Let me tell you somethings that I know

That is really what this blog is about I suppose. I am going to have a bit of a ramble here…I just say that because I know some of you guys hate it when I do while others have told me that it’s my rambling that they like the best.

One of the reasons that I don’t write articles is because I really do not have a clue what it is that people don’t know. One of the reasons that I really love doing what I do is because every single day I get asked some great questions and have great discussions about training. I want to shorthand a few things and since I have little or no time to blog at the moment with work and also getting the new gym up and running I might come back and expand on the points that people think are interesting or worth commenting on.

Last night Garret was the last to train in the gym. Garret is like many of the clients I have. He has periods of training with me…in that he comes and gets assessed…gets a program and then goes off on his merry way or comes and does a month and goes off for a couple. He came back recently because he was off doing his own thing and made a mess of his back. Hopefully if Garret feels that anything I have to say is incorrect or out of order he’ll chime in…I basically want to give you a bit of background so you all know where I am coming from. Actually I’ll mail him and get him to give you his version of events….so I can post it up here so you can get it from the horses mouth.

This is what Garret had to say:
As Will mentioned I came back lately after slightly herniating a disc in my back. Dave Lyons and Will told me my lumbar spine was hyperflexible my hips were way too tight and my hamstrings were very very very tight . Result that I ended up pulling my lumbar spine under every time I squatted because of an inability to keep my lumbar arch tight.

So Will decided that I need to get my hips more mobile, my back stronger and my hamstrings more flexible.

Warm Up
1A Over’s & Under’s – 2 8
1B Leg Swings (F2B, S2S) – 2 8
1C Hip Pop Ups – 2 8
2A KB Swings – 2 12
2B KB Squats – 2 12
Snatch & Overhead Squat – 5 5
Glute Ham Raises – 3 8
Hanging Leg Raises – 3 15
3A Horizontal Band Pull A Parts – 3 12
3B Inverted Shrug – 3 12
4A Pull Ups – 5 3
4B Push Ups – 5 10
Kneeling Ab Pulldowns – 3 12

Session 2
Warm Up
1A Hurdle Steps – 2 8
1B Reverse Medbal Twists – 2 8
1C Hip Rotations – 2 8
2A Windmills – 2 8
2B Spiderman Push Ups – 2 8
Trap Bar Deadlift – (2 w/u) + 5 3
Single Leg Split Squats – 3 12
Standing Ab Pull Down – 3 15
3A Vertical Band Pull A Parts – 3 12
3B Chest Supported Shrugs – 3 12
Alternate Arm Incline DB Press – 5 8
Single Arm Cable Row – 5 8
Ab Roll Outs (Weighted) – 3 15
4A Natural Reverse Hypers – 3 12
4B 45 deg Back Extensions – 3 12

The hip stuff was extremely painful at first but the difference in hip mobility has been huge, stretching my hamstrings is still painful and probably will be for a while but again the difference has been huge. The reverse hypers and back extensions were again quite tough to do at first anything more than one set was quite sore but after a few sessions this improved quite a bit and I know longer have any real pain from the hernia and can hold my lumbar arch fairly well.

I do actually have an oly coach but I only get to see him once a week due to work etc so Will kindly offered to let me use the platform at his place. I think its almost impossible to coach yourself so its great for me that I can lift 3-4 days a week whilst having someone look over my form rather than once a week having someone tear their hair out for the first half hour at what Im doing wrong. So Im looking forward to actually giving the oly lifting a proper go and just for something else to do try a bit of benching which outside of testing with Will I’ve never done. Thats it really.

So Garret comes back with a herniated disc…obviously the first part of what we did was rehab to knock him back into order then we focused on his flexibility and mobility…it was the lack of these that led to the herniated disc…as well as working on another element of his physical conditioning that I felt was letting him down…see if you can guess what it was from looking at his results?

Garret’s Results:
Bench – was 85kg now 92.5kg
Pull Ups – was 7 reps now 15 reps
Push Ups – was 36 reps now 40 reps
Inverted Rows – was 17 reps now 26 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – was 200kg…we didn’t test this…his back is better but not perfect…so not looking to max it out.

What we were looking to do was two fold…increase his hip mobility…which is better…I’ll dig out the videos to show you…and to improve his back strength which from the results you can see has clearly improved. His back strength has improved so much that it has improved his bench…even though he has done no benching since his last test.

What we are going to do now is to get him back Oly Lifting and to improve his technique…as well as that we are going to improve his bench. Remember…I told you early I was rambling…I still am…not even close to getting to the point of this post yet. Last night he snatched, cleaned and did some back squats. In his next session he’s going to Clean & Jerk, do some power snatches and snatch variations and back squat. His third session of the week will be a bench session and all his supplementary work. In his Oly dominated sessions we are going to re-groove his technique…he’s got 2 main problems now…1. Is that he’s lazy…he has a very early arse lift that he can pretty much fix any time he actually switches on and focuses on what he’s doing…but he doesn’t…because he’s lazy. 2. He’s too mono paced…he’s not dynamic enough…he basically ‘muscles’ his way through his Oly lifts…this will only get you so far…and he’s pretty much got as far as he’s likely to get. So we have to correct the flaws in his technique. I think this should clear up a lot of his issues. What we are also going to do is to work on his bench…get his technique right and his numbers should improve. We’ll see how far he gets in this next cycle of training.

So why am I telling you all this and more importantly what’s my point? Well my point is…I want to tell you some things I know.

1. You can’t work on everything simultaneously…you can’t get bigger, leaner, stronger, faster and fitter all at once…it doesn’t happen like that. Sure, you can do a fat loss program and lose 10kg and your pull up score improves….but do you seriously think that it improves because you got stronger? You need to focus on 1 maybe 2 goals for your training at a time…to use Garret as an example…in his last program his 2 goals were to simply fix his back and get it stronger…so we worked hard on his mobility and his back….now his bench improved…that is simply a by product….I wouldn’t give people a hip mobility and back stability and strength program to improve their bench now would I? What we are going to work on now is 1. Improving his Oly technique and 2. Improving his bench. I’m willing to bet that other scores will improve as well…but that will just be a bonus.

2. You can’t go ‘balls out’ on every exercise in every session. We were talking about training programs in general. One of the reasons that I never prescribe percentages is because it has never ever been my experience that training works like that…some days you feel great going into the gym and you either have a fantastic, average or bad session…I’ve gone into the gym feeling rotten and had outstanding sessions and set personal records. You have to pick and choose your sessions and pick and choose your exercises.

3. I was also discussing yesterday what this person considered my ‘response’ to training…in that they thought that I responded much quicker than they did to training. This is not true. One of the many differences between trainees is their…for want of a better description…their ‘engagement with training’ their ‘exercise focus’. What I see in the gym is a lot of people going through the motions. I also see a lot of people training really hard and yet simultaneously going through the motions. What I’m talking about is that guy on the lat pull down just going up and down as well as that guy swinging on the thing using wild body English and screaming while doing so. I think both of these approaches are crap. You need to focus on exactly what you are doing and why you are doing it. I’ve trained with people before and although we were both doing the same exercise I think we were getting completely different effects. If you want to improve you really need to get your head into what you are doing. That doesn’t mean you have to be super intense…just know when to switch on and switch off.

4. Core Work…call this whatever you want…some call it abs or trunk work…whatever…you all know what I am talking about. The are two really stupid extremes to this type of training. There’s the ‘squats, deadlifts or other unamed exercise’ are the best core work and you don’t need anything else camp. This camp base base this on ‘squatting requires you to stabilise your core more than anything else’ argument. I can see where their coming from…but this is still dumb. Then you have the other camp who seem to do do nothing but core work for hours on end…swiss balls, bosu balls, balance pads etc etc…this is equally dumb. The answer I think is somewher in between…some dynamic work. some rotational work and some static work and you’ll be golden.

I am going to keep adding to this post…there has to be more that 4 things that I know. I think I am missing 6. Everytime I read an article or listen to the news everything seems to revolve around ’10 point plans’ and the like. I’m sure I can put together 6 more things I know.


4 thoughts on “Let me tell you somethings that I know

    • I was really hoping someone would want to pick an argument with me….I miss the old days…when I wouldn’t have to do or produce anything constructive and could just annoy people.

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