From the moment I came onto this earth, I have been your stereotypical Hardgainer. Being 6'3" and only 80kg, my physique has always been a battle. I loved playing football (Rugby League and Union), and was pretty good as a young bloke. However, once puberty kicked in the other kids got bigger, much bigger. And no matter how much I ate and all the early morning gym sessions at the South Grafton Pool and Gym, I could never put on muscle. I was facing a David & Goliath like Battle every time I stepped onto the field, and my body paid for the brutal hits.
But... my body was strong! Having a good atmosphere and experienced gym junkies around me, I learnt the ropes and worked the basics - Bench Press, Push Ups, BB Squats, Leg Press etc. But the one thing that I found got me astoundingly strong above all else, was the Pull Up!
Ever since I can remember I have loved Chin/Pull Ups.When I was growing up, my dad put a steel bar up between two beams in our garage, and my brothers and I put it to good use. We also use to do them off of our tree house and regularly climbed trees (we have scars and dings to prove it) in our neighborhood. When I moved away to university, my cousin and I installed a gal pipe in a doorway. It was about this time that I truly got serious about my training and started to incorporate variations and extra resistance into my Pull Up program. To be honest with you, there may have even been a few late night Chin Up challenges held in the house.
This isn't me! I don't wear sweat pants haha
Over the years my appreciation for the Pull Up has grown greater and greater with every rep I do or get my athletes to perform. It's not just another 'Any-Old-Exercise' that should be placed amongst BOSU Balancing, or Tricep Kickbacks. If bodyweight exercises were royalty, the Pull Up would be King or Queen (Pistols and Push Ups could be argued). For most males it isn't that much of a task to get some reps done, but for females (through my years of coaching experience) it can be extremely hard or damn near impossible.
The MBT program over the last 6 months has been about changing just that, getting most if not all my athletes performing good quality pull ups. My female athletes, all of which are now on the cusp of completing one or multiple reps, are seeing the an amazing strength increase and cross-over effect. Push Ups are now becoming easier because their Lats are now stronger and performing their role as the antagonist to the Chest muscles. Grip strength is now improving which is seeing numbers for the free weight lifts sky rocket - And how could we forget the compound movement pattern of the pull up challenging most if not all muscles and forcing more cals to get chewed up than say a lat pulldown where you are seated.
Nothing brings a bigger sense of achievement for me, than when I see one of my athletes nail their first pull up - especially a female athlete. For my athletes at the moment Pull Ups are the holy grail in their training goals. So for a bit of inspiration here is a small selection of videos of females smashing out Pull Ups, while the form is red hot in all of them. The sheer fact that these ladies are dominating bodyweight training royalty, is enough to look passed the odd dodgy ROM.
year we get blessed with a new sporting event with 2010 being no
different, if you haven't worked out, the Soccer/Football World Cup has
hit South Africa.
Soccer (Sorry but i was raised calling it
soccer) has always copped a bad rap when i was growing up i.e. called
divers, soft "so-& so's" etc. I played when i was growing up and
just took it back up and i can tell you the physical demands of this
sport are much higher than most realise.
It is played for 90mins,
broken up by 2 x 45min halves. Now i don't like to generalise too much
but basically Soccer is 90mins of short sprinting, agility running and
jumping. The demand it has on the lowerbody and cardiovascular system is
intense, just look at Harry Kewell, he is lean (low body fat
percentage) and has a decent amount of lean muscle mass.
i going with this exactly, well as you may have heard, read, seen,
experienced whatever, aerobic (steady state) cardio has limited uses and
most of these are for aerobically dominant sports/athletes. In saying
that most coaches of these sports/athletes are now adopting interval
style training to reduce training volume for more training efficiency
and preserving their athletes bodies over time.
Harry about to explode into an attack
for those who want or need to incorporate cardiovascular training into
their weekly lives, than logically interval training is the go. Why?
Basically high intensity (interval) cardio burns energy after exercise
whilst aerobic only really uses energy during exercise. So basically you
can be sitting reading a book after a sprint session and still be
burning calories. But for the Regular Joe's and Jane's trying to lose
weight, get lean, tone, get more definition or whatever you want to call
it, asking them to go to the local oval and do sprints is a big ask.
Social Sport aka "Pick Up" Games...
this concept isn't new and it's been promoted by coaches and trainers
for years. Social or Pick Up is competitive sport played in a social
setting i.e. backyard cricket or a game of soccer at a park. The beauty
of Social Sport/Pick Up Games:
It can be played with family/friends/acquaintances;
As long as you have some equipment it can be played just about anywhere; and
It's a great workout as it's a less intense version of the real thing.
you get all the benefits that the pros do just not as easily or as
frequently. Therefore, whatever is interesting you at the moment -
grab/buy some equipment, invite some friends, get out to the oval/court
and play a game for 20-30mins. You'll get fresh air, sun, a good sweat
and ENJOY THE BENEFITS.
A common occurrence I see and have experienced first hand is the "Sheep
Syndrome" (and no this isn't some cheap Kiwi joke, sorry I had to even
mention this but it could be misconstrued here in the Land Down Under).
The Sheep Syndrome is when you don't follow your own path in life and
are happy to be shepherded through your own existence. I am sure we all
know people who have this syndrome. Typical symptoms include:
Lack of own thoughts
Lack of own opinions
Lack of imagination
Too scared to be themselves because of popular or public opinion
Copy or imitate someone else without adding their own personal twist
One of my all time heroes is Bruce Lee, not only did he treat and train his body like a temple but also his mind. He was a devoted philosopher and combined his love of philosophy with his love of the human body. One of his famous quotes, which I try to follow religiously...
"Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
Much of our lives have become artificial, whether its through diet, lifestyle or even training. "Natural Life" is a way for me to communicate to you on ways people, cultures etc have recreated or evolved from the Artificial lifestyle most of live today, to a more primal or naturally human way.
This post was sent to me a long time ago by a friend and I'd forgotten about it until the other day. Erwan Le Corre, is a trainer who utilises nature as his way of living whether it be through eating, drinking, training etc. This is well made look into the sort of things he does.
So how the hell does this apply to someone living in the city or someone with a busted up body??? Get back to your primal instincts as much as possible, utilise the outdoors, swim, run, climb, breathe, experience.
My challenge to you for the next 6 weeks is one day a week - get outside and recreate yourself. Get back to what nature intended, don't set too many rules. Just get out there and remember...
I’m really excited to be bringing you an interview with my colleague, and yoga specialist, Sarah Scott.
Sarah and I have had many discussions on Yoga and the its practicality
for the modern athlete or average joe. Sarah’s going to be dispelling
some myths and talking about Yoga in general and how it can benefit.
Check it out below…