I don’t give a shit what your personal best is…what can you do right now

This always makes me laugh…next time you are in the gym….ask someone what they bench or what they squat or deadlift…I’ll pretty much guarantee they’ll tell you their personal best. This is just plain retarded…who cares what you did once upon a time….what can you do NOW. People often ask why I test so much and why I don’t give people more time between testing or questions that are actually just statements phrased as questions…what they are really trying to say is that I test too much and that I should give athletes more time between testing. Well let me tell you a few things.
1. Testing is not a life or death situation…I mean this is obvious…but you would see that it isn’t obvious to some people…I have a heap of chokers…athletes that fall to pieces in testing to the extent that they’ve done more in training than they are able to get out in the session we call ‘testing’. However, if you test often enough…which you will if I’m coaching you….eventually it doesn’t become a big deal…it is just something you do every 4-6 weeks.
2. In relation to point 1…learning to deal with pressure and being able to punch out a performance when asked is a good ability to have if you’re an athlete. Being able to ‘lift your game’ when you need to…often guys come in feeling like shit….who cares…not me….we test anyway. Even if it’s bad…you do it again in 4 weeks and it becomes just a blip….if you feel bad and you do well….then excellent…it should give you confidence in your ability to ‘dig out’ a performance when needed.
3. Testing takes time to get used to…there are a lot of things you need to become accustomed to…for example. The order of testing…we bench for 1RM, do pull ups for reps to failure, then as many push ups then inverted rows as possible in 60 seconds followed by a 1RM trap bar deadlift. If you have a huge miss on your bench….I mean a grinding it out for 3-5 seconds off the chest only to miss…you are going to be fried for the rest of your testing….or if you hit a massive PB on your bench…you will also generally be fried for the rest of your testing. You can apply this rule anywhere along the testing time line with the exception of the last lift. Any outstanding performance will take a good bit out of you…but you have to suck it up and get on with it.
4. Testing is fun. It is a chance to rub your dominance and superiority in everyone else’s face and the often you get to do that the better.

I tested with Paul when he had his testing on Monday and these were my results:
Bench – 140kg
Pull Ups – 9 reps
Push Ups – 39 reps
Inverted Rows – 21 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 180kg

Now that’s pretty ordinary…not bad…not great…I’ve been back training properly for 4 weeks now…so I tested and that’s where I am at. That information is a lot more valuable to me than my list of PB’s…which read:
Bench – 195kg
Pull Ups – 18 reps
Push Ups – 72 reps
Inverted Rows – 41 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 265kg

I’m NOT a 195kg bencher…I’m a 140kg bencher…I can’t do 18 pull ups…I can do 9….do you see where this is going. Personal bests are fine but they don’t mean a thing. You are what you are NOW.

I have written my program and I am going to test on the 1st of July and I am going to do the following:
Bench – 150kg
Pull Ups -12 reps
Push Ups – 50 reps
Inverted Rows – 30 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 200kg

If I don’t do that then I will have to make a new plan. Because by the start of the next AIL season I want to do the following:
Bench – 175kg
Pull Ups – 20 reps
Push Ups – 80 reps
Inverted Rows – 45 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 250kg

To do that though I have to keep training, keep testing and keep passing all the milestones along the way.


It’s all about the bench

Here’s Barry’s warm up set from today. We sorta kinda did a testing session.

I wasn’t going to test him today but he picked up a little niggle in his hip training on the mat last night so decided to take it easy today and let it settle over the weekend. I was thinking of just doing a heavy bench session with a view to doing his testing next week…but once we got started I thought we might as well test today so as to not waste another days training next week.

So we benched…last testing session he got 60kg….went for 80kg and got stapled to the bench…he didn’t even get close to moving it off his chest…today he did his first proper warm up set at 60kg for a triple, 70kg easy for a double, 80kg for an easy single….missed 85kg and this is why I need a cameraman…I did my whole coaching thing…I’ll let Barry tell you how complex and detailed my coaching points were and next time he got 85kg easy. His technique is really unrefined…but that is basically because he really hasn’t benched since he’s been training with me…it is way down on my priority list…his imbalances in his back was a much bigger issue as far as I was concerned and injury minimisation has been one of my major priorities. If we focused on it there’d be another 5-10kg there fairly readily and if we made it a priority he’d get a 100kg bench I’d say pretty confidently.

Then we did his inverted rows…like I said I wasn’t going to do a full test…just wanted to see how he’d go…he got 6 reps in 60 seconds last time. That isn’t a fantastic score. Well today he got 30 reps…that on the other hand is a great score.

I figured at this stage we might as well finish testing…he got 39 push ups, 8 pull ups and 170kg on the trap bar deadlift. So all in all I’m pretty pleased with his progress…a lot done and yet more to do.

The Seminar
The money is already rolling for Lyle’s Seminar on the 5th of April and the first of the names are on the list. Lyle obviously has much better drawing power than I have…but I suppose that’s a given…. after all Lyle’s American and that’s where Lindsay Lohan was invented so he must also be fantastic. I’ll be working out the capacity for the venue this week and putting a cap on the numbers attending. I’m secretly hoping that we’ll hit the number before hand just so I can tell the people who turn up and think they’ll be able to just pay on the day to attend to piss off. I’ve worked out that if I can sell another 36358 places than Lyle and I will both be millionaires…I have counted the chairs…but it may be pushing it.
So if you want to go be sure to send me an email and arrange to get the money to me soon and make sure you get your name on the guest list.

I saw this gem of advice from Lyle just then:
Originally Posted by Lyle McDonald
If you check the macros on a standard donut, it’s actually not that bad. At about 250 calories, like 8 grams of fat and the rest carbs. Two donuts plus 30-40 grams of protein will be about the same as a clean meal macro wise. And taste better. And leave you hungry again in 20 minutes which facilitates the eating needed to get huge.

How could you not want to come and get advice from a genius like that?

Train like champions

Last week Ian Mellis sent me an email regarding UK Sports Train Like Champions search. You can read the entire article here. They have all the top scores listed as well for various tests…some of the tests I’m going to have to find out the protocols for but we might have to have a go at bettering some of the results posted.

Bench Press (1RM) (kg) Men: 130 Women: 70 – This one we can definitely better.
Squat (3RM) (kg) Men: 240 Women: 95 – This one we can also better. (Just realised I should of had Louise do 95kg this evening.)
40m sprint (sec) Men: 4.92 Women: 5.64 – This one I’m not sure about but I’d love to find out about…time to get the timing gates out.
Medicine Ball Throw (m) Men: 7.2 Women: 5.5 – I need to find out how heavy this medicine ball is.
Press Ups – 60 sec Men: 104 Women: 68 – …and here I was thinking 100 push ups in 60 seconds was physiologically impossible.
Standing Long Jump (m) Men: 3.07 Women: 2.32 – I think we’d get close to this as well.
Standing Triple Jump (m) Men: 8.24 Women: 7.06 – This is another one that I have no idea about.
Cycle – 3 min (average W) Men: 476 Women: 323 – This is another I’ve no idea but intend to find out result.
Row – 2 km (min:sec) Men: 06:34 Women: 07:20 – I’m confident that we can better this.
Run – Cooper Test (m) Men: 3700 Women: 3300 – These results seem very dodgy to me…as I remember scoring 3765m or something around that in testing when I was competing. I doubt that a man and women both coincidentally finished their 12 minutes efforts on exactly 3700m and 3300m respectively.

I wonder how many of the athletes that set any of these marks could equal or better any of the others? I think we’d have more than a few athletes in the gym that could match and or better several of these ‘bests’ in the same testing session. We’ll definitely have to have a crack at some of them anyhow.

Just to put things in perspective

I got the following mail from Colm this evening and although it might not be of interest to everyone I know it will be of interest to everyone that trains with me. I’d be interested in know what the lads think?

Colm said
hi Will

heres the links to the aussie league

Sydney Morning Herald Article

League HQ Article


what you reckon?

This is the first article from the Sydney Morning Herald

CHRIS Beattie is on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played a game in Australia for two years but can now claim to be the strongest man in the NRL.
With the first match of the season just 43 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

New Zealand Warriors back-rower Sonny Fai registered a bench press of 185kg but is yet to make his debut in the NRL.

Their numbers are impressive, but they are well short of the mark set last season by former Manly colossus Kylie Leuluai, who benched 220kg – and did three repetitions.

Former Queensland prop Beattie, who returns to the NRL with the Sydney Roosters after a two-year stint with French Super League team Catalans Dragons, credited “good habits” and an injury-free run for his superb physical condition.

“From a weights point of view, as an older player you just program yourself ,” he said.

“After you’ve been doing it for a number of years you reach a certain strength. I believe I have got stronger at the end of my career.”

The 31-year-old, when told his lift was the highest in the league, played down the result.

“We primed ourselves for that lift,” he said. “It’s not a weight I throw around every week.

“It’s only one lift – I’m sure there are a lot of guys who do more chin-ups or push-ups.

“I don’t get too carried away with that sort of stuff.”

While Beattie’s lift is the heaviest, Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight.

St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

Utility Luke MacDougall has also impressed teammates since joining from South Sydney, particularly after squatting his body weight 85 times on a one-legged press machine.

Several Dragons have added size to their frames in the off-season while decreasing their skinfold readings, most notably outside back Josh Morris (6kg), Cooper (4.5kg) and former Shark Beau Scott (4kg).

At the Roosters, 85 per cent of the squad are benching more this season than at any other time of their career.

Craig Wing and Anthony Minichiello are pressing 145kg and 150kg respectively.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.

Emerging forward Frank-Paul Nuuausala has trimmed from 125kg to 108kg and Willie Brown is 110kg, a far cry from the 130kg he weighed a couple of years ago.

Penrith winger Luke Rooney has knuckled down in the pre-season in an attempt to return to representative football and strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings has rated him the club’s “best all-round athlete”.

The former Kangaroo’s figures are impressive. He can bench his own weight of 100kg 15 times, squat three times his body weight 65 times and shoulder press half his weight an amazing 49 times.

In an endurance assessment – in which Jennings tested how far the Panthers can run in one minute – Rooney recorded the best distance of 440m.

Those figures are expected to improve when the Panthers complete a round of testing this weekend.

In all, the Panthers’ skinfold levels have come down 30 per cent as part of new coach Matt Elliott’s focus on fitness and mobility.

“We’re a lot leaner and people will recognise that when we start playing,” Jennings said. “There’s no point looking like Tarzan if you play like Jane.”

Manly have gone through protein supplements worth $12,500 in the past three months in an attempt to bulk up their squad. The investment has paid off, with the players adding an average of 2.5kg of muscle during that period.

Tongan powerhouse Finefeuiaki won the Sea Eagles “strongman” contest although he does weights only once a week.

The real surprise packet has been Chris Hicks. The underrated outside back can bench his bodyweight of 90kg 27 times. He holds the club record for backs, benching 110kg 18 times and still being able to post sub-five-second 40m times.

At only 80kg, pint-sized half Travis Burns also trains above his weight – squeezing out a 150kg press.

Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles believes he has one of league’s strongest men in former Rooster Richard Fa’aoso.

The Tongan international is also just behind Eric Grothe in 40m sprint testing.

“He’s the most powerful thing I’ve come across … and the quickest I’ve seen in a big guy,” Knowles said.

Benji Marshall has posted promising results in a series of “related power” assessments. Wests Tigers’ Kiwi playmaker averaged a vertical jump of 49.67cm over five jumps, pipping John Morris.

In Canberra, the average player weight has increased to 98.9kg, with 3.5kg less fat.

Leading the way in the strength department is prop Jason Williams, who benches 160kg and is able to squat 180kg for three repetitions.

Raiders strength and conditioning coach Sean Edwards, who worked with Wallabies stars during his time in rugby, described Williams as one of the strongest athletes he’s seen.

Only Souths, Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Bulldogs – who have not yet completed strength and speed testing – did not provide results or player rankings, but Brisbane’s performance director Dean Benton said the premiers were physically a month ahead of where they were at this stage last season.

This is the second article from League HQ
The men of league aren’t robots, but they train like machines – with this youngster showing he has horsepower to spare, writes Adrian Proszenko.

When Tim Mannah runs out to make his NRL debut, opponents will have plenty of ammunition.

The Parramatta prop is a former milkman who is abstaining from sex until he gets married.

In rugby league, that combination is tantamount to putting a dartboard on your head and begging to be sledged. However, his opponents might not want to get too cheeky, as Mannah can claim to be one of the strongest men in rugby league.

With the first match of the season just 25 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Most of the clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and Mannah shares top spot with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The feat was equalled only by promising Penrith prop Sam McKendry and Bulldogs counterpart Sione “John” Kite.

The Eels copped a flogging on the field last year and they have been flogged mercilessly in pre-season to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Under the watchful eye of new coach Daniel Anderson, the Eels have been pushed to their limits.

Mannah, who turns 21 today, has responded to the challenge.

“He’s a machine when it comes to throwing weights around, he’s training the house down,” said Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles.

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds.

Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m.

To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

Australian Schoolboys star Mannah, a candidate for a front row spot after Junior Paulo suffered a pectoral injury, hopes the hard work translates into an NRL debut.

“With the new coach coming in, everyone’s on a level playing field and we’re all trying to impress,” Mannah said. “Ando [Anderson] has really pushed us. Compared to last year, we’re that much tougher. Physical preparation won’t be an issue this year, that won’t be an excuse.”

Eric Grothe jnr is also thriving under the new regime. The Eels winger generates the most power on a non-motorised treadmill, which simulates game-day exertions, and can complete 28 chin-ups.

Bulldogs tyro Ben Barba notched 30, followed by teammate Brett Kimmorley with 27. But the king of the “chins” is Wests Tigers winger Peni Tagive with 36. After a seven-minute break, the Fijian youngster can also manage 49 dips.

McKendry also boasts impressive figures. The 20-year-old deadlifts 230kg and back squats 220kg to go with his impressive bench press. He is one of several Panthers to impress strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings. Another is diminutive half Jarrod Sammut, who has added 7kg of muscle to his frame during the off-season.

Trent Waterhouse is up 5kg and Frank Pritchard 4kg. The latter runs an average of 26km during a typical week of training, consisting of four field sessions, a kilometre more than the club average.

Hooker Paul Aiton is the big improver and is considered the club’s best athlete, pound for pound. Last year he was ranked 10th in that category.

“With Luke Priddis not being around, he’s decided ‘this is my year’,” Carl Jennings said.

“He’s been sensational.”

The Bulldogs have a new team and a new attitude in 2009 if training results are any indication.

Kiwi international Matt Utai completed a 5km bike ride in just seven minutes and 24 seconds. Kite lost 10kg while maintaining his strength, while Yileen Gordon has shed 8kg. Several players are benching more than 150kg.

At the Titans, former Australian prop Luke Bailey has added 6kg to his frame and Ben Jeffries 5kg. However, the Titans still have some of the leanest bodies, with dual international Mat Rogers (43ml of body fat) leading ahead of hooker Nathan Friend (44ml), William Zillman and Mark Minichiello (both 45).

The trend is the same at Manly, although not everyone has bulked up. Giant prop George Rose has lost 8kg, reducing skinfold readings at the same time. Jason King is considered the strongest man in the club, although his bench pressing pales in comparison to Kylie Leuluai. The former Sea Eagle used to bench 220kg – and regularly pushed out three repetitions.

Matt Orford, aptly nicknamed Ox, is rated the club’s strongest, pound for pound. The Sea Eagles were one of the first clubs to use GPS technology to track player exertions.

“The Ox runs and moves so hard that his change of direction comes up as a G-force,” said strength and conditioning coach Don Singe.

Testing results are generally a closely guarded secret among NRL clubs. While some were generous with the amount of information they provided, others were more cautious, fearing they could tip off rivals to their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Singe revealed that hooker Matt Balin, a qualified personal trainer, is fittest man at Brookvale Oval, but did not want to reveal specifics.

“I’ll just say his [aerobic capacity] is well above a normal human being,” he said. “Instead of lungs, he has two hot-air balloons.”

One of the most revered – and feared – trainers in the NRL is Billy Johnstone. The intensity of his workouts are legendary and little has changed after returning to North Queensland, even if wet weather prevented him from completing his full raft of tests.

One man to impress the fitness guru is Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has won a series of club challenges.

“He’s a freak, Johnny,” Johnstone said. “He had an operation and was away for two months. He came back and won everything.”

But an NRL off-season can’t be quantified simply by numbers, says Eels trainer Knowles. “The one thing which can’t be measured on any test is a massive adjustment in attitude from the boys. They look ready for a big year.”

My Impressions

I’m just going to go through the articles, pick out excerpts and tell you what I think:

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

I’ve benched more than that…so there’s no way that can be any good…in all seriousness…as I’ve said before…I think a 1.5 time bodyweight bench is a good athletic standard and I’d say that is probably what this was…probably a little more than that in fairness. I’d take a guess that as a prop in rugby league he’s most likely weighing in at 100-110kg.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

Here’s Jonny Molloy at 20 year old prop banging out 4 easy reps at 150kg in the middle of a training session…he’s also done 170kg in testing plenty of times now.

Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

This on the other hand is just all kinds of awesome.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight. St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

This is a test that we do as well. This is me at the end of a bench session doing 20 reps at 100kgs just for a laugh. I was weighing in at 110kgs at this time though.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Conor McPhillips is technically a borderline midget and there are videos up of him box squatting 200kg in the middle of a session. I’ve also seen 250kg done for more than a single rep in the gym.

The 40 metre on grass under 5 seconds is something that I want to see…I’d also want to see it timed with gates. I’m not saying it didn’t happen…just saying I’d love to see it.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.


This reinforces my point. The reason I think pull ups and chin ups are so important is that it tells you a lot about an athlete. If you can’t do a decent number of pull ups or chin ups it’s usually because you are too bloody fat. In shape…as seldom as that is…I’ve gotten 18 in testing…fat as a whale…as I am most of the time…I get about 8. Pull Ups and Chin Ups give you an indication of an athletes mastery of their body weight. Athletes with the best number of pull ups and chin ups will be your fastest and those with the worst scores will be your slowest generally. I also love to see the technique and form used for Josh Lewis’s 31 reps…was it like Traps here doing 24 reps…

…or was it like this…

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds. Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m. To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

I have a good few guys that I think would have a good crack at this…even having not trained on a rower for a couple of months I think I could throw down a comparable time. We might have to have a bit of a go at this in the next month or so an see how we get on. Fanj pulled 211m or 217m in a single 30 second effort a while back. He’s not a player that rows regularly at all either. I know for sure that Damian will want to have a crack at this test.

Now I am not having a go at the Rugby League guys because as I’ve said before I actually think that these guys on the whole a probably the best all round athletes on the planet. Combining power, strength, muscular endurance, speed and conditioning. I’ve argued their case before with US citizens who are so ignorant that they can’t comprehend any other country producing athletes comparable to their own. I’m just trying to provide some perspective. I can bench 180kg but if you gave me 10 minutes I probably still couldn’t run out of site. These guys manage to post great testing scores in ALL areas of strength and conditioning and post them all at the same time. That’s what is most impressive.

So what do you do once you’ve tested them?

Actually that wasn’t a question…I was only pretending like I cared what you thought to suck you in and keep you reading the blog…especially since I’m going to make you change your bookmarks again in the not to distant future.

I want to go through some testing results from the other night.

This is their first test and this is prior to these guys kicking off their pre season so all these results are pretty much from a standing start. That’s not to say they haven’t been tipping away in the gym just that some of them wouldn’t be doing anything too structured at the moment. All these guys are playing Gaelic Football at a senior level and what I want to do is to look at a few players in particular from what was a pretty big group.

Firstly, PC is 186cm tall or 6ft 1in and 80kg or 176lbs he benched 90kg (1.13xBW) he did 14 pull ups, 44 push ups in 60 seconds and 26 inverted rows and deadlifted 170kg (2.13xBW) and a 2.45m landed standing broad-jump. For PC I think his targets should be as follows bench 100-120kg, 12+ pull ups, 50+ push ups, 30+ inverted rows and a 160kg trap bar deadlift. So in summary…he missed his bench by 10kg..now I think I could get him there in 3 weeks because his technique wasn’t great so I’d be confident that there was 5-10kg right there. He got 14 pull ups which is 2 more than target so no problems with that. His push ups and inverted rows were a little off his target but importantly they were off in pretty much the right ratio…that same few weeks and I think he’ll get these as well. He beat his deadlift target by 10kg so as far as lower body strength is concerned I think he has got that covered. He also did his rowing test but I want to talk about these results first. Essentially PC is a pretty balanced athlete and he is probably only a month or so away from pretty much having all the ‘strength’ that he needs for Gaelic Football. So what does he do then…once again…I don’t really care what you think…I’m going to tell you. He’ll shift the focus of his training towards power development. He’ll need to do more work on improving his rate of force development. He can spend more time improving his mobility, doing trunk work and his individual prehabilitation work because all these things will have a far greater impact on his on field performance from a gym perspective than any pursuit of further strength gains ever would. The thing is….chasing further strength improvements could actually hinder performance for a couple of reasons…1. He is well up the curve and well past the point of diminishing returns with regard to his stength and muscular endurance and 2. Chasing those strength and muscular endurance improvements comes as all training does…at a risk. The best thing any player or athlete can do to improve their performance is to stay on the field, court, pitch and play and you can’t do that if you’re injured. If there’s anything worse than getting injured playing…well we all know there is…but I can hardly think of anything dumber than injuring yourself in the gym and not being able to play as a result.

Now PC also did his rowing test and he scored the following 169m, 155m, 144m, 134m, 136m, 134m = 873m in total. Now in my opinion I’d rate that somewhere roughly between shit and suck…and probably closer to shit than to suck unfortunately for him. Now he’s a footballer and is expected to run around like a mad man. How’s he going to do that when he has  barely got the anaerobic capacity to blow up a balloon without having to go and lay down for a minute to catch his breath. Just to give you an example heres the results of a rugby player around the same weight 182m, 179m, 165m, 156m, 161m, 158m for a 1001m total. I’m not picking out the best rugby player either…that’s just someone around the same weight. John who is another Gaelic Footballer but 10kg heavier than PC pulled a total of 1016m in his test the other week and that’s in the middle of some tough dieting…his actual scores were as follows…188m, 176m, 171m, 166m, 163m, 163m….he was displeased with his results at the time and has done better previously. I’m not trying to run PC down…I’m just saying…his strength is pretty close to where he needs it to be…but his aerobic and more importantly anaerobic power is no where near where it needs to be. I’d be only too happy to see PC ditch a weight session a week and do some intervals instead. Being a great player is about getting your athletic balance right…PC is not balanced athletically for gaelic football.

I posted some other lads results last night…lets have a look at those again.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

Now Paul is 85kg and Peter is 75kg. You can see that Paul like PC isn’t far off his targets but in comparrison to PC you can see that his Inverted Rows look a little weak relative to his other scores. Peter on the other hand has a lot of strength work that he still needs to do in comparison to the other two lads. If you look at Peter’s scores though you’ll see that he’s quite balanced…just too weak. So while PC needs to work on his power and conditioning and Paul needs to look at his back issues and bring his results up to par Peter needs to work on his general upper body strength and muscular endurance generally.

A lot of players and athletes get carried away with their gym work to the point that it actually hinders more than helps their performance. You can’t be a powerful and explosive athlete and hence the player that you want to be without a decent level of maximal strength. Too many players and athletes try to do too much strength endurance type work in the gym…it’s not the place for it. Get ‘strong enough’ in the gym…then go out and get fit to play on the pitch.

What I’ll do when I get time later is to come back and discuss the differing program approach I’d take with these three lads because I think the thing that you might find interesting is the fact that they’ll all be using exactly the same weight training template.

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 minutes…so 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 with…in 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 cover…so 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.

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 training….at 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 intriguing…as they always are…I always find the funny thing is that ‘everyone’…that means you…thinks that they are normal…no 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 seconds…is not NORMAL…being able to do more pull ups than inverted rows…is not NORMAL.

Continue reading