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.
I recently reviewed the Sean Sherk training mask. Sean Sherk for those who don’t know is a leading MMA fighter in the UFC and is known for his superior conditioning. He attributes much of this conditioning to his new product ‘the elevation training mask’. Training at altitude is known to produce fantastic benefits improving oxygen transport within the blood stream so when the athlete returns to ground level the haemoglobin can carry more oxygen and so the athletes cardiovascular capacity and conditioning is greatly improved. So Sean Sherk invented the Altitude Training Mask as a cost effective way of trying to get the same effect from day to day training- every day. The mask basically is worn during training and restricts the amount of air breathed in, forcing the user to use powerful inhalations and exhalations to draw air through the mask. I was dubious as to some of the claims they make about the mask- as training at altitude reduces the density of oxygen within the air inhaled whilst the mask just reduces the volume of air not the oxygen balance. Wether or not this adds up to the same effect within the blood i’m unsure, anyway take a look at the video- its fairly amusing!
Hey just thought i’d knock some free content out for you all as its always nice to be nice! Anyway its a six week fat loss workout program using nothing but your own bodyweight. It will really hit your body from all angles and will take the unfit to super fit -ZERO – HERO!
Anyway i’ll be posting up subsequent weeks as we go along so feel free to comment on YouTube and let me know how you’re getting on with it! Below is the first workout to complete in week 1. Remember to always seek your doctors approval before starting any exercise program!
As you know I really advocate sandbag training as an addition to any well rounded program- its a great compliment on an alternate day to an olympic lifting routine, bodybuilding regime or as part of a good rounded cardiovascular circuit and one of the best moves is the manmaker! If your a lady don’t let them name put you off it won’t have you sprouting chest hair- but its a move that does sort the men from the boys so to speak. Technique with this lift is crucial- especially as you get tired what you don’t want is to find the clean portion of the lift getting sloppy- so remember to keep a wide leg position and really drive your hips up and through when cleaning the bag up.Anyway without further delay here it is
You may have heard some of murmurings in the press at the moment do with the 3-minute exercise protocol? If you haven’t it all revolves around the program BBC Horizon: The Truth About Exercise. It was presented by Dr. Michael Mosley and all in all was a pretty good rounded view.
The research basically proved that taking yourself to the absolute maximum exertion for a total of 1 minute in 20 second bursts three times per week had nearly all the health benefits (not the ascetic I hasten to add) and more so than completing 4 hours steady state cardiovascular training per week- the benefits were- glucose release from the muscle stores, and increasing insulin sensitivity by an average of 24%. Vo2 Max (the bench mark of cardiovascular performance) was also increased in around 15% of participants.
The other basic tenant was that genetically people are very different- there are some that respond extremely well to any training stimulus. They grouped people into responders and non-responders. Responders being those who’s Vo2 max was markedly increased by the high intensity interval training HIIT. This was the above 15% percentile. And non-responders who saw little or no increase.
So what does this all mean for your average Jo? Does this mean they can all pack up their training kit, chuck in their sweat towel and head home to the couch- thankfully not. Lets look at it in a bit more detail.
First up the idea that HIIT training is far better for you than long steady state training is not new. Well at least not amongst more informed trainers and trainees! I’ve never advocated long steady state running or any type of long steady state CV. Not only does it wear your joints away- just check out my dad- he was a competitive triathlete and marathon runner- now nearly every joint in his body is being replaced through wear, long steady state training also raises cortisol- the stress hormone within the body.
When left to rage unabated cortisol not only is bad for health but also causes fat storage especially around the abdomen- how many fat runners have you seen- I’ve seen lots. Cortisol also is responsible for muscle and strength deterioration. I’ve always advised my clients to work on HIIT principles for improving VO2 Max- either in sprints, heavy kettlebell work and full body plyometrics and other savagely taxing means.
What the study also doesn’t do is look at the right amount of HIIT. All the study does do is prove that HIIT is far better than long steady state training.
I can guarantee that yes the responder group increased their VO2 max by performing the HIIT on the given protocol (the 3 minutes) and there was a marked improvement against the other responder group in the long steady state training group, but what the study doesn’t look at significantly is what if you actually increase the amount of HIIT the individual is performing and not just perform the minimum. I can assure you that if the responder group performed 6-8 rounds of the HIIT protocol so 8 minutes of all out hit 3 times per week their increase in VO2 max would have been massive. Also I can assure them that if they had made the non responder group treble their level of HIIT in the week they would have seen a good improvement in this test group too- yes not as much as the responder group but still a marked improvement.
I’ve trained so called non responders- in fact 50% of my clients could fall into this group- I’ve taken people who are in no way genetically gifted and pushed their Vo2 max to levels that would put most people to shame. But it does take more HIIT training than 3 minutes per week. Sometimes it takes a lot more. But improvements are always made with hard work. Of course there will be those who excel on even the tiniest stimulus- we can all envy them but for the rest of us it takes more work. This is where I feel this study is slightly dangerous and misleading. It gives people the chance to lump themselves in with the non -responders and so feel more HIIT exercise isn’t beneficial. Luckily this isn’t the case you just have to do the right exercise- in this case more HIIT and not long steady training training. Not only that but more HIIT would increase muscular strength, endurance, power and bring about muscular growth if the right exercises were chosen so why wouldn’t you do more when you would achieve all these benefits along with the VO2 max increases- why would you just settle for increased insulin sensitivity and glucose response??
I also had one last comment about the program. The trouble is with true HIIT is that it is painful. Very painful. More painful than most people can bear- and there’s the rub. Most people- your average man or woman will in no way be able to take themselves to the level that is needed in that 20 seconds to be a true HIIT interval. Some will but most won’t. This is where my job as a trainer comes in to take people beyond that threshold, to enter in where your brain wants to shut off and shut the body down. When your brain is saying no, I say yes, and keep you working- few people have the ability alone to take themselves to the limit that is needed to be a true HIIT interval to do so you have to like pain and be really used to it- yes your brain does adapt to deal with the pain of training- but that takes a lot of time and most people never reach it unless they have been pushed their regularly by someone else or born in a with strange masochistic nature- myself included!
As some of you may know I have an upcoming photo shoot at the end of March and have been dieting down from a bulky 16 stone to a leaner 14 stone at present, with a good 7 pounds left to lose to get to ‘photo shoot’ fit.
I’ve approached dieting a little differently this time around as I’ve had not only a longer time to lean up, but I also wanted to try a different approach that wouldn’t leave my lifting performance dwindling.
I’ve carb cycled before to good effect – it’s a great way to lean up but also retain muscle and performance whilst dieting. I’ve had so many questions about exactly how I am cycling the diet I’ve decided to lay it all down in black and white so you can see exactly how I’m doing it.
Remember though carb cycling should be a very individual approach. What may work for one may not work for another. Every individuals BMR (basal metabolic rate)- the amount of calories that must be consumed on a daily basis to remain the same weight will differ massively and so it follows, so too will the carb allowances for each day, and in fact how many high carb days that are actually added within the program.
I’ve included all the different supplements I’m using too- these help keep my health on track and I know from experience add that extra 5% loss in fat that can make all the difference.
Low Carb Day
Breakfast- Pro-peptide Shake/Mug of Green Tea/Cod Liver Oil/Vit D3/
Dinner- 350 grams salmon or chicken, 60 grams of brown rice, fresh steamed green veg
Before Bed- Pro-Peptide
Monday- Low Carb
Wednesday- Low Carb
All my lifts have maintained their levels and my energy levels are great. I choose Tuesday and Thursday as high carb days as due to my commitments I am up until late on these days and up very early. I’m still having a pro-recover after training but in the last two weeks before the shoot I’ll switch this to Pro-Peptide to reduce the Carbs even further.
After the shoot to maintain leaness until the following video shoot I’ll be using the same diet as above but with the inclusion of a semi cheat day on the Sunday where I’ll eat pretty much what I want.
Carb cycling can really enhance fat loss and with a bit of thought can easily be implemented into a lifestyle change that can be maintained in the long term to keep you looking lean and full of energy.
As you may know one of my favourite outdoor training tools apart from the kettlebell is the sandbag. If you haven’t heard or seen the benefits of sandbag training you’re missing out! Sandbag training is a great way not only to lean up but develop some really good functional strength gains. Much like the Bulgarian bag the sandbag can be used for a massive variety of moves and of course the weight can be altered with different filler bags so you really can design a comprehensive routine with this one bit of kit. I’ve had so many people come to me for sandbag advice i’ve made an instant download that will play on your pc, mac or idevice to cover the fundemental lifts and training techniques with the sandbag- and then I lead you on a great strength building cardio busting circuit to put all the techniques to good use- check it out now by clicking here