off and let your body recover so what used to be your old limit it now closer to your current norm.
Sadly the culture we live in leaves people wanting it all yesterday, not to mention they then become addicted to outdoing everyone else which can leave them frustrated.
Yep, frustrated.
How you or do you know anyone, who trains ‘hard’ all the time yet struggles to get results or progress and then becomes jealous of someone else who does half of what they do and gets better results, I’m sure you have.
When this happens all the excuses come out – “Oh, they have better genetics than I do.” or “It’s easy for them I have XYZ condition.”.
You get the idea.
What gives me the right to say this you ask?
I’ve been that person, I did too much and blamed everyone else for my lack of progress when it was all on my because I was doing too much, I was addicted to exercise and drove myself in to the ground because I thought I knew better and I didn’t, don’t be an idiot like me.
I have something to tell you.
Training doesn’t have to consume your life unless you’re a professional athlete.
If you work the 9-5, have kids and a life, you can look great training 3-4 times per week, in some or most cases 2-3 is more than enough, especially when combined with optimal (sensible) nutrition.
Mostly peoples mindset comes down to them trying to impress someone or impress others, why though?
Doe sit matter if you impress other people, seriously, does it matter to you that much? Really, does it?
There is a reason that the older people get the more you hear them say things such as “It doesn’t matter what people think.” – it’s true, it doesn’t, not really.
While we all have peers and people we want the approval of, seeking that validation shouldn’t rule our lives because its not healthy if it does.
It’s true that the praise of others is nice, it makes us feel good about ourselves, however there is something far more gratifying, self-worth. If you have that you’ll find you’re not only a lot happier but life is a lot easier.
Learn to be proud of yourself, if you always rely on others you will always be unhappy and wanting more, not to mention subject to their judgment and trying to keep everyone happy will drain you mentally, it’s not worth it.
Pick a select few who’s opinions are worth something and aim to gain self value, you’ll be much happier for it.

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A no nonsense approach to making gains, stripping fat, improving movement and getting strong.
Morning All,
I try to keep some training ideas popping up for you so that you have some options, as with most of the recommendations they’re simple and would do well to be done for 3month at a minimum.
So what is 50/50?
Well if you were born in the 90’s it was a game show, if not then perhaps you know it as nothing more than a statistic or BJJ set up.
If we look at applying this to a training program this is the result:
– Two exercises
– 50 reps each
– Done in as few sets as possible
– Rest as needed
Progression options are interesting, however here are my recommendations:
Strength – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 6 sets – rep options 5-10
Hypertrophy – increase weight when you hit 50 reps in less than 4 sets – rep options 8-12
Fat loss – Increase weight when you can hit 50 reps in less than 2 sets – rep options 10+
Now these are not set in stone, they’re just a guide to give you something to go on, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal you can use which ever of the above you enjoy the most.
As with most recommendations you’ll do well to have mostly compound movements to cover the full body filling your workout roster, training anywhere from 2-5 days per week will do you.
For example, your training days might look like this:
Day 1 – Squats/ Rows
Day 2 – Presses/Loaded Carries (10-20m is one rep)
Day 3 – Trap Bar DL/Dips
Day 4 – Pull Ups/Prowler (10-20m is one rep)
Day 5 – Squats/Curls – because curls (Y)
I jest, the last day would be Squats/Dumbbell Clean & Press.
You get the idea, you can put in any movements you like, just cover the full body with a frequency of each muscle group or movement of twice per week.
Depending on the progression option you take and the reps you use, you’ll find you can make some rather large jumps in weight to the bar, perhaps 5kg for upper body lifts and 10kg for lower body ones. The choice is yours.
As mentioned above, you can pick the rep ranges you enjoy and go from there. If you like doing 5’s, great start there, once you are doing say 5×10 instead of the 10×5 you started with then add weight.
If you like 10’s then start off with 5×10 and perhaps work towards 2×25, or some other ludicrous amount of reps, just do what you enjoy rep/set wise and pick things that will help keep your adherence up, once you get through the initial place of creating the routine and consistency, the results will come and at that point you’ll start doing what you need to do more often.

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