Tag Archives: training

They’re only words after all.

Respect, admiration and praise.
 
Just a few things most people want.
 
While maybe not from the masses it will be desired from either specific peers or people of importance to you.
 
In the fitness realm you’ll often find in a somewhat ironic twist that the people you want these things from are the ones who’ll put you through all the ‘shit tests’.
 
We call them friends.
 
Not just any friends though, your honest ones that you might even consider your bestie’s.
 
It is a few simple words from this ilk that can make all the difference.
 
On that same token though all it needs is one jibe and you get cut deep because that’s how friendships work 🤔
 
You might have read the words above and feel these aren’t for you.
 
If so that’s cool, however do you know which ones do resonate?
 
What do you want from your training and more importantly why?
 
Many will come up with the reasons that sound go.
 
You know like being their best self and all similar things, however admitting that there is a side of you that wants things or emotional sustenance you might say is okay.
 
To have a world of unanimity it must start from your heart.
 
Be honest with yourself and to your true motivations.
 
It’ll feel like a weight has been lifted and progress can truly be made.
 
So my good people, do you resonate with the three words above or are your ones different?
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Deliberate Practice FTW!

Did you know you’ll never be good at the things you don’t do.

🤯🤯🤯

I know right, quite the mind blowing sentence.

Funny thing is this is something a lot of people actually forget or just don’t seem to be aware of.

When it comes to fitness, or movement as a whole the use/disuse principle is quite really one people should keep in the back of their mind at all times.

If you are looking at having a certain set of skills they need to be practiced.

^^Once you acquire the skills maintaining them (depending on how high a level you want to retain) can take minimal effort.

Same goes for an area you’re aiming to improve or build upon, it needs some attention. 👀

All that being said, you’ve also got to accept there may be some form of sacrifice of what you have to gain what you want.

The cosmic balance must be maintained as it were.

I like to think of it like spinning plates.

You can spin only so many as one time, those will be the ones that are looking good yet there will be some that are slowing, others that are about to topple and a few that are already in free fall, that’s just life.

Using fitness as an example.

You are rather unlikely to bench press 500lbs while also being able to run a sub 5min mile pace on a marathon.

True enough it’s not an impossible task to achieve, however it’s just not probable or reasonable for many.

In our mind we see ourselves at our peak or what was our last peak of fitness, this leaves us with a hefty dose of cognitive dissonance in regards to our abilities.

You’ll also find it’s another reason people won’t push themselves out of their comfort zones and be humbled.

Unless it’s proven it can be ignored. 🤔

Many would rather live in blissful ignorance than uncomfortable awareness.

Sad but very true.

So to wrap up this little mid morning musing take some time to be honest with yourself.

What areas do you need to work on more than you do?

^^This can be in relation to fitness, life, business and more.

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Making the Jump

Results are easy and almost always guaranteed when your’e working with beginners.
 
Literally everything works due to their level of noobness.
 
As a PT/Coach if you don’t get a beginner to a goal then you might need to reevaluate your career choice.
 
The struggle comes from those who’ve perhaps been in the gym for a while and have achieved results once or perhaps a few times before they take up your services.
 
These are the one that need you to delve in to the realms of fitness far deeper.
 
Personally I split it in to 4 pieces.
 
1 – Their Why
2 – End Goal
3 – The Emotional Need
4 – Willingness to Sacrifice
 
Let us break them down.
 
1 – Their Why
 
Helping someone is easy, however helping someone reveal or understand why they want to do X,Y or Z is an entirely different matter.
 
Having a cast iron ‘why’ will keep people moving forwards because each time something crops up you can ask them if they remember why they’re doing what they’re doing (as in why they’re working towards the goal).
 
2 – End Goal
 
You’d do well to look at this in a big picture sense.
 
We might even say it’s the perfect outcome they they desire that links unquestionably with their why.
 
Once you know the big picture you can start to pick out the smaller pieces of it to help set the small milestones as this will allow those quick wins and little hits of emotional sustenance and validation that is sought.
 
A goal is more or a leaking tap dripping single water droplets every hour to fill a bath tub than it is using a hoe to fill a paddling pool.
 
3 – The Emotional Need
 
We do what we do because we want to feel a certain way.
 
Emotion drives many people, it is linked with their reason why they do what they do. The need is to fill a hole that they consider almost as important as air to breathe.
 
If the need isn’t being met then other methods will be sought to fill this void like emotional eating or some other such debauchery.
 
Knowing what/how/why people currently feel and more importantly why they want that to change and what it will mean to them is the key element many miss.
 
4 – Willingness to Sacrifice
 
There can be no change without change, and their can be no real change without sacrifice.
 
Such might be going out 2 nights a week on the lash instead of 5, or forgoing the tub of ice cream each night before bed and so on.
 
The only problem is that people get very emotionally attached to their habits and to sacrifice them causes quite a nasty feeling (usually loss).
 
When working with beginners they’re ready to give things up because they see it as only short term, then they revert back to their old ways and expect the results to stay; this is not how change works.
 
This is where working with those who’ve repeated this cycle become difficult as they’ve gotten trapped in no longer wanting to sacrifice anything while still desiring change.
 
We can relate this back to why they want said change, and if it is more or less important to their habit/thing that needs to be sacrificed.
 
You’ll often find there is an emotional attachment/need to the sacrifice in question which then leads us to asking which is more important, the thing or the end goal.
 
Some will say “Why can’t they have both?” and put simply it is because they just can’t due to conflict.
 
As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelet with out breaking any eggs.
 
Same goes for achieving a goal, somethings got to give.
 
This is how you can start to take those troubled clients forwards.
 
Understand it’s less about the training at this stage (although that is of course important) and more about the mindset required.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Nice Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is one of my favourite movements.
 
While there are many subtle tweaks you can apply in your form they all stem from two styles of snatch with a kettlebell:
 
1 – Hard Style
2 – Sport Style
 
The first is meant to generate more ‘power’ and make you stronger overall while still getting a good solid amount of volume in and increasing your work capacity.
 
The second is all about efficiency of movement so that you can get the most reps in a given time period (typically 10min in the snatch section of the Biathlon, only one hand change is allowed).
 
You might want to know which is better.
 
The classic answer is this; it depends on the goal.
 
While this is indeed the case it’s a cop out answer for people who don’t want to state a preference. Over the years I’ve done both many times and these days I lean towards doing the sport variation more.
 
Why you ask?
 
Because it feels more comfortable with the sport bells.
 
When I grab my cast iron ones I will often opt for the hard style snatch as the handles and dimensions are more forgiving for it.
 
Here are the two in action side by side:
 
 
Notice how the sport style on the left emphasises fluidity and pacing which the hard style is more about oomph.
 
Both are good, both have pros & cons, you simply have to decide which is better for you and your goal.
 
Snatching works well in many ways.
 
– Ladders: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 both arms
– Time Blocks 5-20min
– Intervals 30/30-60rest
– Straight Sets 10×20 per arm
– Pacing per min: 60 seconds for 15 reps L/R x10min
 
The options are endless.
Snatches work best when largely focused on density in training.
 
One things both can agree is that there will be a great benefit to your shoulder health, strength, conditioning, body composition and overall athleticism when this glorious movement is added to your training.
 
Hitting some snatch work 2-3 times per week will truly be a massive benefit.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Superhero System – Stage 1 – Before The Call

So you want to look like a superhero.

Who doesn’t right?

They are everything we wish we could be and more, always doing the right thing and never having to sacrifice anything, they always find a way to save everyone.

While in this life we might not be able to achieve such heroism we can more than give it a good go. Failing that at least their aesthetic is something achievable for us.

Yep, the majority of people can look like a true hero with the right training.

*Please note this is a guide and there will of course be specific needs to each individual, however this will help get you started on the right path.

When we first meet our hero in any story they have a decent base.

Keeping this in mind we must ourselves create a solid foundation from which we can build something truly awe-inspiring. To do this we shall carve out the pre-mentored hero in 4 weeks of training at least 3 days per week that while effect, is unguided.

Day 1 –

W/U – Farmers Walk x10min
A1 – Squats 20reps, as many sets as possible in 20min
B1 – Clean & Press x10, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 2 –

W/U – Rowing, as far as possible in 20min
A1 – Presses 10reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
B1 – Bent Over Row 10 reps, as many sets as possible in 15min
C/D – Stretching x10min

Day 3 –

W/U – Hill Running x10min
A1 – Romanian Deadlift x10reps, as many sets a possible in 20min
B1 – Bear Crawling for 10-20m, as many set as possible in 20min
C/D – C/D – Stretching x10min

Our would-be hero has no real reason behind what they do, they just do it because it’s all the know.

The above will be a great place to start building your base of strength, conditioning, movement skill and mental toughness.

Soon enough though this base will be put to the test.

Enjoy,
Ross

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“We’ll let the dice decide.”

I actually heard this while watching someone play D&D.

The little imp had quite the maniacal grin on his face, clearly he was a rather brutal dungeon master.

You might be asking how this applied to making gains.

Especially as people who tend to play D&D are not the most physically active of people.

Well it is if you just don’t want to delve in to the depths of fitness to learn how to effectively program your own training.

Same goes if you don’t want to hire a coach/trainer.

I have something for you that is endless in its possibilities and easy to apply, like right now.

You will pick one movement from this list:

– Push (includes crawling)
– Pull (includes climbing)
– Squat (includes all lunge/single leg patterns)
– Hinge (Includes all sling leg varieties)

You will also do a stint of loaded carries, if doesn’t matter what variation you do, it will last for up to 20min (or perhaps more) depending how much time you have left after the deice have decided your rep/set fat.

Now go grab a pair of dice.

Roll them, whatever they land on will be your reps per set for the day (2-12).

Roll them again, this time you get how many sets you’re doing for the day (2-12).

Set a training timer for 45min, that is how long you have to finish your sets/reps, once you get them all done you will fill the rest of your time with loaded carries and perhaps the optional plank.

You can train 2-7 days per week with this method.

Simply alternate the lifts you do and use a different movement base each session, or don’t, that’s your call after all, who am I to stop you skipping leg day, again.

Here is what something might look like:

Day 1:
A1 – Squat 12×12 – you poor bastard
B2 – Famers walks, if you have time that is.

Day 2:
A1 – Press 2×2 – DO NOT roll again! Worship the die and their judgement, clearly they know you’re done too much bench in your time and skipped too many leg days.
B2 – Sandbag Carry because you’ve got plenty of time.

Day 3 –
A1 – Weight Chin Up 9×5 – I’m okay with this.
B1 – Sled Drag for the remainder

Day 4 –
A1 – Snatch Grip DL – 7×3 – Huh, neat.
B2 – Prowler Push until your time is up

Day 5 – Off

Repeat the above with different movements and carry options.

Respect the die, they will give you all the set/rep variety you need.

In regards to loading you can either us the same loads each set or change them, dealers choice.

No go, enjoy.
Ross

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Training Days Per Week

How many days per week should you train?

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, all of them?

Honestly it doesn’t really matter too much so long as your consistent.

You know there are people who hit the gym only twice a week and make more progress than those who frequent it 6 days and train twice per day.

It comes down to the premise of quality or quantity.

Technically you need both.

I know, it’s quite irritating.

The more quality you can put out the better progress you will make, that’s just how it goes, however no one starts off being able to do that, despite what fitness guy’s and influencers tell you.

Back in the day my philosophy for my own training was very much about all or nothing, luckily this didn’t extend to my clients and was purely pushed on myself.

Ironically many clients made great progress on 2-3 days of training per week.

Then there was me, slogging it away with multiple gym sessions, essentially every day and being honest there was very little to show for it.

When you keep digging in to your training tanks your body stops adapting and overcoming the stimulus, it merely learns to survive at any cost.

You will also find your body becomes more efficient.

Yep, it’s clever like that, so it ends up using less energy, especially when you place more demand on it.

Less resources become available for growth, progress and overall health and eventually the wheels fall of the wagon and you get hurt.

Then comes the mental anguish.

Along with the realisation that you’d become quite addicted to the gym, and despite all your ‘hard work’ you’ve very little to show for it.

I speak from experience on this one.

Even though personally I;ve always been lean and looked in shape (by the standards of an average person), I was causing a lot of internal damage and just not making the progress I felt I deserved or should have been.

Even knowing everything I knew, hubris got in the way.

Training should enhance our lives, not detract or dictate it.

If you find yourself binning off social events, or actually living because you MUST get to the gym less you miss your training then you’ve got a problem.

Seriously, it’s quite a big problem as well.

Addiction, regardless of the form is still addiction and at some point it goes pas the point of being helpful or even good for you and becomes toxic.

How does the old saying go – The poisons in the dose.

Or is it – The dose makes the poison.

Either way, I’m sure you get it.

I understand though, why you end up in this place.

We live in a very shallow and superficial world.

Both women & men are only as valuable as what they have to offer in regards to the majorities perception of them.

Better looking people get more opportunities in life, many may disagree, however it’s called the ‘Halo Affect’, a very real thing.

I spoke to a friend recently about this and they got rather put out by it and reacted emotionally as they don’t want people to think they only did well because of their looks, yet that is the exact reason they got offered as many opportunities as they did.

All of this brings us back to how many days we should train per week.

2 or 7, multiple times a day or just once.

My advice, 2-4 times per week is plenty for everyone.

These days I’d urge people to look at doing 2 gym sessions a week.

If you feel the need to doing something daily and move, that’s not a bad thing as you can pick something to practice, be that 20min of yoga, kettlebell work, bodyweight skill or something else entirely.

There are many many options available to us and in all honesty you can do which ever you enjoy the most.

Just beware the little gym monster of addiction.

It sits on your shoulder and tells you that you’ll never be good enough, lean enough, big enough, strong enough, or worthy.

When you start having these thoughts it’s time to step back from the gym and reduce training frequency before it gets worse.

Just something to remember.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Starting Points

Do you want to know a little bit about how I program for people?

Here you go –

Step 1 – Make it ultra complex
Step 2 – ???
Step 3 -They become life long indentured clients because they can’t workout what I’ve programmed 😂

A classic business trope.

The end.

Enjoy,
Ross

…..

Okay, on a slightly more serious note, let us look at the movement element of how I program so that hopefully you can take something away from it and apply to your own.

I base a lot off of a hierarchy of movement.

– Movement Itself (crawling, climbing, full body)
– Loaded Carry Patterns
– Hinging Patterns
– Squatting Patterns
– Pulling Patterns
– Pushing Patterns

These cover all the planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse), along with bi/unilateral and rotation/anti-rotation.

^^ More on that another day.

Depending on the ability of each person things will be more or less spicy.

You can’t build a fortress on a marsh.

The focus is on the fundamentals, getting people structure locked in and allowing them to move well.

So in short, we start with a pattern.

Example: Push Isometric

Basic – Plank Hold
Intermediate – Pike Hold
Advanced – Handstand Hold

All a pushing movement bias pattern, I’d start here to build on a persons ‘feeling’ or you might say their body awareness and capability to stabilise and create the required tension/torques in their body.

The three above might not seem like much or have any where to progress to except for added time.

Or some some will think.

Here are some progression options.

– Single arm
– Single leg
– Single arm & leg (where applicable)
– Staggered
– Resistance band pulling towards non-based arm/leg
– Unstable surface (safe options only)
– Alternating arm
– Alternating leg
– Alternating arm & leg (where applicable)

^^ This is without even looking at classic kit such as barbells, kettlebells and other lovely items.

Oh yes, people who spam the same cookie cutter programs are being lazy.

Actually that’s not fair to say, this is why we have a niche that we find and call our own, because when you look at all the possibilities and permutations you’ll see how you can’t do it all and that picking a field to specialise in is a good shout.

Can you start to see just how much progression you truly have to play with once you look beyond the classic ‘bro’ of sets/reps/load.

Of course there is nothing wrong with bro-training, however that is merely one element of training or programming, this rabbit hole is truly a deep one.

So my strong strong friends, where do you start?

Try looking at movement patterns first because it will allow you to see what people are doing a lot of and what falls woefully short (that’s where they need to focus – average person, athletes are another story).

The above can be a checklist of needs, it will allow you to program to a persons wants wile actually getting them to do things that help in the long run.

Any questions pop them below.

Enjoy,
Ross

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9 Reasons Bottoms Up (BU) Kettlebell Work is Awesome

*You’d do well to use a bell at least one size lighter than normal for your strict press (ideally 12-16kg for all, if this is too heavy for you then avoid BU work for the time being and just get stronger)
 
1 – It teaches you tension throughout your entire body.
 
2 – You need to mater the weight, the balance, the feel and connecting your body as a unit before you can even move a single step or attempt a press.
 
3 – The positive crossover to your pressing form is well worth the ego check.
 
4 – Hitting some solid reps in either the clean, press, rack walk (BU) waiters walk, windmill, TGU etc, all look pretty cool.
 
5 – Strengthens grip-glutes-core better than most other movements.
 
6 – Perfect for GTG and deload work.
 
7 – You will learn which arm is your weaker one, as such you lift with that one first and then match the reps you achieve with the strong arm.
 
8 – It allows you to get in a good session even if you’ve got limited weights (KB’s).
 
9 – Apart from all the strength, stability and coordination gains you’ll get, this way of lifting is good fun.
 
Here is are a few little complexes to try 2-3 times per week.
 
Complex 1 – Ladder set 1,2,3,4,5 – repeat 3-5 times each arm
 
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Squat
A4 – BU Rack Walk
 
^^ You can progress this one to using two bells.
 
Complex 2 – 2-3 reps per arm – 20-40min total
 
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Windmill
A4 – BU Waiter Walk
 
Complex 3 – 1 rep per arm – static hold each position for 10 seconds tops – 20-30min total
 
A1 – BU Clean to Rack Hold
A2 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A3 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A4 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A5 – BU Press Lock Out Hold
A6 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A7 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A8 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A9 – BU Rack Hold
 
*Finish with some swings or snatches each session 100-200 reps.
 
**You’d also do well to think about ‘pulling’ the weight down in the lowering element of the press, squats and windmills.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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My KGB Training Method – Part 1

***The how, what & why***
 
Before you think it, this isn’t related to the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.
 
In this particular incarnation of those letters they mean the following:
 
Kettlebells-Grapplling-Bodyweight
 
Three different days.
 
Three different focuses.
 
Three different outcomes.
 
You might just find this the refreshing change up in your truing that you need.
 
*3on-1off or 2on-1off-1on-1off works the best I’ve found, however you can work this in to however many training days you have per week.
 
Kettlebell Day –
 
3 bells are chosen (4kg difference each bell, ideally 8kg) a light-medium-heavy set as it were.
 
You might choose 24kg, 32kg & 40kg, you will alternate between those based on feel, once you choose your bells you’re stuck with them for the session or until you’ve mastered the heaviest one, at which point you go up a bell size, using the above 32,40,48kg would be the new set.
 
The aim of the day is to build strength, power, endurance and general fortitude (LBM).
 
You’ll find your grip, glutes & core gain quite the benefit from this style of work.
 
Grappling Day –
 
Don’t worry if you don’t grapple, it’s the principle that matters and it is this:
 
– Pick things up with your hands, carry, load, throw, push or drag them.
 
This is a day for things such as sandbag carries, follow day cleaning the weight on to a block.
 
Ideally you’ll be working with bodyweight as a baseline, then you can have a heavier/lighter option in the form of more bags of different/awkward objects.
 
Clubbells, Indian Clubs, Maces, Hammers, Bars and all the other good stuff like these fall in to this day.
 
This day serves as a dual purpose strength & conditioning tool, plus it will have a great crossover to daily life and making you anti-fragile.
 
Plus if you grapple it will also help that as well.
 
You’ll build a solid set of mittens, glorious glutes & mighty abs.
 
Bodyweight Day –
 
Learning how to get the most out of the least is truly a skill the frugal possess.
 
A skill we should look to bring to our training as well.
 
Mastering basic skills such as running, jumping, crawling, claiming, bridges, planks, hanging around and how to move well is something EVERYONE can benefit from, literally.
 
The purpose of this day is to help you develop at the very minimum the infant form of gymnastic abilities.
 
Once you master ‘feeling’ your body and working with it instead of against it you’ll find your overall awareness goes through the roof, not to mention improvements in posture, grip, glutes and core.
 
There we have it, the first part of this simple yet surprisingly effective method.
 
Now you know how the days are set, and what to expect (well, a taste of it), you must understand why.
 
Knowing the why is the most important part.
 
If my why, the why of this little system fits your why then you’ll achieve great things from it.
 
Say they don’t match, that’s cool because you have plenty of other options out here.
 
On this occasion at this time we just don’t see eye to eye this time around, perhaps in another life 💪💪
 
Okay, the reason why this got put together was simple.
 
It’s about improving quality of life for the long term.
 
Helping you become strong, move well and able to face almost every daily task without a second thought.
 
You’ll also find this is great as you can do it anywhere, you don’t need a gym, you can have all the kit on your own or amongst a group of friends.
 
Your progress is on your hands.
 
Part 2 to follow.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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