Archive for October, 2008

Training without Training

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

In strength training routines it’s fairly common to do a program specifically tailored to improving one lift or one area of training. Often theses routines call for high intenstiy or a high volume of specific work on a certain area and often they are pretty effective at boosting personal bests.

The problem is that sometimes after you finish a high intensity deadlift routine or a high volume squat routine you enter a period where even looking at those exercises is enough to make you want ot leave the gym and because of that you may start to slide backwards!

One solution to this problem of temporary mental burnout is to avoid the exercise in question and focus on a variety of related exercises so that you can maintain your newfound strength or fitness gains but also maintain your enthusiasm for training.

As a quick example if you’ve just done a heavy deadlift routine and set a new personal best take 2- 4 weeks and focus on the following exercises

Partial deadlift pulls from above the knee
Power cleans or power snatches
Clean pulls with 50 – 70% of your best deadlift.
Good mornings
Kettlebell Swings

If you include a couple of those exercises in place of Deadlifts you may even find that you work on weak points in the deadlift and when you return to full deadlifts that your numbers jump up again!

Here is a short video from my training of some partial deadlifts.

Remember if you are interested in Olympic lifting or serious strength training, we are running a workshop on the 30th of November at Olympic park in Sydney!

Contact Magazine Part 4

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Two more articles from the archives of Contact Magazine.

Article 5 – September 2006 – CrossFit

Article 6 – December 2006 – Summer Workouts

Kettlebell Heart Starters

Monday, October 20th, 2008

I’ve got a confession to make. Despite being a fitness trainer I’m really not a morning person. I often find it hard to get going in the morning and generally before I can get anything productive done I need to get my blood flowing.

The problem I have had in the past is that I like to do my major workouts in the afternoon and doing a second 40-60 minute session in the morning is too time consuming.

Therefore recently I’ve been experimenting with some 5 minute mini workouts that I can do with little or no warm up and with just a couple of bits of equipment that I can keep in my living room. The aim here is a quick convenient workout to kick my body and brain into gear not to flog myself (that comes in the afternoon workouts)

One quick note – if you are going to do these workouts pick a kettlebell that is one size (4kg for women and 8kg for men) lighter than what you would use for a full workout. So if you regularly swing a 32kg drop back to a 24kg.


#1 – A quick Crossfit “Fran” Variation
Kettlebell snatch 10 reps each arms, 7 reps, 5 reps
Pullups – 20, 14, 10

#2 – 5 rounds of
10 Kettlebell swings
10 pushups
10 situps

#3 – 3 rounds
3-5 Turkish Get up each side
3-5 windmills each side
1 minute of round the body kettlebell passing and figure 8’s between the legs

#4 – High Octane Cardio
5 rounds of
30 seconds of Kettlebell swings
30 seconds of skipping

Try some of these workouts when you need a break from office work or whenever you need a bit of a wake up!

The Completely Random Workout

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Over the past few years of training people with kettlebell and CrossFit methods I’ve noticed something.

Even though from session to session these workouts are highly varied and challenging, quite often when athletes are given a workout they’ll mentally start to break it down and pace themsleves. Conserving energy in one area in anticipation of a harder exercise thats coming up. For example a good runner might ease off on the run because they know that a set of 30 burpees is up next.

The other day while training a group of three clients (all of them experienced in my regular training methods) I thought i’d try something slightly different.

After a warm up and a brief kettlebell strength workout I laid out their conditioning for the day.

1. Set out on a lap of the oval
2. As each individual arrives back at the start point they will be given a mini workout to complete before heading out again on the next lap
3. The mini workout will be different for each client, each lap.

Examples of the mini workouts that they ended up doing.

A. 20 burpees + 100 situps
B. 10 burpees + 10 double clean and jerk (kettlebells) x 3 rounds
C. Boxing for 4 minutes
D. 20 m sprints with a burpee at each end
E. 10 pushups + 10 alternating split jumps
F. 20 kettlebell snatches + 20 pushups x 3 rounds

This workout turned out to be one of the hardest both physically and mentally that the group have done. At the end all three of them looked like they were about to collapse!

So if you want to spice up your workouts and introduce an element of unpredicatability I suggest getting a friend (or enemy) to write out say 3 – 6 little mini workouts and stuff them in an envelope then head out to the park or gym and start pulling stuff out at random and hammer through them as fast as possible.

CONTACT Magazine part 3

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Here are the next two articles written for Contact magazine.

Article 3 March 2006 – Kettlebell Training Part 1

Article 4 June 2006 – Kettlebell Training Part 2