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 – 2×8
1B Hip Pop Ups – 4 double legged then 8 single leg hip pop ups
Trap Bar Deadlift – 2w/ux8, 5×3 working up to near max on the last 2 sets.
Seated Leg Curls – 1w/ux12, 3×12 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, 5×8
Modified Hindu Push Up – 3×12
2A Natural Reverse Hypers – 3×12
2B Back Extensions – 3×12


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.

Shoulder Stability and Control

You guys do all realise that I do more stuff than just have people do band pull-a-parts and stand around laughing at them don’t you?

The blog doesn’t reflect everything I do everyday…you realise that as well don’t you?

Like for example today…went something like this:
Early, early morning…clients and athletes…mid morning…eggs and coffee and fighting with and harassing people on the internet…meeting at lunchtime with a sports organisation (I always like to schedule meetings around meal times…these guys got off easy as I’m in training…so just 3 cups of coffee) then over to Dublin City University to work with some intellectually disabled athletes…which is brilliant work…and not to different to the challenges I face with the rest of my athletes. Then some paper work…I hate paper work. Then this afternoon and evening I was in the gym and on the pitch with some more intellectually disabled athletes as you can see below.

Pitch conditioning session.

On to the topic of the moment…I do get a lot of emails from people asking a variety of questions…but lately a lot of them have been of this variety.

Subject: Improving Scapular Control

I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of days. I was wondering if you could outline or send me a link (if I miss it) about the approach you use to improve scapular control?

I also see a lot of band pull apart video that you put up. Could you maybe write a blog post about how you analyze the video? Sometimes while looking at the video, I don’t know how it has improved or not.

Random Internet Person

It really is quite simple…with regard to analysis…I look for symmetry and control…it is rarely ever perfect but you have to start somewhere. I mean there are books written all about this sort of stuff and it would be crazy for me to go into massive detail after other much smarter people have done so…but that’s never really stopped me in the past. I start at the neck and work my way down. Look at how there traps sit, look at their shoulder height and position, the level and orientation of their scapula.

I have them do the band pull-a-parts in a horizontal and vertical plane…in an open and closed position. I have them do chest supported scap rows to see what their scapula recruitment is like…to essentially see whether they are trap or rhomboids…a lot of people can’t use their rhomboids…they are just so trap dominant…see also athletes that are really crap at inverted rows…do you see how this all starts to come together…any way…then I get them to do some scap push ups and inverted shrugs and scap chins….see what they can do and what they can’t do and how good or bad their control of these movements are.

Then we fix it. I mean seriously…how can you possibly think your bench, pull ups or chins, military pressing…..actually forget that…how can you seriously think you could be doing anything as well as you could when essentially the ‘base’ of all these movements is crap or even just worse than it should be.

This is the first known diagram of proper Band Pull-A-Parts and Shoulder Band Dislocates.

As always…if people ask proper questions or even make proper criticism I’ll be only to happy to clarify or post more on the subject…and no, ‘you’re a fat idiot’ is not proper criticism.

Want to say a few well dones

In no particular order…but well done to Chops…who managed to lock himself out of the gym even though he had the keys…I couldn’t believe I actually had to tell him to ‘push the door harder’ when he told me that apparently…according to him…’someone had bolted it from the inside’…must have been the security fairies then? Anyway with a little help over the phone he managed to get into the gym.

John also deserves a mention…he did a couple of months with me a while back then went solo for a couple of months with the program we put together and he’s come back pulling like a freight train. He’s come back in really great shape…in such good shape I’m actually surprised he came back at all. Any way I am glad he did…because I am going to have so much fun dialling his work up an extra notch. He’s built a fantastic endurance base and we are going to really work on his power production this month and see where it gets us…you guys who are interested in training and coaching should actually stop badgering me and start asking him questions because I think you’d get a good perspective on what training with me is all about.

I also want to give ‘The Rower’ a pat on the back as well…a little while back I told him he was an embarrassment to professional sportsmen the world over and was a fat mess. The Rower has basically never trained with me and he’s actually someone else’s athlete hence the assumed name but he took in and has taken on extra sessions with me. He’s done everything I’ve given and the only question he’s asked is how hard and how fast I wanted it…his training that is. He’s given it everything every session and I wish I had more athletes just like him….actually while I’m at it I wish I was more like him.

His session today went like this:

5x500m with 60 second recovery
5 mins at Level 5 on the bike
8x300m with 45 second recovery
5 mins at Level 5 on the bike
12x150m with 30 second recovery

These were his times.

Early morning session

This is what the lads did….some of them anyway…others were sweating bullets and moaning and groaning in the gym…I know this because I could hear them from outside.

5 mins on the bike.

A 10 minute work block of the following:

5 lunges each leg with a 20 kg plate held to their chest.
5 Inverted Rows
5 Elevated Push Ups

The best was 10 sets in 10 minutes.


3 sets of the following:

1 set was as follows…
4 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 30 seconds recovery.
8 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 30 seconds recovery
12 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 60 seconds recovery before commencing the next set….you follow? They did 3 of these sets…the following footage was taken when Chops was doing his last lot of 12 punches in his final set.

He’s got 60lbs in the X-vest (I told him it was only 40lbs…1. Because I knew that he wouldn’t be able to convert lbs to kgs and 2. Because I knew that he’d know that 60lbs was a lot…no matter how you converted it.) and a viper belt attached to the vest.

By the way…I doubt he’d of been able to punch his way out of a wet paper bag at the end.

We went from his last set of these to 6 sets of down and ups with 30 second recoveries between sets.

Down and Ups with the X-vest and the Viper belt.

They finished off with some Out & Back & Out sprints.

These were done on the minute and 10 in total were done…they were taking about 8 seconds or so to complete so 52 seconds recovery.

…and before someone asks…yes, they can afford shoes and boots but I like to have as many of my athletes as possible do as many sessions as possible (read 1 or 2 a week) barefoot because it helps with ankle, knee and hip problems and its also good for calf and hamstring issues….well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.