Just Turn Up and Add to the Bank of Health

If there’s one message for achieving success that I’ve heard, been told, read or observed, it’s this; show up. I was reminded of the very same by coach Dan John during a weekend workshop last month. ‘Just turn up!’ Many of his successes over his athletic and professional career occurred by chance… that is after turning up to an event, competition or taking the opportunity to write an article for a popular fitness magazine.

It can be said that success does leave clues, and it’s pretty clear that being in the right place at the right time is sure to lead to many an adventure, misadventure, offers and opportunities. But if you ignore them until ‘next time’ or for ‘another time’, you’ll have missed the gun and lose time, the one thing you can’t get back.

Everything we do now on a routine basis is because at some stage it became a habit. Either as a necessity or as something we started. It was a habit in the making. It might not be a habit any more, but during the process of forming it, it was becoming a habit. Now it is just part of life. But, to create it, something had to start, we had to turn up in sorts.

Opportunities are created by us not others – we just have to turn up, be there, say yes. 

Now, what the heck does this all mean in the context of my area, health and fitness? My first job in fitness back in 1997 happened when I turned up for an appointment at a physio and asked if he knew of any jobs going in the gym upstairs. And yes, sure enough, there was… ka-ching! ‘Winner winner chicken dinner’ as they say’. In the mid 90s I had a wonderful time living my dream of the day, racing my bike in Europe on a shoe-string budget. How? I turned up at events often, got noticed by people and got offered an opportunity.

  • A former client with a life changing back problem hated turning up to the gym every Wednesday morning but he did. He’s now a former member because his life turned around again because he did turn up regardless of his emotions. Now Dave runs almost every day, has climbed Everest (I jest not) and he’s a new man, a much lighter, happier and healthier man to boot.
  • Robyn turns up to the gym three times a week even though she’d prefer to be sitting at home, feet up with a cup of tea to recover from her totally crazy, busy family life. She decides to turn up, work through her mobility and strength routine and goes home again a little bit better than 45 minutes previous.
  • Jim decides to make his life healthier by working on eating more vegetables. He turns up to the grocery store instead of the bakery to buy his least detested vegetables haha. His goal is to buy vegetables he enjoys, to add to at least one meal a day to begin with at the most. Little changes made often will grow over time.

That is the goal of this piece; to demonstrate through a few examples how making little changes often can make them a habit, then a normal part of life, all the while adding to the wealth of health, adding to the bank.

How often do you hear of people taking on big, new goals or challenges, only to either never start them or to blow up in overload due to the enormity of the task? They took on more than a reasonable amount of change than they could cope with. That isn’t a reflection of their poor resolve, it’s just being human. We thrive best on small and often.

Dr BJ Fogg lectures at Stanford University in human behaviour and specialises in habit formation. His very successful program Tiny Habits which I have taken a few times, works on the principle of taking the smallest amount of the target habit and doing it with / after / when you perform an anchor activity. An anchor is something you do as part of a normal day, like going to the loo, brushing teeth, pass by the front door, wash dishes etc. By building the familiar pattern of doing something new with something simple and frequently occurring, the new habit has the best chance of itself becoming a normal, everyday activity.

I use this principle daily for my own newish habits. Some I don’t call habits any more as they just happen, they just are because I turned up. I’m not doing the best job at expressing what I’m trying to tell you here. It will take me practice I guess to explain how the simple acts of turning up and making small changes can have very large, longterm benefits. But that’s where I am and hey, this is only a blog, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just sat down in front of my laptop and started typing instead of having a coffee with an episode of the Simpsons haha

My Grandfather told and taught me many things when he was alive but one thing he encouraged me to embrace was offers. “Never turn down an offer, always say yes”, he told me. He was right.

Never turn down an opportunity.

Yours in health,

Jamie

12 Week Challenge

Are you one of those people who just plod along regardless in your training? I’m often a fan of just turning up to the gym, doing what’s on the plan and moving onto my next to-do item. Other time however, I love to charge forward with a challenge.

If you are this way inclined and love the occasional challenge, our 12 Week Kettlebell Challenge will tickle your fancy.

This 12 Week program addresses essential components over 4 week blocks with plenty of opportunities to hone and fine tune your kettlebell skills as the intensity gradually increases. Best suited to the trainee with experience with kettlebells but, tutorials are provided throughout.

The online program is easy to follow … why not check out more information here.

click here

 

What’s included:

  • Detailed program with video demonstrations and teachings
  • Ongoing support for any of your questions at the click of a button
  • Downloadable content for easy access a the gym
  • Access to other valuable online content

Got any questions? Ask below.

Move Stronger Challenge

Like oh so many people in early January, getting stuck into a new exercise regime will be high on the agenda. I argue though that before you start pounding the pavements or start hitting the weights, you need to address how well your body moves.

Introducing the 29 Move Stronger Challenge

This challenge is a daily exploration of one movement or a focus on moving better, one particular area of the body. The aim is to add to your physical wellbeing, mobility and strength conditioning. (Conditioning = an improved ability to undertake a task – got it?)

All you need to take part is a bit of space to move and between 3 to 10 minutes a day to play with. You can even make these part of your warm up before other exercise sessions!

Interested?

The daily challenges will be presented via FaceBook on a closed page for 29 Day Move Stronger participants to interact with, share progress videos and such.

To join up, just ‘click’ ==> HERE 

You’ll be sent an info email with what the challenge is and isn’t and link to join the Facebook group. Ooh, and it is totally FREE!!! 

Lift Strong, but Move Stronger!!

Hope to see you there.

Jamie
FitStrong Brisbane

Do Cyclists really need a strength program?

‘Investing in your health and the future of your body is one of the most powerful commitments you can make with yourself.’

Whist this a great mantra to live by generally, it is also incredibly important to keep in mind when you’re a specialist. Like cyclists for example.

I was once upon a time an immensely dedicated cyclist. It became my career for a while until an untimely injury took me out of action. To some degree, looking after the health of my body may have prolonged my career but, oh if only I knew then what I know now… sigh!

Cyclist may spend anywhere from a few hours per week to up to 25+ hours per week on the bike. This specialisation is what get us addicted to our shiny steeds but specialisation also results in imbalanced physiology. Essentially, whilst some muscles become awesome

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That’s me at the front 🙂

at their task, other muscles become overworked and underworked. Addressing this latter point forms the bulk of the overarching intentions of an intervention strength and mobility plan.

Now, a strength program to a cyclist may invoke mental images of Arnie in his hay-day, all lumpy and swole and spending hours in the gym pumping iron. Maybe a slight exaggeration but to the inexperienced it’s an assumption that to get stronger, it will require quite an investment of time.

Actually, the kind of program a cyclist may need to help maintain the balance in their physiology can start to offer benefits with as little as two 30 minute session per week, or less. So no, you don’t need to become a protein drink swilling meathead. ‘Phew, you can relax’!

An effective program for a cyclist would start off addressing the torso. The torso or what some may refer to as the core is what ties together our hips and our shoulders. Pictures those long bike rides, a hill climb or a dreaded head-wind… it’s no longer our legs that are doing all the hard work. The upper body all of a sudden has to join in the party. But if the torso is unconditioned or fatigued, it’s not going to play ball and then that’s when we realise our shortcomings as the lower back and arms get tired. Watch an experienced and well rounded cyclist take on a hill, a climb or any stressful situation and it’s a thing of grace or beauty almost. The whole body moves fluidly to get the job done.  Compare that to an unconditioned cyclist who seems to wobbling, ducking and diving to wrestle their bike along the road…. not very graceful looking is it?

If we were to take a minimalist effective strength program for a cyclist, what would it look like?

Without going into too much information or specifics (we’re all special snowflakes so that’s hard to write anyway for the masses) here’s a list of what would need to be considered.

Mobility:

The rather crunched up posture of a cyclist is a necessity for a bike ride, but can leave the body feeling a bit stiff in all the wrong places. An effective training session would kick-off addressing this. The movements in particular would offer a ‘reset’ of sorts to unwind all the tight corners of the torso, hips, upper back and neck in particular. The Original Strength program designed by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert is a fantastic solution in this case. The system they promote uses the fundamental movements of a developing baby to toddler to child to address what we as adults should have retained and maintained over the years. The rolling, rocking and crawling moves prove a real gem at both loosening what up tightens you and switching on what needs to be activated.

Yes I am biased as we use this daily in the gym but only because it works and it’s so easy it looks like it shouldn’t work, but it does, so there!

Stability:

Strength training for the most part is a process of getting the grey matter in your head communicating better with the body to recruit more muscle to do a task with more ease. It’s not the process of growing muscle although that can happen (if you’re not careful haha). When the brain muscle communication is swifter the body reacts better and hence reacts to instability more readily. You want a wobbly body on the bike or a stable power-house?

What movements would be used in a routine?

This very much is a personal thing but here goes, a generalised list (with links too):

  • a full body mobility routine as discussed above (Original Strength)
  • single leg knee, hip dominant moves like a lunge or a step up
  • single leg hip, knee dominant moves like a single leg deadlift variation
  • explosive hip dominant movement like a properly taught kettlebell swing or a deadlift
  • abdominal dominant movements like a dead bug, plank variations and loaded carries like farmers walks.
  • Upper body pushing an pulling strength moves but not the bench press! Let’s move on from that.

 

Okay, yes, this is very vague but the specifics of what to choose depends on the individuals level of ability, aches, pains and what is available to use.

Any particular movements don’t need to be taken to maximum efforts, but sustained technique with a moderate level of exertion for as few as 5-10 repetitions for a few sets.

Routines could be laid on over a leisurely 60 mins or could be packaged up into a circuit or into a fun complex to get the session over in as little as 15 mins!!

It may seem a little confusing, I know. I’ve just told you how important it is to get stronger and more mobile yet I’ve not given an exact plan to follow.

Here’s an offer for you

In the new year 2018 I am launching a program just for cyclists that will focus on all that I’ve spoke of here. The intention is to offer options of simple one-to-one sessions or small group training sessions for times that suit the busy lives of cyclists. I certainly don’t want to take away from precious bike times, that’s for sure.

I’ll be offering this as a 6 week program but for limited numbers of applicants as I want to offer a great service which can be sacrificed with large numbers.

If you are at all interested in getting stronger as a cyclist and want to work on eliminating the frustrating aches and pains that maybe keep you off the bike from time to time, get in touch below. You can use this too to get put onto the early registration list… no commitment is required of course.

 

Oh, and wait, if you are not local to Albany Creek (Northern Brisbane suburb) I will also be putting together an online program will be nearly as good as the in-person program.

Interested? Let me know using the contact form above.

 

One Simple Move to Build a Healthier Back

If you’ve ever had a sore, stiff, twitchy or achey back, you’ll recall that you would do anything to get rid of it.

Whilst a couple of pills or a massage might help in the short term, they do nothing to address the underlying reason the back get annoyed in the first place.

In the majority of cases a causal factor is poor strength and mobility throughout the body. The inability to stabilise the spine in awkward position with poorly conditioning core aka torso muscles may result in tweaks and strains and the inability to place the body into awkward positions due to over tight muscles will also lead to increased risk of strains and pulls.

Without going into a lengthy post, I want to share something that helps most people most of the time to strengthen their torsos and in particular, spinal stability.

One movement series we carry out daily is the Birddog. So named due to fact you look like a hunting dog pointing at its quarry.

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The Birddog consists of kneeling on hands, knees and feet (initially) and extending a leg and opposite arm whilst maintaining posture and balance.

The progressions are simple:

  • Hold the limb extended position for a number of seconds.
  • Extend slowly throughout the set.
  • Add in flexion of the torso to bring a knee and opposite hand, forearm or elbow into contact.
  • Keep the feet off the floor at all times.
  • Keep the knees off the floor at all times whilst performing the Birddog on the foot and hand.

The videos below demonstrate these and really, they can be quiet challenging even to those who consider themselves ‘barbell’ strong.

The basics are always mastered before progressing to the next level.

 

 

Good luck.

Jamie

Men Wanted … for Thrivival!

Survival vs Thrivival!

Wow, now that’s a mouthful. Hopefully it got your attention whilst everything else on the internet vies for your attention too. 

Right now there is a growing population of men entering into their 40s and heading towards their 50s, me included. We’re faced with a couple of issues in this age category. There are some of us who have been physically active since leaving school who may have picked up a few tweaks along the way. Of course, there are some too who have been either lucky or strategic (whether intentional or not) to have avoided any injuries, aches and pains. 

There are also those of us who got side-tracked after school or college and now wonder what happened to that 30″ waist and the last 20 years.

At this point, as a 44 year man, father and husband and full time trainer, I’m looking at my daughter growing up and wondering about chasing grand children around and still being able to contribute in another 20 years time. I don’t want to be like so many other 60+ men who have fallen from physical grace, struggling to achieve even the most basic of day to day physical tasks. 

But, I am man who prides himself in being able to move well without pain, who can still throw around the weights albeit with sense and planning and I still want to and plan to do just that for another 20, 30 maybe 40 years. If I can age like the late and great Jack LaLanne, still active and leading by example in my 90s, then I will.

I won’t get there by chasing arbitrary numbers in the gym, beating myself up along the way like so many other gym rats in pursuit of a random goal. I will succeed by practicing the skills of strength and mobility pertaining to what I enjoy, what I need and want to focus on. In fact, this is exactly what I have been doing for the past few years along with most of my keen and eager gym members and friends, practicing the skill of strength. Members have progressed to be able to exercise without pain, regained confidence, lowered stress and have been able to get fitter and stronger than their 10 year younger selves. 

No pain, know gain.

Thrivival (just the word I’ve coined for this piece) is about thriving in our own lives so we can live, long and happy, pain free and able to contribute to the lives of our family, community and circle of friends. 

I don’t want to go into a lengthy, explanatory article here, but I want to invite other men like me, to discover how to still train for strength, to move better without creaking and find a way of exercising that isn’t threatening, but empowering. 

Nuf said!

To recap, I’m looking for a small bunch of men aged between 40-50 (maybe older, why not) who are looking to improve their health, strength and fitness but, without getting busted up along the way. 

Men who want to:

  1. Move without aches or pains
  2. Leave a training session feeling better than when they came in
  3. Rediscover how to use your own body to get stronger and tougher

Spots are limited and I’m looking for men who want to start now between early morning sessions and mid morning sessions at least twice a week.

If this is you, please fill out the form below.

Jamie

 

Just a very, very small glance of some moves we practice.
The list of options for YOU is huge.

Just 1 Rep!

The strength training world is an odd place with an alarming number of methods, systems, extremists, Instagram idols and fallacies.

I’m not about to sell you some snake oil method here although it may sound odd to some.

First off though, strength and training for strength is not to be limited to the use of tools like barbells, dumbbells and my beloved kettlebells. Getting stronger is simply the process of a specific muscular adaptation to an imposed demand. Uuur, that just means, if you exercise muscles with a specific movement it will adapt.

Going a little deeper, this exercising must be repetitive, repeatable and must use an acceptable amount of effort.

To get stronger we need to fulfil progression requirements, like one of these three.

  1. Tension: Applying gradually more tension to the specific muscles performing the movements.
  2. Capacity: Working on achieving the training repetitions in a gradually shorter window of time. Like doing 5 sets of 5 squats with gradually shorter rest breaks.
  3. Volume: Gradually increasing the muscles exposure to the specific movement. i.e. repetitions.

This latter requirement is my go-to progression model recently, due largely to how easy it is to get strong by systematically adding reps over a set period of time. This process sets the scene that allows the body to expand its comfort zone with a given stress, load or weight in some cases.

Getting back to my early subject of not always needing tools to get stronger, I was specifically referring to body weight movements.

I’m currently 44 years of age and 93kg and I’ll be dammed if I don’t know how I got here. I’m over twenty years a trainer and still learning, exploring methods, trialling, getting stronger and setting targets that 34 year old me would laugh at. “I’ll never be able to do those”, I probably would have said.

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Got to start somewhere!

Right now I’m working on achieving better Pistol Squats and …. wait for it… a One Arm One Leg Push Up (OAOLPU).

I hate push ups, so this move is purely for the love of curious exploration.

For an initial period of 4 weeks I’m getting myself ready for delving in deeper into these two movements. Whilst I have achieved the Pistol 6 months ago, I lost it quickly when I took a break. Now I want to be able to do a Pistol anytime.

The plan #1 is simply getting familiar with the requisites of conducting a good OAOLPU and Pistol Squat. For this I am applying progression requirement #1 – tension.

However, rather than attempting to work on the tension elements of each movement with sets of numerous reps in a single session, I am spreading the volume of reps (10 a day) over each day, 5 days a week, with just ONE REPETITION PER SET!

1 rep x 10 sets sprinkled over the day… that’s all.

This method was made popular by Pavel Tsatsouline in the late 90s and is generally referred to as Grease the Groove training. The ‘practice’ of spreading numerous single reps over the day allows for no fatigue, good quality focus, tension and execution of the movement.

Plan #2 next month will bring into play progressing the movements into their full version. Plan #1 uses the OAOLPU on an incline (seriously, I’m 93kg and doing a one arm one leg push up on the floor is beyond me right now). The Pistol Squat training uses drills that make up the positions going down an up in the squat and the tension required to hold those positions. I will write this up in a seperate post soon.

Plan #2 will therefore see me move the OAOLPU closer towards the floor and pistol hopefully towards doing actual full pistols. Again, this plan will use a Grease the Groove approach, ONE rep at a time, sprinkled throughout the day to accumulate 10 reps.

I’ll follow this post up with an update in 4 weeks, when Plan #2 is under way.

PS This plan works fine while following other routines. I’m training the Kettlebell Swing along with High Step Ups and plank variations… all of which will compliment the GTG plan.

Stay strong, stay healthy,

Jamie

Carry On to Get Real World STRONG

Training must always have a purpose. It’s that simple.

You turn up and you conduct movements with an overarching purpose. That may be to elicit a calorie burn, to add muscle or to get stronger, faster or to develop a skill. Whatever the purpose or purposes, you should ideally choose purposeful movements. Think I’ve made that clear… next point.

The word functional gets a fair amount of use and misuse in the training world. Maybe it’s me, but when I consider function, I immediately visualise movements that relate to our daily lives and occupations. Movements like lifting things up and putting them back down again, pushing, pulling, pressing and of course bracing ourselves to handle those activities.

Just for a moment, reflect on your day-to-day physical activities outside of the gym and then consider how they fit into the above range.

Go on… I’ll wait for you.

These movements above are what I think of when talking about functional training. One more activity that we can’t ignore is carrying ‘stuff’.

How often do you carry armfuls of shopping, maybe gardening activities, carrying those 25s to the bench to press them and a myriad of other carrying? You might find these chores challenging too, exposing your weaknesses. The carry has a much great purpose than just incidental transportation of things, it transforms your weakness to a strength.

The action of successfully carrying heavy implements has a multitude of physical benefits that’ll be sure to toughen you up and give you some real-world ‘strong’.

So what do carries do?

If carries had a sales pitch:

Putting carries into your life will tighten up your posture as good as granny making you walk around with books on your head. Your upper back will get strong like ox whilst your shoulders will boast some impressive wolverine shadows (the hair is a different story though!). Expect your grip to take on a vice like quality… everyone likes a firm handshake. Talking of firm, your backside will develop mighty fine hardware to go along with a torso only the Gods of Mount Olympus could forge. “Holly abs of Zeus”!

How to do carries?

The rules of the carry are simple. Pick up your weight and carry it for a set time or distance. Vague I know, but committing to the carry is vital. Yeah, it might suck a little as every muscle on your frame gives you feedback that time is up. Rule two then is this… don’t let go, don’t give up. Rule three, maintain your postural integrity. We don’t want to see any hunch-backing, bending over sideways or other ugly positions. Stay tight, stay upright, stick with it.

What kind of weights or implements depends on what you have. I like kettlebells because they’re compact and often heavy. Specialised bars can be used as well as dumbbells, barbells, heavy bags, a wheelbarrow full of rocks, rocks by themselves. An adventurous mind will be helpful.

Carrying isn’t just limited to carrying by your side. Here’s a list of options:

  • Farmers walk with two weights by your sides
  • One arm carry by your side 
  • Racked on your shoulder, one or two arms 
  • Overhead carry, one or two arms (depending on shoulder mobility this might or might not work) 
  • Sled pull and carry anything, anyhow, any way
  • Sled pull with a harness, a weighted vest whilst pushing a wheelbarrow – I have never done this one, but wowsers, it sounds pretty cool.

Here are a few videos:

Coach Dan John calls carries the Game Changer. Read what he has to say – just in case you don’t believe me!

An adventurous mind will be helpful but stick to the rules and really do try to include some kind of carries into your training week.

I challenge you to experiment over the next month with carries. You’ll not be disappointed.

Stay strong and mobile,

Jamie

What is it with kettlebells anyway?

I’ll soon be teaching a kettlebell user workshop (June 2017) with a friend and fellow kettlebell lover. We totally see the curiosity in some people who want to learn how to use these odd-looking handle-embellished cannon balls. But, as I promote the workshop I want to prepare myself for the usual eyebrow raisers who question the kettlebell. Let me share with you some of my feelings and those of the superstar coaches involved with kettlebell coaching.

What is it with kettlebells anyway?

People ask me all the time, “Why kettlebells? Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell, barbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself. Kettlebell training is radically different from any other form of training I’ve personally experienced in my many years of weight training.

Surprisingly often, many people just have ONE kettlebell to start with and you know what, one kettlebell is all you need for a surprisingly good training program. Because of its shape, the kettlebell lends itself for fast, propulsive movements like the swing, clean and the snatch. These torch calories and turn the power muscles of the body into overdrive.

The kettlebell proves a great tool for pressing, squatting, hip hinging movements and rowing. It’s a take anywhere gym.

Without wasting time fluffing around all the other things you could be doing in a gym, a minimalist approach with a kettlebell encourages you to do what needs to be done, without distraction. Swing, squat, press, pull and carry.

Here’s what other have to say.

There is a real need in this industry for “One Kettlebell Workouts”, and I love them. I enjoy driving to a park, meeting with friends, walking a bit with my kettlebell, training, and then enjoying a nice picnic. I keep this tradition alive every weekday morning when people join me to workout at 9:30. – Dan John

Primarily because of its offset handle, a kettlebell, makes your body work harder by recruiting more musculature and increasing ranges of motion.

In the first example, holding a kettlebell over your head is a much different feeling than holding the same sized dumbbell over your head. A dumbbell will pitch side-to-side since the weight is evenly balanced in the hand. A kettlebell will pull your arm backward, because the majority of the weight is below the handle,  and in doing so, will force your shoulder musculature to work harder.

In the second example, increasing ranges of motion, we can take a look at the Swing, an exercise where the weight is passed between and underneath the legs. The offset handle increases the lever arm pushing the hips further back, and stretching their muscles to a greater degree than with a dumbbell. And you can’t even do that with a barbell. – Geoff Neupert

 

The kettlebell swing is a perfect example of the uniqueness of kettlebell training. Why? As Tracy Reifkind, RKC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise. There isn’t an exercise that addresses so many things at once as does the kettlebell swing. – Scott Iardella

In Russia, the kettlebell traditionally has been a training tool for tough people. When I started teaching kettlebells to Americans, I saw the same pattern; my early students were military operators, fighters, and other hard men.

What pleased and surprised me over the years is how this hardcore tool went on to appeal to people from all walks of life. My teaching goals used to be narrow: Make the tough even tougher. Today they are broader: Enable regular folks to join the tough. Finally become the man or woman you used to want to be. – Pavel Tsatsouline

If you would like to learn more about kettlebell training, please get in touch now.

How to Accomplish the Eagle

Coach Dan John has been an incredible influencer of many trainers over the past 10 years+, myself included. He has an incredible way of breaking down exercises and training methodology into the simplest nuggets of information that even the slowest of idiots, myself included can digest.

He also has a talent for creating programs and routines that’ll build any man-child into a warrior and any girly-girl into a feisty warrior princess!

One such routine is called the Eagle, which I wrote about before. Check it out

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Down to Business

The following 8 week program is just one of many solutions to help accomplishing the Eagle program described below by Dan John. I am pretty sure many other trainers could build a method to take on and of course, complete the Eagle with ease and mastery. My plan is simple, direct and yes, it works fine. Just follow the dam plan.

‘The athlete simply does 8 double-kettlebell front squats and then drops the weight to his sides and does a farmer’s walk for 20 meters. He then does another 8 squats. Repeat until completing eight circuits and then hurl in a bush because the workload is incredible. The suggested load for a high school male is two 24-kilo bells while females should start with 12-kilo bells. (While the suggested load may seem light, oftentimes the goal wasn’t met.)’ Dan John

Now, the program below is written to look like it takes a linear progression, gradually building up the volume and work capacity. However, what I heavily suggest doing are back-steps any time you feel the need. For example, let’s say you get to week 5, day 5 and realise you cannot complete the session. I’d suggest that the following session you return to week 3 and repeat it for a slightly less stressful week. You may of course just go back one week if week 5 was only slightly unbearable! Be reasonable with yourself.

I personally completed this program in 12 weeks haha. I back-stepped a couple of times to gain better mastery of the squat volume and arm endurance. I’ve weak arms!

Even though this is an intensive 8 week program it isn’t worth busting yourself up over. Consider this program a ‘mastery of the Squat and Carry’ combination. You don’t want to complete it feeling crap and beaten up. You want to finish the complete Eagle challenge session at the end, competently, safely and with a smile on your dial.

Each week the program comprises of a mobility and conditioning session, a medium effort squat and mixed loaded carry session and a heavier going squat and farmers walk session. The work to rest ratio is different for these squat and carry sessions.

Maybe follow a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday plan of assault but, ultimately it is up to you how you lay your week out with other factors considered, just don’t try to complete the sessions on back to back days. Rest more if needed.

Ideally take a day or two of active rest between these 3 sessions. And talking earlier of not getting beaten up, the days when you’re not squatting and carrying, I wholeheartedly recommend that you carry out a full routine of Original Strength resets along with wrist mobility (VIDEO HERE).

 

Once you have the program completed, take 4 days active recovery before tackling the Eagle.

 

Prerequisite

The Eagle and this program, requires the trainee to be able to perform front squats and farmers carries with two 24kg kettlebells for gents and two 12kg kettlebells for ladies. If unable to squat and carry these loads for 10 reps, then another program is required to be able to do that before tackling this. If that is the case, get in touch and i’ll sort you out.

 

Without further ado, here’s the PLAN…


Session 1

This session should remain relatively consistent throughout the program, only progressing any of the moves as and when you feel it necessary.

Week 1, day 1 starts with this – measure yourself… just in case anything grows or shrinks!

  • Measure hips at widest and waist around the belly button line.
  • Measure your thigh circumference too, mid way between your knee cap (knee bent) and the crease of your hips.
Routine
  • Warm up with Original Strength movements
  • Spend 10 mins alternating between a hardstyle plank and active hangs.

Or

  • Spend 10 mins alternating between the hollow and suspension ring rows
  • Finish with the Brettzel Stretch and rolling

There are no specific reps or sets, just work within your limits, do what feels like you’re working something but not busting your gut.

 


SESSION 2

This session works on increasing work capacity (the ability to do more in a given time) using ‘on the minute’ (OTM) timing. Each minute on the minute, you start the superset of squats and carries or cleans as specified. Whilst the sessions may only be 5 to 8 minutes in length, they pack a punch. Enjoy!

Warm up with a thorough mobility session of Original Strength movements.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-4-25-22-pm

Cool Down with rocks, rolls and the brettzel stretch. I’d recommend wrist mobility exercises too.

 


SESSION 3

Session 3 builds endurance as you gradually superset the squat and carry more and more over the sessions. This time however, the carry remains the farmers walk. The carries build up in frequency over the weeks.

The final session sees you actually accumulate the Eagle volume of squats and carries at which point, carrying two 24s will be feeling more comfortable.

The squats will be increased with a simple rep ladder progression, from 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 reps building up to 8 sets of 8 reps.

Work to rest periods are similar to session 2, roughly a 1:2 work rest ratio but as you progress, feel free to play with this.

I encourage the use of rocks and head nods as a reset or active recoveries between sets.

When you (c. 20) this simply means to carry for 20 steps (we’re just considering a step a metre for this program) immediately after the squat set, as a superset.

Warm up with a thorough mobility session of Original Strength movements.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-4-25-39-pm

Cool Down with rocks, rolls and the brettzel stretch. I’d recommend wrist mobility exercises too.

Take four days active rest, then tackle the Eagle. You might want to measure out the 20m for the carries so you’ve one less thing to worry about during the challenge.

This rest period would also be a good time to retake those measurements from Week 1, Day 1.

Let me know how you got on and what size differences you recorded if any.

program printable pdf
Questions?

Post them on https://www.facebook.com/FitStrongPT/

Email: jamie@fitstrong.com.au

Good luck,

Jamie Hunter

FitStrong PT

 

DISCLAIMER The author and publisher of this material are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury that may occur through following the instructions contained in this material. The activities, physical and otherwise, described herein for informational purposes only, may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people. Always consult a physician before engaging in an exercise regimen.