Saturday, May 31, 2008

Home & Away

No...not the crappy Australian TV show...I mean we played at home and away today. Had a great morning session...the weather is great at the moment so we dragged all our gear out into the car park (did I tell you how cool it is having our own facility) all the kettlebells, boxes, rowers, benches and dumbbells and got our pump on in the blazing Irish sunshine...ahhh....Tropical Ireland...I love it.




















If she can Inverted Row...why can't you?

Then I went down to The Pinnacle Gym (thanks to Mick the owner of The Pinnacle Gym...I think he let us train mainly because he knows he's going to move some serious amount off liquid egg whites over the next several months while I'm dieting) in Dublin city centre and met up with Johnny and Dave for a great bench session. Johnny's bench is going to climb another 10kg to 175kg I think based on what I saw today.


Johnny hitting 190kg on his partial press.

Dave did well also...he is one strong S.O.B and definitely lifts well above his weight class but is as uncoordinated as can be...I don't think he'll mind me telling you that...as I said it loud enough in the gym for everyone within a single city block to hear me. I'm going to video him doing his shoulder stability band work next week so you can see for yourself...it will look a little like he's doing his work during an earthquake or that he has a degenerative neural disorder...I actually wanted to rest my shake on his head while he was doing it because he would have mixed it so well he was shaking that much. Dave's going to get some great numbers and I'm glad he found me because he's incredibly powerful and is yet another one of the athletes I've been lucky enough to work with that will make me look like a much better coach than I am...great natural talent...just needs to be pointed in the right direction...I want all his PB's on the squat, bench and deadlift because he's going to smash them all easily in the future….and when I sell out at some stage in the future (we all know it’s sure to happen) I will take credit for all his hard work.


Dave hitting 135kgs easy on his partial press.

Friday, May 30, 2008

You can all stop discussing it now...it is true...I AM THE GREATEST COACH ON THE INTERNET.

I posted this the other night...and am again...just because it is so funny.


This is Chris NOT jumping 42 inches.

After making 36 inches easy...now only 2 days later through my years of coaching experience and excellence I managed to get Chris to 'peak'...in just 2 days and he jumped 42 inches easy...twice in fact....a 6 inch improvement in 2 days...now where on the internet would you get coaching like that...a foot and a half improvement a week at this rate from here on in...unfortunately Chris is going to Canada and as we all know...nothing good has come out of Canada except maple syrup...especially no decent coaches...so I'm not expecting any improvement on his return.


Chris easily hitting 42 inches.

Not nearly as stunning but equally impressive...because as we all know...the internet is all about letting people know how excellent you are...you might remember this...





















It had to hurt...yet it was sooooo funny.

Well tonight Fanj more than got back on the horse...he leapt onto it.


Fanj's 46 inch box jump...something like a big red phenomenon.

Only a 4 inch improvement in a week...but that's still means he'll be jumping an extra 208 inches in a years time.

Back to what I really love

Here's Gus's first set of box squats after his warm up...I know I say in the video...'That was a good one.'...but that was just in comparison to all the crap ones before that where he was plonking down on the box and rocking back and losing his arch.


Gus's first set after his warm up.

Then we worked on his form through the next 5 sets and this was his last set...I didn't even have to lie this time...he was much better...we still have work to do but he's definitely getting there.


Gus's last set of 8 sets.

They are all reaching a peak now...


Johnny repping with 220kg on his rack pulls.

I knew that would stir things up a bit

I want to deal with a few questions and comments that came out of yesterdays post.

I won't rebut every comment because a lot of them were in a similar vein but hopefully I'll cover the main ones.

Firstly, I don't work in Athletics...I dabble in it...and the point of my post was to point out that I think it is garbage to talk about 'peaking' in team sports...I just used athletics as an example because of the number of athletes, resources, coaches, pharmacists, medical support staff involved...and it is an easy event for people to understand...everyone knows what the 100m's is.

1. People made the comment that the 100m's isn't a good example to use and gave numerous reasons...that's fine...go and pick any other sport or event at the Olympics and take the same look at the results in them...because they actually make my point far clearer...the results are even worse...far less season best and personal best results.

2. While you're at it take a look at the results and the PB's and SB's that you are going to use to refute my point and you'll find all you do is strengthen it because the best people at peaking are all the losers...that doesn't impress me...when you are a crap international level athlete and you manage to produce a time good enough to categorise yourself as a bad one I don't get really excited about it.

3. Weather conditions were mentioned...fine...go look at indoor results...they're the same...the majority of athletes don't peak and the ones that do are usually the losers.

4. Pressure was mentioned...and I'm glad because from the look of the results these athletes produce their coaches should be sacked and they should be investing primarily in sports psychology because what their coaches are doing sure isn't working.

5. Swimmers were mentioned...go look at the results...pick any sport...I don't care...what you'll find is the same thing...there's no such thing as peaking.

6.Finally...someone mentioned the literature...well whoopty do...sports scientists are training historians...nothing that happens in sport is sports science or research driven...it is done somewhere, sometime, somehow by a coach and sports scientists try and prove it about 10 years later if you're lucky....and these are usually the same people quoting the 'literature' to these coaches explaining to you why it can't possibly work. The majority of 'literature' is all based on research on 'untrained college males'...if you want to base your training philosophy on those beer drinking wasters go right ahead...it's probably what all those coaches do that talk about peaking do...hence the results. I've actually sat in offices with PhD and Masters students shredding results of various kinds that didn't match the 'results' that were desired...literature is fine...I'm going to produce tonnes of it hopefully and you can bet every euro, dollar or currency of your choice that all the 'literature' I produce will back up and support every hypothesis I put forward. So don't give me the 'literature' says line...show me the results.

7. Then there were the questions I didn't really understand...of which this was the best 'Specifically, you seem to denigrate the idea of being ready to lift at SB or PB level all the time (the powerlifter example) but then deny peaking and advocate "consistency". How do those things not contradict each other?'...I think you are missing the point...I'll stick with powerlifting for a second...look at the results for any big, major competition...I'm not really into powerlifting in anything but a peripheral way...think it is a great sport...read a lot about it but don't follow it...just trying to head off the hate mail...look at the results and tell me how many of the competitors present hit PB's or SB's in competition. I'd also love to know how many of them missed totals and individual lift numbers that they had hit in training before...because I bet you I'm right...that the results support my contention that peaking is for losers and that it just doesn't happen...when one person peaks and the rest don't...that doesn't prove to me that peaking works...quite the opposite.

8. This is what Charlie Francis the track coach had to say about my post:

1: The Olympic Games are not a place for most to score PBs because the vast majority there are getting their asses handed to them- nothing to do with preparation and everything to do with athlete level. PBs are run in competitive conditions and most at the OGs are NOT competitive at all.
Which furthers my point...peaking is for the losers...they do it better than anyone.

2: Peaking is dependent on execution as well as plan. Some come in with tone too high and run faster in the rounds than in the finals, even from the same program- Gatlin vs Crawford, indication excessive intensity by Crawford close to the meet.
Which furthers my point...here's two athlete's from the same camp with the same coach...one goes well and the other doesn't...but the winner 'proves' that the coaches system is correct. This is actually one of the things that really annoys the crap out of me about coaching and trainers...go see the bio of any one of them...see how many of their disasters they list...number of athletes that bombed, clients that got fatter, how many athletes and clients their programs injured. The whole thing is a farce...a very successful multi Olympic gold winning coach who helped produce athletes in multiple sports that I was lucky enough to work under really early in my career told me after I got particularly full of myself after the success of one of my athletes...'Don't take all the credit when things go well unless you're willing to take all of the blame when they don't'. So does that camp get the credit for Gatlin's success or the blame for Crawford's failure.

3: Peaking is the ability to do your best when it counts and the same programs produce in the same way over and over again.
Which furthers my point...coaches are on the whole full of crap...this statement is the epitome of exactly what I'm getting at...if this were true...ALL a coaches athletes would do well...and they don't. ALL a coaches athletes would 'peak' when it counts...and they don't. ALL a coaches athletes would produce over and over again...and they don't. You can't tell me that your system works (and I'm not actually directing this at Charlie) because one of your athletes fires at some major event if 10 of your other athletes bomb...and this is exactly what happens...peaking doesn't happen...not in the way that it is described in the 'literature', not in the way that it is described in articles or interviews with coaches.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I wrote this a while ago...more of a conversation than an article...but thought it might stir things up a bit!

In most coaching circles one of the most highly debated topics is how to properly peak an athlete. There's several schools of thought on this, ranging from "mini-peaking" athletes throughout the season to "mega-peaking" them for championship games only. Most of this is based on periodisation and cyclic training based on that.

Then there's my school of thought: Don't bother peaking or periodising at all because it is crap right from the start.

I've only got 17 years of coaching experience but at least I started at the top destroying some of the best athletes in the world right from the get go...there's no better learning experience.

Over the last 10 years I can say my 'crash & burn' frequency is down in the less than 1% category and I have checkpoints in place to catch those mistakes early...early enough to ensure that no one else notices but me. Well...I suppose the 1% of athletes that I broke notice, but when your success rate is 99% you can just blame messing up on the 1% of the athletes that you broke. Now remember, I'm talking about athletes here, and not bodybuilders...that's a different kettle of fish. I only really worked with two bodybuilders, they both took first in the particular contest and went pro, and I retired from physique coaching....to keep my undefeated record intact.

Now, lets get back to peaking and see what the deal is...

Think about it, how many athletes competed in the 100 metre sprint in the last Olympics? OK, now how many of them set personal bests, much less set a new world record? It's not like it's a surprise, they know the damn Olympics comes along every four years, you'd think they could peak for it, but they don't. Periodisation just doesn't work. If the best athletes in the world, with arguably the worlds best coaches can't peak once every four years, then what the hell are all these coaches thinking when they try to peak an entire team at once, every season?

Here are the facts:

Men's 100m - Final

1. Justin Gatlin (USA) 9.85s Personal Best (PB)

3. Maurice Greene (USA) 9.87s Season Best (SB)

6. Kim Collins (Skn) 10.00s Season Best (SB)

So 1 guy manages a PB and wins and 2 guys manage a SB.

Lets look at all the other 80 guys who qualified for the 100m at the Olympics.

Men's 100m - Semifinal summary

Out of the 16 guys in Semi 1 & Semi 2...1 guy managed a seasons best.

Men's 100m - Round 2 summary

Out of the 40 guys in the 5 heats...1 guy got a PB, 1 equalled his and 2 ran seasons best times.

Men's 100m - Round 1 summary

Out of the 80 guys in the 8 heats...5 guys ran PB's (4 of those ran a PB which brought them home in last position in their respective heats...proving my theory that losers are the best at peaking) and 8 ran seasons bests.

So, what's my point...well just looking at all those results first....out of the 80 guys that started in the first round 12 of them managed their best time of the season and 7 out of 80 managed a personal best time...including the 4 of them that ran personal best for dead last place in the first round. Helluva peak, huh?

The point I am making is in relation to team sport where just about everyday I see some coach talking about peaking their team for this or that event....I say like hell you are.

How the hell do you peak a whole team for a game when whole teams of coaches, managers, doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nutritionists and sport psychologists can't get even a quarter of the individual athletes at the Olympics to peak for (an event that most of them have been working towards for over 4 years)? Have a look at some of the other events and the seasons best and personal bests from them...I picked the 100m as my example as it is actually a good percentage...it is much worse elsewhere...so what does this tell you about the planning and periodization of the best coaches on the planet...other than they all totally blow?

So where does that leave us?

I don't really make much of a point about the Personal Bests as they are lifetime achievements...I think the Seasons Bests that are more telling...especially when it comes down to running a seasons best to make it to the final or semi final or even the second round. My point being the following: the Olympics are every 4 years and 80% of the athletes there can't even produce their best time of the season? Just the best time of the season...not lifetime best...just the best of the season...I'm pretty sure that most of them realize when the season kicks off that the Olympics are somewhere within it and it might be a good time to be in the best shape possible? You think? Just maybe?

I won't even address the people who say they are in peak shape all year round. When is the last time that was useful? So you are a marathon runner, and you can run your best time all year round? Just buy a car. You're a powerlifter who can lift their best at any time? Why? When is the last time a powerlifting meet broke out when you were walking around doing your shopping?

I think about this a lot....and I mean 'a lot'...I want to make a few generalisations and leaps in logic here, which will basically outline my full thoughts on the topic:

1. I don't believe athletes really peak...ever...I mean they don't really peak for an event on this day of this month of this year...it just doesn't happen.

2. I have seen more records broken in training than I have in competition...the reason I make this point is that the myth is that people are brought to a high by an event or competition...yes, this does happen...but it is in the minority not majority of occasions.

3. Athletes should stay with 10% of their best at all times.

4. The 12/80 thing...it is actually way better than in other events and previous years...most of the time it is much worse.

The point I am getting at is that people constantly 'talk' about peaking and it just doesn't happen...at least not in the manner in which people describe it. There are thousands of text books and articles about peaking and it is all a total pile of crap.

What are the odds that at any World Championships, National Championships or Local Championships in any team sport will be a blow out? I mean surely all the teams in any of these events will be planning to bring their athletes to a razors edge? Will there be point between them? What happened to all the other teams...did they not peak...were mistakes made...are all of the coaches incompetent? Are these questions annoying or just rhetorical?

Like I said...forget the personal bests...I'd settle for seasons bests...but you don't even get that...take your Gold down to 4th place in the weightlifting at the Olympics for example and how little there is between them...having been involved with weightlifting I'd hazard a guess that those 4 guys have all lifted more in individual lifts as well as totals in training than they did at the Olympics...there is also a guy down in 7th place talking to himself on the flight home next to his team mate who won the Gold medal saying 'That should have been mine'.

I've been it, seen it and done it...as an athlete and as a coach and as I said to one of my athletes the other day...'You should be thankful for all the athletes who I destroyed on my way to coaching you...including myself...because it is all those mistakes and broken bodies that got me where I am today'.

Still want to talk about peaking your athlete (or even worse, your team)?

I say, aim for consistency...it wins more often. Peaks lead down into valleys, and you can't always control either of them...just be consistent. Leave peaking for what you do as you walk by the women's changing room.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've hardly the strength to live let alone blog

Diet is going well...running a massive calorie deficit...have to get better organised as well as I am not getting enough protein...I say massive calorie deficit because forgetting the rest of my diet...removing the 375-500 grams of chocolate I usually eat daily would create a large deficit alone.

Sports Psychology 101



Chris making his jump easy.

He was jumping from the oly platform onto the box...then took a break and wanted to try the full 42 inches...but the lads are masters of mind games and mental destruction and worked their vodoo magic on Chris...and this was the result.


I'll be sure to put up footage of Chris doing this easy when I get the chance to hypertrophy his self confidence.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fast running out of post titles

In today's news...I've decided that I will keep it to one post a day...well not posting once a day...but opening a post once a day and just putting everything in the one post.

I put the link to Lyle McDonald's second part of his fat loss for athletes article here and here for anyone that is interested.

My favourite thread of day from the site that banned me...because of my 'tone':
Is it true that over-exercising causes cellulite and makes your adrenal glands burn out? How much is too much?

Oh no my adrenal's are on fire and my thighs are dimpling! I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this board just to see what I'm missing out on.

I just wanted to let everyone know that Xeno Muller has been in touch...he reads the blog...I'm going to see if he wants to post some of his times on the Concept II rower for our records board...I think he'd do pretty well as he is an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist in the single skull. He won gold in 1996 and silver in 2000. So like me...he's a washed up former athlete...but I'd say he still goes reasonably well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A bumper update

A big update and post tonight which naturally I'll drag out over hours.

Got a nice deadlift...a little 'piece' on scapular control and the testing and details regarding hour zero of my own project...I'm sure you are on the edge of your seats...I'd grab a stiff drink because it is going to get ugly...real ugly...and fairly hairy as well...and more than a little fat.

Johnny weighed in tonight...up 5kg's exactly since he started with me and his body fat is down slightly...he's going to be an absolute beast next season.

So firstly Chris did his testing session tonight I don't have all his details to hand but he performed as follows:

Weight: 68kg
Trap Bar Deadlift: 170kg
Bench Press: 100kg
Pull Ups: 14 reps
Push Ups: 65 reps
Inverted Rows: 34 reps


Chris pulling a tidy 170kg on the Trap Bar.

Chris is coming back from a pretty ugly ankle injury...this was his first testing session and he did a great job...nice work Chris!

Poor Scapular Control and Mobility
I get a lot of this with athletes just starting with me and I think it is a major reason why they post such poor initial upper body testing scores.

His Mark trying to do a full scap push up. I'll make sure to show you how much he's improved in a months time.


Mark's Scapular Retardation

This is Darren who has been doing these on certain days as a part of what you see labelled in programs as 'Warm Up & Mobility'...I basically give the guys a couple of warm up mobility exercises to do before they start there sessions depending on what their key exercise of the session is...this is one of those.


Daz acting as my crash test dummy so what can see what it should look like.

I use the camera a lot in my coaching...it is much easier to 'show' an athlete what they are doing wrong...and just as importantly...what they are doing right than it is just to say it...I usually try to show them someone else doing it well also...much more effective than just verbally cuing...which I also do.

My own update is here in the athlete's blog...the same sort of rules that apply to swimming you should apply to my post....don't go in within an hour of eating.

The Fat Attack...5.30pm today the war on fatness begins.

Firstly, I'm not going to type out all the details of my diet...if you want to know that then buy the book...as I said at the outset...I specifically wanted to put this blog up not to lecture or to provide 'article' type information because there is heaps of that out there and as anyone who has been reading this blog knows...it's written by much better writers than myself. Instead this blog is about what is 'actually' done...well that is what my own personal project is about...I'm not giving you guys all the background...I'm just going to keep my food and training diary and give you an update regarding my weight and a visual video update weekly and you can all judge for yourselves how it is going.

You'll find all the details here. For those that are interested...as I said this blog isn't going to be 'about' me so I won't be putting my own updates here...it will only be in the other blog.

So you can check out to see what a fat mess I am this evening when I update this blog and the other.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Session Update
Just a progress update...Damian did his row again today...his last numbers are posted first and then today's numbers afterwards.

200m - 34.1 > 33.8
400m - 1:15.7 > 1:12.3
600m - 2:01.8 > 1:58.2
800m - 2:47.7> 2:42.1
1000m - 3:36.7 > 3:29.0
200m - 36.2 > 35.1
400m - 1:21.5 > 1:18.5
600m - 2:06.3 > 2:01.5
800m - 2:54.4 > 2:46.7
1000m - 3:44.1 > 3:35.8
800m - 2:52.3 > 2:47.2
600m - 2:07.0 > 2:01.5
400m - 1:18.7 > 1:17.0
200m - 33.0 > 32.9
So 26 minutes 51 seconds which shaves a minute or so of his previous best.



I was never great with maths (or spelling, or reading...or just about anything else even remotely academic come to think of it) but I think all those times were faster again this week...I'm not sure what to make of that...but I'm pretty sure going faster is a good thing.














He was so pleased with his session that he immediately went foetal in celebration. At least I think it was celebration...it may have been some sort of religious event because I'm not sure but from where I was in the gym it sounded like he was mentioning God over and over again.


Darren also did his first rowing session and did really well...he posted the following times.

200m - 38.6
400m - 1:20.7
600m - 2:08.4
800m - 3:02
1000m - 3:49.3
200m - 40.9
400m - 1:27.7
600m - 2:17.3
800m - 3:03.4
1000m - 3:58
800m - 3:05.6
600m - 2:18.5
400m - 1:25.7
200m - 36.6

Total time of 29 minutes 52 seconds...very nice first effort.




















Homework Tasks
I also did my homework. Below you'll find the video regarding the progressions for body weight exercises If people aren't happy with this video description let me know and I will re do it and make it clearer. I'm happy to keep doing it to get it right so everyone knows exactly what is what. Being unhappy with it does not include commenting on or complaining about the fact that I'm unkempt, unwashed and overweight...it is definitely a take it or leave it situation where those factors are concerned.


Body weight progressions.

Athletes Blog
This is a note to all the athletes that have been mentioned or featured in the blog...or who wish to in the future...go to Johnny's profile and copy and paste the format into an email or a word document and put your testing results and profile details along with the program you did on your current training cycle and email it to me...I'm not going to type everyone's out but I can definitely manage to cut and paste what you send me into the athletes blog...I'll also do this for anyone else who is reading the blog who wants to do the same...fill out your details using Johnny's template and email it to me and I'll put it up along with what you did on this training cycle.

Testing Explanation
I also went through the tests that we do and gave a bit of a definition...sorry it is a bit dark in places...I figured not being able to see me was probably a good thing.


I'm always being kept in the dark.

Damian's Week 3
This weeks training will be brought to you by the number 12.

Session 1
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Long Jumps - 10 sets of 5 reps
Natural Glute Ham Raise - 4 sets of 12 reps
Weighted Bridging - 3 sets of 60 seconds
Bench Press - 2 w/u sets of 12 then 4 sets of 12 reps
Chin Ups - 3 sets to failure
Seated Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps
Tricep Pressdowns - 3 sets of 12 reps
Take a breather and then do 10 rows of 400m with 1 minute recovery between each.

Session 2
3 sets of 10 rows of maximal 250's with 60 seconds of easy rowing between intervals and 5 minutes total recovery between each of the the 3 sets.

Session 3
Warm Up + Mobility Work
1A Pull Ups - 10 sets of 5 reps
1B Elevated Push Ups- 10 sets of 15 reps
Unsupported DB Rows - 4 sets of 12 reps
Plate Shifting - 5 sets
Elevated Single Leg Split Squats - 5 sets of 12 reps
Seated or Lying Leg Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps
45 degree Back Extensions (weighted) - 3 sets of 12 reps
Take a breather and then do 10 rows of 500m with 1 minute recovery between each.

Session 4
Row 150, 300, 500, 200, 400, 600 with 30 seconds recovery between sets take 2 mins rest and complete 3 sets in total.

Session 5
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Box Squats - 8 sets 5 reps
Single Leg Knee Drops - 4 sets of 12 reps
Torgue Press - 4 sets of 12 reps
1A Elevated Push Ups - 6 sets of 12 reps
1B Inverted Rows - 5 sets of 12 reps
Natural Reverse Hypers - 3 sets of 12 reps
DB Bicep Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps
Take a breather and then do 10 rows of 500m with 1 minute recovery between each.

Session 6
200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200m with 45 seconds recovery between intervals.

My Own Project
What I've decided to do is to have a go at Lyle's Rapid Fat Loss protocol myself. I'm going to read the entire handbook again tomorrow...I figure that this being the third time I might actually understand some of it this time...I plan to take notes...do my calculations and get it started on Monday evening at 5.30pm after I weigh in.

I figured that this is what most people would do...they don't actually have someone that they can get to do all the work and thinking for them like I can with Lyle...so they have to either work it out for themselves or if they are smart enough they actually get Lyle's handbook. So I figured rather than Lyle just laying it all out on a plate for me that I'd actually have a go at working it out for myself....after all...I'm supposedly an arrogant know it all...so I figured I surely must be smarter than a stupid American. I was actually discussing this subject with the with the lads and ladettes in the gym the other day...not the fact that I'm smarter than American's...after all...that's a given...what we were discussing is that the way I basically approached this sort of the thing in the past was basically to tell athletes to lower their carb intake and be sure of their protein intake (I actually did it in a little more detail than this...but you get the idea) then train the beejesus out of them...this works. Less calories and more training equals fat loss...trust me on that...but the thing is I don't think this is the 'best' way to do it.

What I'm actually going to do is to do 'my version' of the Rapid Fat Loss protocol for 2 weeks. I'm going to get Lyle to chime in as I go and tell me what an idiot I am and to point out what I'm doing wrong and then after 2 weeks reassess where I am and either push on with the same protocol or go onto a more modified diet. The thing is I want to be able to train hard while I'm dieting and when I did the Rapid Fat Loss protocol the last time I could barely muster up the energy to continue living let alone training...this I'll point out was mainly my fault as I don't think I did it as well as I should have. I basically just ate eggs, tuna, chicken and cheese...and didn't do much with regard to actually making those ingredients into actual meals...I'm going to do better this time. I want to make sure my diet supports my training while maximising my fat loss.

We are running a pool in the gym regarding how much I'll lose in my first week with the person who gets closest taking the pot. If you want to take a guess yourself do so in the comments section...you won't be entitled to any winnings but you can always claim moral victory.

The diet will start at 5.30pm tomorrow when I weigh in and document my fatness by way of video. I'm going to weigh in and video my progress or lack thereof every Monday at 5.30pm so you'll be able to keep track of how I'm doing and or how much I suck at my job. I'll keep a food log and training diary in the athlete's blog so you'll be able to keep track day to day of how I'm going. As always...I've more to say...and plenty more to rant about but I'm going to try and keep the ranting down to once a week and be positive and productive the rest of the time.

If I missed anything let me know?

Friday, May 23, 2008

I found out why I got a telling off


I'll keep this short because it isn't worth wasting much time on...I got invited onto a local fitness board/forum...and apparently some of the personal trainers that hang out there got there panties in a bunch...or so I've been told...that is all. I won't be going back because I don't think I can be bothered anyway...it was part of my...try to be constructive not destructive thing that I've got going on at the moment...but having some mod there tell me not to upset all the poor little personal trainers by speaking forcefully to them was just a bit much...talk about lame. If anyone that hangs out there is reading this you might want to go and let them know that 'Elvis has left the building'...and I'm comparing myself to Elvis in his later guise when he was fat, bloated and near death...because I'm pretty sure they'll still be crapping on over there giving me the good stern lecturing that they think I need to put me in my place...I'm just worried that they'll think I'm ignorant...for not responding...as well as being a big meanie...I'd hate for them to think bad of me because I'm really quite sensitive.

I won't bother with much more tonight...I'm going to get started on tidying up this blog and the athletes blog and start drafting out my homework so I can drop the vids and photo's into it tomorrow. So if there is anything else I missed homework wise just drop it in the homework post below this one and it will be done this weekend.

I just got a telling off...apparently I'm too forceful

Warning: Rant to follow:

Not here...but on an Irish fitness forum...they seem to be concerned that my 'tone' would upset people...and that if there were complaints...that they'd have to 'act upon them'...whatever the hell that means. Well that's yet another internet forum to which I will not be returning.

I think what actually offended and prompted the warning was probably not that I was simply commenting on the fact that people constantly complain about how crap and useless fitness instructor, personal training and strength and conditioning courses are...keep in mind...most of the people making these comments have actually done one or some of these courses. I think the thing that actually offended was the fact that I'm willing to bet that a good proportion of the moderators of this particular site either a) Teach and instruct for these organisations or b) That they got their 'qualifications' from them and are actually just annoyed with themselves for being useless when they did the course and feeling like fools for sitting there and lapping it all up or...and this is just a shot in the dark...c)That many of the board sponsors and advertisers just so happen to be these self same courses that even one of the moderators at the site who has done one of these courses...thinks that they are rubbish...and rather than being worried about me emotionally damaging someone with my commentary...they may have been more worried about their advertisers being miffed...but then again...I could be wrong...I often am.

I just find the hypocrisy of these people complaining incredible...and I just don't understand it....these are the same people who sat through the rubbish presented to them during these courses with their mouths shut...saying nothing...in most cases...then regurgitated it all for their exams. One of the posters admitted as much...which just plain annoyed me...sitting there doing the course...knowing that the instructors are spouting rubbish...then doing the exam and giving them back this same rubbish in writing...then getting your qualification and THEN whining and moaning about it AFTERWARDS...is just pathetic. These people should give themselves an upper cut.

These courses are run as businesses and I find it appalling that people put up with the level of garbage and erroneous information that is dished out and do absolutely nothing about it...please tell me...in what other industry could this possibly be served up and accepted by the people actually paying for it? Language courses where no one learned to speak a word? Cooking courses taught by people who couldn't turn an oven on? Where else but in the fitness industry would a bunch of people sit there and listen to instructors go on about only performing quarter squats because squatting to parallel or below is considered by them to potentially lead to permanent injury? Please....someone tell me?

The reason that the fitness industry and personal trainers have such a bad reputation is because people out there know that we put up with this rubbish. To sit there and listen to it and 'learn' it for exams when you know it is wrong...and say nothing...they realise that we're either incredibly stupid or just plain cowards.

I actually want to know from anyone reading this blog in Ireland if there is actually a fitness instructors qualification that is good? Is there anyone here who has one that they are proud of?

End of rant.

Homework Weekend





Gus was happily riding the bike when he heard about my body composition video diary...he wasn't happy.





















I am going to make time this weekend to sort out and organise the 'athlete's blog' and get it all up to date regarding testing and programming.

I'm going to do all the testing myself over the weekend...which I'll also have videoed so everyone knows exactly what is expected with regards to testing...I mean technically...rather than performance wise...because I am going to officially suck.

I'm also going to get all the details for my own project sorted ready to commence my 'transformation' (I just want to see if that looked as pathetic in writing as it sounded in my head). Well actually it isn't a 'transformation'...I prefer to call it 'getting in shape'...basically what I want to do is to get down to 8% body fat...I'll cease the dieting and training to that end when we agree that I've made it basically...once I do I want to start a phase to increase my lean muscle mass until I reach 100kg's. I know those numbers seem quite arbitrary...and they are....I chose 8% because it sounds better than 'single digit' and I chose getting back to 100kgs while maintaining single digit body fat...because even as an old man I'd like to take my athletes on and push them to make sure they well and truely put me to shame in the under and over 100kg testing classes which I will straddle like the unkempt, hairy, angry, grumpy and obstinate jakt strength and conditioning coach that I think I am under this hideous layer of fat currently coating me.

So I will post a weekly body composition video update so you can all mock and scorn my progress or lack there of as well and keep tabs on my food and training diary.

Is there anything else that I promised people I'd do that I haven't? Now is a good time to speak up and I will get us all up to date this weekend?


These will be the things that I spend most of my time digesting next week. I'll keep telling you...you should get these...but then again...maybe you should wait and see how it works out for me.

I don't know what will actually make me happier...getting super lean and completely jakt and proving that Lyle is as good as he think he is...or blowing out and getting as big as a house just to annoy him and make him look bad?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I love before and after type stuff

This before and after just happens to have been separated by one rest period of about 60 seconds between sets.


This is Fanj flying like a red super hero onto the 42 inch box...this is the before.

This was after...too far from the box on take off...hence all over the box on landing...there was a nice inner thigh injury too but I'm trying to keep this blog PG so I won't inflict the view of Fanj's torn up inner thigh.


I doubt a single athlete will make it a calender year unscathed.

Fanj got himself up...went looking for all the skin he lost...I found some of it right where he left it...as can be seen below.


If CSI comes in they might not know how many athletes I destroyed...but I bet they know who to look for.














Fanj and Rammer after they their mobility work followed by 8 sets box jumps. They then did a few warm up pull ups working up through their work sets with the weighted vest banging out there reps with an additional 40lbs at the end.

Here's their full session tonight just out of interest.

Warm Up & Mobility Work
Box Jumps - 10 sets of 3 reps
Natural Glute Ham Raises - 3 sets of 12 reps
Roll Outs - 3 sets of 8 reps
Chins (Weighted) - 8 sets of 5 reps
DB Push Up & Row - 5 sets of 12 reps
Roll Outs - 3 sets of 8 reps
1A DB Hammer Curls - 3 sets of 8 reps
1B Lying Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 8 reps

Johnny is getting stuck into his 2nd training cycle. Pulling 210kg for reps of 8...this was one of 5 sets. I need to get out this weekend and get some more chalk because the site of Johnny in straps is killing me.


Rack Pulls...8 reps at 210kgs...I can't believe people thought he wasn't doing enough back work?

Johnny's straps upset me...but how can I guy who's nickname is 'Killer' be doing weighted pull ups in gloves and socks...you'd have to be tough to get away with that.



Just as an aside...there was a lot of conjecture that my story about Sweden was just that...a story...for my Scandinavian blog readers...you'll know the chemical that powers this blog comes via the General...and no one would stick this stuff in their face without a damned good reason.

I love hate mail...keep it coming

I just wanted to make a brief post...I've been getting email...which is nice and the thing that makes me laugh is that most of it is negative...they point out things like but not entirely restricted to the fact that...I am old, fat, useless and full of crap etc...all of which is true...I don't disagree with that. They go to the trouble of pointing out that nothing that I've posted is anything special, hasn't been seen before or is anything great or fantastic...I just want to point out to them...THAT'S THE POINT of this blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The beauty is in the detail

Some of the best stuff here goes on in the 'comments' section...and rarely has much to do with me...I just thought I'd let the browsers know...I know there is also a lot of mindless drivel in there...but I kind of like that as well.

Not anything specific to update you on so I am going to go through a lot of catching up stuff.

We've made some decisions on the testing protocols. I think what we'll do is to break testing up into a beginning and end of testing session and also do a mid cycle test. I've been thinking of pushing my training cycles out to 6 weeks for a while so this will fit is nicely I think.

Basically we'll bookend the training cycles with the following testing:
1RM Trap Bar Deadlift
1RM Bench
Repetition maximum pull ups
Push Ups in 60 seconds
Inverted Rows in 60 seconds

In the middle of the training cycle we'll have a 'testing session' in which we'll do the following:
3RM Squat
Repetition maximum body weight bench
3RM Pull Ups

The reason being is that I think these are all good tests but obviously doing them all on a single day would be a real effort...so breaking them up this way makes sense and I think it will give us a good indication of everyone's gym based athletic balance.

I want to go through Hugh's stuff...I still haven't finished his program...like about 15 others that are open on my desk top in a variety of states of completion...but I have a template in my head and he executed tonight's session really well.

He did some mobility work to start...some simple...or should I say partly simple and partly not so simple 'overs and unders' Hugh's a little tighter in one hip than the other...he has another solid week of gym based mobility work then I am going to strap him down to the table and MAKE him more flexible....whether he or his hips like it or not. I'll get someone to video this when we do it...it might have to be rated R as a result of all the violence, foul language and screaming that will in all likelihood ensue...but I'm sure a lot of you will find it amusing. Then he did some band work....just looking at getting his hips firing away...I love the look Hugh gets every time he doesn't do something perfectly...I don't see that look often...but it always cracks me up.


Hugh pretending he's dancing stallion.

Then he did his trap bar work...3 warm up sets the built up to a heavy 6RM at 180kgs over 5 more sets...it looked a little too easy so I had him do another set at 190kgs after a good rest....only got 3...I guess that last set wasn't as easy as it looked. We did some weighted 45 degree hamstring/back extensions...basically we have the padding right down low on the thigh and do full back extensions...2 warm up sets of 8 and the 3 weighted sets of 8 reps...that was the entire session for him today.


Logi doing some RDL's with Hugh pulling 190kgs for reps in front of him.

Logi and Gus went at it hard tonight and I think they are both going to surprise when they do their testing next as they are really putting in the hard yards.


Logi and Gus...banging out their 8th 250m interval of 10 to finish their session.

They both seem to be getting into the swing of their program. If you have questions about it...ask them...and I'm sure they'll get back to you.


Plate shifting after pre fatigue work

Johnny did his fitness tonight...he knocked out the long intervals in 32 odd minutes...I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong. Then did his shoulder prehab work which consisted of the scap shrugs you see below...15 reps at 30kg, 45kg and 60kg followed by this Y,T,W,L shoulder complex.


Chest Supported Scap Shrugs

He did some high rep weighted ab pulldowns after this for 3 sets of 25 reps and then his band pullovers shown below...and that was it for him tonight.


Band Pullovers...after watching him do the worst windmills ever last night...I took it easy on him.

I'll upload the videos and come back and flesh out the details here and answer all the questions and respond to the comments.

I just had an idea...well someone just gave me an idea

Anyone out there reading the blog who wants to get 'amongst it' with regards testing...feel free to do our testing as detailed and film it and send me a link to your results and I'll post the test results and bio that you provide in the 'athletes blog'.

So it goes as follows:
Height:
Weight:
Age:
1RM Trap Bar Deadlift:
1RM Bench Press:
3RM Squat:
3RM Pull Up:
Squat - body weight repetition:
Pull Up - body weight repetition:
Push Ups - 60 seconds:
Inverted Rows - 60 seconds:
Note...all testing must be completed in a single day...the lads do it in a single sitting....so you can as well.

Some of you reading this must surely be training hard...or training others hard in your respective facilities wherever you may be...lets see what you've got?

I'll create a 'Random Stranger Trainers' record board...I'll even take records on an honour system basis but videoed records will have priority.

I'm going to film one of the lads complete testing this weekend so you'll know exactly the way the testing is performed...so get cracking.

In local news today...testing is a changing...along with the times!

1. No one...that means no body is to write on the record board other than myself. Any unauthorised record on the board will be wiped off immediately.
2. Records will only be set on 'testing days' no record performed or set outside of your 'testing day' will be mentioned in the gym...if I hear mention of any 'unofficial' record a suitable beating will be administered...and when I gas out...I will have someone take over the beating till I recover...at which time the beating will continue.
3. Strength tests will be as follows:
1RM Trap Bar Deadlift
1RM Bench Press
3RM Squat...below parallel.
3RM Pull Up...weighted...chin must be placed over the line of the bar...each pull up must be commenced from a dead hang.
Squat - body weight repetition...the ceiling for the squat will be 100kg's and the below 100kg's the weight to be lifted will be rounded up to the nearest 5kg.
Pull Up - body weight repetition...chin must be placed over the line of the bar...each pull up must be commenced from a dead hang.
Push Ups - total number completed in 60 seconds.
Inverted Rows - total number completed in 60 seconds.
4. The 'facility committee' will take suggestions and input regarding the composition of the field based conditioning tests for rugby in particular over the next week before formalising the format and make up of these tests.
5. A complete diary of all training sessions must be available for review with 24 hours notice...this diary will contain dates of sessions as well as their composition and shall include exercises, sets, reps and loads.
6. The 'facility committee' will meet over the next week to decide if all current records shall be wiped from the board.

This was decided by the 'facility committee' (Hugh and I) at our first meeting last night.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rest is big in our facility


See if you can find anyone in this photo actually training?

As usual...a tortuous dragged out update to follow.

I wanted to get this up as well. Rammer is an animal...but like most animals he has a very poor front squat technique. He and I are going to fix this though...he is very, very quad dominant and we are going to bring up his hamstring and glute strength and I'm going to post this same video angle to show you how much he improves once we tidy up his technique.



He did his testing tonight and I know he was disappointed with his scores...he has enormous potential and I think he has the ability to post some outstanding numbers in the gym to match his play on the pitch.

Everyone can breathe easy...I got a new sound system for the facility today...so no more crap radio...instead...everyone will be forced to enjoy my great taste in music.

I'm not going to update any more today...I'm going to actually do what I get paid for and write programs and try to think of ever more devious ways to inflict positive discomfort on those that annoy and aggravate me.

This weekend I plan to finish tidying up the blog and updating all the player profiles on the 'athlete's blog' (that is what I've decided to call it) and I'm also going to start my own personal project on Monday so I want to get my own program written and hopefully I'll have my diet in place...whether it is done professionally or is my attempt at dietary professionalism is yet to be seen but I will commence regardless. I've decided I'll video and or take pictures of all the measurements and tests so we all know that no funny business is in play and post them all every time they take place.

I really do want some feedback on this one!

For those of you who don't know...I trimmed down over the last couple of years from a hefty 138kgs at a body fat of what was...lets just say 35%+...it wasn't pretty.


























Me and my Mum...now don't let kids see this...they'll have nightmares...I actually looked like this AFTER I'd dieted down to about 130kgs.

I got that way because I ate like a condemned man...drank like a fish and got about as much exercise as a particularly lazy sloth...and I mean a real 'lay about' of a sloth.

I basically didn't train because I had nothing to train for...as I mentioned in an answer to a question posted previously...when I was an athlete (yes, I was an athlete...but it was a long time ago) I didn't train twice a day for upwards of 4 hours a day everyday because I loved it...I did it because I had to train like that to compete...competition is what I really loved.

For me...no more competition meant no more training...and no more training meant ending up as big as a house.

I used to race at around 70kg's give or take a few either side...the photo of me below is from after a competition when I was 21...and you can laugh all you like about the green tights...they were part of my Australian team gear...that's right...I represented my country and it wasn't as a competitive eater.


Before I became twice the man I was then...literally.

As you have seen from pictures elsewhere in the blog I'm somewhere in between those two me's...I'm currently around 105kg's and I'd say 15% body fat.

What I'm planning on doing is getting expert advice in the areas that I'm not strong in....which is mainly nutrition...which I have an interest in and try to keep well read about but am certainly not an expert and never hold myself out to be. While I take care of the training and to see what I can do when I put my own body where my mouth is...so to speak...as in show that I can get myself into the same shape that I do with athletes.

Now...instead of doing this in secret and just posting before and afters in 3 months time 'guru' style I thought I would open up a post for myself in the athlete section and document what I did and how I did it in detail. Now I know a lot of people do this in various places but I want to do a few things a little bit different.

This is what I was thinking:
Firstly, testing...that I do my testing protocol just like all the other athletes do and I film each of the tests so you see not only the number but the difficulty and manner in which the test was performed.
Secondly, I'll keep a complete training and nutrition diary. I'll record all the training that I do and what I eat and when including any supplements.
Thirdly, I'll have video of myself taken every week...a 360 degree photo basically. So I can chart my progress visually.
Lastly, I'll retest at the end of every cycle so we can see where I'm getting to performance wise.

The bit I'm interested in is what you guys think? What do you think of the idea? What do you think is missing to make it a complete project? I don't intend on changing the blogs focus from my athletes to me...the blog will continue as is and I will just have all this in a single chronologically listed post over on the other athletes blog along with all their details, programs and testing results.

I don't want to get a month or two months into it and think...'I wish I had of done this or that'...I want to think of everything that would contribute to the project being complete and informative before I ever start it.

So what do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

We had our first casualty



This is was happened in the gym tonight...only instead of water picture a huge pile of dumbbells and instead of a hurdle picture a 42 inch plyo box...it's always the last rep that gets you.

As is my want...I'm going to drag this post out over the next 2 or 3 hours. I want to answer some of my homework questions because I think they are interesting and also give you an update on HH's program. It was heaving in the gym tonight...we are already having to make plans to expand the facility which is an excellent thing to be forced into before we're even finished putting the finishing touches to our new HQ.




















Oh my God...did anyone else just see that mouse?

HH did a session tonight...warmed up and and worked on his hip mobility...then front squatted a heap of triples, did some high rep RDL's...poorly at first...but got better...he has hip, glute and hamstring issues that we are going to hammer away at over the next few weeks. He then did some heavy cable lower ab curls and then worked up to some heavy 5RM's on his rack pulls...still haven't decided exactly how I'm going to put his program together...but as soon as I know...you'll know.

Homework Questions

From Ian:
Hi Will,

Reviewing Johnny's next 4 week training cycle the things that stick out for me are...

low volume vertical pull (neutral grip pull in session 1)


Yes, well spotted. I don't really do the whole vertical pull, horizontal pull, vertical push and horizontal push stuff in the way that most do...I'm trying to think of a way to put this that isn't going to lead to more confusion...can I ask a question instead....if I'm standing and have my arms extended directly in front of me...as in...I have my arms in the horizontal push position...if I start raising them up towards an extended vertical push position at what angle do I leave horizontal pushing and start vertical pushing? Is it 45 degrees? If I raise them 44 degrees from the horizontal push position is it one group of muscles working and after another 2 degrees at 46 degrees of elevation past the horizontal is a different set of muscles working? What about vertical pulling and horizontal pulling? Where's the line drawn...what about the exercise in the video below...is this vertical or horizontal pulling?


Horizontal or Vertical Pulling?
I've seen plenty of articles about equalising volume and I know some people take the sets and reps and multiply it by the load...but seriously...do you not think this is a little extreme? I do look for 'balance' but I am a little more general. To give you another example...Johnny hasn't done any vertical pressing at all....none...but do you think he couldn't if I asked him to?

So to actually answer the question...yes, the vertical pulling is low BUT he is getting plenty of other back 'stress' that will have the 'effect' that I'm looking for from all the chest supported, DB and inverted rows he's doing along with the stress on his lats doing the heavy snatch grip rack pulls he has in Session 3. Does that make sense?

low volume vertical push (no strict vertical pushing but you've got incline DB oress in session 3)

Like I said...if I have them do this at 46 degrees does that count as vertical pushing?

high volume of both horizontal push and pull...more push volume than pull

Can I just say...one of the reasons that I like push ups is not for the horizontal pushing but for the scapular stability and control element.

low volume quad dominant...actually no volume...or have I missed something glaringly obvious? :)

low volume hip dominant...just the DB RDL's and rack pulls


I know you cleared this up in your later post...yes, this is all about the knee.

I'm not really asking any questions :)...just observing...high volume of upper body work against low volume lower body.

As an aside, I think the reason I'm not asking anything specific is because I tend to ask questions about little things like...why 5 x 15 of this, or why this exercise in particular, or why pair these two exercises and do straight sets of these...and I'm wary of being seen to be not looking at the bigger picture. So without asking you to go through the program line by line, what is the main train of thought...the big picture if you will.


I like supersetting accessory work for 3 reasons...1. I gets the work done faster. 2. It is quicker. 3. It takes less time.

The blast strap stuff targetting scap stability I guess?

Absolutely.

The thing that really strikes me is the shear volume of work...5 sets of 10, 12 or 15 reps...and I still can't tell what kind of loads you would prescribe for each set relative to 1RM. Johnny is a chunky guy...already carrying some bulk.

Most of these guys have quite a young training age...I would say most of my beginners and less experienced trainers probably do triple the volume of some of my advanced trainees. You'd think it would be the opposite wouldn't you? But the more experienced trainees actually KNOW how to empty the tank...a lot of these guys don't as of yet...they'll learn though...so for now I make up for that fact with repetition and volume...if they trained more intensely I'd give them less to do...but they don't...so they get it heaped on and I get to stress them through volume rather than intensity...does that answer your question?

Of local interest only


I'm going to buy a Bose Sounddock for the gym. I'm telling you this now so as to avoid any problems or confusion later...I am going to buy this sound system and that being the case you will all listen to and enjoy the music that I select. This is not going to be up for discussion. Any time I am in the facility we will be listening to the music that I choose...if you are all happy with that I've got no problem paying for the system myself...if however you want to have any say what so ever then you need to discuss it amongst yourselves prior to me purchasing it. It is as simple as that. Those who contribute to the purchase will have the right to contribute to music selection and that will be enshrined in gym law till death...or I decide otherwise. So you better all make up your minds in a hurry.

P.S: The unit will also be black rather than white as I think that colour better reflects my general mood and demeanour.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

When it comes to medicine...do you think you are smarter than your doctor?

Then why after almost as many years of study as doctors do people think they are smarter and know more about strength and conditioning than their strength and conditioning coaches?

As usual I am going to update my blog over the afternoon/evening....not just because I want to annoy people but just because I can.

I want to give you my opinions on the title of this post as it is something that has been discussed a lot in the gym and in my to'ing and fro'ing around various fitness establishments around town.

I'm also going to outline and detail what I think worked well and not so well with Johnny's last training cycle and give you his next one.

I need to make some decisions on HH's program and 'air' some of my thoughts about it.

On a positive side...I found out today that at least one person took my advice and bought Lyle McDonald's The Protein Book...it made me smile a little when I found out that they purchased it directly from Lyle's store so as to screw me out of my commission and because they knew that it would deny me some small joy and satisfaction at shafting a friend out of money. Well done...it is people like you that will make this blog the massive financial success that I hoped it would be from the outset.

Warning: Rant of sorts to follow.
We've been talking a lot in the last few days about coaching and approaches to coaching. This includes the preparation and development of athletes for whatever competition in which they take part. Now sport is very similar to the fitness industry in this regard. There is a very good reason that you look around gyms and see clients and trainees that have looked exactly the same for the entire time they have been training there...this isn't an opinion...it's just a reality...and you see the exact same thing in sport. There are teams that perform and finish the same place in the table every year because they do the same thing every season and yet expect a completely different result at the end of it. This happens from the very top of professional sport right down to amateur level.

Ask yourself why you get an accountant to do your taxes? Surely you can use a calculator? All the tax laws and regulations are available on-line? Ask yourself why you get a lawyer to represent you in court? You have the power of speech and you can walk into a library access to all the relevant statutes and laws? Yet everyone thinks they know all about fitness and training and can do it all themselves. They get programs from friends or from magazines...like those people who take advice from friends on DIY and from magazines on how to build a gazebo at home....and how exactly does that turn out? I'm not saying that people aren't entitled to an opinion...they are...but sometimes you have to put your ego aside and get some 'professional' advice. Also when and if you do this...you should think about listening to it...you might be surprised how things turn out for you.

Johnny's next 4 week training cycle:
Session 1
Rower (10 by 250m/30sec)
1A Neutral Grip Pull Ups - 10 sets of 3 reps
1B Push Ups (elevated) - 10 sets of 10 reps
DB Rows - 3 sets of 15 reps
Roll Outs - 3 sets of 8 reps
DB RDL's - 5 sets of 8 reps
Roll Outs - 3 sets of 8 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions - 5 sets of 8 reps
Cardio - 10km/Level 10

Session 2
Rower (10 by 250m/60sec)
DB Floor Press - 5 sets of 12 reps
1A Blast Strap Inverted Rows - 5 sets of 10 reps
1B Blast Strap - Push Ups - 5 sets of 10 reps
DB Windmills (each side) - 3 sets of 8 reps
Chest Supported Rows - 5 sets of 15 reps
DB Windmills (each side) - 3 sets of 8 reps
Ezy Bar Bicep Curls - 5 sets of 8 reps
Cardio - 10 30/30 intervals & 5km/Level 5

Session 3
Rower (10 by 150m/30sec)
1A Pendlay Rows - 5 sets of 12 reps
1B T-Push Ups - 5 sets of 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press - 3 sets of 15 reps
Hanging Leg Raises - 3 sets of 8 reps
Rack Pulls - 5 sets of 8 reps
Hanging Leg Raises - 3 sets of 8 reps
Cardio - 10km/Level 10

Session 4
Rower (10 by 150m/60sec)
Partial Bench Press (Foam Roller) - 5 sets of 12 reps
1A Blast Strap Inverted Rows - 5 sets of 10 reps
1B Blast Strap - Push Ups - 5 sets of 10 reps
Torque Press - 4 sets of 8 reps
Natural Reverse Hyper (Bands) - 5 sets of 8 reps
Torque Press - 4 sets of 8 reps
Cardio - 10 30/30 intervals & 5km/Level 5

Now...on Wednesdays he is also going to have a conditioning day...I'm not going to list that here for two reasons...1. Because if I do...Johnny might not show up. 2. Because I will decide what he is going to do on the day.

Questions?

I know I have some.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I just realised something

I'm going to stop taking so much advice...I've had people tell me I have to stop ranting...I've had people tell me I shouldn't update my blog so often...I've been getting a lot of advice from people about how I could make my blog more financially successful...the last one really made me laugh...I'm actually laughing right now just writing that...because if people really think that I'm doing this to make money than they really don't get it at all.

So I wanted to make this post for 3 purposes basically...1. To rant about people commenting on my ranting. 2 To make a point about the fact that I don't care if updating my blog too often annoys people or discourages them from reading it. I'd rather 3 people read it and really get something out of it then any number read it and have it be just like all the other 'successful' blogs out there. 3. I've made a grand total of about $20 out of the blog from the 2 people that were smart enough to buy a book of Lyle McDonald's. That is not great compensation for the time I put into my blog when you really break it down...and I plan to actually put more time into it in the future so I figure I should be breaking the 20cents per hour mark soon if book sales grow exponentially.

There are a few things I've been thinking about today.

1. HH's program...just wanted to let him know it is on my mind because I know he's keen to get started.

2. I find it really weird that people will spend €60 on something like a protein supplement which contains 30 serves and won't spend €20 on a book which will serve them in their training for the rest of their lives. Now I know people are going to think that I've got an ulterior purpose in talking about Lyle's books but I wanted to get my point across any way. I have a few things circling in my head simultaneously here so I will just put them down in know particular order...a) People spend A LOT of money on supplements. b) People spend a lot paying me to train them but they don't see the purpose in spending spending a 50 bucks on a couple of books that are going to help them get the most out of what they spend on supplements and training fees for the rest of their lives (that's right...for all those people I train now that are reading this...yes, you are never leaving me alive.)? I just think that is weird at is all...so here you go...I'm putting this link in here Lyle's Books...which if you buy them here instead of through my link above you can screw me out of serious money and yet at the same time do yourselves a massive favour that you'll be thanking me for years from now when you are totally jakt!

So that gets a few things out of the way...I got to rant, post and prove that I'm financially retarded.

Andrew posted a question today that went as follows:

Its working well, or at least from what I can tell. Aside from my from weekly basketball or football games I dont have much in the way of assessing how I am progressing. After seeing what you do with your athletes, I am considering doing some of my conditioning work on the Concept II at my gym as it might afford me a way of tracking progress on a session by session basis. With regard to strength and lbm, everything has stayed constant. The more I think about it though, perhaps I could start focusing on achieving the "benchmarks" you have for your athletes, i.e., bench,deadlift, squat, compared to their weight. Aslo, working on the number of push-ups and inverted rows I can complete in a minute. This might make my strength training more goal-oriented, which, would be nice, considering maintenance is somewhat boring. My goal is to be a "good athlete", I know that is a vague term, but you mentioned in one of your posts about trying achieve this with your athletes and then letting their coaches work on the more sport-specific stuff. Anyway, thanks for your response. Your blog is really interesting, I enjoy seeing what your athletes are doing and to see the specifcs of their training.

I answered him but have been thinking about it and I think i deserves a little more explanation because from some of the questions and comments I realise that some people...maybe everybody...doesn't quite get where I'm coming from and I know that is my fault so I am going to keep explaining myself until everybody reading this does 'get me' for whatever that is worth.

This always amazes me...and I'm not having a go at Andrew (actually I am...but people say that so they don't seem like they're being a dick) here but I've never understood this...any time my training has fallen off...as it does regularly...it has been because I've really had nothing to train for...that's what training is...getting ready, getting in shape for something or for some purpose at least.

I only say this because it is easy to find something in your training no matter what it is to measure your training by...that's why we test every cycle...not because benching is vital to sport it's because it gives us an idea of how our training is progressing.

Testing Today

Good day today...Johnno had his testing and got pretty much exactly what I predicted. I also know that he knows he has more in him. His next training cycle will very much focus on improving his technique as he falls behind his bench line far to easily and often...we'll fix that. He doubled his pull ups and improved his push ups and inverted rows...he's also put on some weight and lost some fat.

His fatness is an issue I'm not bothered with or concerned about at all at the moment...it'll be at least one more training cycle before I will make a concerted push to get him leaner....you can expect to see a big jump in his pull ups, push ups and inverted rows then.


Johnny after testing pulling 280kgs or 617+lbs just for a laugh...EASY.

Damian did his row today and posted the following numbers:
200m - 34.1
400m - 1:15.7
600m - 2:01.8
800m - 2:47.7
1000m - 3:36.7
200m - 36.2
400m - 1:21.5
600m - 2:06.3
800m - 2:54.4
1000m - 3:44.1
800m - 2:52.3
600m - 2:07.0
400m - 1:18.7
200m - 33.0

It'll take some beating...27mins48ses averaging 1:44/500 for the duration.

I've also just had some in person feedback on the blog...apparently I rant too much...I thought I was being pretty good on holding back on the ranting?

So....are you in favour of more or less ranting?

HH has made a mess of his shoulder playing. We were messing around this morning with single arm barbell snatching which I've never done before....and when I say messing around I mean HH was 'schooling' me...I sucked...as you can see below. The video contains language that should not be heard by children...or sensitive and easily offeneded adults...YOU WERE WARNED.


Single Arm Barbell Snatch...which I missed repeatedly...I'm such a baby.

I see in all those crossfit video's that they like coaching the 'stamp'...when doing oly lifting variations...I just prefer to do it after....consider it complex training....a beyond maximal lift followed immediately by plyometric work....don't knock it till you try it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rough Justice...is that a cool nickname or what?

As per usual...going to post tonight in bits and pieces.



His session:
10 hard 150's with 30 sec recovery
1A Kettlebell Swings - 3 sets of 15 reps
1B Reverse Hypers - 3 sets of 15 repss
Box Jumps - 6 sets of 3 reps with 60 sec recovery
2A Neutral Grip Chins - 8 sets of 5 reps
2B Elevated Push Ups - 8 sets of 10 reps
Torque Press- 3 sets of 8 reps on each side

Short and sweet and and over quick smart.

I want to try and get the 'mirror' blog sorted and put some format to it tonight. Testing day tomorrow.




Rough Justice getting his core on.

The music in the gym at the moment sucks...brand new facility...old crappy radio...I got a brand new ipod and am thinking of getting some sort of speakers for the gym...the words 'ipod dock' has been mentioned...I assume it is something I plug my ipod into. Anyone have any recommendations? Please post links in the comments section so I can work out what the best option is?

GL is away this weekend...however FoS did his row. Below you'll find his splits...I've posted this weeks splits with last weeks beside them.

200m - 40.5, 41.6
400m - 1:20.6, 1:20.4
600m - 2:08.6, 2:12.2
800m - 2:57.3, 2:58.5
1000m - 3:45.4, 3:52.2
200m - 40.7, 47.8
400m - 1:26.0, 1:28.9
600m - 2:13.7, 2:17.3
800m - 3:01.3, 2.58.7
1000m - 3:48.5, 4:03.6
800m - 3:02.7, 3:13.9
600m - 2:56.0, 2.27.0 (thought he had finished as he coasted to the line...but left 3m on the rower to go to finish the interval so made a mess of his time.)
400m this week 600m last week due to user error - 1.21.8, 2:23.9
200m - 38.1, 45.2

Good work mate...2 more of these to go...expect you to go well under 30mins total rowing time on your last week.

Blog Changes
What I have done is set up another blog http://willheffernan-athletes.blogspot.com/ the purpose of which should hopefully become clear very quickly. Anytime I mention a particular athlete I will link to there individual post page...fo example tomorrow Jonathan Molloy is testing and by clicking on the link it will take you to his previous testing results and programs and also any discussion of the training they have undertaken and results.
I'm hoping that there may be some way to make the blog archive alphabetical as well just so it will make it easy to look through the archive for athletes you may be interested in.

I'll leave it at that for today as I know there will be plenty to talk about tomorrow.

Johnny has outed himself...so poke and probe him to your hearts content

Johnny or the athlete formerly known as 'JM' has made himself available to answer questions if you have any...so I thought that I'll open up this post so if anyone wants to get an athletes view of my program from the horses mouth (no offence intended to horses...which I think are beautiful creatures) then you can ask away.


Johnny in action...with what I've been told were 'fake' plates.

Johnny,
Feel free to speak your mind...I promise I won't hold anything you have to say against you and it will be purely a conincidence that if you bad mouth me that you'll be doing 30 rows of 150m's back to back with 5 second recoveries the day after I see it...I know you didn't see them in your program...but they probably just weren't on your print out?

Sami got me thinking...

....well done Sami...getting me thinking is a job many have undertaken and failed miserably at in the past.

I've decided what I'm going to do is to set up a 'mirror' blog to this one. It will be just for athlete details and records. So each athlete I profile will then have a post opened in their name and sport. We need to develop a standard format for recording their background, photos, videos, testing records and programs I think? One that we can use though out the blog. Any ideas?

It will a place where you can post questions to the individual athletes regarding their impressions and feelings about the program and I'll twist their arms and have them answer them. So you can get the coaches view...that's me....and the athletes view...from them. I encourage questioning in my athletes....when they start out...I have most of them just shut their mouths and do what they are told...but I have senior athletes who I have been coaching for a long time who understand my system and have very definite opinions on what they think about it and we actively discuss (that is argue) the best approaches to training. So I've no problem with them disagreeing with my here or in the gym....the direction of their training is a decision we come to together.

When I discuss them in this blog I'll just post a link to their individual post on the mirror site...like this....and if you want you'll be able to click it and see all their details? How does that sound? I can't see why it won't work...if anyone can see a reason it won't then let me know?

I'll also need to think of a way to categorise them so that the blog can be easily searched...so you guys should have a think about that....particularly all the eggheads, nerds and techno geeks reading this...whether programs could be labelled or tagged or something within the posts....so you could search 'power' or 'strength'...I'm just thinking out loud...tell me what you think? So I can waste my free time doing it over the weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Parental Guidance Required

I'm going to update today's post over the next couple of hours. Currently downloading the vids from the phone to the laptop the have to upload them to YouTube.

The reason for the post title is that I got some great stuff tonight...most of which is completely unusable...in the words of The Penguin...I'm surround by athletes with 'filthy mouths and bad attitudes'...well that isn't really what she said but you get the idea. I know my grandparents are reading my blog so good taste and my desire to still get my Christmas card and money this year means I just can't post it. Any way...if anyone picks up a word here or there that they think they understand and that sounds like a filthy curse word rest assured it is just one of them practising their Gaelic...well that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

I think I actually need to put a disclaimer on my blog...seriously...not just for the foul language that may or may be heard(like I said...pretend it's Gaelic)but because I've caught a little heat in the last day or two...no need to go into it but I just want to make it clear....THIS IS MY BLOG...these are my opinions they do not reflect the opinions or ideas of any of the sporting organisations or individuals who employ me...I hope that clears things up? If there are any lawyers out there reading the blog then maybe you can email me a proper disclaimer in words to that effect?

So tonight...I'll upload a little homework and I also want to start putting down my thoughts regarding the squat/deadlift strength cycle that I discussed in my post earlier today.

I'm going to layout the stuff that came out of our meeting/discussions today and then I'm going to talk through my thought processes and then we'll see how the plan comes together.

Someone asked about Natural Reverse Hyper's...I know a lot of you are all over this exercise like a rash but some people haven't seen it. I want to make sure that I get everyone up to speed...at this stage in training...there really isn't anything 'new'...sure there are different ways to old things but really most supposed training 'breakthroughs' are rehashes of stuff that someone was doing 50 years ago or more. I don't want people for a second to think that I'm going to be unveiling any 'secrets'...I don't have any...I wish I did...I could write a book and retire...and I don't see that happening any time soon.

I often make the point....I honestly have not encountered a single thing in the last 10 years of my career that I've not seen before....and believe me...I've been looking...actually that's a lie...I read an article or was at a presentation by Joe DeFranco when the importance of grip training was brought up...the new bit I hadn't thought about was that grip strength is often the limiting factor in say max effort deadlifts and chins....I hadn't really thought about that before...the only thing other than that I've changed really comes down to tweaking and modifying as a result of experience and feedback.

So...below we have one of my female athletes (I think...hard to tell...some of them are a little Manotaur'ish) doing natural reverse hypers...now you should get a few things out of this...1. That I can't count. 2. That they are really quite straight forward and easy to incorporate into your program.


Natural Reverse Hypers.

So...then we have Project '250kg Trap Bar Deadlift' the athlete in question has a current tested max of 200kg on the trap bar deadlift.

He recently did some serious damage to his shoulder so can't horizontal press or vertical push or pull...he can however do horizontal pulling. He can't back squat either because of the shoulder. He's about 6ft tall and 220lbs...I will actually weight him in and do his body fat etc when he comes in for his first session and will give you the details then.

What else do you guys need to know in relation to background? He plays rugby at a high level...is a serious and consistent trainer...his last train cycle prior to his recent injury was very back dominant as he was working on improving his pull up repetition score.

So...this is what I'm thinking...I'm going to sketch it out so you can see the process I go through...this will be a little 'train of thought' style thing.

Like I said...I don't want to present you with a finished polished program...I want you to actually see how a program develops....so if you think this is stupid...stop reading now.

What I'm going to do is to plan a 6 week block to end with a 1RM at what will hopefully be 250kgs+...so basically add 50kg to this guys deadlift...now the first thing I want to explain is this...I think this guy has it in him...that if he dedicates himself to the program as I think he will we should make it or get damned close.

What I'm thinking at the moment looks like this:
Week 1 - Ramp up to what will hopefully be a 6RM this week.
Week 2 - Repetition...a volume week. With some really low volume high intensity explosive work as well.
Week 3 - Ramp up to what will hopefully be a 4RM this week.
Week 4 - Repetition...a volume week.With some really low volume high intensity explosive work as well.
Week 5 - Ramp up to what will hopefully be a 2RM this week.
Week 6 - This week the last session we do will be a 1RM trap bar deadlift. This will be an easy week...unloading and technical week where we'll do some speed work and some technical work along with a lot of regeneration work...exercises and set and reps ranges that we haven't worked in over the past 6 weeks...it will be all very sub maximal.

Note: I only have 3 different rep ranges...either you do what I call a 'few' reps....this is 1-3ish...or you do 'some' reps...which is 4-8 I suppose or you do 'lots' of reps.

The other thing is...I think what I am going to do is to write it as 3 sessions a week with a swing session or optional session....depending on feel and how I think he is handling the training we'll either do the extra work...or I will give him the rest.

Then I start thinking about what I want from each of the sessions:
Week 1
Session 1
Leg Press - Volume.
Session 2
Front Squats - Rest-Pause Speed out of the whole.
Session 3
Trap Bar Deadlift - 8 sets of 6 reps with 3 warm up sets and 5 work sets with the last 3 sets shooting at 6RM failure.

Week 2
Session 1
RDL's - Volume
Session 2
Lunges - Volume
Session 3
Rack Pulls - Volume

Week 3
Session 1
Leg Press - Volume.
Session 2
Front Squats - Rest-Pause Speed out of the whole.
Session 3
Trap Bar Deadlift - 8 sets of 6 reps with 3 warm up sets and 5 work sets with the last 3 sets shooting at 4RM failure.

Week 4
Session 1
RDL's - Volume
Session 2
Lunges - Volume
Session 3
Rack Pulls - Volume

Week 5
Session 1
Leg Press - Volume.
Session 2
Front Squats - Rest-Pause Speed out of the whole.
Session 3
Trap Bar Deadlift - 8 sets of 6 reps with 3 warm up sets and 5 work sets with the last 3 sets shooting at 2RM failure.

Week 6
I won't plan these session till we are about a week or two out and see where we are.
Session 3
Trap Bar Dealfift - Set new 1RM....who cares what we do after that.

I'm going to leave it at that for now...as I've other programs to write for tomorrow and I don't need this done till Monday...but I'll come back to it and actually start writing sessions as I get the chance.

This is going to change over and over again...as I will write the first session and look and watch and see how he performs and see where he's strong and where he's weak...the template I use is only a framework...I want to layout to you the difference between what I think and plan and what actually happens. I'm also going to try to explain why I made these changes.

As an aside...it's my blog and I'll write about whatever I like...I was talking with Adam last night at dinner and he was asking me what I'd do to get him jakt now he's a few years retired...I was explaining my thoughts on programs and coaching. I always make the comparison between being a coach and being a chef...mainly because I struggle to boil water let alone cook anything...a program is like a list of ingredients in most cases. Most programs I see in articles or books are like this...Bench Press - 5 sets of 5 reps....what the hell does that tell you? Like I said it is like a list of ingredients. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get a recipe in that the program is actually descriptive...Bench Press - 5 sets of 5 reps with 2 warm ups sets prior to your 5 work sets. Take 3 mins plus between work sets and aim to go to failure on your last 2 sets...it might even have some sort of tempo prescription....like I said...it tells you basically how to combine the ingredients. Now getting a chef is like getting a coach...some chefs like coaches are better than others....you could give me the highest quality ingredients and a detailed recipe...I guarantee you that nothing I produced would be edible...I just can't cook. Some coaches and trainers are like that...you can hand them a list of exercises and even detailed prescriptions but they are just hopeless coaches and can't combine them. This is why I don't care about giving people my programs....they are just a list of ingredients....I don't even mind telling you how I do things...I will give you the recipe...because I don't think many people out there that I've seen can coach any better than I can cook.

Anyway...I've ingredients to list and recipes to write because some athletes are going to well and truely get cooked tomorrow.