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.


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.

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.

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.

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.