Welcome to the site Extreme Fitness Brighton! We’ll be bringing you weekly updated fitness and personal training advice from from strength coach and top personal trainer Samuel Pont.
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Here’s the fact- OTS is real. What anyone might tell you otherwise O.T.S is very real and can create long-term problems with your training and your health. I was prompted to write this after several requests about recovery from my own BJJ teammates and several emails received in the last few weeks.
O.T.S is massively prevalent in BJJ mainly due to the fact that proponents of BJJ tend to train far more often than other grappling arts- sometimes a few hours each day. This could be why steroid use and HGH use has increased dramatically in BJJ circles –not particularly for the strength gain- simply put they massively improve recovery.
Athletes in BJJ coming up to competition are far more likely to suffer from O.T.S due to the increased regularity and intensity of training in the lead up before the tapering of training.
So what are the symptoms of O.T.S and how can you avoid them?
-Decreased performance- you may find you are not performing any where near your best
-Drop in hormonal levels of Testosterone, Growth Hormone
-Aches within the joints and muscles- not the feeling of normal stiffness after training but Flu like aches in the muscles and joints
-Irritability and possibly depression
-Increased incidence of infections and illnesses
-Decreased handgrip strength
-Loss of Sexual Desire
-Reduced interest in your Sport
So the question is how do you maintain intensity of training in a lead up to competition without suffering OTS? You need to lock down several factors.
Firstly sleep. You must get at least 8-10 hours sleep per night. Without the correct amount of sleep you are almost guaranteed to get OTS. If you are training like an athlete you need to sleep like one and that means more than a regular persons quota. When you sleep hormones such as Growth Hormone (one of your main regeneration hormones) is released in waves- you don’t get enough sleep – you don’t get enough. Same goes for testosterone. Make your excuses and go to bed.
You should also try to get in catnaps of around 20-30 mins during the day if possible, these can be a great top ups.
Secondly you have to make sure your nutrition is tip-top. You can’t expect to train like an athlete and fuel like slob- you need the correct nutrition to create the ideal environment for recovery. This means a clean diet rich in protein, good fats (and this includes cholesterol in moderation), clean carbs and also massively high in micronutrients – your vitamins and minerals. You also need to be very disciplined when it comes to the regularity of your meals at this time. This means eating regularly 6 moderately sized meals a day so you get a stream of nutrition into your body. A good supply of water too is also essential you should always remain hydrated.
With the extra intensity and volume of training you should also schedule in some activities that help bring your level of excitation down. These can include yoga, meditation or if you’re not that way inclined scheduling time for a slow walk in the country or by the beach to balance out the high intensity work with something that will bring you psychologically down. This aspect is often overlooked, but I have found in my own training 20 minutes meditation a day really helps to rebalance my stress levels and improve my energy and recovery.
And now on to the supplements -many people choose not to use supplements for one reason or another- but there is a reason top athletes use them-they do improve recovery especially if your body is under extra training stress.
A good high dose multi-vitamin that has high levels of Vit D, Vit C, Vit E, Magnesium and Zinc is a good choice – I like the Berocca brand as it has fairly high doses of most of these except Vitamin D. Magnesium and Zinc are not only essential for immune function but also testosterone output. Low testosterone as previously mentioned is a marker for OTS and will effect recovery times.
I also recommend supplementing in with High Strength Fish Oil as not only does this have a good dose of Vit D, its had good levels of DHA and EPA. Plus supplementing in with fish oil has been seen to Blunt cortisol (your stress hormone) output that can be a factor in creating OTS.
I also recommend the substance HMB at a dose of around 3 grams a day split into three doses. HMB is an amino acid metabolite and helps reduce muscle breakdown. I add in 1 gram to each of the 3 protein shakes I consume during the day. I’ve really found personally it helps.
Creatine is a great substance for preventing O.T.S as in many studies has been shown to reduce oxidative stress from hard training. However its use in BJJ is tricky. Standard creatine can increase water retention – which as you can guess isn’t ideal if you are cutting weight for a competition. However there is a form of creatine called creatine ester ethyl that is much more effective and can be run at lower effective doses of 1.5g-3grams per day- the lower dose means that far less water retention is experienced.
Protein supplementation is also beneficial and there are some great products on the market. My own personal choice is CNP’s Pro-Recover after training- its high in Glucose- essential after training to switch your body from a Catabolic (muscle burning) to an Anabolic (muscle repairing) state, and also a whack of fast acting protein to help with the repair. The other CNP product I recommend is Pro-Peptide – a great blended protein with awesome amino profile. It has a mixture of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ proteins. This is a great one to consume before bed, as the slow proteins will be used over night so that you have a ‘drip’ of nutrition throughout the night.
So you may be saying all this sounds a little OTT on the OTS! Well ask yourself how many people do you know coming up to competition who train really hard suffer OTS symptoms-including yourself- I’m sure it’s quite a few. BJJ players put themselves through the mill with full contact sparring and conditioning that few other athletes have to contend with. It up there being one of the hardest sports on your body around- especially in the lead up to competition. It’s all about creating the ideal environment for recovery. Each thing you leave out or fall short on has an effect on your recovery and ultimately your performance on the mat and competition- Oss!
Barbell High pulls tend to be my choice when developing explosiveness in my athletes. Some coaches still stick to the standard Olympic lifts and although these can still be warranted in some cases 90% of the time a better training response can be gained with the high pull and the weighted jumping squat and other plyometric methods
1-High pulls require very little technical skill. The Olympic lifts and derivatives such as clean; snatch and jerk require many hours of practice to nail the technicalities of each lift correctly. High pulls condition the posterior chain in the same way without hours of coaching to perfect technique. Athletes (even pro ones) have limited time- they need to get rolling with a technique that has gains from the first session not months down the line when eventually the skill has improved to a level where suitable weight loads can be used. Coaches have to remember they aren’t training Olympic lifters but athletes that people short on time to devote to conditioning training.
2-More weight can be used- if we are looking for optimal power gain through the posterior chain we don’t want the athletes weights inhibited by lack of technique such as the above point or having to stabilize the weight into a snatch or catch in the clean. This isn’t to say sometimes this is appropriate but for the most ‘bang for the buck’ we want the maximal weight possible loading the hamstrings, glutes and spinal extensors to create powerful extension.
3-With the high pull there is less chance of injury to the athlete. In more technical lifts such as the snatch even the clean due to the technicalities of each lift there is more chance of injury to the athlete- something we are directly trying to avoid! If you’ve injured the athlete, or they have injured themselves then you’ve detracted from performance not added to it.
4- Continuing on the point above there is less stress on the wrists. Many individuals find the catch position in the clean very bad for their wrists and have to develop sufficient wrist and finger flexibility to do this lift safely.
5- a less mobile athlete can still perform the exercises. Not all athletes as you may think are highly mobile and flexible. I’ve seen many really good individuals with horrific mobility issues and the Olympic lifts are really not for them. Good flexibility through the ankle, hips, thoracic spine and shoulder girdle are essential if you are to conduct the Olympic lifts in good form. With the high pull only a standard level of mobility is needed.
This is why with the majority of the individuals I train when we are working on explosive power as our primary goal I favour the high pull over the true Olympic lifts. Depending on the athlete there will also be a combination of Weighted jumping squats, splits lunges and box jumps etc.- but the same if not better and safer training response can be gained in a much shorter period of time with these methods
So I finally got around to writing this post as promised (albeit some months later!) for those looking to pack on some serious size and strength on to their shoulder using a combination of kettlebell and dumbells. Shoulders maketh man- and there’s nothing more impressive than a fine set of shoulders. Years – and i’m talking years ago (80 or so) in physical culture it was all about the shoulders- a strong men were defined with how powerful strong and large their shoulders were, now days unfortunately it seems to be all about the pecs-I know i’d rather have flat pecs and boulder shoulders any day! Anyway Its a great killer of a session give it a go and let me know what you think- you’ll need a good selection of kettlebells and dumbbells so you may want to do this at your local well equipped gym unless you’re well stocked yourself! Anyway enjoy!
1-Light warm up on rower for 3 mins followed by mobility work around shoulder- arm circles, rotations etc for a further 3 mins
2-Arnold press with 2 kettlebells seated for following rep range over 5 sets 15,12,10,8 using increasingly heavier bells, 1.5 mins between sets
3-Standing Seesaw kettlebell press rep range per arm for sets 10,8,6,4 each set superset with upright kettlebell double rows rep range with each corresponding set- 10,8,6,6- 1.5 mins between each superset
4-Double Deadstart Kettlebell Clean and press rep range for each set 10,8,6,4 each set superset with dumbbell lateral raises 15,12,10,10 one minute between each superset
5-Dumbell Bent Over Rear Delt Raise 15,12,10,8 35 secs between sets
6- Dumbell Shrugs Rack Run/Drop Set 15 reps, 15 reps 15 reps decreasing weight non stop 1 minutes rest time repeat x 4
7- Giant set (no rest between exercises of) Standing Double Kettlebell shoulder press 10 reps, Double upright Kettlebell Row 10 reps, Dumbell Lateral Raises 10 reps, Dumbell Rear Delt Raise 10 reps, Standing double dumbell Front Raises 10 reps- 1 minutes rest repeat 3x. You’ll have to drop the weights for all these exercises significantly to get through it!
And that’s a wrap! Let me know by email if there’s any other areas you are interested in working on and the most popular i’ll write into workouts for you
Knee pain is one of the most prevalent causes of training discomfort with those who train and for good reason- the knees are one of the most active joint in the body and also one of the more complicated. The cause of knee pain can be varied but can be boiled down to a few major.
Poor Movement patterns- this can be poor technique from incorrect coaching or performing exercises such as the lunge when too fatigued to maintain correct posture.
Faulty motor patterns- sometimes the body will try to initiate certain movements with the wrong muscles- incorrect sequential firing- a good example of this is the adductors attempting to produce the motion of hip extension (such as rising from the squat) instead of the glutes and hamstrings. This can cause problems as the adductors can produce hip extension but also obviously as their name suggests produce hip adduction. This during motions such as the squat can cause the knees to bow inwards piling on the pressure through the wrong area of the knee and can produce patella tracking problems (how the patella- the kneecap glides during motion)
Lack of muscular control and support from the superior and inferior chain of muscles. A joint is only as strong as the muscles not only at that joint but the muscles above and below it- this is particularly true of the knee. If the hip muscles cannot effectively stabilize the hip during motion then this lack of control will relate as stress through into the knee. The same is true of the ankle and foot- an unstable muscular network here will relate that stress directly though into the joints above it.
Lack of Flexibility and mobility in the joints of the hip, ankle and foot. Conversely if the hip or ankle are not mobile enough to deal with changes in motion and direction then again this will cause undue stress through the knee joint
Lack of muscular support at the knee. The knee itself must have adequate stabilization at the joint from the major supporting muscle – the VMO the Vastus Medialis. Without a strong VMO the knee will be inherently unstable and patella tracking problems will again arise.
So these are the main issues that effect most people when experiencing knee pain so how can you fix them? Take a look at the video below where I go though some of my favorite fixes – I tend to do all the VMO work and Hip work about once a week working on control of motion.
Don’t forget to join me on twitter @samuelpont and also download my full range of training apps available for the app store and android market! Click Here!
If below video will not play go to youtube video by clicking here
The new app the “Cross Training Games!’ is out now!
A revolutionary way to use your idevice to compete on a world stage at your favorite fitness exercises!
Compete against friends , family, colleagues and on the world stage pushing your fitness, fat loss and strength through the roof! Ever wished you could compete in the olympics? Now here’s the next best thing!
First select your event- Swings, Push Ups or Squats and simply put the idevice into your pocket or sports strap, start the clock and off you go! Bust out as many kettlebell swings, pushups or squats as you can in the time- no time for quitting now – don’t forget this is competition – time to step up and win!
The idevice will log each rep through the unique calibration system within the app and then signal when your time is complete! Then the cross training games will award you your ranking- are you a ‘Push Up WIMP’? or are your in the elite of ‘Push Up Grandmaster?’ the Cross Training Games will award you your deserved ranking!
And that’s only half of it!! The Cross Training Games has full integration with the Apple Game Center so you can check the leaderboards to see exactly how you are performing against everyone else using the app on the international stage! Think your good? Think you can compete and take first place? Now’s the time to prove it!
Not only that the Cross Training Games will save each workout you do with the app in the view workouts section so you can automatically log each workout and see how you are performing to keep your fitness progressing.
Training with the Cross Training Games puts the fun back into training!
-Amazing rep logging ability for each specific exercise
-Complete integration with the Apple Game Center
- Blurs the line between exercise and gaming!
-Compete on an international stage!
-Put fun back into your workouts!
-Automatically log each workout, each rep each time to keep yourself progressing
-Receive your Ranking for each exercise each time!
-Complete Facebook and Twitter sharing
-Easy to use
-Burn Fat, get strong and Get Fit
Click on the icon below to go to the app store! If you can return to app store and leave stars and review after downloading that would be great!
1- Make sure you are concentrating on your diet not just your training- I know plenty of really fit people who are quite fat too! Training will help you lose weight and build a body to reveal under the fat when its gone but is only half the equation. Don’t think training isn’t essential though – if you diet without training you are likely to lose even amounts of muscle tissue and fat- leaving you the same body composition but only lighter and weaker-hard training will help you retain muscle while dieting.
2- Carb Cycle- Carb cycling may be thought of as strictly only for bodybuilders and the elite – but its not. It’s a great way to schedule your nutrition long term and get really good fat loss results- check out my post on carb cycling here
3- Sleep- Unless you are getting enough sleep not only will your training gains stagnate you’ll likely get fatter too. Less sleep means less growth hormone release and an increase in cortisol- both of which will lead to increased fat storage.
4- Make sure you are working with high intensity intervals rather than long stead state CV training. Even with circuit training I like my clients to perform intense 1-5 minute drills with a minutes rest between circuits. Intensity is the key not long laborious steady state CV training. Sprints are also ideal
5- Take fish oil- Fish oil is not only great for restoring the healthy fats in the body but also is good at reducing cortisol in the blood- this will help reduce fat storage especially in the belly region.
6- Don’t neglect standard weight training in the gym. Many people let standard weights fall to the side when trying to lose fat- don’t- normal free weight training is great at retaining muscle mass while dieting and really depleting glycogen within the muscle. Clients that are looking to lean up I tend to work in supersets for the whole session at the 8-12 rep range with around 50 seconds to 1 minute between sets. This not only has a massive calorific cost but increases lactic acid within the muscles which has been linked to increased growth hormone production and so lowers body fat
7- Take Vitamin D- Vitamin D has a host of health benefits from immune system support to reduction in certain types of cancer- but it also has been shown to reduce intramuscular fat
8- Drink plenty of water- Not really a fat one this one but more of a water retention issue- unless you are properly hydrated your body will always be in flux between hydrated and dehydrated causing extra water retention- keep water levels topped up throughout the day
9- Obviously avoid junk and processed foods. The more junk food and processed foods you put into your body the less muscle and more fat you will carry padawan!
10- Don’t go on the old maxim breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper! A large carb rich breakfast will just make you hungrier throughout the day as it sets your insulin levels crashing around 11am. Try a high protein low carb breakfast instead. I recommend a blended protein shake mixed with low carb berries and a couple of eggs boiled or poached.
And that’s it- stick to these and you’ll be lean – period!
You may of heard rotation is big in the world of sports training at the moment – and for good reason. Nearly all sporting motions incorporate elements of rotation in many planes of movement – and so it follows that rotation must be worked in to any functional sporting conditioning program. From baseball to rugby the athlete must rotate to produce any of the actions associated with power.
However many sports coaches are now getting carried away and concentrating 70% of their athletes strength and conditioning programmes on rotational based movements- so why is this a bad idea?
If we just take a step back and go back to the mid nineties instability training was becoming all the rage- from Swiss balls, to wobble boards to other more funky equipment. Many sports coaches at this time discarded tried and tested elements from their programmes such as Olympic and power lifting and replaced it with unstable Swiss ball dumbbell presses, overhead squats on wobble boards etc etc- and the result- their athletes all got weaker. Why? Because using a Swiss ball and surface instability are excellent supplements to a routine but can not subject the athlete to sufficient loads to stress both the muscular and cns (central nervous system) to bring about high level adaptation of strength and power. Standard Olympic and power lifts subject the individual to the maximum level of weight possible needed to bring about strength and power gains in both the posterior and anterior chain of motion. This isn’t to say instability training doesn’t have it’s place in a decent conditioning program – as it does. Instability training is great at conditioning and developing responsive motor pattern recruitment into the small muscles between the vertebra and core, so in fact instability training is included in all of my training protocols however it is not the main meat and veg of the meal!
The same is true with rotational training – yes it is an essential element off S&C routines and is a definite must when designing an efficient program however for athletes to gain true maximal strength and power they have to use both power and olympic lifts and plyometrics. Show me an athlete who does not incorporate these into his program and relies mainly on rotational training and I’ll show to a weak athlete and one who in today’s highly charged sporting environment more subject to injury.
Rotational training makes up 20% of what I do with my athletes- this is enough to condition the athlete in rotational patterns and work on thoracic mobility and strength. I also like to periodise the type of rotational training in a three week cycle working from pure body weight rotational training using the cross core180 and various reaching movement patterns to weighted rotational training , to plyometric and tornado ball style rotational training.
So take home- incorporate rotational aspect into your training but neglect the standard lifts at your peril.
Don’t forget to check out my review of the crosscore180 on YouTube – one of my favourite rotational tools !
Just wanted to share with you one of my top training tools- the crosscore 180 warmachine. As you know I like to keep things simple when it comes to training- dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, bodyweight training- and the CrossCore180 is progression of that bodyweight training.
Anyway check it out!
Just wanted to share with you all the new dedicated site I have specifically for my complete fitness apps. As you may know they range from ‘Kettlebell Fat Loss’ to ‘Fit to Run’ a great complete running sports conditioning routine to improve your time on the road. Below is a list of some of the fitness apps I have available and link to the dedicated site with link to all the apps for both Android and Apple.
Kettlebell Fat Loss Workout- A complete tuition in the finer points of kettlebell training plus 4 tough fat loss drills.
Kettlebell Strength- A complete masterclass in the use of two kettlebells at the same time! Great functional strength tuition with complete follow along strength building drills
Bodyweight Fat Loss Workout- Don’t have access to a kettlebell- then this app is for you. I show you how to harness the weight of your own body in 7 different exercises and show you three variations of each so what ever you level you can get your fat loss off to a great start. The complete the follow along fat loss drills- one heck of a workout and over 45 minutes of content!
Grappling Fitness- Do you grapple? I’ve trained many combat athletes- all of which can testify how much fitter and relentless they’ve become through my training methods- in this app i’ll show you some of my top training techniques to push your grappling fitness through the roof.
Fit To Run- In this fitness app i’ll show you some of the best techniques i’ve used to condition some of the top class runners i’ve trained. With emphasis on core conditioning through the shoulder girdle to the ankle you’ll soon find your runs getting easier and times improving.
These are just some of the great fitness apps available from Samuel Pont Training- all of them are available on apple and android for only 69p! To check them out check out my dedicated fitness app site by clicking here Fitness Apps
As you may know by now I like to verge on the side of skepticism when choosing new workout equipment and apparel- there’s a lot of rubbish out there and I only like to use the best of what there is.
My old trainers and Oly shoes have had there day, so I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and purchase The Reebok Realflex training shoe.They have been billed as crossfit trainers and as some of you may know i’m not crossfit’s biggest fan, but because I don’t agree with their training methodology doesn’t mean that the show in principle will be wrong and this time I was pleasantly surprised.
As you can see in the video below the shoe looks good and feels pretty durable. The uppers feel solid and around the toe area where I find shoes split through Olympic lifts there is plenty of material.
However my major concern initially was the lack of stability within the shoe. After putting the shoe on the first thing that was apparent was the spongy nature of the nodules under the shoe. They felt springier than a conventional Nike air Max! Kind of like a sea under your feet! So how did this stack up when using the shoe for Olympic and kettlebell lifts? Actually surprisingly well. Although not firm like a conventional Oly shoe a more natural line can be felt when lifting in them- I think after some weeks these may stack up to be my favorite lifting shoes! For kettlebell lifts they felt excellent- pretty much akin to going barefoot which I like to do when training. During powerlifts like the squat and deadlift they didn’t feel as good as my flat converse TBH as felt I couldn’t drive heels through into the ground enough however this may improve with subsequent weeks. I’ve taken them out for a short 5k jog and i’ve got to say they performed really well. After years of being told I had fallen arches and needed specialist Brooks with inserts to correct this my feet ended up pretty weak- I’m big into foot strength now and these are fairly minimilist so I think will serve me well working on my supporting arch strength.