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

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

We did a recovery circuit session in the gym today…it was basically a ‘gym tour’.

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

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

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

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

…and more Trunk Work.

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

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

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

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


Kira’s Session

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Few questions …

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

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

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

Anyway …

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

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

You know I don’t like to preach

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

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

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

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

This is the variation of handball if you were wondering.

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

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

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

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

Barry’s first session

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Row 1: 10x100m with 30 second recoveries.
Time = 3:05.8
Av 500m = 1:32.9

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

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

Row 2: 10x100m with 45 second recoveries.
Time = 3:12.8
Av 500m = 1:36.4

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

Row 3: 10x100m with 60 second recoveries.
Time = 3:09.3
Av 500m = 1:34.6

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

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

Day 8-14

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

Polar Fitness Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM – No training…work got in the way.

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

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

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

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

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

My session from today.

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

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

No training today at all.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old School…the client that is.

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

Masters tennis player with ongoing shoulder issues.

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

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

Building a better Barry

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

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

Assorted Shoulder Work.

As well as other stuff like this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barry’s Heart Rate Profile – From his rowing test.

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

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

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