Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is getting ridiculous

You guys really need to stop turning up here...I'M NOT HERE ANYMORE...get it through your skull. We're all over here now.

Monday, January 26, 2009 need to try and catch up

The blog has moved over to WordPress...we're all over here having a great time and you losers are still over here missing out. Just look how cool it is...

This is just so you recognise the place when you get there.

I know it is a major hassle but go to your bookmarks and change my blog location to or write to google and tell them that you were looking for me and that they sent you here instead of to my new place.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shhhhhh....I want you guys to be really quiet

Keep your heads down and come over here where I am. Don't tell any of the idiots though...we'll see if we can ditch them. Make sure that the last person that leaves turns out the lights here.

I know people are going to be pissed...especially those that have just linked to my site...but if they love me they'll forgive least I hope so because I'll probably eventually move everything to my own website at some stage.

So anyway...from now'll find my blog over here at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So I better get back to business before Lyle calls me an idiot again

I thought I'd throw up 2 different sessions tonight.

The first is Vinny's. He's just slowly getting back into training and he's had so many injury issues that I didn't bother doing a screening as I knew I would end up with a repetitive strain injury in my elbow just filling out the screening form.

His session tonight was as follows:
Rower - 5x500m with 1 minute recovery between efforts.
Block 1
1A KB Reverse Lunges - 5 each side
1B KB Rows - 10 each side
1C Push Ups - 10
As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.
Rower - 4x500m with 1 minute recovery between efforts.
Block 1
1A Step Ups - 5 each side
1B Inverted Rows - 5
1C Hanging Leg Raises - 5
As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.
Rower - 3x500m with 1 minute recovery between efforts.

This is what this session will do to you:

Luckily Vinny coaches in the Irish Basketball Superleague so no matter how much stress I put him under he always gets plenty more at games.

The other session I thought I'd throw up is Louise and Fi's. They've training on the pitch tomorrow night and a power session to do with me on Thursday. This is what they did tonight:
Bike - 3x2mins with a stretch between each effort.
1A Hurdle Steps - 2x8
1B Hip Pop Ups - 4 double legged then 8 single leg hip pop ups
Trap Bar Deadlift - 2w/ux8, 5x3 working up to near max on the last 2 sets.
Seated Leg Curls - 1w/ux12, 3x12 with an isometric hold at the end of each rep
Bridging (Front, Left Side, Front, Right Side, Front - 30 seconds each hold smooth transition from one to the other) - 3 sets with 1 minute between sets.

This is the girls on their 3rd set praying for it all to be over.

This is why they need to do so much trunk work...this is Fi running around with some French women hanging off her while playing for Ireland.

Chest Supported Rows - 2w/ux12, 5x8
Modified Hindu Push Up - 3x12
2A Natural Reverse Hypers - 3x12
2B Back Extensions - 3x12

Watch out everyone...I've been thinking

As you well know I've been wondering what I should do with the blog. Myself I am pretty happy to just ramble on as is but I've had some emails and conversations with people that got me thinking that there might be a better way to do things so once again I am going to throw it out there and see what people think because as I see it there are a few choices:

1. The status quo...and no I don't mean the band. I mean just keep doing what I'm doing....which is basically promising a lot and delivering a little and taking forever to do so.

2. Through consultation and negotiation with you guys...that is the people who can be bothered to comment...I actually put some effort into the process. What I was thinking is that I could keep blogging here as I have been but at the same time set up a website with a view to having the main part of the website 'bloglike' but go back over this blog and take out the good bits (which shouldn't take long) and work those bits over and write them up as articles to make things easier to search for people finding the stuff for the first time. The reason I was thinking that this might be a good way to go is because I was thinking about each section containing not only the articles but clips from the seminar covering those topics and finding a good way to facilitate discussion on the topic (forum). I think it would be a good way to try and get across my views on the subject get it out there...then you guys would have something to ask questions about and subsequently rubbish and ridicule?

3. Is the option half way in between 1 and 2. I just go back and or get some help form interested parties in going back over the blog and better tagging the posts that are already here and just trying to improve the functionality of this site?

The good thing is that the second choice will cost money...I have no idea how much but I'm pretty sure that the interwebs are not completely what I was thinking of doing was finding out how much then just saying...'The website will cost this €$'s and I'm not paying for it so it's up to you guys to contribute €$'s to get it up and running.' that way if absolutely no one is interested in contributing a cent towards it then I know that's exactly what the idea is worth. The third choice will require some people actually giving a shit about making this blog better by taking the time to go back and try and tag and categorise the hundreds of posts that have already been made and being apart of whatever group forms to agree on the method of tagging and categorisation. The reason that I think all this is a good thing is because if a) no one wants to even throw in a buck to get the website/forum thing happening then that will be my reason for not doing so...that isn't worth it and b) if no one gives a shit enough to go back and tag and categorise the current blog then once again whenever anyone complains about not being able to find what they are looking for I can are the only person who cares.

Which all leads us back to the very first choice...where nothing changes and everything stays the same. I just keep rambling and adding stuff if and when time permits and you guys either like it or lump it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Abdominal Training for Idiots

Abdominal training, core training, functional trunk training...whatever you like to call it is something that I've always struggled to understand. Now it isn't that I didn't understand how to do it more that I didn't understand what the hell so many other people were trying to do when they were doing it.

I've had athletes boast about doing 500 sit ups a night...about being able to do bridges for 5 what?

Doing even a hundred sit ups is just plain stupid...if I told you that I did some bench pressing and that I did 3 sets of 100 reps what would that tell you...I mean if you didn't know how totally jakt I was...pretend for a second that I was a normal trainee. Ask yourself this question...what do you think this would achieve? Now, 1 set of 100 reps you could make some sort of argument for...perhaps as a set of 100 to failure or near failure...but 3 sets? How easy would the 1st and 2nd sets have to be to be able to get out the 3rd set? It doesn't make any sense to me...but I see this sort of thing in programs all the time.

I won't continue to go into all the stupid ab/core/trunk training there is out there because I just don't have the time. Instead I will tell you briefly what I tend to do.

For me there are only a few ways to train your trunk (that's what I call it...because I tend to throw in back and hip extension work into this group as well). You either do it statically or dynamically or pick exercises that combine elements of both and you either do it in a single or multiple plains. While you are doing any or all of these things you do it in 8-20 rep range. Obviously the 8 rep stuff is done quite heavily and the higher stuff is obviously lighter. The 'feel' of this work though is the same as it is for any other muscle group and exercises.

Now once you can hold a bridge for a minute and do do 50 consecutive sit ups you need loading...just doing more reps is like doing bicep curls with the pen that you fill your diary out that you can do all the reps you like...nothing is going to happen.

So we tend to start out easily with simple flat and side bridges/planks...this is easy static work. We use weighted ab pull downs and lower ab raises...simple dynamic work. As people progress the loading increases as does the complexity of the exercises to the extent that a lot of people looking at the exercises wouldn't even know that they were intended to target the trunk.

I am going to put this on my list of stuff to far we have neck strengthening work and trunk training...oh yeah...and that other tonne of stuff I said I'd do and then forgot about.

2km Rowing Race

We did an easy recovery session in the gym today and finished it with a not so easy rowing race.

2km as fast as possible any way they liked.

In all well did I select those two teams to ensure a hard fought race...I know the capabilities of my athletes better than they know themselves...that's why my expectations are always so low even though theirs are so high.

The race results.

On another funny note

I posted this video of Sinead the other day and the video was posted on another training site....which is fine...I've got no problem with that.

The reason I know that it was posted elsewhere is because on YouTube when you post a video you can see how people came to find it and view it. So anyway I went to the site to see what else was there and I saw the following comment in relation to the video.

Anonymous said...
If you want to maximize this exercise, resist any movement at from the chest to the knees. Compensatory movement makes this video a disaster. harsh but true.

Does anyone else see a problem with this? Let me try and translate this...I have a lot of experience translating idiot as it's a language I am fluent in myself.

Now when this idiot says 'resist any movement from chest to knee' do you think maybe they are talking about maybe doing a bridge? Do you think that maybe they just think this is a poorly executed bridge and that Sinead is just a bit of a tidy freak and couldn't resist tidying up around her while she was trying to bridge?

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt momentarily...lets say that they were trying to say that the athletes trunk should be held as rigid as possible while executing the plate shifting...this poses a problem or two as I am not sure exactly how any rotation will take place while resisting any movement from chest to knee...maybe they meant resisting all movement...except...for the movement needed to actually execute the exercise.

Anyway...if people can't actually see the purpose of this exercise then I doubt that any 'explaining' I do is probably going to be wasted...which just made me think of what I'll post about next.

My coffee has me thinking

Just have a couple of random questions.

1. What are peoples thoughts on me changing this whole thing from a blog to a website? Pro's and Con's anyone? I'm not much fussed either way but people who just turn up here or who are actually looking for something in particular seemed to be fussed about it because I get their emails mentioning stuff they missed or didn't see or only just found. The blog is brutal for actually trying to find anything and that is mainly my fault because of the post titles and that I don't use post labels and that sort of thing. So tell me what you think or what you think would be a good way forward.

2. I was talking to Fergus Connelly the other day...he's just like me only smarter and more informative. He's currently working as the 'Mr Spock' of the Welsh Rugby Union and he was saying that he thought I really should integrate some sort of forum with the blog where people can ask questions and generally waste their time when they should be working or doing something constructive? I was thinking about this as well with regard to the upcoming seminar. I am going to video the whole thing...mainly so I can for want of a better word 'analyse' it afterwards. See what works really well and what didn't and what I need to make clearer and what I can brush over. This first seminar is really going to be a pilot seminar as it'll be the first time that I've used the format I'm planning. What I am thinking about doing though is finding some way to post bits and pieces of future seminars as an 'opener' for discussion on the subject. So people can ask specific questions and get specific answers. I also want to create a training resource. I want to document my work process so people can take pot shots at me and rubbish me both on my own forums and on others...I like giving people something to talk about.

3. I'm also wondering if anyone has any suggestions regarding other gadgets or features that they've seen or like on other better blogs than this one that they read or have seen that I could possibly rob or add to this less than spectacular blog to make it seem like it was better when new people first come here...I mean before they actually read what's here and discover there is much less to it than they thought originally when they first find this site?

So give me your thoughts and or suggestions on this topic or others? What do you think I should do with the blog? How do you think I could improve it? I mean bedsides getting someone else to write it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Segregated Sessions

I'm going to have to start segregating some training sessions. I had some complaints from the lads that their performances were hindered because the ladies were making them feel self conscious and more than a little emasculated.

The girls did a mixed session which went something like this:
Lower Body and Upper Body Mobility and Stability
Trap Bar Deadlifting - A few to some reps for some sets.
Box Jumps - Some reps for sets.
Reverse Band Bench Pressing - Triple for sets and a couple of singles at the end just for the craic.

Single Arm Cable Rows (Power Position) - 12 reps for 3-5 sets
Plate Shifting - 3 sets

Setting a new plate shifting ladies record

Good to see Sinead finally achieving something in the realm of sport...I mean playing for your country is great and all but whole teams do that...only one unique individual can hold the plate shifting record.

Comparing apples and bananas

willwayland said...
hmmmm $1000 +$500 flight dorrars to spend a week with joe defranco?

or a €105 and a short drive down the country? does that €105 include the magical Ireland markup?

Thanks for the comment and you have a very cool name by the way.

With regard to the whole Joe DeFranco thing....why would you want to spend 10 times as much on an IMITATOR when you can have the real deal right here...I mean Joe's most famous bloody program....the ONLY thing he's famous for is Westside for Skinny Bastards....and where did he get that from....that's right...he ripped it off Westside Barbell.

Joe thinks just because he has outstanding success year after year and because he produces fantastic athletes and has an amazing business and love for what he does that people will just brush over the fact that he thinks he's better than me...he thinks he can keep me down just by holding it over my head that he has a Poliquin Certification and I haven't. It just ain't going to happen.

I already outed Joe for what he is in the Joe DeFranco is rip off artist post...but if you want more proof have a look at this:

On January 10th...I post this video of ROK doing some Box Squat Broad Jumps

This was posted on the 10th of January.

The very next day....obviously after another night of pouring over my blog Joe posts this video....

This was posted on the 11th of January.

Does this exercise look familiar to anyone who trains in the facility? I mean there's athletes who've had this in their program at least since last summer.

It is sad really...I mean...I really should of just let Joe take a would have been far less embarrassing for him.

Actually though the reason that I am only charging €105 and only taking 15 people is because I want the $1000 for Joe and $500 for flights so I can go to one of Joe's seminars.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Practical Principles of Strength and Conditioning Seminar

In case you missed it...I'm running The Practical Principles of Strength and Conditioning Seminar on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of February.

I am going to be teaching everyone attending this seminar everything I know about strength and conditioning and how to apply it to maximise athletic rest assured there are going to be plenty of breaks and I am going to have to talk really, really slowly...and I'll also have to try and figure out what the hell I am going to do with all the time I'll have left over on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday but I'll work something out.

Warning: Places are filling up fast!

I just wanted to warn everyone...places are filling up exceptionally quickly...I've been inundated with people desperate to get their name down...requests are flooding in at a rate of almost 1 person every 2 weeks. The seminar is only 3 weeks away and at this rate it looks like it will be sold out by some time 20 weeks later in June. So be sure to hurry if you are looking to attend....or don't hurry...either way from the looks of it it isn't going to make much difference.

Don't miss a chance to learn one handed snatch technique and so much less.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote of the day

'It's so cold out I think I need to get some ear muffins.' - Denise Fox
It gets the quote of the day even though it is only lunchtime because we got a good 10 minutes worth of associated laughing and piss taking out of it.

More good questions from James
I can't even remember where we started this conversation but I thought I'd explain where we ended up.

I think we were initially talking about a mate of mine who works as a science officer with a national sporting body. He basically spends his time looking at cutting edge sporting technology and methodology. Sounds great doesn't it? I love this sort of's fascinating and it is pretty much a complete waste of time for the majority of athletes and almost certainly general trainees.

I want to talk about James first in particular before I rant more generally. During this mornings discussion we were discussing his training...his targets and where he needs to be physiologically as far as being a professional tennis player is concerned.

I went all out was a complete multimedia Q&A session.

I'll do this in shorthand first because I will probably come back and rant more about this topic in future.

Some clarification before I start...I work mainly with 'games' athletes rather than pure performance based sports like athletics for example.

So with regard to James in particular...I was explaining that he was a fair way up the curve with regard to his athletic potential. The good news for him though was that he didn't have that much further to go because for games athletes you don't need to get to 100% of your athletic potential...actually I'll rephrase don't even want to get to 100% of your athletic potential. The reason being that the closer you get to 100% the more you have to risk in order to eek out what in the end are minor improvements.

I gave him this example. I just chose bench pressing because it was easy to understand and because 1.5 times and 2 times 80 is right around my maximum capacity with regards mathematics. Now, he weighs roughly 80kg's. In testing the other day he benched 95kg. For me to get him to a 1.5 times bodyweight bench of 120kg for instance might take 6 months to a year of training and I'm confident that we could do that pretty comfortably. However for me to 2 times bodyweight bench of 160kg...that would be a different matter...for a start he'd have to give up professional tennis and become a professional trainer...we'd be lucky to get there without a major injury or two and we'd have to deal with a myriad of minor injuries as well. This isn't because I am a crap is because the pursuit of that bench would require a huge amount of envelope pushing to say the very least. The other small matter would be that it might take us 3 years probably a best and it could be as long as the end of time at worst just based on his physiological make up.

The trap that games athletes sometimes fall into is chasing numbers...the thing is to a large extent it's pointless. I'll give you some of the reasons why in no particular order:
1. Being the fastest, strongest of fittest doesn't even guarantee you selection on the team. I've plenty of amateur athletes in numerous sports who would out perform in testing a lot of their professional what...where does that get them?
2. There are so many variables so much more important than specific physiological performance abilities that it is only a idiot that would but all their eggs in one basket...what I mean is that I know plenty of players that spend hours in the gym daily...who still can't throw a decent pass, kick accurately or shoot consistently.
3. I couldn't count on my hands and toes and all of your hands and toes how many athletes I've seen have incredible off seasons and pre seasons only to go out in their first game of the season get smashed in a tackle and be out for 8 weeks after which time they are right back where they started. Now that is not to say that it isn't worth training...I'm just saying there are a lot of variables outside of your control.

Just as an aside...I'm a fan of of the things I always wonder when listening and watching coverage of games when combine scores and performances for rookies are mentioned is...I wonder how many players in the entire NFL could out perform their combine scores once they become pro players?

What you do want to chase and what you do want to achieve is athletic balance first and foremost. When you have that you can look at raising all your various capabilities as needs be to meet the demands of your sport. You want to aim for about 90% of your athletic potential I think because although difficult and it takes a great deal of dedication and work to maintain I think I can keep most athletes that have the desire and drive at or around that 90% mark pretty comfortably. When necessary we can even push that up to 95% for short periods of time for major competitions and goals before safely backing off again to 90%.

You can't be at 100% for a 20 game season or play what is essentially a year long calendar of tournaments in James's case because being at 100% is the equivalent of driving in the'll be great for a while but we all know it eventually results in a blow up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Didn't even get close... finding the time to do the neck strengthening vids...sorry about that. Don't worry though...once February comes around I'm going to have more time and I'll be blogging every hour on the hour just like the CNN of blogging.

Anyway...this week is in honour of James because because my Aunt Leslie was complaining that he wasn't featuring enough on the blog and wanted to know what he was up to.

I might have to interview him this week so Leslie if you have any questions you want me to put to James let me know and I will get the answers you need.

He's steadily climbing the rankings...just won the Irish Indoor title last week...we're currently preparing for Davis Cup next month and have major plans for the coming season.

I was asked a few questions in person and by email this week regarding loading and Prilepin's Chart. As per usual...I am not going to go into a detailed discussion regarding exercise physiology or the academic merits of varying set and reps schemes or percentages of 1RM worked at. What I will say is that there is a lot of different way to vary the 'stimulus' in training other than just loading.

This load isn't great but the intensity is there.

I thought I'd throw this up as well so Leslie gets over her whole James fixation and I can get back to rubbishing other athletes and James can get on with his training without the bright lights of blog stardom in his eyes.

Once you can do more sit ups and ab twists than Britney Spears you have to find new ways to stress the system.

The worst of both worlds

I thought I would do a quick lunchtime blog update while I had the time. I dealt with two ends of the conversation/social interaction spectrum this morning...I had a session with the gyms biggest talker...Denise 'I passed my driving me attention' Fox and the gyms most prolific question asker James 'Explain the universe and all it's components' McGee. So on one side of me I had Denise spouting endless white noise and on the other side I had James asking endless questions...I was in a no win situation. If you don't talk to Denise then she doesn't stop talking and goes on and on endlessly so you don't get any break...not that she actually listens to anyone when they are talking to's just nice to get some respite. Then with James I know that no matter how many questions I answer and how many answers I give all I am setting myself up for is more questions.

It really was a nightmare...thankfully something useful came out of it. It was in the same vain as what I was going on about last night but it's my blog so I will talk about whatever the hell I like.

James was asking me about tire flipping firstly and what I think about it. I was making the point that when you train athletes variety is important. I have athletes that have been involved with me since 2000. I would say that at least 25% of the athletes that I work with have been involved with me for over 5 years. That's a lot of sessions. There are only so many squat and bench variations...switching from overhand pull ups to underhand chin ups only gets you so far. I've heard people go on and on about 'strongman' training...tire flipping, sled dragging, farmers walk and how great it is for sport, how it is so much 'functionally' better for athletes etc etc ...I have one word for you....BULLSHIT.

Now before some of you get you knickers in a twist. I love 'strongman' training but the reason that I love the real reason that it is so great for athletes...and that is that it provides VARIETY. It is good because it is different not because it is inherently better than traditional weight training. It is the same reason that you see athletes promoting all sorts of whacky crap....other than due to the fact that they get paid to...they try some funky new weird training crap....they get all hyped about gives them a new buzz...of course they think it's the best training method ever. The thing really find this out we'd have to remove all the gains and all the adaptations that they got for the previous 10 years of boring old traditional weight training. I don't want to pick on Bosu Balls or Swiss Balls or hell you could even throw in a tire...if you found 4 untrained genetically identical individuals and got the best Bosu, Swiss Ball and Strongman trainers in the world together and me of course representing traditional (read non sexy and boring) weight training and gave us 8 weeks with our respective untrained individuals who do you think would get the biggest improvements with regards to strength? I know what I would be putting my money on.

Strongman training is is a great way to add is not the basis for training as an athlete though...unless of course you're a strongman. Even then...I bet there is not a single strongman out there that does just strongman training exclusively...and I'd be willing to bet that the best spends more time doing traditional work in the gym than they do doing specific strongman work if you looked at the entirety of their season.

This guy does more than just flipping tires.

He was also asking about the guys that I have that do Olympic lift...and why he doesn't. The reason that I have some guys Olympic lift is because they are strong and balanced enough to get something decent out of it. If you can't hit those strength targets that I mention constantly here you've got more important things to worry about than cleans or snatches. Because seriously who gives a shit about your 60kg power clean when you have guys working in with you doing bicep curls with your 60kg barbell. Olympic lifting like strongman...has its place...but Olympic lifting is not the basis for training for sport....unless of course you are an Olympic lifter. On a related note...I always think it is funny every time hear someone going on and on about cleans and snatching for sport and how much superior Olympic lifting is to traditional weight training...they always seem to somehow forget how much time Olympic lifters put into squatting and all their supplementary work....which is funny because all those squats, deadlifts, military pressing and RDL's look a lot like traditional weight training.

So anyway...maybe one day James will get to flip tires and snatch...but he's got a lot of work to do before then.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where to start...I'll try somewhere in the middle...but towards the begining

I was standing in the gym this morning around 11am thinking about how happy I am with work...looking around at a tennis player, a mixed martial artist and rugby player...thinking firstly it's great working with athletes looking to improve themselves and secondly it's even better getting to work with so many top athletes from so many different sports.

The thing is...they are from completely different sports...can you think of many similarities between rugby, tennis and mma...despite this...I'm pretty much doing the same thing with all of them...just working on different elements...the tennis player was doing testing to find out what he needs to be doing next, the rugby player was doing strength endurance/conditioning work and the mixed martial artist was doing pure strength different times they've pretty much done everything each of the other athletes were doing.

The reason that I am mentioning this is that I had another team in tonight for testing...and the results were they always are...I always find the funny thing is that 'everyone'...that means you...thinks that they are one is normal...there is no one that is actually 'average' or 'normal'....being able to do 45 push ups in 60 seconds and 5 inverted rows in 60 not NORMAL...being able to do more pull ups than inverted not NORMAL.

So back to the lads that were in this can only do so much...a lot of genetic decisions were made before I got the chance to work with any of them...I would of been happy to let any of the three do any of the others fact...I'd be so happy to do so that I pretty much already have.

Chops the rugby player has done the testing that James the tennis player did and he's also done the strength work that Barry the Mixed Martial Artist did. James has done the same strength endurance/conditioning work as Chops did this morning and so has Barry. some stage ages ago. some stage not so long ago. some stage making an amazing save...which is heaps funnier than deadlifts, pull ups and presses....which he has done often.

The other thing that sets us all apart and which makes me laugh ALL THE TIME is not only that do we 'think' we are normal but we're all simultaneously capable of thinking we are special and unique...let me tell those of you who are athletes reading this...there is no such thing as normal because I've never seen it and you are not unique and special.

Chops, James and Barry all require strength...they all require endurance...and on and on we could go through the various elements of physical performance...the only thing that changes is the relative amounts of each.

Even then...take a look at their testing results...which I'll drag out and post (unless they fail to support my ramblings) and you'll see they are relatively similar...the attributes that enabled Chops to dominate his opposing player on the weekend and for James to defeat his opponent in his last tournament and for Barry to beat his opponents on the mat are not all that dissimilar.

Have a think about it...if you could bench press 1.25-1.5 x BW, do 12+ pull ups under 100kg's or 8+ pull ups if your over 100kg's, if you could do 50+ push ups and 30+ inverted rows in 60 seconds and if you could trap bar deadlift 2 x BW...what sort of position do you think you would be in when you walked onto the pitch, field or court or into the ring? Ask yourself which of any of these targets do you think is impossible? I mean I spoke with players this evening while looking at all their results on the board...different players thought and expressed that they didn't think it was possible for them to hit certain each of these players were talking about different targets...yet there were numerous players in their team that achieved those targets while missing others. Some missed just 1 target...some by a small amount and others by miles. Others missed just a couple and yet others didn't get anywhere near any of them. Yet I don't think there was a single member of that team who if he actually decided he wanted to get all those targets couldn't get them within a season.

More Importantly
I've found a way to utilise my chocolate surplus.

You just need some imagination and flair in the really isn't that difficult.

So frustrated at the much to blog about and so little time to do it. I've been meaning to find the time to make those videos regrading neck strengthening and have not got around to it...I will make time tomorrow...if I do nothing else I'll try to do that. Anyway...6am start this morning and it's 2.12am now...I'm back up at 6.15am (I get a sleep in) so if I don't race to bed I won't get the more than 4hours of sleep a night that doctors recommend and I won't be back tomorrow night till after 10pm again...thank God I get paid by the hour.


One of my birthday presents arrived late.

Is this the gift that you'd give to someone losing weight?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ladies Night

Well that's not entirely true...for a start it was morning and secondly I wouldn't go so far as to call them ladies.

The 'ladies' in the midst of their rowing test.

Too many female athletes are too 'mono paced' they do plenty of work on their conditioning but not enough on their strength and power. One of the reasons I enjoy working with female athletes is because proper strength training can make such an enormous difference to their performance.

Have a look at the girls results below...they are 6 efforts....each one a maximal effort with only 30 seconds recovery between efforts.

I would always rather a massive first score and 5 poor scores following than 6 good scores. Endurance and and sprint repeatability is a lot easier to come buy than absolute strength and pure power.

Power training comes in all different shapes and forms.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seminar Spam

I was just cleaning out my spam folder and found 3 emails from people who are intending to come to the seminar that I had never heard from before. I just sent out an email to those that have emailed me to express interest in attending...if you are thinking of coming and you've emailed me to tell me so and haven't heard back from me please email me soon.

A few things I should have told you.
1. I'm only going to have 15 people on this seminar...that's it...I don't give care who you are once I have 15...that'll be it.
2. I doubt that I am going to get 15...but if I do...see point 1...and if you don't know me and want to try and see how serious I am about it...feel free to see if I'll let you come after I have 15 people.
3. When the list of 'definite' attendees reaches 15 I am going to email all those people to get them to confirm that they are definitely going to be there or at the very least go to the trouble of lying via email to me so I can use it against them afterwards...once again...I know that someone won't show...just hope that it isn't you.

So if you are me if you haven't heard from me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am in a worse mood than usual

So I thought I would make myself feel better by telling you how shit Barry was before he started training with me and thereby bringing a little cheer into my life at someone else's expense.

Pre Injury Screening Findings and Recommendations
Muscular/Skeletal Findings
1. Left sacroiliac joint dysfunction - This has lead to increased development and tone in left lumbar para-spinals. This has also caused excessive external rotation in his left leg increasing the 'pressure' in his left hip, knee cap, left ankle and left big toe.
2. Stiff left cervical-thoracic junction about C6,C7 and T1.
3. Left shoulder stiff and has decreased external rotation strength...this is probably related to issue 2.
4. Issue with left radio-ulnar junction.
5. Right all likelihood...still broken from a couple of years ago (way to look after your body Barry.)

Recommendations and Treatment Requirements
1. Mobilise stiff left sacroiliac joint and work on glute control and deep abdominal control to get back control of 'freestyling' left leg.
2. Mobilise left cervical-thoracic spine and begin neck strengthening work.
3. Improve left shoulder external rotation strength.

Isokinetic Strength Testing Results
Right Quadricep = 294%
Left Quadricep = 292%

Right Hamstring = 143%
Left Hamstring = 140%

Right hamstring to quadricep ratio = 48%
Left hamstring to quadricep ratio = 48%

*Brief explanation of results...I usually look for a quadricep strength of 250% and hamstring strength of 160% at an absolute minimum acceptable value...below that and I'm surprised that athletes had the strength to even kick off their sheets in the morning.

So Barry's quadricep strength was good...his hamstring strength is in 'man off the street' strong...not athlete average.

I think a good athletic hamstring to quadricep ratio is around 70%.

So Barry has a lot of work to do to ensure that I don't look like a complete idiot or maybe I should say...more of a complete idiot.

We'll retest not long before he next fights to see if his entire training program has been a complete waste of time...thankfully...he couldn't be much worse.

That made me feel better already...I'll thank Barry tomorrow.

Questions, questions, questions

Will, I have a question about the blog. Is there anywhere you would like readers to put questions that perhaps dont relate to specific posts?

I have a few questions, but I'm not really sure where to put them.

Maybe you could create a post for daily questions or something like that.



The blog is a really crap format for this sort of thing. In fact it's a crap format for most things. Because the information or at least what there is of it isn't categorised or in any logical order. The best thing to do is just to email me directly and ask me whatever you long as it isn't 'how are babies made?'...because I really don't have a clue about that one.
Plenty of people email me questions and if I have the answer or something that resembles an answer I email them back...sometimes it takes a while but I get back to them. If you have a question that I think others will find interesting and you are happy for me to post it then I will just throw the answer straight up on the blog.
That or if you have questions just post them here!

Sex, Lies and Videotape

Well I only gave you 1 out 3 yesterday. You only got the lies...I apologise for that. Didn't get a chance to do the videos of the neck training yesterday.

Barry completed his first repeat session yesterday. He first completed this session in November and made great progress which I thought was worth mentioning.

Weights Block 1 - November 26th
Total = 22 Trap Bar Deadlifts, 11 Pull Ups and 44 Push Ups.

Weights Block 1 - January 7th
Total = 36 Trap Bar Deadlifts, 18 Pull Ups and 72 Push Ups.

So pretty pleased with that extra 14 Trap Bar Deadlifts, 7 Pull Ups and 28 extra Push Ups.

Weights Block 2 - November 26th
Total = 40 KB Squats, 20 Inverted Rows, 20 KB Shoulder Presses (each arm)

Weights Block 2 - January 7th
Total = 52 KB Squats, 26 Inverted Rows, 26 KB Shoulder Presses (each arm)

Another good improvement of 12 extra KB Squats and 6 extra Inverted Rows and KB Presses.

His rowing was off a little...but only a few seconds slower than the first time he did this session. Not too worried about that though as it was his first session back after the Christmas/New Year break so onwards and upwards.

Other News
I received an email the other day and was asked about how James McGee was getting on. Well I promised I would give James more air time on the blog in the coming weeks...everyone knows how I bend to media pressure.
He is taking a well earned rest at the moment but will be back into full on training next week.
He is doing well in spite of my apparently worthless and incompetent coaching having climbed to 576 on the ATP Rankings and having won his last tournament of the season. So considering he only just turned professional in the second half of last year I think he's doing pretty well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Neck Strengthening

I am going to put up some specific information on the neck strengthening work we do specifically for Front Row players in rugby. I know not everyone is interested in rugby put I usually do some and by some I mean a little neck strengthening work with all my athletes at various stages. One of the reasons that I think this is important is because I think it is really important for all contact sports. I have been doing a lot of neck strengthening work myself because I think it is really important for MMA.

Neck Strength Targets
Extension (Pushing Backwards)
General = 50kgs
Front Row = 80kgs

Flexion (Pulling Forward)
General = 30kgs
Front Row = 60kgs

Side Flexion (Pushing to the side)
General = 45kg
Front Row = 80kgs

You should aim to have your Flexion strength approximately 60% of your extension strength.

Obviously the Left and Right side should be reasonably equal.

Your Extension strength should be reasonably equal to your Side Flexion strength.

What I am going to do is to put some videos together tomorrow of the static and dynamic neck strengthening exercises that we do.

On Thursday I hope to post some video of the neck strength testing with Dave Lyons the physiotherapist with whom I work closely.

I will also see if the lads mind me posting their testing results...basically I'm going to post them anyway but it is nice to make them feel like they have some input on the subject.

I thought I would post my latest results up first:
Extension = 49.90kg
Flexion = 28.56kg
Side Flexion (Left) = 36.46kg
Side Flexion (Right) = 27.04kg

So as you can see...I have issues. We'll see how I go actually addressing them over the coming months.

I will post some other results up just to give you an idea of where the lads stand in comparison.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Testing and Running

What a great combination...that's what some of the lads had tonight anyway.

The testing session was mixed...too say the least as unless I actually supervise and conduct the test it doesn't really mean much to me. There were some good results though worth mentioning...Shaun McCarthy the washed up, weathered and beaten old Australian playing out his retirement here in Ireland put the young bucks in their place this evening with a 137.5kg bench...a great effort for a guy who struggles to tip the scales at 80kg's after his Christmas can only imagine how good he could of been had he ever had a 'prime' time in his career.
Conor Donohoe also astounded and confounded getting 23 pull ups...I'm going to have to post the video because there was a significant amount of debate regarding a couple of the reps that I stripped him of...we'll let the masses decide...and by masses I mean the 20 or so people that read the blog...or more specifically the 5 people who bother to comment. The reason this score was astounding and confounding is that 19.8% of Conor's total lean body mass is located in his traps and I don't remember anyone mentioning in exercise physiology or functional anatomy that the traps were a major muscular contributor to pull ups.

The running portion of the evening was pretty straight forward. The lads did a warm up with a bit of mobility work and dynamic flexibility work then off we (and by we...I mean they) went:

10 second effort, 10 second recovery, 20 second effort, 10 second recovery, 30 second effort, 30 second recovery then the same intervals all over again for a total of 5 times or 15 total efforts in a block. They got a 2 minute water break break and a chance to stretch and recover between blocks and did a total of 4 block in total.
On the whole I was impressed with the effort.

Items of Interest
1. For some reason I am having problems uploading videos onto YouTube....and more importantly I have no idea why.
2. You guys do realise that I go back and edit old posts in my blog don't you? I am going to be doing more of this to clean up and clarify my ramblings from the past because the blog tends to basically be 'train of thought' type stuff rather than planned and structured...not that I think you haven't noticed that.
3. If anyone has specific questions of queries regarding the seminar then email me directly and put 'February Seminar' in the subject line...I get a lot of email and I tend to delete and or ignore a large portion of it until people look like they are getting desperate.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I received this emergency email this evening. To those you who don't train in the gym...just ignore this post and move on...for those of you who do train in the gym...who'd of thought this could ever possibly happen to Frank the Tank? I mean beside me and everyone else that knows Frank.

Subject: Hey Will I'm fat and need a new programme

Hey Will,
How's tricks? Is the gym missing me. Low and behold I've gone and become a fatty again so I've joined the gym and was wondering if you could send me over one of your programmes as I just refuse to let a Brit give me a programme.
I'll be at the gym 3 times a week, if you could give me 2 overall sessions and one beach session for Fridays before matches that would be great. Or maybe an upper and lower body one if that's easier. My lungs and vital organs would much appreciate it.



I don't know that I want to give him a program and have to take some responsibility for his fatness when I can't be standing over him kicking him in the hole. Who votes that I let Frank get so fat in England that he has to pay excess baggage for his arse and moobs next time he comes back to Ireland?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Inverted Rows - Everything you always wanted to know and still won't after you read this

I noticed that a lot of people search 'inverted rows' or 'how to inverted row' or searches along those lines. So I thought I would post a video regarding my thoughts on inverted rows...hopefully that will generate some comments and questions and I can go back and redo the video and cover the subject more clearly and concisely.

Everything you need to know about the video without ever seeing it!

Inverted Rows are a 'threshold' chin ups and pull ups in that it is difficult to 'train' the exercise until you can actually do a rep or some reps. So progressions are important.

The way to get better at inverted rows is to start at a height/incline where your body position in relation to the bar allows you to accrue some volume.

Bar position is also important. I think 'generally' you should pull to your sternum. Your hand width and elbow tuck should be such that your forearm remains perpendicular to the bar. Naturally people may inverted row for a lot of different reasons...if you are doing it for your 'upper back' or 'rear delts' then by all means pull on a higher line. This line however in most individuals will lead to fatigue much sooner due to the smaller amount of muscle mass being targeted/used.

Like most exercises there are a lot of different ways to perform the exercises...there isn't a best way...the methods we most commonly use in no particular order are as follows:
Balls Out - This would be the most common technique in testing for instance and involves performing reps as fast as humanly possible which sometimes becomes such a violent movement that an athletes testicles actually free themselves from the confines of said athletes pants.
Explosive Concentric and Controlled Eccentric - Pulling to the bar as fast as possible and slowly lowering back to the hang position. This can be accompanied by an 'attempted' static contraction at the bar.

So there you go...any questions or comments fire the very least I've saved you from having to watch this video.

Inverted Rows...everything you already knew and so much less.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The New Year...

...really isn't a major milestone for me. My new years are really marked by the starting of each rugby and GAA season. I thought I would jump on the bandwagon though and get into the spirit of regeneration and new beginnings.

Excuses, excuses
As you all well know thanks to my constant moaning and complaining...I've not been well. Around Christmas Eve is was struck down...I was going to my prime...but I think that would be stretching the truth more than a little...anyway...I was struck down with what I now know was and still is a bacterial chest infection which literally did strike me down. I've not been able to train at all and barely been able to work over the whole Christmas and New Years period...which thankfully is a relatively quiet time training wise.

A Fresh Start
I'm still not 100% but am going to try and start getting things back on track. I was going through my blogs stat counter and saw that a lot of the searches that occur on the blog relate to 'inverted rows' so either this afternoon or tomorrow morning I am going to tell you everything I know about inverted rows....don't worry...I predict it will take a little less that 5 minutes. If there is anything else people want me to go through in detail then let me know.

February Seminar
While I've been less than 100% I have been doing a lot of work on the up coming seminar. I am still waiting to get some information back so I can set a price for the seminar...suffice to say I am not looking to make any money out of it so rest assured no one will be shocked at the price. The material is coming together well though and I'm looking forward to presenting it all if for no other reason than to get it out there...get feedback...modify and adjust it as needs be and then present it all over again. One of the things I wanted to do when I started the blog is to start being a part of the solution rather than just bitching and moaning about the problem. Putting this seminar together and presenting it will be an extension of that. I've said to numerous people that...I can teach anyone 90% of everything they need to know to do my job in a single weekend...I'm looking forward to finding out if that is true or not.