Sunday, November 30, 2008

Around the world (or in this case gym) in 80 days (or in this case..50 exercises).

I didn't get a chance to do the 'Bench Press' related stuff this weekend but I WILL do it early this week.

We did a recovery circuit session in the gym today...it was basically a 'gym tour'.

It went like this:
Upper Body Horizontal or Vertical Pressing - Push Ups, Incline DB Press, Flat DB Press, Floor Press, Bench Press, Flat DB Flyes, Incline DB Flyes, Shoulder Presses, Lateral Raises...etc etc.

Trunk Work - Sit Ups and all variations there of, Bridging, Ab Pull Downs, Back Extensions, Natural Reverse Hypers.

Legs - Back Squats, Front Squats, KB Squats, Leg Press, Plate Squats, Deadlift variations, Lunge variations.

Upper Body Horizontal or Vertical Pulling - Lat Pull Down variations, Pull Up variations, Chin Up variations, DB Rows, Bent Over Rows, Upright Rows...etc etc.

...and more Trunk Work.

The way we did it today was in 45 second work periods with a 15 second change over. We did 10 minutes of work...had a 2 minute work break and we did 5 blocks in total.

So to give you an example 1 work block may have looked like this:
1. Bench Press
2. Sit Ups
3. Leg Press
4. Barbell Rows
5. Natural Reverse Hypers
6. KB Shoulder Press
7. Hanging Leg Raises
8. KB Squats
9. Lat Pulldowns
10. Back Extensions

Then we took a 2 minute water break and then did a whole different block of exercises.


The circuit worked looked like this...5 blocks of 10 minutes with 2 min water breaks.

Nasher was having some problems with ball security so we did 3 sets of 30 seconds of the following with 2minutes recovery between sets.


He really didn't want me to take that medball off him.

Kira's Session

kira said...
Okay, so my training partner and I just did the workout ... here's how the main parts went (I had to change a few exercises again so both of us could do it)...

1 set of 10 x 8 sprawl jumps (it was difficult, but I thought that was more from the fact I hadn't done the exercise before)
How much rest did you take between sets?

What I look for here is really high quality anaerobic work. Don't sacrifice quality just for the sake of getting through it.


deadlift 80kg ... 44 reps
olympic ring pullups ... 22 reps
pushups ... 88 reps
This looks like a good strength block.

2 set of 10 x 8 sprawljump (dry reached after 8th set).
Same question as above...how much rest between block of work and how much rest between sets?

24kg kettlebell press ... 20 reps/side
25kg sandbag squat ... 40 reps
rope inverted rows ... 20 reps
This looks good as well.

3 set of 10 x 8 sprawl jump reps (difficult ... but I finally got the hang of the movement).

Same questions as above. If anything though I think this would of worked better the other way around. 3 sets first, then 2 sets and finish with just 1 set.

Few questions ...

I know the sprawl jump is physically tiring, but would it be useful to substitute it for something more sports specific for me (no sprawling in muay thai)?
Absolutely...do tuck jumps instead.

I could definitely put more intensity into a movement I'm good at (like round kicks or punch combos)

I found that the deadlift in the first block and the kettlebell press in the second block were the hardest exercises ... the other exercises (at that rep range) were easy) ... is that right? Or am I really weak in these two lifts?
Ideally what you want is to try and find a rep range with each exercise that makes them all equally as difficult relatively speaking.

Anyway ...

I really liked the workout and so did my training partner ...

thanks for that ... we'll tinker with it a bit (we love to tinker) and see if we can make it even more fun ;)
Sounds good to me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

You know I don't like to preach

I had a few conversations today that go me thinking...I know...you're surprised and shocked.

1. I was told by another coach that they liked the blog but wondered why I don't actually say anything in it...they miss the point entirely. So let me say this yet another time. There are tonnes of places where you can get much better coaching theory than in this blog. There are tonnes of places where you can get much better coaching practice than in this blog. There are tonnes and tonnes of research journals and on and on I could go. This blog is just 'sanpshots' of my coaching...it isn't a narrative. I don't want to talk about the theory and I certainly don't want to lecture anyone or try to convince them that I have all the answers...I don't...even when I do lecture or present all I really try to do is to show people the way I am trying to solve particular coaching issues or problems.

So...if you are waiting for me to lay some coaching secretz on you...then you're an idiot.

2. I was asked to by a young and aspiring coach about my thoughts regarding their plans for the implementation of a strength training program for the particular sport with which they are involved. I was trying to protect their identity but to discuss this I need to mention the sport...the sport is handball...so those of you that know...will know who I am talking about...the rest of you...don't worry.


This is the variation of handball if you were wondering.

Anyway what they were talking about was a weights routine for this sport...they were talking about including lots of internal and external rotation work, doing weights work to simulate serving and striking the ball etc etc. Anyway....so I'm not going to say that they are wrong...I just don't think it is the way to go for the following reasons.
a) I think simulation is a massive mistake. This is where coaches and trainers try to simulate what happens on the field, court or track in the gym...I think this is really dumb and it gives you the worst of both worlds as far as results are concerned.

b) Coaches and trainers spend way too much time trying to make gym training way too specific way too early for way too many athletes...I think this is really dumb as well.

3. Another aspiring coach was asking me about Barry's training...about the bench testing and how big a part benching will play in his ongoing program. This was another nudge to get me to do what I've been thinking of for a little while and that's to do a piece on bench pressing...the reason being in no particular order...this question about Barry, Lyle's newsletter bit on bench technique, an internet know it all who himself has or had absolutely rubbish bench technique, some guy who at one stage I was open to because even though I didn't know him personally others I did know seemed to think he was good...everything I've by him however...including this little piece by him on bench pressing was pretty much total crap. So it's been bench, bench, bench lately...so I'm going to rabbit on about it a little myself...completely in contravention of the very first point I made in this post....what can I say...I'm an enigma.

4. Barry's training and my training...I was asked about this as well today...you do realise that what I will have Barry doing what I am doing has absolutely bugger all to do with MMA or fighting. I'm too fat and too unfit...while Barry is too weak and too out of whack...that's it...fix what is right in front of you first.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Barry's first session

I am going to do this session myself this evening just to warm it up for Barry in the morning.

Bike 5 minute (Level 5)
Begin at 8 minutes:
10x100m with 30 second recovery between efforts.
5 minutes - Lower Body & Upper Body Mobility Work.
Begin at 23 minutes:
Block 1
1A Trap Deadlift (80kg)
1B Pull Ups (BW)
1C Push Ups (BW)
Time=10 minutes complete as many sets as possible.
Set Ratio: 2:1:4
Begin at 35 minutes:
10x100m with 45 second recovery between efforts. <48>
Begin at 48 minutes:
Block 2
2A 20kg KB Squats
2B Inverted Rows
2C KB Overhead Press (each arm)
Time=10 minutes complete as many sets as possible.
Set Ratio: 2:1:1
Begin at 62 minutes:
10x100m with 60 second recovery between efforts.
Finished at 75 minutes.

So this session will take less than 75 minutes from start to finish. You'll see the time markers I am going to make sure that we stick with those so we can see our heart rate responses overlayed and compare work done and heart rate response and also to see how we are doing when we complete this session again in 3 weeks time.


Me doing the same session Barry is going to do tomorrow.

I made a few adjustments to the session...I did 100kg on the deadlift and went 4, 2 and 8 reps in the first block. I got 8 sets done in 10 minutes.

In the second block I went 8, 8 and 4 reps. I got 8 sets done in 10 minutes with 3 seconds to spare.


This will give you an idea of the heart rate distribution.

We'll see how Barry get's on tomorrow.

Well...this is how he got on this morning. I'll post all the heart rate data and vids when I get home from work and training tonight.


This is what this session will do to your heart...be warned.

Row 1: 10x100m with 30 second recoveries.
17.1
17.3
17.9
18.5
18.8
18.9
19.0
19.8
19.3
19.5
Time = 3:05.8
Av 500m = 1:32.9


He still looked relatively composed at this stage...I think this was about the 6th and 7th interval.

Weights Block 1
Total = 22 Trap Bar Deadlifts, 11 Pull Ups and 44 Push Ups.



Row 2: 10x100m with 45 second recoveries.
18.9
19.2
19.0
19.6
19.3
19.7
19.3
19.6
19.4
18.9
Time = 3:12.8
Av 500m = 1:36.4

Weights Block 2
Total = 40 KB Squats, 20 Inverted Rows, 20 KB Shoulder Presses (each arm)



Row 3: 10x100m with 60 second recoveries.
18.7
18.6
18.2
19.0
19.0
19.1
19.9
19.1
19.0
18.6
Time = 3:09.3
Av 500m = 1:34.6


Can you believe this bastard had the gall to say that I make a lot of noise when I wrestle? Look at this mess of an individual!


Here's Barry's heart rate distribution for his session.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 8-14

Time to get another week under way on a cold and wet Monday morning in Dublin. When I woke this morning I did the Polar Fitness Test (before you ask what that is)...

Polar Fitness Test

The Polar Fitness Test is an easy, safe, and quick way to measure your aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness at rest. The result, Polar OwnIndex, is comparable to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), which is commonly used to evaluate aerobic fitness. Your long-term level of physical activity, heart rate, heart rate variability at rest, gender, age, height, and body weight all influence OwnIndex. The Polar Fitness Test is developed for use by healthy adults.

Aerobic fitness relates to how well your cardiovascular system works to transport oxygen to your body. The better your aerobic fitness, the stronger and more efficient your heart is. Good aerobic fitness has many health benefits. For example, it helps in decreasing high blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. If you want to improve your aerobic fitness it takes, on average, six weeks of regular training to see a noticeable change in your OwnIndex. Less fit individuals see progress even more rapidly. The better your aerobic fitness, the smaller the improvements in your OwnIndex.

Aerobic fitness is best improved by exercise types that use large muscle groups. Such activities include running, cycling, walking, rowing, swimming, skating, and cross-country skiing.

To monitor your progress, start by measuring your OwnIndex a couple of times during the first two weeks in order to get a baseline value, and then repeat the test approximately once a month.

With the Polar Fitness Test, you can also calculate the predicted maximum heart rate value (HRmax-p). The HRmax-p score predicts your individual maximum heart rate more accurately than the age-based formula (220 - age).

To make sure the test results are reliable, the following basic requirements apply:

You can perform the test anywhere - at home, at the office, at a health club - provided the testing environment is peaceful. There should be no disturbing noises (e.g. television, radio, or telephone) and no other people talking to you.

Always take the test in the same environment and at the same hour.

Avoid eating a heavy meal or smoking 2-3 hours prior to testing.

Avoid heavy physical exertion, alcohol, and pharmacological stimulants on the test day and the previous day.

You should be relaxed and calm. Lie down and relax for 1-3 minutes before starting the test.


So I am going to perform the test again next Monday when I wake up and then put a reminder in the diary to do it again in a months time to see what if anything has changed.

I scored '35'. I'd insert the table here with the results interpretation but I've no idea how to do that. For a man my age I scored 'Fair' which covers scores from '33-38'. So hopefully in 5 weeks time I will have made it from 'Fair' to 'Moderate' and next year I can start making my big push towards 'Good' which requires a score between '44-48'.

I also did my video fat log as you can see posted below. Not that I expect to see week to week changes but I just want to keep a record so I can look back in a month of 3 months time and see where I started from.


Day 8...113.7kg tonight at training...down 3.6kg on the same time last week. That's actually a little bit more weight dropped than I wanted.

Dietary Changes
I'm not overly concerned with the speed with which I am losing fat/weight...as long as it continues to steadily decrease. Since my training isn't really suited to Lyle's complete UD2.0 protocol I am going to try the following changes.

From Monday to Friday I am going to keep the carbs and the calories relatively low. I am going to make sure that I get 250g of protein a day. I am going to consume a small amount of carbohydrate before my training sessions to ensure that I have the energy to make certain that the quality of each session is high.

Friday night to Sunday night I am going to still make sure that I get my 250g of protein but I will also consume more carbohydrate as well. I'm not going to go crazy over the weekends just basically eat normally.

Training Changes
Monday to Friday I'm going to 'try' to do some conditioning work each morning if it is possible to fit it in and around my work...you'll be able to see from my training diary how well this works out.

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night I'll do my MMA training. Wednesday and Friday nights I am going to do my weight training in the gym and on Saturday and Sunday I am going to do my heaviest 'off mat' conditioning sessions....we'll see how this plan works out this week.

Training Log
Monday
AM - Speedball Conditioning
40 minutes, 2 minute rounds with 30 second recovery. 3 rounds of 'over and under hand' striking and 1 round of standard striking in each 10 minute block. I'm going to try and build up to an hour each morning during the week.

It is going to take me a little while to get my rhythm back.

The speedball work that boxers traditionally do...see every Rocky movie ever made...involves striking the speedball with the side of the fist and involves rotation and movement at the wrist, elbow and shoulder alone...this is done more for hand speed.
The style that I use is to hit the ball dead centre with the fist which requires a lot more trunk rotation.
I really like speed ball work for a lot of reasons. We used it a lot for rehabilitation work when I was at the AIS. It enables athletes to get a good low impact weight bearing fitness and or strengthening work out. That sentence covers a lot of ground so I will break it down.

If you look at the first part of the video and the 'over and under hand' punching style that I primarily use you'll see it is almost like a swimming stroke. It is a full body activity like swimming or rowing but for athletes who aren't either in the water or on their arse in their sports it has a whole lot more going for it from a conditioning point of view. You can see for yourselves the amount of trunk rotation and their is a not insignificant amount of knee bend but because the feet stay firmly planted on the ground their is no impact...unlike swimming or rowing though...it is weight bearing. I used to have athletes who had undergone knee and or ankle surgery on the speedball as soon as they could stand unaided. They were able to put an appropriate amount of force through the joint and surrounding tissue without risking further injury and keep and improve their strength and conditioning. I only manage to get a 30 minute and 20 minute session in last week...let me tell you....my hamstring, glutes and abs (the ones under the fat) all knew I had done a workout.

I'll be using the speedball in a few different ways...
1. General Conditioning - I'll do longer bouts as I get my rhythm and timing back...this will be typical steady state type stuff...most likely 4min or 4min 30sec bouts with 1min or 30 second recovery between bouts.

2. Anaerobic Conditioning - These will be 30 second to 60 second bouts with longer recovery between bouts of 60 seconds or more. This will be my high quality work.

3. Power/Speed - I'll also be doing some more standard hand speed work.

This one just one of the reasons that I got a new heart rate monitor so I could push myself with more structure to my training.

This mornings session I was averaging only 125-135bpm in the work periods...the speedball equivalent of an easy spin on the bike. I'll post more vids in the coming weeks when my hand speed and timing starts coming back to me.

PM - 2hrs of MMA training...good session...felt so much better this week than last week...missed out on sparring at the end which annoyed the piss out of me...in the drill before sparring they made me bleed my own blood... no one makes me bleed my own blood!!!
I'll be fine for training tomorrow though.

Tuesday
AM - No training...work got in the way.

PM - Rowed 6 easy 1km intervals with 1 minute recovery between each.

Rowing Intervals - All intervals done with 2 or 3 seconds of 4 minutes.

Then went and did 2.5 hours of MMA training...feeling tired...but great...really enjoyed tonight...got some great experience rolling with Jonny then punched the arms off myself for the last 30 mins or so with drills then a few rounds of easy Muay Thai sparring.

Wednesday
AM - No session this morning. Felt a bit flat so took it easy.

PM - Did the following session:
Bike 5 minute (Level 5)
10x100m with 30 second recovery between efforts.
5 minutes - Lower Body & Upper Body Mobility Work.
Block 1
1A 4 Trap Deadlift (100kg)
1B 2 Pull Ups (BW)
1C 8 Push Ups (BW)
Completed 8 sets in 10 minutes.
10x100m with 45 second recovery between efforts.
Block 2
2A 8 20kg KB Squats
2B 8 Inverted Rows
2C 4 KB Overhead Press (each arm)
Completed 8 sets in 10 minutes.
10x100m with 60 second recovery between efforts.


My session from today.

Thursday
Pretty easy day today. I was busy with work all day and literally had less than 2 hours sleep...was running on empty all day. Did 90 minuites of MMA training this evening.

Friday
Only got 20 mins to workout today...too busy with work.

Saturday
No training today at all.

Sunday

Had the watch in my pocket when I was wrestling with Nasher and obviously stopped it accidentally.

Did 20 minutes on the bike then did a lot of blocks of circuit work first with the Under 20's lads and then with the Senior lads for 1 hour and 45 minutes in total...did a tiny bit of coaching..then did 3 sets of 3 30 second bouts with 2 minutes recovery between sets of ball wrestling with Nasher...the heart rate monitor switched off in my pocket accidentally. I then finished with another 20 minutes on the bike at the end...so a good 3 hour session.

Food Log
Monday
Frittata with veg and cheese.
2 scoops of EvoPro.
Bowl of mince and cheese.

Tuesday
Frittata with veg and cheese.
2 scoops of EvoPro.
Bowl of mince and cheese with some cracker bed on the side.
1 mince pie and a little ice cream.
2 scoops of EvoPro.

Wednesday
4 pieces of wholemeal toast with ham & cheese.
Bowl of mince and cheese with some cracker bed on the side.
Plate of chicken breast with cream/chilli sauce and green beans and asparagus.

Thursday
2 scoops of EvoPro
2 scoops of EvoPro
Omelette with Veg
Some cracker bread...smoked roe and cream cheese with some pickles on top.
Some chicken breast and chilli.
I had some Swedish cinnamon rolls.

Friday
Some more Swedish cinnamon rolls.
2 slices of toast and jam.
Had pasta, rice & chicken for dinner.

Saturday
I ate EVERYTHING.
Had a hotel buffet breakfast...loads of cereal and muesli...and all the rest.
I ate all day basically.

Sunday
Had 2 bread rolls with sausage, mustard, mayo and tomatoes sauce.
Ate a heap of oven roasted chicken legs for dinner.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Old School...the client that is.

I thought people would like to see how I care and am sensitive to all my clients needs no matter what their age or competitive sporting level.


Masters tennis player with ongoing shoulder issues.

This client actually has a significant reduction in his shoulder mobility in his playing arm...so we went through a number of both static and dynamic stretches to deal with that and are integrating some strength work into his program as well...of which these YTW's are but one element.

The reason that I video these things is because when I write programs I often attach the videos so they remember what the exercises in the program actually were. We did several versions of this exercise to get the technique right.

Building a better Barry

I'm going to throw this up hear and finish it off later today and I have a whole heap of young athletes that I have to make wish they were dead this morning with some in gym circuit work.

I had Barry in the gym yesterday for the first time. We went through some of the stuff that we will be doing to get on top of his shoulder and back issues.


Assorted Shoulder Work.


As well as other stuff like this.

He also did some testing...his results were as follows:

Trap Bar Deadlift - 160kg. The pulled over double bodyweight easily. So I am happy with that. He has plenty of leg strength as far as I'm concerned and we'll be pretty much focusing on his speed and power with regard to his lower body training from here on in.

Bench - Did 60kg easy...we moved to 80kg (his body weight) and he could get it off his chest and that's about it. If someone can't bench their body weight then I'm not really that worried about how bad they are...they are just plain bad. Barry won't be benching again until he tests after Christmas I would say off the top of my head...and I'll wager that he gets 3+ reps next time.

Pull Ups - 5 reps...his target is 12 reps...so a good bit of work to do.

Push Ups - 33 reps in 60 seconds...his target is 50+ reps.

Inverted Rows - 6 reps in 60 seconds...his target is 30 reps.


Since Barry was such a smart arse in the comments section...I'm posting this just for him.

So in summary...Barry is like a lot of athletes that I see...he is obviously 'technically' very good at his sport...good enough to win fights. His sport specific strength is obviously also pretty good as well...as it certainly gets the job done.

From my point of view though...he is operating well below his physical capacity.

His deadlift aside...the rest of the results a mediocre at best and pretty poor at their worst.

Before he fights next I would like to see him score the following at an absolute minimum.

Deadlift - As is...double body weight.
Bench - 8+ reps at bodyweight.
Pull Ups - 8+ reps at bodyweight.
Push Ups - 50+ reps
Inverted Rows - 30+ reps

As you can see from his results...he is closer to some of those targets than others.

His long term target (as well as my own) will be the following:
Deadlift - Double body weight.
Bench - 12+ reps at bodyweight.
Pull Ups - 12+ reps at bodyweight.
Push Ups - 60+ reps
Inverted Rows - 40+ reps

Conditioning Test
He also did his rowing test at the end of testing and scored as follows:
170m, 159m, 154m, 150, 148m, 147m for a 929m total. I also have his heart rate profile and if I can figure out how to post it I will.

This test is pretty straight forward. You program the rower for timed intervals with 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of recovery. You complete 1 warm up interval to begin...rest 30 seconds then you do 6 intervals with recovery back to back. I want to see people empty the tank on every rep...so they get the best score on each interval.


Barry's Heart Rate Profile - From his rowing test.

It gives you a good idea of an athletes anaerobic power/capacity. Barry is too mono paced...you'll see some of the rugby lads bang out close to 200m on the first and perhaps a 170 on the second interval before getting scores similar to Barry's for all the rest. I want to see some power...especially in fighters...being able to go the distance is fantastic...being able to finish the fight early is better.

Want to see him score 185m+ on the first and total over 1000m. This will be his long term goal.

Stuck for time this morning so that'll have to do you...I'll be back later to expand and explain more.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

100 Push Ups in 60 seconds...

...is that even humanly possible? $100 says...we're going to find out sooner or later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I think I'm finished with the blog...

...I got a new heart rate monitor and I will be investing all my spare time into that now.

Against the advice of others...I got a new heart rate monitor to better keep track of my training...IT'S BRILLIANT!

The thing that I am concerned about most though is that I exceeded my maximum heart rate on numerous occasions.

I just thought this an important question

Below is a comment I saw on my Facebook feed by a mate of mine Dave Tate (it says we are friends on Facebook so it must be true).

If Batman took the same stuff as the Hulk would he be stronger? His structure is more suited to deadlifting. YES, I do have these thoughts.


This is Dave a few weeks after his successful arm transplant.

Dave is the big swinging dick over at EliteFTS. They have a great Q&A section over there if anyone want to get proper answers to very specific training questions. A lot of what little I know about powerlifting and strength training I've robbed from Dave and Jim Wendler and the other powerlifters they sponsor and who work with EliteFTS.


Dave actually used to be a powerlifter before he caught the ghey and started inhaling a little too much fake tan....this is actually one of my favourite photos of Dave...I just wish he was a little more bloated.

Text Messages

*Names are withheld to protect the innocent.

Just a sample of texts received this morning.

Random Athlete/Player:
Hey mate hamstrings feel great after rub u might b right i do have a few more years left in me! Enjoy carb intake day. C u in d morning.

My Response:
U should tell that stupid c*nt 'Other Random Athlete/Player'...if he wasn't as thick as pig shit he'd b getting those pathetic wheels of his worked on a bit every few days.

Random Athlete/Player:
He's a fag who does not like pain. I love pain!


These ones were two of my favourites this morning though:

Other Random Athlete/Player/Coach:
My arms are fucked, worse than yesterday.


Yet Another Random Athlete/Player:
I think I may be paralysed. I actually physically fell into d shitter dis morning. Had 2 get my Ma 2 pull me out. Stupid squats.


My Response:
Pull yourself together u pathetic baby b4 I have 2 ring ur mother 2 c if she noticed whether ur balls had dropped when she was pulling u out of d toilet!


It is the fantastic feedback I receive daily from the players, athletes and coaches with whom I work that really make my job worth doing.

Just this second got an important text update:

Update: my are still fucked and are killing me, I actually cannot function!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shoulder Stability and Control

You guys do all realise that I do more stuff than just have people do band pull-a-parts and stand around laughing at them don't you?

The blog doesn't reflect everything I do everyday...you realise that as well don't you?

Like for example today...went something like this:
Early, early morning...clients and athletes...mid morning...eggs and coffee and fighting with and harassing people on the internet...meeting at lunchtime with a sports organisation (I always like to schedule meetings around meal times...these guys got off easy as I'm in training...so just 3 cups of coffee) then over to Dublin City University to work with some intellectually disabled athletes...which is brilliant work...and not to different to the challenges I face with the rest of my athletes. Then some paper work...I hate paper work. Then this afternoon and evening I was in the gym and on the pitch with some more intellectually disabled athletes as you can see below.


Pitch conditioning session.

On to the topic of the moment...I do get a lot of emails from people asking a variety of questions...but lately a lot of them have been of this variety.

Subject: Improving Scapular Control
Will,

I've been reading your blog for the last couple of days. I was wondering if you could outline or send me a link (if I miss it) about the approach you use to improve scapular control?

I also see a lot of band pull apart video that you put up. Could you maybe write a blog post about how you analyze the video? Sometimes while looking at the video, I don't know how it has improved or not.

Thanks,
Random Internet Person


It really is quite simple...with regard to analysis...I look for symmetry and control...it is rarely ever perfect but you have to start somewhere. I mean there are books written all about this sort of stuff and it would be crazy for me to go into massive detail after other much smarter people have done so...but that's never really stopped me in the past. I start at the neck and work my way down. Look at how there traps sit, look at their shoulder height and position, the level and orientation of their scapula.

I have them do the band pull-a-parts in a horizontal and vertical plane...in an open and closed position. I have them do chest supported scap rows to see what their scapula recruitment is like...to essentially see whether they are trap or rhomboids...a lot of people can't use their rhomboids...they are just so trap dominant...see also athletes that are really crap at inverted rows...do you see how this all starts to come together...any way...then I get them to do some scap push ups and inverted shrugs and scap chins....see what they can do and what they can't do and how good or bad their control of these movements are.

Then we fix it. I mean seriously...how can you possibly think your bench, pull ups or chins, military pressing.....actually forget that...how can you seriously think you could be doing anything as well as you could when essentially the 'base' of all these movements is crap or even just worse than it should be.


This is the first known diagram of proper Band Pull-A-Parts and Shoulder Band Dislocates.

As always...if people ask proper questions or even make proper criticism I'll be only to happy to clarify or post more on the subject...and no, 'you're a fat idiot' is not proper criticism.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If I don't train anyone...what the hell are these lads doing getting in my way?


OK...so I admit...more than half of them are just standing around exercising the jaws.

Some of them are training though...Pottsy trained with me tonight...he's going to be sore tomorrow. I have to get him in shape for his 'bet'.

Nasher versus Pottsy
Nasher is going to be standing under one set of goal posts and Pottsy is standing under the other...Nasher has the channel down the centre of the pitch the width of the goal posts...all he has to do is get over the try line...and all Pottsy has to do is smash him before he makes it...I can't wait...I am going to train both of them so hard that the collision could be like the recent one in the particle accelerator in Switzerland...there'll be speculation that when it happens it may just end the world.

As for my bet...here's the latest update...
Brophy - €75 (Paid)
Penguin - €75 (Unpaid)
Logi - €75 (Unpaid)
Nasher - €25 (Paid)
Killer - €25 (Unpaid)
Louis - €25 (Unpaid)
Jimmy - €50 (Unpaid)
Bushy - €100 (Unpaid)

So sad...so very sad.

I have a new Project

Barry is going to turn me into a better fighter and I'm going to try and turn his anatomy back into some resemblance of what God and or nature intended...because he sure as hell got himself a long, long way from what was intended.

Having guys trying to take your arms off and beat you to death with them has got to take its toll.

I'll give you a brief run down of what we have to sort out from the top down:
Brain...well I really can't do anything about the problems there.
Neck...one too many guillotines I'd say...because it is screwed.
Shoulders...well have a look at this....

See anything unusual here?

He has one stiff shoulder and one hyper mobile one.
Back...he has one side built like Tarzan's and the other side built like Jane's.

I actually was sure that he was a lefty!

Hips...oh my...I don't even know where to start...I could be here all night...suffice to say...we have a lot of work to do...particularly with one very stick SI joint.
Legs...beside the fact that they look like pipe cleaners...not too much of an issue here...he has problems don't get me wrong...but mainly hip related and I think they'll clear up when we get his hip issues sorted out.
...and I almost forgot...he's got a bad toe...and a wrist that I'd hazard a guess is still broken from years ago...but that's the least of our problems.

I really have to stop leaving my camera around the gym


This guys username on the interweb is '21inchgunz'.

I hate it when people enjoy themselves in the gym.


Matt deserves an award...he did an awesome session tonight...I'm not sure what it was...I think it might have been a massive squat and or deadlifting session.

Matt really LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVES training legs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 1-7...training is basically starting today

Just so you know...I am going to keep my own training and updates here in this post. What I'll do is to make a Monday post every week and keep all the training details in that one single post.

I am going to post a video fat log every Monday morning so people can track my body composition changes...or lack thereof...whatever the case may be. I'm going to do that every Monday morning basically.

I'm going to keep a food log as best I can to give those that are interested an idea of what I am doing nutritionally...I'll keep track of my supplements as well here.

I'm going to keep my training sessions here and detail those so we can see how I progress...or not.

Now the thing is...I'm not in great shape...but that's because I don't train consistently and I pay basically little or no attention to my diet. People have made the comment to me personally and you see the comment out there particularly on the internet...along the lines of 'what do you bench?' or 'why don't you have abs if you know so much?' or that sort of thing...basically along the lines of why should I listen to you if you can't do it yourself?

Well the thing is...I never trained just for the joy of training...I trained in the past because that was what I needed to do in the past to compete when I was racing. So since I stopped racing I never trained consistently any longer because I didn't have anything to train for...well now I do.

I have a very specific goal in mind now. I am going to dedicate my training and nutrition to getting myself in the best possible condition I can to belt the absolute living daylights out of two people who consistently shoot their mouths off with no thought of the consequences.

Now, I agree...it is a stupid goal. I agree that it is very unlikely to happen because all those that know the individuals involved know that all three of us are absolutely full of it...that those two are unlikely to show up and will find every reason in the world to avoid this fight...on the other hand people will realise that unlike them...I actually can't wait and am really looking forward to it because it is a no lose situation for me. No mater what happens they are going to look pathetic...whether they win or lose which I'm happy to take a beating for either way.

I love external motivation...I never did anything just for the joy of it...I'm a terrible person actually...the joy for me of competition has nothing to do with self improvement or self satisfaction...it was always about being better than others and proving other people wrong who told me that I couldn't or can't do something. It is really quite sad...but I'm OK with that.

So in short...the people that really know me...know that I actually mean what I say...whether I'm full of it or not...and they know full well that when I have a goal I am extremely single minded and dedicated. So I have my goal I have a basic time line...I have to get myself in the best fighting shape possible by June 2009.

So we'll see right here whether I am full of it or not. We'll see whether I know what I'm doing when it comes to strength and conditioning and whether I can put what I know into practice myself...like I say in the fat log...the proof is in the pudding...and right now...I do resemble pudding...let's see if I can change that from here on in.


This is Day 1 of my training...I'll post a video update every Monday morning...I weighed in at 117.3kg

Proposed Day 1-7 Training Week
Monday
AM - Walk, Abs/Core/Trunk, Mobility
PM - MMA Training (2hrs 30mins)

Tuesday
AM - Walk, Abs/Core/Trunk, Mobility
PM - Conditioning Session

Wednesday
AM - Walk, Abs/Core/Trunk, Mobility
PM - MMA Training...going to try to arrange a one on one session with my coach to do some technical work.

Thursday
AM - Walk, Abs/Core/Trunk, Mobility
PM - MMA Training (2hrs 30mins)

Friday
AM - Conditioning Session
PM - Conditioning Session

Saturday
AM - Conditioning Session
PM - Rest

Sunday
AM - Conditioning Session
PM - Conditioning Session

Note: I am going to make sure that the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions are my heaviest sessions conditioning wise. I will detail the actual make up of the sessions in my diary as I go.

Proposed Nutritional Plan
I am going to start detailing what I eat so people can see it. I'm going to get feedback from Lyle and I will modify it as I go and work out what the best nutritional strategy is for me...hopefully with his help. My training weeks are going to remain pretty much the same week in week out so I want to build a nutritional strategy around my training to maximise my fat loss and maintain or increase my lean muscle mass. My primary body composition goal at the moment is to reduce my bodyfat.

Monday - I am going to eat only a small amount of protein on Monday's. Not just to make my food log easy to fill out but because I can. I am going to drink a lot of water today and coffee. I love caffeine. I think it is a great training aid and between coffee and snus I don't have a problem managing my hunger.

Tuesday - Today is going to be a relatively low carbohydrate day. The carbs I do take in are going to be consumed prior to and during training Tuesday evening. I'm going to make sure I get 300gram of protein every day...excluding Monday.

Wednesday - This will be my lightest training day of the week. This will be a veggies and protein day.

Thursday - The morning will basically be a veggie omelette and I will start carb loading after training Thursday night.

Friday - This will be a high carb day and also my hardest conditioning day.

Saturday - This will be high carb also in the AM before shifting to protein and veggies in the evening.

Sunday - I am going to make sure that the carbs I consume on Sunday are all consumed prior to and during my Sunday sessions.

So we'll see how this week goes in reality as opposed to how I've planned it out here and hopefully as I said we can get some commentary from Lyle with regard to what he thinks.

Training Log
Monday
AM - I've already been for an hour walk. I'm not ready to run at this stage. My body just isn't up to it. I want to get my bodyfat down to reduce my weight. I want to look after my joints and don't want to hammer them pounding the pavement. When I got back I did some dynamic flexibility work along with some ab/core/trunk work.

PM - Submission wrestling for 60 minutes followed by 90 minutes of MMA training...working on shooting technique tonight and 5 bouts of 4 minutes of sparring at the end of the session.

Tuesday
AM - No session this morning...but I am going to more than make up for it this evening.

PM - Had to work tonight so no fight training...which I already really missed.
5 sets of 500m on the rower all under 1.45 with 60 second recovery between sets.
Leg Press
8 reps 120kg
8 reps 160kg
4 sets of 5 reps 200kg
30 reps 200kg
Standing Ab Pulldowns
3 sets of 15 reps 50kg
YTW's
3 sets of 15 reps with 10kg
Assisted Pull Ups
3 sets of 12 reps(Assisted)
2 sets of 6 reps
Blast Strap Push Ups
5 sets of 12 reps
1A Plate Tricep Extebsions - 3 sets of 12 reps 20kg
1B Plate Bicep Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps 20kg
Lateral Woodchoppers - 3 sets of 12 reps
Lower Abdominal Curls - 3 sets of 20 reps
5 sets of 500m on the rower all under 1.55 with 60 second recovery between sets.

Wednesday
PM - Did 2 sessions today. Couldn't get a session in with Barry today so I did my own technical work...I worked on my sprawling and shooting for close to an hour including a good warm up.

This evening I did the following:
10 sets of 150m with 30 second recoveries
1A Single Arm Deadlift - 5 sets of 5 reps with 50kg (each side)
1B Push Ups - 5 sets of 10 reps
Lower Abdominal Curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
2A Back Extensions - 3 sets of 15 reps
2B Natural Reverse Hypers - 3 sets of 15 reps
10 sets of 150m with 45 second recoveries

Thursday
Didn't get my AM session today...work got in the way.
PM - 20 sets of 250's on the rower with 30 second recoveries...yesterday was tough...not the weights but the fight training stuff...different movements and different muscles...I am all kinds of sore in all kinds of weird places. The muscles in my feet are actually sore. Suffice to say...yesterday took more out of me than I thought so did the smart thing and took it relatively easy. Want to get good sessions in tomorrow and over the weekend.

Note: I think it will take a week or two to really bed this diet and training program down. I already have a number of alterations that I intend making next week.

Friday
PM - 20 sets of 250's with 30 second recoveries...done as follows:
1. 60 seconds
2. 55 seconds
3. 50 seconds
4. 45 seconds
5. 60 seconds
6. 55 seconds
7. 50 seconds
8. 45 seconds
9. 60 seconds
10. 60 seconds
11. 60 seconds
12.60 seconds
13. 45 seconds
14. 50 seconds
15. 55 seconds
16. 60 seconds
17. 45 seconds
18. 50 seconds
19. 55 seconds
20. 60 seconds
5 sets of 5 box jumps
5 sets of 5 mixed grips pull ups
5 sets of 10 push ups
3 sets of 12 hanging leg raises
3 sets of 15 kettlebell swings
10 sets of 500m with 60 second recoveries.

Saturday
AM - 60+ mins of MMA Drills

PM - 10min Bike
3 blocks of 6x30sec/30sec (Rowing Test)...I did 1 easy 30 second row with 30 second recovery then did 6 all out efforts...rested then on the 10min mark repeated the same protocol, then did it once more...I thought I may have been about to die.
Biked till the hour mark came up.
1A Hanging Leg Raises
1B Back Extensions
1C Standing Ab Pulldowns
1D Natural Reverse Hypers
I did 2 sets of 15 reps of each of these.
2A DB Shoulder Raises
2B DB Arnold Press
4 sets of 12 reps of these.
3A Push Ups
3B Inverted Rows
3 sets of 8 reps of these.

Sunday
Bike - 10 mins
Shoulder Mobility Work
Swiss Ball DB Press - 4x15(25kg)
Unsupported DB Row - 4x15(30kg)
Hi-Lo Woodchoppers-4x15
KB Squats - 4x15(20kg)
KB Swings - 4x15(20kg)
KB Press - 3x15(20kg)
Tricep Extensions - 3x15
Bicep Curls - 3x15
Standing Ab Pull Downs - 3x15
Bike - 10 mins

Food Log
Monday
Fasted today.

Tuesday
1 tin of tuna
6 scrambled eggs with a little grated cheese.
2 Scoops of EvoPro
1 plate of mince and grilled vegetables.

Wednesday
6 scrambled eggs with a little grated cheese
2 scoops of EvoPro
1 plate of mince and grilled vegetables

Thursday
4 scrambled eggs with ham & cheese
A plate of pasta with meat, grilled veg and cheese
2 small Mars Bars

Friday
2 Ham & Cheese Crosaints.
1 Chorizo and Mayo roll.
1 AfterMax Shake...with milk...I think it may actually be better with water...who'd have known.
3 cans of Guiness...3 more in the fridge..they are calling me....will update this later as I'm sure they are going to be drunk...whether they want to be or not.
Still making a decision regarding dinner.
Couldn't make a decision on dinner...so I ate 765g of Chinese entree.
Only consumed 4 cans of Guiness in total.

Saturday
4 scrambled eggs, grilled veg & cheese
1 block of chocolate
4 cracker bread with cheese and ham
2 potatoes, green beans & chicken breast
2 cans of Guiness

Sunday
4 tiny cinnamon buns
2 potatoes, green beans, chicken breast, onions, bacon, cream
4 biscuits
3 potatoes and chili con carne
2 can of Guiness
1 cracker bread + cheese
2 pieces of bread and cheese

Day 1-7 Summary:
All in all it was a pretty good week training wise. Didn't get to do as much actual hands on MMA training as I would of liked with work getting in the way but that's life. I think my program will work well but it is going to take a couple more weeks to get it just right I think. The same with my diet. It is going to take a little while to get is spot on. It was a bit of a mixed bag last week. These things are always an ongoing process though so I am definitely not beating myself up over it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just a quick update on The Bet.

Just so we all know where we stand:
Brophy - €75 (Paid)
Penguin - €75 (Unpaid)
Logi - €75 (Unpaid)
Nasher - €25 (Paid)
Killer - €25 (Unpaid)
Louis - €25 (Unpaid)
Jimmy - €50 (Unpaid)
and lastly...Bushy...who was sooooo convinced I wasn't going to get it that he went in for €100 (Unpaid)

Seems to be a bit of a struggle for some people to understand the meaning of the term 'bet' and what it actually means to 'make a bet' with someone.

I turned up on the day with €450 in an envelope...and obviously Brophy turned up with his money...because he paid me as soon as I won the bet...Nasher paid me on Saturday...everyone else seems to have mysteriously forgotten? It's good to know as next time I make a bet I'll remember that a man's word and his handshake doesn't actually mean the same thing in Ireland as it did growing up in Australia...I suppose it is just one of those little cultural differences between countries.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Promises promises promises

I thought I'd better get start on making good my promises regarding what I'd get done this weekend.

Rather than making separate posts I'll just keep coming back and update this post.

Saturday Morning Session


We had a coaching, management and executive training session this morning.

I learnt a great deal this morning about politics and branches of government...and the fact that Smythy's authority exceeds all of them.

Pottsy & I trained together...well sort of...he ran and I rowed while he ran and complained while he walked...Brophy did his rehab and Smythy modified his session to suit his needs...he still owes me 70 inverted rows and 10x150m on the rower.

Treadmill - 300m Sprint/100m Walk by 10
50 KB Squats
50 KB Rows (each arm)
100 Push Ups
Treadmill - 300m Sprint/100m Walk by 8
50 KB Reverse Lunges (each side)
50 KB Press (each arm)
100 Hanging Leg Raises
Treadmill - 300m Sprint/100m Walk by 6

Lessons learned...the 2nd block in this session is too hard compared to the first...the blocks are timed...the first block we did 5/5/10 and finished it in 11 minutes. The second block we went 5/5/10 as well but in reality it is obviously 10/10/10 and in took FOREVER so from now on I think if and when we do this session I'll halve the lunges and presses.

Physical Preparation for MMA
This is all the preamble...as usual...written off the top of my head...I am really looking forward to getting involved in this sport for lots of reasons. Some of which are as follows...the first being...there are endless ways to skin this cat. There are lots of different fighting styles that can win the day. I know people will have endless opinions on what is best and what is worst. I was told this week that Brazilian Jujitsu is the only way to go and that may be all well and good but I've a feeling that a BJJ exponent experiences getting punched in the face much the same as everyone else does. I can also remember when strikers were top of the heap...and when wrestlers had their day...and when Muay Thai was the way to go. I'm not going to make this a piece about the ever changing face of MMA because if it is an area that you are interested in I'm sure you are as aware as I am of how the sport has evolved. Styles have dominated...fighters have studied and learned how to exploit the best of these styles and also how to counter them.
Every athlete fighting has strengths and weakness both technically and physically. As I said...I'm not going to talk about the technical side because that isn't my area...but the physical side I've been giving a lot of thought to. I also wanted to preface this by saying that I've been trying to avoid as best I can reading or seeing anything 'out there' on strength and conditioning for fighters. I don't want to see what other people are doing or have done and modify it. So a lot of what I might have to say...may be completely off the mark...the thing is...like all of my programs...I'm going to do it myself first...to see how my body reacts...then I will try it on others and see how they respond. Coaching is always a process on refinement...sometimes it requires a complete overhaul of your thinking but that is rarely the case. So as I said...the first thing I like about it is that it is a sport open to all styles of fighting. It also caters for all different physical styles of fighter as well you see a lot of very different shapes and sizes fighting.

What I've Seen So Far
Like I said before...I've tried to avoid seeing to much on training..seeing some has been unavoidable though. I won't get into critiquing what I've seen so far but I do want to make some observations. I've seen a lot of 'gassed out' and exhausted fighters throwing punches and kicks that couldn't knock and old lady over...well maybe an old lady...you know what I mean. I don't think anyone would argue with me when I say that fighting is a skill...would they? They wouldn't argue with me that being a winning fighter is maybe 90% technique and 10% conditioning...or something along those line? Well what other sport would you deliberately practice crap technique and execution? It looks pretty stupid to me. I already know what people are going to say. They'll say that they are training that way because that's what happens in a fight...that you have to be able to throw kicks and strikes when you are tired because that's when it is important...well that is just stupid. Having a good 'kick' at the end of a marathon or 10K is important as well when you are racing....I can bet you any money that you want that no runner trains their 'kick' or does their speed work when they are exhausted because...that's what racing is like or that's because that's what it'll be like in a race. I could give you endless examples like this....all I am saying is that a lot of the fight training stuff I have seen so far...looks dumb to me...I've never seen anyone get better at a skill or improve their technique by practising it poorly. I know that one of the other things people are going to say is that...this is what has always been done and it has always worked in the past...and then I could give you a heap of examples of stuff in different sports that were always the 'tried and tested' way of getting things done...right up until a much better way came along.

So what does this all mean
Well to start with...I think that in fighting when all other things are equal strength wins. More importantly a very particular component of strength wins...that being power. People talk a lot about having a 'big engine', being able to 'go the distance' and not 'gassing out'. The thing is like in other sports I don't think a lot of people actually no what they are looking at when they see it. One of the things that I hear a lot in Rugby Union and or Gaelic Football particularly is that this or that player isn't 'fit' enough and that they need to 'run' more...this is bullshit...if that were the case...Rugby Union and Gaelic Football would be full of endurance and cross country runners...and it clearly isn't. In both these sports it is repetitive bouts explosive speed and acceleration...along with constant expressions of strength and power...it isn't for lack of 'fitness' that these things are unable to be reproduced on the field...it is the inability to recover between bouts that is lacking...that being the case you need a very different training approach than just running. It is the same with fight training...last Monday I was doing a submission wrestling session...the drill was simple...in pairs one partner was laying on their back on the mat...the other partner was in a dominant side control position. The object of the drill was that the person that was on their back had to either pull guard (get their legs between them and the person on toop of them), roll the person on top of them over or get onto there knees. At one stage I was working with some poor bastard that I had 25kg on and for 2 minutes I held him pinned to his back...I didn't let him pull guard, roll me off or get to his knees. Now we didn't move more than a foot from where we started the drill and if you were filming it you would have seen little more than leg movement...I would guess from years of experience that our heart rates would have been around 180bpm at the end of 2 minutes and we were both breathing like we had just finished a 3km race. The thing is...we didn't actually go anywhere and running a 3km race would be as good a preparation for what we did as playing a game of chess. Yes, both 2minutes of wrestling and a 3km race will get your heart rate to 180bpm....but for completely different reasons. Now this is not to say that there is no place from 'road work' in MMA training or fight training in general...because there is...it is just that I don't think that road work is doing for MMA artists what they think it is. I think 'general conditioning' work is good...until I get my body fat down and by extension my weight...I'll be doing mine on the bike and predominantly the rower. I won't be doing this though because I think it will get me fit for fighting...because I don't think it does...and I can give you plenty of examples of why this doesn't work...it is the same reason that the best 1500m swimmers don't win middle distance races on the track...the same reason that the best road cyclists don't win marathons...and why the best marathon runners don't win anything else...not even the girl...because they are skinny little bastards...actually that isn't the reason...it is specificity.

What I try to do with these players is generally the same...whether it be agility runs, straight out standing start or rolling start sprints, integrated skills drill, mixed training (eg. push ups and sprints)or whatever the training modality is I try to make the training interval long enough to be taxing but short enough that it allows the work to be done very close to whatever could be achieved in a max effort and the recovery period to be long enough so that the work in the next interval is of equally high quality. The way I manipulate the training after that is to either increase the duration of the work interval, decrease the rest period or increase the volume of work done. Rarely if ever will I alter two of these elements in the same session.

I am going to approach my 'off mat' MMA conditioning the same way. I am going to look to keep the quality of my work near the maximum of my capacity...as such at the moment I will be keeping the work interval duration quite short, the rest intervals quite long and the volume relatively low. Then as I improve and adapt I will start manipulating these variables. I will go into more detail of how I am actually going to monitor and assess this as I get more and more into it but I already have some ideas of exactly how I am going to measure all these things.

But first...I am going to have a full screening done myself...and I know people will say...if I was any good as a coach I would be able to work out all the things that are wrong with me and fix them. People will say that because people are idiots. I can use a calculator and read the tax laws if I wanted to as well but when it comes time to do my taxes I pay a professional. I could do all the servicing on my motorcycle as well...but when it needs to be done...I pay a professional. I know a fair bit about nutrition as well...but I will get professional to help me because that's what professionals do. They recognise their strengths and weaknesses. I am going to take care of the piece of the puzzle that I know. I am going to get my screening and deal with any issues that arise from that. I am going to get help with my nutrition to start dropping my body fat in a controlled and measured way. I am going to get Barry to coach me with regard to my fight technique...we'll work out a style of MMA that maximises my strength and minimises my weakness. I will then work out what I need to do strength and conditioning wise to compliment the style of fighting that suits me best.

Showing by doing rather than crapping on endlessly
What I am going to do is to is what I always try to do with the blog...show you what I do...rather than just talk about it or make it up as others seem to do. So I am going to pick two players. One that needs to put on some lean muscle mass and one that need to lose some excess body fat. I'll outline below what I think the individual issues are for each of them then detail their actual program.

In Season Fat Loss for Rugby Players
In short...this is primarily about nutrition. What we'll also do is to change the emphasis of their training off the pitch to increase the actual amount of work done.

In Season Hypertrophy for Rugby Players
This is also dependent primarily on nutrition but also managing training loads and frequency.

As I said...I was originally going to just write about this but on reflection I thought it might be better to actually show you what I do. So instead of crapping on today...I'll crap on endlessly over the next couple of weeks about this instead.

Fictitious Client Progress
If you are interested I'm sure you can find reference to Ian throughout the blog...the latest update you'll find here. I asked him to tell me how he was getting on. Here's what he had to say:

Hi Will,

Comments on the transition program below...I hope it is what you were looking for. If you're thinking of posting it on your blog you might want to trim it for brevity.

My immediate goal is to gain structural integrity of the shoulder complex...so I liked the inclusion of scap prehab stuff. It seems so simple now...two exercises per session...couple of sets of moderate reps...and I was good to go.

Performing the prehab stuff before the compound exercises of bench press, pushups and pullups worked very well for me. I felt I was able to groove the movement and control of the scapula before the main movements...I remembered your comments in Dublin about initiating the scap movement first in the lat pulldown and chest supported scap shrug.

After an indifferent and sporadic training history over the last 18 months I liked the volume of work...it felt good to be putting in some effort. It is surprising how motivated you can be when following a program that has been specifically written for you. Each session took 80-90 minutes but as my work rate improves I would expect rest periods to shorten...especially in supersets...and overall session time to shorten.

I liked the hip mobility stuff like overs & unders & hurdle steps. It is something I had done a couple of years ago or so and had neglected to use them again.

I also really liked the modified pushup...a new exercise to me. It seemed to target a lot of things and I would to keep this as a mainstay in the future

I've never been one for doing much direct core work...not sure why...probably because my lower back always gave out before the abs...but the ab wheel rollouts, bridging and modified rollouts have paid off. Until
3 weeks ago my best ab wheel rollout was something like 3 sets of 8, 8, 6 reps...yesterday I did 3 sets of 12 and the first 2 sets felt very comfortable..and it had been 3 weeks since I last did them.

Hate is a string word but a couple of things didn't seem to work for me.
Hip popup's...I really struggled to feel this in the glutes...indeed my glutes just feel numb most of the time since I spend 60-70 of my time sat on my arse working...and I do wonder just how much use I make of them in deads and squats.

Natural reverse hypers were new to me and felt very uncomfortable. I bought some wood and built a platform that I could use in the power rack to do these...however the compression of my upper body as I lay face down and the pressure on my lower back as I raised my legs meant that instead of 3 sets of 12 I did 3 sets of 4, 3 and 3.

Overall I did wonder how a transition program would be different from any other program...but I guess the range of exercises, their priority and the movements tackled gave some clues...and I did get a sense of this being something of a foundation that could be built on.

Onwards and upwards.

Ian.

Bench Press Technique

This is the girl that taught me everything that I know about Bench Pressing.

Team Heffernan


This is Mike Sullivan, some dude and myself at a seminar...or should I say...this is us while the seminar was going on elsewhere.

She made it through another week...

...without me killing her.


Far from perfect...but getting better...this was just in the middle of training.


These were the squats got so many peoples panties in a twist.

Like I've said lots of times...I don't 'set up' videos. We video a lot of stuff in training...probably about 30-40 minutes worth of video every single day...obviously it doesn't all get posted and obviously it isn't all perfect...I don't see many of the people who seem so quick to offer criticism rushing to post all their videos of their athletes training though? Funny that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yet more fictious athletes..

...I spent part of my day today with an athlete...who to protect his anonymity I will just call Barry Oglesby that I'm going to work with from Monday onwards in preparation for his next MMA fight next year.

The first step in this 'Body by Will and Beating by Barry' process is a full screening with Dave Lyons the physiotherapist that I work closest with. I will get around to detailing this screening protocol at some time in the future. The detail isn't that important suffice to say that it is a head to toe and back to head again procedure that has been developed to find any problems/injuries that athletes might be trying to hide....WE FIND EVERYTHING...even the stuff you didn't know you had.


This is the last bit...where we play the Rocky 'training montage' music...and instead of steroids we inject Barry with a set of hamstrings.

I'll talk to Barry on Monday and if he's OK with it I'll detail how I intend on putting Humpty Dumpty back together again...or I might just leave it to him to detail in his own blog and link to it here so people get an athletes opinion of my make believe training programs and advice.

I thought this was pretty cool

It was posted on the internet...I think they were having a go at me...I can't really tell these days.



It is actually Johnny Molloy an under 20's player who is also doing his best to nail down a position at prop on the senior team. Johnny's doing reps here floor pressing 50kg dumbbells in each hand. If they are having a go at me they probably picked on one of the worst people to actually single out...he's a kid with a 300+kg deadlift...no suit, no belt, no wraps and a 170+kg raw bencher...not too many kids doing that...in actual fact...there wouldn't actually be many professional senior international players doing that...so if there was really a Team Heffernan...I'd be proud to have Johnny Molloy in my team.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dolly 'Pardon Me' Parton had it easy...

...because I would kill to be working 9am to 5pm instead of 6am till 2am.

Just a quick update on The Bet.

Just so we all know where we stand:
Brophy - €75 (Paid)
Penguin - €75 (Unpaid)
Logi - €75 (Unpaid...but will pay Saturday)
Nasher - €25 (Unpaid)
Killer - €25 (Unpaid)
Louis - €25 (Unpaid)
Jimmy - €50 (Unpaid)
and lastly...Bushy...who was sooooo convinced I wasn't going to get it that he went in for €100 (Unpaid)

I'm just wondering if I missed it they would all just let it slide?

I'm actually planning some quite significant and detailed updates over the weekend...mainly because I know that no one actually reads the blog over the weekend and that way it'll give everyone something to do instead of work on Monday morning.

I want to try and cover the following...I actually want to put this out there...to put a bit of pressure on myself to get it all done:

I want to outline my thoughts on MMA training and physical preparation...strictly on the non technical elements of the sport.

I want to put some videos together on Saturday and Sunday to cover the elements I discussed in my presentation on Strength Training for Gaelic Football.

I need to finish up programs for the following freeloaders...Damian and Ian. I'll post some training programs and results for some clients so you can see how they are getting on and where they are going in the future.

I'll also put up 2 different programs covering either end of the training spectrum for contact sports...that being an in season hypertrophy program for 1 athlete and an in season fat loss program for another.

If this sounds unbelievable and unrealistic...you are probably correct...though if someone wants to bet me I can't do it...I'm willing to cover any and all bets.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mr Anonymous Strikes Again...

I just got an email from a mate of mine Mike Robertson...which is funny...because I have critcised Mike a lot in the past...although never for his work...just for his marketing...which thankfully has got better...or more to the point he stopped doing the stuff I hated...either that or he's hiding it on the internet where I can't find it. He sent me a link to the post below...I've just copied and pasted it below...the link and the article because I know a lot of people are as internet retarded as I am...that and the fact that I know my Mum has to print out my blog so my Dad can read it.

The post below was written by Mike Boyle who obviously has a lot of fans...just like me.

The Man in the Arena

An Ode to My Critics

It is amazing that coaches who have accomplished so little can find the time to criticize those of us who work for a living. I guess the beauty of being painfully unemployed is that there is plenty of time to keep up with the writings and workings of your enemies. Strangely enough the latest criticisms revolve around my own desire to improve my program. The beauty of this is that I admit a mistake and that opens the door for criticism. The criticism is that I have no system, no principles because of my frequent changes. The intellectual critic punishes the coach for learning. It’s a funny world. The real beauty is that the critic has no audience, a tree falling in the woods and no one hearing. However, the greater beauty is that the criticism reminds me of the great quote below and continues to strengthen my resolve to improve my program and my athletes.

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

This wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt goes out to all the internet experts who never write articles but, consistently post criticism of what other have written. They are never “The Man in the Arena”, instead they are the fan in the stands shouting at those who play.

Great minds like Columbus and Galileo were ridiculed by small minds. Sports has the term Monday Morning Quarterback. Strength and conditioning has internet experts.

It is amazing how many experts there are who know all the answers after all the questions have been answered by someone else. You know what I want to know? Have they ever even heard Paul Hodges or Stuart McGill speak in person? Have they ever conversed with these people?

Paul Hodges has done one person deep needle EMG studies on himself because he could not find subjects. Stuart McGill travels around the world and has spent thousands of hours researching the spine.

The average internet critic has spent hours trying to find the hole in the argument, to celebrate briefly the “I gotcha moment” alone in a room. The highest compliment one can achieve is to be the subject of mindless criticism. It indicates that you have truly made it.

I think this was a little harsh...

A concerned citizen left this comment on the blog yesterday:

Anonymous said...
I've been doing some research and have found that none of the rugby players that Will works with have aver achieved very much at club level let alone progressed while he has worked with them. In fact he has a history of damaging the careers of players. ask him what happend to Steven Gissing and why he is no longer coaching him? Bad coaching leads to bad injuries. Gissing won't be the last opne to suffer either.


I think if they had actually done some research they would have found that the lads had done pretty well for themselves...I mean I can claim to have produced at least one international player this year...that's something at least...well in all honesty I wouldn't claim it because it is only Cookies...and I don't think any coach would claim that rich knacker. I do have sympathy for him though as like him...my mother showed her love for me not only in affection but with copious amounts of food.


Me coaching Cookies...I may as well be talking to myself.


Cookies using his greatest athletic talent...his weight...to drag some poor bastard to the ground before falling on him...while playing for the good ole US of A.

I did get an email from one player who shall remain nameless...lets just call him Chops.

You can just tell that guy that I am your little success story!! I was a professional athlete for a number of years(I want you to use the word athlete it makes it seem like I was doing something better other then going on the piss and eating out of the "snack cabin" in Rotherham!)then after 12 weeks or whatever it was with you I got 8 chins........video evidence available as well!! also just tell them to go fuck themselves!!!!!!!!!!
I STILL THINK YOU'RE A FAT WASTER THOUGH AND COOKIES IS GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I think that pretty much sums up what most of the players would think. Below I have posted chops Pull Up progression.

Here is the first one...














Oh yeah...that's right...he got 0...which was his all time personal best as a professional rugby player...at least he was consistent.


This was his second test


This was his last test

I think that's a pretty good achievement. Now I know Chuck Poliquinn states that any decent strength coach should be able to get a girl up to 12 pull ups in 12 weeks but Chops isn't any ordinary girl in fairness. He had also proved in the past that he was immune to all strength and conditioning techniques.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I am sore already

I want to tell you about all the thoughts and opinions I have regarding MMA and the training that I think would work best...but I just completely made up new ones on my way home from training tonight on the bike.

I had a whole training plan worked out for myself...and as soon as I was about half way through getting my arse kicked tonight I realised that I had made a lot of mistakes.

I had a submission wrestling session tonight at KO Martial Arts...I thought I was going to be eased in...and I sort of was...but not easy enough....Barry is a complete arsehole...I really like him already. Now it isn't that the lads weren't welcoming...because they were...it's just that they have a 'different' way of showing their affection. Most of them are fighting in a months time so when they gave me a welcoming 'embrace' it mainly involved them trying to crush the life out of me while simultaneously driving their shoulder into my jaw and knee into my stomach...now I like a hug as much as the next guy...this was just a little over the top I thought.

I was stupid enough to have trained hard in the morning as well...some hard heavy intervals and a bit of weight training...NOT my best idea ever...maybe anonymous is right...I am an idiot.

I think I might have to resurrect the old athletes blog...that one that I let go to shit a while back to log my training. I don't know that I will be doing things much different to the norm in MMA but I have a good I have a good idea of what I am going to be doing training wise.


A little circuit work either side of a couple of hours knocking the piss out of each other

I won't say too much now...because I'll probably change my mind next week. Any way...I've got 2hrs and 30mins of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai to look forward to tomorrow night...and I am really looking forward to it.

Now to Anonymous and other associated matters
What can I possibly say about it...I been found out...I've been exposed....I've been uncovered...I suppose I'm lucky to have lasted this long.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

21 reps at 100kgs

Well not really...I had a bet with Michael Sullivan in Utah that I could get 21 reps at 100kgs. I don't remember if I tried and failed or didn't try it at all at the time and I can't remember if the bet was for $100 or $500...at this stage I'll go with $100. Anyway yesterday after I got my 180kg and missed 190kg twice I thought I'd have a crack at 21reps at 100kg. Now...to be fair to myself...which I always am...unlike how I am with athletes...the 2 misses at 190kg did not make for an optimal warm up and I was more than a little fatigued. Basically I just wanted to get all my excuses in before you watched the video.


Sooo close but not close enough.

I've set myself a few goals I would like to achieve before Christmas.
1. I want to bench 185kg...I would just like to crack that 400lbs mark and put some bait out there on the record board for other lads to chase.
2. 25 reps at 100kgs...I want to well and truly clear that 21rep mark that Sully said correctly that I couldn't do.
3. I'm going to get back down to 105kgs by trying to drop around a kilogram a week.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another of the reasons that I think the internet is so funny

Ages ago I posted this video....

Squats and Depth Jumps.

Thankfully TruthAxe finally got around to commenting on it.

Here are his comments and my responses:

TruthAxe
The girl means well. She's getting bad training here.

If she has to rest on a stool, she's using too much weight and thus not firing the stablizing muscles as well as the glutes on the way up.

Worse, is this that held squat at the end of plyo depth jump.

Plyo training is about the spring effect gained when off the ground (extension of muscles akin to a pulled slinky), and not about compressed muscles (contraction phase).


willheffernan
Brilliant insight.


TruthAxe
Thanks.

As you can see, because of the chair, she's putting bad, excessive stress on her knees on the way up from the chair sitting position.

Also, in plyo, the key is maximum jump up so the fall distance, thus reaction force is highest.

She should jump as high into the air as she can, spring off the floor, hit the second box and jump off that straightaway.


willheffernan
Spoken like a true internet expert.


TruthAxe
Ignorance is bliss eh?

The Irish. Same on both sides of the Atlantic.


willheffernan
Feel free to post all your training videos...show everyone how it is done.


TruthAxe
Thanks for showing the world HOW NOT to do it.

The child in this video is ruining her knees, shoulders, lower back and inner upper feet.

At her age, she should not do any squats.

Rightly, she should perform Bondarchuk step-ups, which would put the load where it belongs, hams and glutes first, calves and quad second and not where her ignorant coach has the load placed.

Are you ripping off folks, taking their cash while claiming to be a "strength and conditioning coach"?


willheffernan
So I take it that's a no then? You won't be posting your training videos and showing everyone how it is done.


TruthAxe
You acted so cocksure that you brazenly posted vids showing your bad training advice, ruining children's bodies for future athletics.

So now you're exposed. Crying like an effeminate doesn't help your case Liam, er, Will.

I checked out your blog.

It looks like you're an asshole to the whole world and not only to those who post comments on your YT vids.

Good luck defending the rest of your false beliefs during your living. You shall need it.


willheffernan
So that's definitely a no then? You sure you won't be posting all your excellent training videos?


TruthAxe
So you going to continue ripping off people pretending to be a strength and conditioning coach?

You're going to continue posting videos exposing your bad methods while damaging children?


willheffernan
You are a complete moron...but don't worry...I'll make you famous.


TruthAxe
As opposed to what a "partial" moron?

Wow, dumb and obxnious you are.

I'd love to meet your mommy and daddy to what pieces of work they must be.


Now I have a few observations and comments to make:
1. Do people really think that I can't see ROK's form breaking down here? We had 'worked up' to this weight...and yes...it was too much. Another thing is that we weren't doing the depth jumps for their plyometric effect. So essentially everything that TruthAxe had to say in his original comment was total rubbish...she wasn't 'resting on a stool'...as for putting stress on her knees...the stress is coming from the fact that she isn't holding them out as she was in earlier sets because she was fatigued...the stress isn't coming from 'the chair sitting position' as TruthAxe pointed out...as for the Plyo element...without going into too much detail here...what we were looking for was a super short contact time on the ground and on landing I actually wanted her to hold that power position longer...not shorter. We do a lot of work getting strong in and around that 'power position' both statically and dynamically as it has a huge impact on performance and I might make a post about this in the future...just for TruthAxe.

2. TruthAxe has all the elements of what I love about internet experts...he reads a lot obviously...he has the vocabulary down pat...he even slips in a bit of pseudo name dropping...there are heaps of people like this on the internet...they've read all the articles, read all the books etc etc and they know everything and nothing simultaneously. They give themselves away almost as soon as they open their mouths or post a comment. I also love all the insults about my nationality...I'm just surprised and disappointed he didn't make a drunken fighting Irishman comment...I mean talk about clich├ęs...I mean honestly...how could he not know from looking and listening to the blog and videos that I'm actually a drunken fighting Australian...thus going out of his way to prove my point that he's a moron.

3. People get confused I think about the blog and videos I post...let me clear a few things up.
- I post vids that I think people would find interesting.
- I post vids of athletes 'actually' training...they aren't set ups.
- I purposefully post stuff that isn't perfect...because I think it is more interesting than me going over the videos when I get home and picking ones to post that show me in 'the best light'.

4. With regard to this particular video...there are a huge number of flaws in ROK's technique...like I said...she was too fatigued in this last set. I knew this...she knew this...we look at video and we fix things up...I think from memory we went back after this set and did a light set just to work on her technique. As for me damaging her and my bad training methods...give me a break...I think her performances and the massive improvements she's made in the gym might going a long way to disproving TruthAxe's well thought out analysis...maybe he should email the coaches at Irish Basketball and see what they think...or ask the guys her age who's arse's she kicked in testing? She has made massive improvements in both her squatting and deadlifting and maybe from now on I should just 'set up' all the videos of her training so TruthAxe doesn't report me for child abuse.

5. Heaps of other coaches and trainers have emailed me have told me to delete and or just ignore the 'negative' comments...to take the high road. The thing is...that just isn't me...I like the low road. I love annoying people, I love winding people up...I love doing it on the internet as much as I love doing it in real life.

I didn't start this blog as a chance to 'show off' or to try and put myself out there as some sort of expert. I'm just a strength and conditioning coach...that's it...I'm not the best...but certainly not the worst either and blog or no blog...internet or no internet I would be doing exactly the same job that I'm doing right now. The reason the blog came about was because people were saying I was too negative and didn't make enough of a positive contribution...and I agreed with them...so I started it.

I deliberately don't want it to be like all the others out there...it isn't about optimising revenue, exploiting market opportunities, show casing my talent as a coach...it just is what is...there's a reason I don't write 'articles'...it isn't about ME telling YOU how to train...this is just what WE are doing...and take a wild guess how much WE care about what YOU think about what WE do?