Strength Training

Our running year so far

Great start to our running year

Our running so far this year has allowed us to only be able to squeeze in two running events before we as a nation came to a complete stop due to the Covid 19 virus. Which unfortunately has held us all at bay from late 2019. It has been interesting.

The first event we managed to participate in is the well populated 28klm Two bays trail run held in early January. Starting from Dromana and ending at Cape Shank it’s a new running trail event for us this year. So we decided to tackle it as its been on our bucket list for a while. For the other experienced and more committed runners who participate in the grueling 56Klm. It’s an out and back run from Cape shank. The return-back route is an amazing conquest.

For those who attempted either one of the distances, you have another year to prepare and go again. Well done for giving it a go. Because we know how hard it is.

Running Base planning

For Adam, Kaan and I we fortunately had sufficient time to get in the necessary training and set ourselves a 12 week training program. In short the key points are to:

  • Build a greater fitness base
  • Add some elevation
  • Build the condition required to complete the distance
  • Prevent injury
  • Recover well

For us every running year to simply complete an event is not enough. To recover well is just as important so a solid well-planned preparation was the key.

This allows for continuation of running and maintain health. Its why we run yeah?

We all managed to complete it in reasonable times and now have a greater understanding for next years event and will be more aware of the nuances of the course and adjust training accordingly. No substitute for experience.

With 2 Bays done and dusted and the initial post celebratory drinks and food were consumed over it was time for me to prepare from the next event in the coming weeks. This time I would be a solo participant as both work and other commitments prevented my running buddies from running. Someone has to carry the can.

More hills to run

As a regular runner and participant of several events over time it was great to be starting our running year with an early 28klm trail run then followed 3 weeks later by the next event. You see the 3 weeks before an event is usually the time to log in that last long run. For me it was a treat to have built up my base from late 2019, run a new longer event and now prep for a shorter one soon. I basically treated the two bays run as my last long run for the next trail event at Kilcunda which is an enjoyable half marathon distance.

I will mention that certain parts of the two bays offer some spectacular scenery and amazing vistas and the single trail sections were fast flowing, however for me running Kilcunda along the beach coastal path and an opportunity to run on the beach itself was an amazing treat. It’s one of the events that I look forward too. Its fast and the elevation isn’t too harsh on the legs with its rolling short hills and flat packed running surface. It’s a personal favourite.

Then it all went to pieces. Well almost.

Buller trail run  

The next event we had all signed up was the very challenging and intimidating 22klm run at Mt Buller. This one is an Alpine run with an elevation profile of over 1000m. While the previous two events had challenging elevations for the distances the pure descending or climbing nature of this course doesn’t allow for much even ground to run on (just a little). You are being taxed most of the time. The quads will be burning on the decent or the hammies will be grinding out during the climb.

Given that Kilcunda had been run the first week of February and Buller was supposed to be on the 5th of April it was sufficient time to build the running conditioning from past events and start to focusing the workouts on more challenging terrain designed for optimum elevation.

It was time to climb more so welcome Masons falls in Kinglake.

I had as part of our running plan included some specific elevation on our Long Sunday run. For the month of March that consisted of 5 Sundays we managed to reach a touch over 7000m of elevation in total in preparation for Buller. As luck would have it by the time we had run the last week of the month it was already a given that the event was going to be cancelled and were not going to make it. With the lockdown and stage 3 of conditions imposed by the Vic government it left us all with no event, sadly we had to adjust our strategy on not let our motivation wane.

Hibernation running plan.

Once we found out that a semi lockdown was in place and were effectively on hibernation mode (Gov words) we simply readjusted our general plan and now run a base building style where we try to run at least 4 days per week with two strength session (time permitting). The Sunday is still the long run with now having to leave a little earlier than usual. About 5:30am now to have the luxury of running free of any other people around us. Therefore In keeping with social distancing there is only two of us with the 3rd member running solo on or around his property in the country. Sorry Adam.

With no event on the horizon that been 100% confirmed as a definite my strength and running plan is simple.

If all goes well, Monday is a recovery 7klm, Tuesday a steady 10klm, Wednesday a tempo 15, Thursday Strength day, Friday an early 10klm, Saturday strength and Sunday the long run. All runs are now on Road.

Meanwhile I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to strength train in my own home facility. Besides that , when running we are currently not breaking any laws by having two non-family members run together. Rest days and intensity here are as you feel. Until the next event is confirmed, we will then start working on a more specific and structured plan because that when the heavy running will be back. Fingers crossed on that.

The plan really is to get out and continue moving with the running and compliment it with a full body strength workout. So the idea is to keep you Strong, flexible, fresh and not break you. 

Future running events, maybe.

We plan on taking on the very well-known Surf coast century held in Anglesea. This fantastic weekend event in September consists of a 100k klm Ultra (yes 100klm) and a 50klm trail event both held on the Saturday. The 50 klm course is basically the second part of the 100. On Sunday the event allows those who wish to participate in shorter distances ranging from 8.7klm, 15.3klm and the 22.7 klm suited to most abilities who want to try out trail running. So i highly recommend this event as its well organised and the atmosphere is fantastic.

Only time will tell if this year’s event will go on and in a couple of weeks if the distancing restrictions will be lifted. With certain events returning and people’s work places operating as normal. However any event news will add to our running year so far.

To sum up , I hope that as an active person you have found a way around this slight change to our daily routine to incorporate some workouts, are eating well and getting enough rest. I have the little ones at home with me now for home learning. oh sorry “online learning” which now helping to keep me sane during Isolation.

Well see you on the trail.

Strengthening your running chassis

Recreational runners

If you’ve been running for a while and have never managed to experience an injury or suffer from some niggles due to the wear and tear the typical runner incurs then I would probably say you are a quite fortunate or just plain lucky. Well done and keep on going as you are doing well. For some to be a runner is to constantly carry some sort of grievance like a badge of honor. How many times do you hear from a fellow runner how in pain they are after their usual long run and brag about it?

Most recreational runners unfortunately choose to run through the pain and hope it will run itself out or it will go away. Unless you are an active competitor I don’t see the point. For me at my age I can’t afford to get injured as the recovery will not only be long but will carry over to my work and life activities. Like most injuries you should do everything possible to prevent  them, in my case I choose to reduce my chances by incorporating an all over resistance training program that provides me with a balanced regime allowing me to particularly target the hip and leg region in building up a strong and durable running chassis.

Weight training for runners

In the past it was thought of that adding some weight training will bulk you up and slow you down. Fortunately for us we are now in a better position with education and experience that this is not entirely true. It is if you are training to simply pack on mass/muscle, say with a powerlifting or bodybuilding program then you will be slowed down due to the inactive additional mass you have to carry. However in taking a more proactive approach and embracing a complete strength and conditioning program in assisting your passion of running, it will strengthen the skeletal and muscular system and turn you into a more resilient runner. This means that you can enjoy your passion for running. Nothing better than knowing you can tackle the last klms felling stronger through the hips and legs as opposed to being in survival mode and crossing the finish line a wreck.

Here’s a few of my chosen movement that I’ve incorporated into my own and running clients full body programming.

  • Trap bar deadlifts – The one movement that I prefer in the programming of runners is this classic floor pull movement. It works the Quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings together in the execution and compared to the more technically difficult barbell deadlift is kinder on the spinal loading and more comfortable to execute. It’s also easier to teach and allows for greater reps to be performed compared to the Barbell Deadlift and Olympic lifting variations. Remember this lift was chosen for the runner in complimenting their program, not the pure strength trainer. In addition it can also be performed for higher repetitions.
  • Single leg deadlift (SLDL) – In complimenting the trap bar deadlift the next exercise I add is the SLDL as it target the Hamstrings, Glutes & Lower back. An excellent compound (intermediate level) Strength movement. My weapon of choice here is working the two kettlebells as they are easier to hold and assist with the balancing of the movement required. The feedback I get from this little gem is that the glutes get worked solid and walking around for a few days later seems challenging. (Ladies take note!) The other is that it toughens up the ankle and helps with balance. The additional loading of the lower back within the overall movement allows the posterior chain to develop fully and adding value to the movement as running, without the constant (concrete/bitumen) compounding of the joints during a run.
  • Kettlebell Front squats – These are by far my favourite movement for the active runner. The front rack positioning of the Kettlebells once learned allows for a more upright posture development whilst targeting the quadriceps muscles during the squat. This front positioning allows for a deeper squat technique, is easier on the shoulder loading and ensures your core is activated due to the stabilizing required and guarantees it receives a solid hit out. All up an excellent movement for runners compared to the barbell squat less the wrist flexibility required in performance. Once again the choice was for the runner, not the future Olympic lifter.

As previously mentioned the above 3 have been selected in complimenting the runner who has decided to either integrate a more specific workout of just looking at starting up a resistance program and needing where to start. After all you are a runner first and a weight trainer later.

Just to finish off it would be remiss of me if I didn’t as a Personal trainer mentioned that an all over body program is the ideal way in training your body and I would never recommend a pure upper body or Lower body program and disregard a more balanced approach. As a bare minimum and for the sake of balance both the Military press and Chin ups should be added. These two movements are not directly running related but will go a long way in adding upper body strength and balance to the lower body component, from a structural point of view they are a must.

Please ensure that before participating in any resistance program you are familiar with the techniques and are in an environment where professional guidance is available. The last thing you want is to incur an injury from the very program that you started in order to prevent them in the first place.

Happy Running.

Claudefit is an active runner who also balances own resistance training program for a fuller delivery of working out time.

Fitness and Strength for the over 40’s

Over 40’s Fitness and Strength

Physical activity is valuable for all and for some has now become a necessity. For us older folk (like me), where maintenance of good health, independence, and certain age/lifestyle factor related disease prevention can be achieved with only a dose of Fitness and Strength. It’s time to take action and do something about it.

As we are now over 40 we should all do some form of physical activity, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You have to make an effort. It’s never too late to start becoming physically active. Let’s get you started in helping you out with enjoying the benefits of having more energy, reducing pain in movement and other age related matters we have to deal with that are slowing you down.

It’s now time to act.

It’s unfortunate all the people round me who have chosen the easy way out and due to a lack of activity , a lack of food control and after years of self-neglect they find themselves in a position where they are lost and have nowhere to turn. All this and we have to deal with the rest of the ageing process as we tend to slow down….well only a little though, you can still do something about it.

Many improved health and well-being outcomes have been shown to occur with regular physical activity. These include helping to:

  • Maintain or improve physical function and independent living;
  • Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries from falls; and
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and some cancers.

The importance of movement

As I turned 40 and realised that I was not able to recover quicker, move as fast and lost a bit of mobility. However it’s not to the extent that some general thinking would lead you to believe. Just because you are now a little older (and much wiser) it’s a matter of just making sure that you now work out a little smarter. One on the major changes with age is the issue of mobility. That is, the ability to still perform the functions that that body is designed to do. Move pain free.

For the unlucky ones who are carrying over some old injuries from past endeavours it’s going to be little different, but not impossible. I consider myself lucky as I’m one who doesn’t carry any major injuries and have good movement with my Ankle and Hip joints ,a pain free range of motion with Thoracic mobility/stability/elevation and my Knees have survived the years of running and martial arts and intend on keeping it this way as the years add up.

My go-to movements today in addition to the type of workout I do as a Professional trainer are the 3 big ones from the HKC Kettlebell system. They are the Turkish Get up, Goblet squat and the Swings. The combination of these 3 specific Kettlebell movements allow me to be mobile , flexible, build co-ordination , strength in movement and a heart rate that burns up the calories. Before you get too excited and think just performing these movements is all it takes keep in mind the strict adherence to technique will be an expectation. The Kettlebell doesnt do favours and rewards bad form so let’s keep it safe.

Cardio as we age

Start with low impact movements. And then build up. It’s ok to push the cardio once you have built it up smartly and not gone out too hard or too soon. It should over time build up and for general fitness not take too long. I promise. You are no longer a spring chicken and should be more cautious in you approach (this is a good thing)  – As part of getting on to our 40’s the ability to take on any exercise that involves impact is something that needs to be monitored  diligently.

A pain free workout can certainly be performed as long as you are following proper technique and are able to use the correct resistance in delivering results. Too light will not have any effect and going too heavy too soon is recipe for disaster. The last thing you need is an injury to recover from so take my advice, learn the move and then build it up slowly. Any progress is still progress. The major moves that I use when working with my new “grown up” aged clients who have never lifted a weight or seen the inside of a gym is to establish whether they can perform what I call the pillars in movement.

These are the lifts that deliver better results and are clear time savers. When combined together results are usually no too far.

The Pillars of strength

With any given program you will need to cover the basic moves in order to get a greater return on effort. Irrespective on the type of equipment you use (Kettlebell, Dumbbell, Barbell, Sandbag or machine (as long as you are performing the following you will get stronger.

Pressing – These movers involve all overhead pressing that is barbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press. Anything involving an upward press. Whether you are sitting or standing. Just press. I get a lot of mileage with my Kettlebell pressing it delivers a safe and pain free movement pattern and for a more strenuous workout we hit the barbell and load them up. It all depends on needs and training history of mature clients. In other words press.

Pushing – These movements involve the pushing away from the body (chest). They include the classic bench press. Machine press and even dumbbell press. This one in particular is a clear favourite with most as it has generally become the one workout movement enjoyed by most. For some its complements and already comprehensive workout, for others it’s a critical strength in pushing an opponent away and for the rest it’s basically a beach muscle. It’s up to you.

Squats – One of the major movements in any effective training program should include the squat movements. It’s basically when performed properly works the entire body in utilising the legs as the main driver, the core in keeping it all stable and the upper body in holding onto the required loading placed on the body. Truly one of the king pillar movements in returning a quicker result. These can be performed with a barbell, Kettlebell, sandbag, and dumbbell. Almost anything really. As long as you know how to move. An excellent carry over exercise sports and daily life challenges.

Deadlift – One of the most dynamic movements is the humbling Deadlift. This is basically a hinge movement (fold at the hip joint) where you are required to put up the weight from the floor. Its performed best with a barbell and with a proper set up and execution is quite safe. Unfortunately it gets a bad reputation as hurting your back, when in reality this classic pulling movements will actually strengthen and sometime fix you back. Just remember everything is problematic when performed incorrectly and is always better when proper technique is use.

A great reason to hire professional fitness trainer if you are not sure.

You are never too old to move.

Far too often I hear people who tell me they are too old to do anything about it. Well I find it disappointing in a way as most of the ones who tell me this don’t have any major injuries or concerns that would prevent them from becoming healthier through a strength and fitness program. Unfortunately they are quite simply lazy, unmotivated and to some extent don’t really care.

If you have read to this point you will understand and if you haven’t, well what can I say? As we get older we see the world a little different and place value on the time spent in doing the thing we enjoy. The approach on movement, strength, fitness and health should be your priority.

Strength and Fitness program

Strength training Mill Park

Most of the times when people are seeking to get fit and “back in shape” they often neglect the importance of getting stronger. You see by getting stronger all the other variables will sit on top of an already built up strength base and set you up to build a better fitness( cardiovascular) engine , be structurally resilient and with an understanding of movement you are well on the way in achieving your goal of “getting back into it”.

It pays to have a plan.

For the people who chose to ignore the strength component in their general fitness goals and think “I’ll just lose the weight with cardio”, you will simply be a smaller version of yourself and most likely be weak, have an ordinary immune system and not be strong enough to perform normal every day activities. To just do cardio and starve will leave your body depleted and not feeling too good and you will most likely go back to old habits.

Not everyone has to own a 100+kg deadlift, bench press or squat, however neglecting your strength is more of limiting factor in promoting a more active and healthier body and lifestyle.

The following is a basic yet effective two day workout that will deliver an honest all over strength base that is complimented by a 3rd running day. Keep in mind that with the use of Kettlebells you are still getting an adequate dose of cardio. Take my work for it it’s just the way the humble Kettlebell works. The running is what works well with any weigh management program and delivers you more than an adequate fitness base. Don’t neglect it as the longer you leave it the longer it will take to get.

Strength training program

Day one

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell back squat
  • Kettlebell front squat
  • Double kettlebell clean
  • Barbell Military press
  • Kettlebell double press
  • Kettlebell push press

Day one will cover the lower body/core with the traditional and effective Barbell squat while the double kettlebell cleans will sort out the posterior chain recruitment. The front squat with the kettlebells delivers more in recruiting the core and clearly gets the job done. The upper body is looked after with the military press and once again in working the double kettlebells the shoulders will be broad and resilient when you can manage the workload with an effective (pressing movement ) technique.

Day two

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell dead lift
  • Barbell upright rows
  • Barbell bent over rows
  • Chins
  • Barbell bench press – flat
  • Barbell bench press Incline
  • Barbell bicep curls

Day two will finish off the full body workout in working the hip hinge joint with the ever reliable and dynamic Deadlift. With the addition of the upright row and bent over rows the barbell will leave you fully worked (pulling movement ). The chins will take anything left you have in working your back. Add in the bench press with the flat and incline option and you have covered the upper body (Pushing movement).  Any program would be lost without the humbling barbell bicep curl. If you have anything left in reserve.

Strength based cardio reserve

Day 3 run

You need cardio remember? A 1-5 klm steady run as a beginner will do you good. It should be your minimum cardio base and should only be a shorter distance that you can manage and will complement the two day weight program nicely. It will allow you to get into a steady tempo and start to burn some extra calories and keep the weight under control. The message here is to be committed and stick to a program that will deliver a balanced return- a leaner, fitter and muscular looking body.

Remember a body that has a bit of muscle can burn more calories than one that doesn’t.

To cap it off all of the above is the active component in getting results. If would be dismissive if me if I didn’t include the element of nutrition and how much of an effect it has with any fitness/strength and well-being program. Neglect your nutrition and any results will be slow and minimal. Managing you nutrition is not always about weight loss, for some it’s about performance. As the saying goes, Junk in = junk out . Don’t be that person!

The above was just a basic (not to be confused with easy) start up program that takes up only 3 days of your week. Alternatively you can (with time permitting) treat it as 3 days on and take the fourth day off. It up to you, when you have committed to it for 4-6 weeks the results will be obvious and you will need to tweak it further.

This is where a personal trainer can assist you and ensure you are achieving results.

Strength Training with Oly lifts

Strength with Olympic Weightlifting  

When it comes to understanding and appreciating Olympic lifting it’s not just a matter of just doing the snatch, clean and jerk and you are done.  For the committed individuals who solely pursue this dynamic sport as their choice in exercise, it about learning all the intricacies that go along with the improvement of these 3 technical lifts. The fun part goes with learning the semi competition lifts, related exercises and the always important Strength exercises, add in some remedial lifts and the associated stretches and you have plenty of scope when it comes to learning and improving your Weightlifting for performance for fun, Fitness and Strength.

For the crew at Claudefit Personal Training it’s a matter of implementing the exercise that go towards the overall results for my various clients. We sometime incorporate the semi- competition lifts and sometimes we are kept just as busy with the related strength exercises.  For others who are possibly working out for sports performance, training in their local Crossfit boxes or they require more of a technical understanding the approach is different but still technical in that we break down the lift a bit more ensuring awareness of current strength levels and possible limiting factors such as flexibility and range of motion, basically a swat analysis on your body.

The following is a sample of a direct process in working toward the snatch for beginners to the more experienced in getting some conditioning in within a learning process. It ensures that the individual is able to move through the exercises and establish where they are at. No point in putting someone under load when they can’t even press the weight above the head.  So there is no way they will be able to catch it when they “give it a go” without understanding it first.

The session takes a top down approach form the point of the catch and works down toward the bottom position.  Most recreational trainers who concentrate on the leg and hip thrust don’t pay attention to the overhead position as they will work it out later. This is often what happens with no coaching or in commercial gyms where it’s something cool to try. Unfortunately the shoulder structure is not sound enough, stable/ flexible to appropriately accept the catch.

I’m not keen to test out my flexibility when I don’t know whether I can hold it first!

Weightlifting – The Snatch progress

Barbell Standing Military press – Without a doubt the shoulder press will let the individual know exactly where their absolute strength lies and can from this exercise alone establish range and lockout strength. The ability to hold onto the weight above the head with the shoulder blades elevated should also provide feedback on stability. A classic lift as the first exercise in this progression. As a stand-alone the Military press is an excellent exercise for upper body (shoulder) development.

Barbell back squat – With most sports the ability to generate power from the hips and legs can only begin with one of the pillars of strength. The barbell squat will add muscle quicker than any of the other available movements that tries to replica this fundamental movement. When it comes to pure strength the squat reigns supreme. It is why we work on this movement. All others exercises will be supported by leg strength. Remember it starts from the floor/ground.

Overhead squat – The overhead squat has many benefits. For the Olympic lifts the ability to apply this movement is critical in both holding a weight above your head and be able to squat down to the floor. A typical gym squat to parallel doesn’t cut the mustard with Olympic lifting. You need to be able to get down low. The overhead squat will let you know where you are at. Performed with a barbell or PVC pipe alone is enough for the beginners and is a nice warmup for the more experienced. Work this one well.

Pressing Snatch balance – When we get to this exercise we are now starting to work on a more weightlifting specific movement. It basically requires you to hold the barbell behind you as in a back squat position (feet  wider) and then in one slow movement lower your body into a deep squat while the barbell is maintained at best as possible in the same position. Think pushing yourself away from the bar here. The end of the movement should be the same as the bottom position of the snatch. A great movement to get that flexibility happening and with a bit of weight, a great muscle builder.

Heave pressing snatch balance – The next progression is similar to the previous one in that you are now working on a much quicker execution of movement. That is to drop at speed. One for the more experienced that will clearly challenge you.

Snatch Balance – The last one with this simple progression (not easy) is performed with the feet beginning in the pulling position with the barbell in the back squat position. The next step is to take a slight dip and then explode into the snatch position in quickly dropping and landing in a wider leg position. Once you have worked through the previous progressions this one becomes a bit of fun.

It’s Playtime

Once you have had enough of the technical work and practiced the particular elements that you are not too comfortable with (and got better) it’s time to work through the more dynamic and powerful varieties the snatch provides. The first two exercises allow you to with limited technical application power through the movement. The Muscle snatch is a great start as it rewards the stronger guys and girls who don’t quite have the technical and movement down pat. Next is the popular Power snatch where you’re starting to drop under the bar and it’s where you begin to appreciate the overall movements of this great exercise (eg; positioning, leg drive and hip power). At this stage the return on investment for pure strength, conditioning and power output should be sufficient for most, particularly the athlete wishing to reap the benefits for their sport. The last and most technical of the three is the Snatch which is more dynamic and is the true end results of the traditional Olympic lifting style. When you are performing the classic Olympic Snatch properly you’re most likely, flexible, experienced, well-conditioned and clearly one strong individual.

Overall al of the movements have an enormous benefit, it’s up to you to work through in a safe and progressive manner in reaping the rewards. The importance is to first get the patterning done and correct any deficiencies before you go all out to grip and rip the bar off the floor in becoming, a fitter stronger and more conditioned practitioner.

Strength and Conditioning (Part1)

Strength and Conditioning

When people are looking taking up a workout program most of the time they want to get lean, become fitter and put on some muscle. For others their requirement are different in that they are not so much after a general program but need additional attention to their current strength training regime and are now ( seriously)  looking at stepping it up in order to be able to perform. For current fitness enthusiast and sports participants it’s got to the stage where they are needing more specific  strength variables in adding value to their sport or simply don’t have the skill-set to properly plan out and execute what’s required to breach the gap from where they are now to where they need to be.

Whether it’s to become more resilient to take the knocks, increase their aerobic capacity or simply increase work output a properly qualified and experienced Strength and conditioning coach can certainly help out.

Let’s cover a few of the pathways available to becoming more conditioned. It depends on what type you need. For example, the requirements for a cyclist will be different to a rugby player. However both are looking at improving their performance. So what are the tools in getting the job done?

The following is an outline of the equipment required in order to be in a position where you will get to that goal. It explains the various tried and true methods that have proven over time to work out. Given this knowledge it goes a long way in prescribing through a Strength and conditioning programs on what you need to do.  Otherwise it’s just a bunch of exercises that can be done anytime with only reaping the benefits of just lifting with no purpose. Remember, this is not for recreational weight training purposes. It’s for performance.

Olympic Weightlifting Method

If your sport is requiring  the type of conditioning that will deliver explosive power then look no further than the classic sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Many of us have become familiar with these two lift by watching the Olympic Games on the television. The clean and jerk along with the snatch are what most of us enjoy viewing on the telly. The sport is much more than that, In addition to it been highly technical and within the reach of most, it is the assisting lifts and semi competition lifts within your program that allow you to fully appreciate this power building sport. The assistant exercises like the power versions of the clean, jerk and snatch are usually enough for you to develop the explosiveness for your sport; the more classic lifts are for those who wish to pursue this as their chosen sport.

Here’s a sample template for one of my client who after participating in a Crossfit class has decided to refine his technique on the weightlifting component of his semi regular Crossfit classes. He sees me once a week for PT and in addition to his own home based training attend this local Crossfit box for a bit of fun. Given the nature of Olympic lifting it’s important to keep it simple and effective. The sample workout following was performed with lighter than normal weight to allow for teaching and not overly fatigue the body.

w/up Various drill incorporating overhead extension, ankle , hip and wrist flexibility.

Clean

Clean from knee height – Skill/Cond

Power clean – explosive/core/skill

Clean Pulls – Strength of pulling phase

Snatch

Power snatch – Explosive/core/skill/catch

The high (snatch) pull – pulling skill

Snatch from hang/or floor – speed work on catch/ volumes/

Drop snatch (from shoulders) – skill (practice overhead squat)

Jerk

Jerks from rack –Skill work

Jerk dips – Strength of explosive drive/ relaxed arms/ only hips/knees forward

Push press – Strength and conditioning for overhead movement /strength

Jerk/press behind neck – stability /alignment prep for catch phase.

In regards to athlete training here’s what a an expert in the field wrote – Athletes in certain sports will benefit from just performing power snatches and power cleans and jerks initially, along with some back squats, front squats, good mornings, and presses. They do not need to learn to do the classic lifts, nor to train with great intensities. The body control and awareness developed through performance of the lighter derivatives will do a great deal to enhance athleticism, balance, and proprioception, and consequently result in a greater improvement in performance. – Bob Takano

Powerlifting method 

When your sport requires you to become one strong hombre, the Powerlifting 3 are the most superior in getting the job done – Period.  The simplicity of the big 3 in combination cannot be beat.

Bench press

The powerful bench press and its many variations is favourite by most due to its ease of learning and oblious quick results has for many years been a go to exercise for first movement to do during the week. For sports application the ability to fend off opponents or generate the strength to push away is an essential component in keeping the opponent off you or simply holding your ground.

Squats

The squat is often hailed as the most dynamic movement the body can perform as it works not only the whole bottom half of the body by also gets the core involved in linking the resistance/weight to the upper body. Keep in mind that to hold onto the much heavier weights the upper body is also required to be strong enough to maintain the barbell in position. All up, its an extremely effective exercise in delivering true results when it comes to maximum leg strength. Get your squat on and get results.

Deadlift

An equally benefiting exercise is the hip dominant pulling strength developed from the basic and brutal Deadlift. The movement in its simplicity requires you basically lift a “heavier” weight from the floor. Well sort off. Once you have mastered a basic understanding of the flexibility to get into place and the hip power and balance required it then turns into a mental game when it comes to lifting up the bigger weights from the floor. An impressive feat when watching the big boys lift!  When performed correctly with proper mechanics it a safe and fun exercise that delivers all over body strength due to the recruitment of the muscles in getting the weight up.

 

When it comes to pure strength the above three cannot be neglected. Make sure you include these in you program if you are after real results. Otherwise just do a pump class. It’s pretty clear that by incorporating either the Powerlifting or Weightlifting methods and their variants will go a long way on improving your overall conditioning. It’s just a matter of having the right mix depending on your particular needs. The common factor here is clearly the use of the dominate Barbell. Part two will cover some of the reasons why the barbell is supreme.

If you haven’t figured it out yet.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and operated out from his own private facility catering to the individual who want to take their strength and conditioning to the next stage.

Weight Training workout

Weight Training basics

One of my clients who’s been with me for around 18 months had mentioned how he used to do his Weight Training workouts in a fancy 24 hour commercial gym and would only use the available machines and would perform the very basic exercises that the gym offered. Sadly no instructors were around to assist if required either.  As a result he basically didn’t have use of Barbells to work from or help on technique. Like most he would rock up on Mondays and do the “Ol” chest and arms routine and a bit of abs. This is what most regular gym goers tend to do without a strict plan, even when their gym is properly equipped.

Currently we have been working out with Kettlebells, Barbells and Boxing , keep a focus on Nutrition and have based our program around weight loss. To date he has shifted “a lot of excess”  from his frame. So I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to incorporate some of the more traditional exercises on one program to get a feel of how it all works out. We have over time covered the basic compound lifts for general physical preparation (as you should) but today’s workout was a bit of a variation on the basic with a bit of Claudefit experience chucked in for good measure.

It’s basically a variation on the Chest and Back routine with the addition of Gymnastics rings for on overload under fatigue and the use of the Deadlift and Kettlebell swing for an all body effect. Arm training was at the end after core and ensured that we worked ‘the guns” until they could not Lift anymore.

Focus : All a bit of fun while still getting the job done.

Chest: Incline Barbell press, Flat barbell Press and Gymnastics rings presses.

Back: Barbell bent over rows , Chins and Gymnastics ring pulls

Full Body: Deadlift and Kettlebell swings

Arms: Barbell Bicep curls and lose grip bench press

Core: Hanging Knee raises

Mobility: Included all the stretches and target areas as required.

It’s Strength Training

The above approach was to get in those two large body parts of the back and chest with a 3-5 rep max for 5 sets. The rest of the additional exercises where with a lighter loading and took it to a range of 8-12 reps. All for a bit of serious fun really. The session was then complimented by the ever reliable Deadlift with the classic 3×3 and chucked in several Kettlebell two handed swing 20×5 just to get the heart rate up – yeah we succeeded. Given the nature of the workout we were always going to cover arms and worked them to failure. If you had noticed the arms were certainly incorporated as assistant muscles with the previous movements. Core was taken care of with the Hanging knee raises with a mention of the Deadlift and bent over rows for the bracing component in the core work.

As always we finished off in recovery with related body part stretches and full body mobility drills to prevent any stiffness from becoming a hindrance This very basic (not easy) covers the upper body and gives the arms a more than effective workout. It’s not exactly bodybuilding as we focused on both strength and conditioning. For those who want the bodybuilding approach you need to go to a bodybuilding gym. Not a 24 hour commercial Gym.

The message is to plan well for you objectives. For general physical preparation, just cover all the major movements and incorporate some cardio, sort out you food and you are well on the way to results. For other who have particular need on strength and conditioning on a more specific level I suggest you speak with someone who knows how to program you workouts.

Claude Castro has been the owner of Claudefit Personal Training for 8 year and has over 35 year of practical application. Can be located on  www.claudefit.com.au

 

 

PCC – Its time to hit the bar

Bodyweight course

This inaugural Bodyweight course was held at Read Performance, Australia’s Dragoondoor arm run by Andrew Read along with top flight PCC instructors Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo and the team facilitated a well run and enjoyable experience from start to end. To say there was energy in the room is an understatement, It was booming!

As usual I take a casual approach to these workshops. I like to have fun and absorb the knowledge given out and knew these guys are not going to hand you a certification by just by turning up like many other providers. I make a point of getting myself adequately prepared and ready by cert time. You have to earn it, so be warned!

Having successfully passing the requirements of the “Century test” and weekend tasks I now have a new fondness and respect for all things bodyweight.

It was obvious to me from the start that I would have my work cut out in managing to “ace” all the moves being taught. I’m an old Weightlifter lifter and like to lift what i consider heavy stuff. (It’s a macho thing!) however this “stuff” as I put it was rarely bodyweight. And boy was I in for an enjoyable surprise. When it was first promoted 6 months prior, I immediately logged in, paid my registration and then though here we go again, time to get it done and earn another worthwhile certification while learning some cool stuff.

Hang on, I’ve never really been heavily into Bodyweight training so what do I do now? What have I done? Have I gotten ambition mixed up with ability again?

A different fitness approach

Well this had to change, and given that I previously dropped my own bodyweight down from a solid 92kg frame to a now leaner and much more comfortable 78kg (due to my focus now being on running and a desire to be more of a complete trainer) it wasn’t long before I was playing around with my own bodyweight in preparing for PCC.

I like to plan, so i had to answer a few questions first. What did it take to pass? How long do I have? what is my current condition and have i got the proper resources, Then work backward from there.

Fortunately I have in my possession the two convict conditioning books written by the two course facilitators along with a reasonable library of other resources helping me to plan accordingly meet the criteria on the day.

You would expect a personal trainer to be prepared I guess.

The Exercises

My programming was designed around basic movements. In no particular order, here was my template of the main moves that I at least has control over. Not all performed on the same day.

  • All the stretches I knew.
  • Chins up & push up variations.
  • Pistol squats.
  • Hanging leg raises, now my go to abs exercise.
  • Running. Well it is bodyweight!
  • Bridge holds.
  • Prone hold
  • Handstand /play holds.
  • Bodyweight Dips
  • And my trusty adjustable 10kg weight vest.

I was mostly 90% working on the well knows 5×5 based strength protocol for all the movements when practicing. The benefit for me was that I had applied it to Barbell, Dumbbells Kettlebells and now given my fondness of it to bodyweight training.

Sometimes I would just work the simple 3×3 range depending on how “fried” my body felt from the previous workout the day before. A rookie mistake that I made often due to my stubbornness. It’s a different kind of hurt when the nervous system is entirely depleted using pure bodyweight.

The only difference was on the days I felt ok I’d put more volume into it. For example a 15 x 5 set on the chins up. It’s the one movement that petrifies the newbie’s and was the base test entry going into the RKC cert. So I out of fear I already had the “money in the bank “ In relation to pull ups, and now I enjoyed them.

Unfortunately these volumes did not transfer well to other exercises. Like any well balanced program, we all can’t do what we like. So play it smart. Take for example the hanging leg raise series found in the book convict conditioning, there is a clear process to follow in getting though the recommended progression. I must admit that I cheated and moved on and jumped a few steps then eventually  common sense prevailed and went back to start.

The Testing 

You have to pass the century which (For men) conducted at the end of the 3rd day after all the workouts you have done over this long and challenging course.

1. FULL SQUATS:                        40 reps

2. FULL PUSH-UPS:                    30 reps

3. HANGING KNEE RAISES:     20 reps

4. FULL PULL-UPS:                     10 reps

TOTAL:    100 reps

At first this for me was a reasonable request and initially gave it a go and sort of completed it and thought to myself “yeah not too bad” it should be right. This was a rookie mistake as it was obvious later during preperation when I increased the volume during my workout. I would have 3 days of bodyweight hands on training and then had to finish the test within 8 minutes ,no stops with strict form or else!

As I knew the instructors , no hand outs where ever going to be given.

Fortunately for me this was a great wake up call and prepared myself accordingly with a solid base of physical programming. I turned up ready to be taught and was adequately conditioned to perform the basic exercises, learn and not get hurt due to a lack of conditioning. It costs money to attend these courses and it’s a total waste for all if you turn up unprepared.

A great workshop

The movements that are taught are many, just to name a few. Push ups and variations, chins and variations, front levers, back levers, pistols and floor holds to name a few – let’s not forget the muscle ups. The level of movement taught require you to continually work on them , you simply cant just master all of them. im still to get the Muscle up and need to work on my levers.

It was clearly one of the more enjoyable workshops that I have done and along with the incredible manual the information I now have access too, will keep me busy and clients challenged for a long time to come.

Now off to the Horizontal bar for some much needed practice and fun.

My weak glutes

Weak and imbalanced glutes and the troubles they can cause is not something that had ever crossed my mind over my journey to fitness.  I’ve had trouble with my knees as I played basketball for 10 years and had my right anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed and thought that would be an ongoing issue but I found it wasn’t.  Sitting at a desk for 6-7 hours a day is not a natural position for the body to be in. I have been doing this for 15 years.  The butt muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medias and Gluteus Minimus), otherwise known as the glutes, will be stretched when sitting down, and the hip flexors will be constantly shortened.  This is not a natural state for the body to be in and over time this is going to cause some damage when exercising.   The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in our whole body, if it’s not firing this is going to lead to a whole lot of problems.

When I started getting fit I wanted a new passion like I had for basketball. I gave that up thinking my knees couldn’t cope and I didn’t want to go through another ACL reconstruction. So I began running, yep that seems like a good idea!  No twisting and turning forward running movement, knees will be fine I’d done the rehab they felt strong.  So running it was, and the first issue that popped up was slight soreness in my hips after 20 mins or so.  Just felt like aches from running they’ll be fine I thought.

Wasn’t till a few months of this pain getting worse and worse and the repetitive stress on the legs and hips of running that eventually I felt something pop and that was it I could hardly walk!  Thinking this was it I’ve got a bad hip now. Great!

I visited my GP thinking I need to get this fixed, I had no idea what it was, why it was happening or what I could do to fix it!   Not the smartest doctor I don’t think, just sent me for a Ultrasound, he thinks I’ve got tendonitis,  results came back.  Nothing was found, no bursitis of the hip either.  Gave me a Cortisone shot and sent me on my way!

Of course this relieved the pain that was what he gave it to me for.   But it didn’t fix the problem and unbeknownst to me that I was actually still injured.  I got back out running again (relatively pain free) and even completed a Tough Mudder and Eureka Tower stair climb during this time.

Fast forward three months and my hip muscles were a ticking time bomb and although I was having pain running again now, I just kept going. And thought well this is what I have to put up with when I jog. I competed in a Triathlon, and after my swim and cycle I began my run, which was only 2kms, (I had stopped running anything longer) and 500m from home I felt that pop again in the right hip, POW! Felt like it ripped something also, I struggled to the finish line in a lot of pain.  S**T this was really bad. Sad face Nikki.

Heading back to my GP I told him straight up,  give me and MRI I need to know exactly what this is, cortisone shot was a temporary relief to a problem that was chronic, and  I need to take the time and rehabilitate this properly.

Got my results, told him I had another Tough Mudder coming up in a month, he said come back for a cortisone shot if you need it… Um… NO THANKS!

I saw an Osteopath for this also, who is a runner himself.  I had torn a muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) in my right hip.  It’s a tiny little muscle that joins at the hip to the knee, I’d read about it extremely briefly through my studies.  He told me this is a good injury and not to worry. He said it could have been the actual hip bone and I could never run again!  Ahh relief!

What caused this muscle to tear was what I wanted to know.  He knows I work in an office,  I’ve sat in this position at a desk for 15 years!   My glutes, to put it a simple way, just stopped working when I ran.  And this little TFL muscle was doing far too much work than it was designed for.  So it tore, was bound to happen with all the running I was doing.

Ok so problem is diagnosed, what now!?  My osteo said I have to start strengthening and stretching my glutes to build them up to the powerhouse they should be while I’m running, they should be the power muscle forcing my pelvis through each stride.  He said just to get out there jogging again but shorter times and regularly stretching after, heat bag at nights and treatment with him. And to stick to this like glue!

It’s a long process but in the long run I literally will be able to do a long run, pain free!   That’s the goal.  I gave up my dream of a third Tough Mudder for now and put my smart cap on, you’re a trainer now Nik, what would you tell a client to do?

Some basic exercises to do for activating the glutes are bridges and lunges,  it will fire them up and the stronger they are the more efficient all your workouts will become, and if you’re sitting all day, get up and go for a walk at lunchtime!

Moral of the story?  Well I think there’s two, there’s no easy fixes for injuries, and they need to be taken care of correctly and precisely if you don’t want them to happen again.   And your butt, if you sit on it all day it’s going to need some extra special attention so it can work it’s correct way and give you the best possible performance.

Guest blog from Client : Nikki 

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