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Your fitness class is oxymoronic

If I paid money to go to a german language class and all the instructor did was shout random words in german at me for 45 minutes, do you think that would be an effective method of learning the language?

Likewise, if I went to a Judo class and all the instructor did was throw me on my head for an hour and a half do you think I would have learned much in the way of practical application?

Then why do we go to fitness ‘classes’ to be shouted at by a sweaty psychopath for 30 to 60 minutes? Are we learning anything new or practising/executing a skill we’re proficient at?

drill-instructor-yelling

These types of classes lack the key factors that cause the physical changes you want to achieve, consistency of practice and variation of difficulty.

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What do you think of this workout?

Iceberg workout

Quite possibly the most common question anyone who works as a personal trainer, strength or movement coach gets asked. It’s a curious question, because rather than ask said professional to design a training plan for you, you have asked them to provide an opinion on something someone else has designed.

My answer is normally along the lines of:

“Yes. Without prejudice or commitment, that is indeed a workout.”

This phrase “Without prejudice or commitment” is something that is hammered into all MoD project Engineers, to be used when talking to contractors. It basically means:

“No party can take anything I am about to say, or have just said, as a contractual obligation.”

Yes, I am saying that what you have presented to me is, in fact, some form of ‘workout’. Without any further information I cannot determine the usefulness of the aforementioned ‘workout’ for either yourself or for any other person. I am not denying or affirming that the ‘workout’ is either good or bad. Read more

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Re-framing: The art of being awesome when the chips are down

Don’t you just hate people who never get ‘down’? Or those people who seem to have all the luck? Because all the luck you personally have is bad, right?

My six year old was recently telling me “You make your own luck” and he’s about 88.2% correct.

stats2

I really buy into the idea that:

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity

Preparation is something that is (almost) completely under your own control. Read more

StrongFirst Lifters Instructor Certification – Lillieshall Dec 2015

I’m fortunate. Somehow I’ve managed to become a member of a community that strives for excellence. A group that realise that being ‘strong’ and being ‘smart’ are not two diametrically opposed concepts. Case in point I recently attended my second StrongFirst Lifters (SFL) certification.

SFL '15 Group

The SFL is the brain child of Pavel Tsatsouline and Dr Michael Hartle. Pavel, the Evil Russian, is of course the man who is credited as bringing the kettlebell into the mainstream of Western fitness culture. Though people who have read Pavel’s work over the last 15 or more years will realise that he is more than just ‘kettlebell guy’. His first published works being books on stretching/movement and using barbells to become hideously strong.

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Dutch Get Ups

The ‘Dutch Get Up’ is my attempt at a humorous play on words. The Turkish Get Up is beginning to get some serious love these days (and we chatted about it here). I’m a huge fan of the movement as it combines movement, posture, strength and endurance. I find sometimes that my ability to single mindedly focus on one or two exercises for two or three months at a time is perhaps not shared by the bulk of the gym going population.

In their fantastic DVD, Kettlebells from the Ground Up 2, Brett Jones, Dr Mark Cheng and Jeff O’Connor dissected and reassembled the TGU. The revelation here is that there is one Windmill ‘hidden’ in the TGU and the possibility to perform a further two Windmills.

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Iron Yoga

The Turkish Get Up (or TGU) is getting a lot of love recently. As is normal within the fitness industry, the ‘mainstream’ is finally catching up to what those of us on the ‘fringe’ have been doing to create success for the last 10 to 100 years.

get-up

Unfortunately it is also being horribly bastardised into some barely recognisable mutant sit up performed with a tiny 4kg kettlebell, also known in our gym as ‘The Earring’ or by my two year old daughter as “Mine! My want two!!!” Look, if a two year old girl wants to walk around the house with one in each hand, then I reckon that they’re probably too light for a grown up.

The TGU is a controlled roll, NOT a sit up! The idea is to pretty much keep your back straight as you ‘roll up’ into a seated position prior to standing up. Think of how you roll out of bed in the morning. Yes there is more than one way to do the TGU, but most of the variations are different expressions of the same principles.

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