Raising The Bar

When a few ANIMALS turned up unexpectedly at Strength and Performance Gym today, we knew that BIG weights were going to be shifted, records were going to be set, broken and re-set and that the possibility of blood flowing was high!

Well, apart from the blood flowing bit (it wasn’t Dead Lift day unfortunately), the predictions were correct!

You see, when you get a collection of  hard working, iron loving athletes in the same room together, things start to get serious. The tempo is raised, more weight gets added to the bar and the sense of camaraderie is OFF THE SCALE!

The fear of looking like a chump in front of your peers spurs on the thirst for pushing the boundaries more and more…. 1 more rep, and another….and another! 10 reps ends up being 20 reps, this is how PR’s a hit!

Today, every single member of the group raised the bar, their own personal bar.

This is what makes ATHLETES out of average people.

This what makes CHAMPIONS out of elite performers.

It is the ability to constantly strive for more, to keep pushing forward, to not make excuses and ALWAYS take accountability for your performance.

Lift BIG, get STRONG

Z

Strength and Performance Coach

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‘BEAST training’ at Strength and Performance!

Tucked away in a small industrial unit in Stockport, we take average athletes and turn them into muscle bound, supremely conditioned BEASTS!!

We are selective in who we allow to train behind closed doors! Not because we are rude but because we only want the most committed, most dedicated clients in our gym.

We take too much pride in getting results every time to just let anyone walk in off the street and bring the energy levels of the group down! Allowing semi-serious athletes to train with us is counter productive to our beliefs!

All our members are 100% serious and 100% dedicated to achieving their goals. They ALL train like BEASTS! If we ask them to jump, they say “how high” it’s really that simple!

If YOU think you have what it takes to train at Strength and Performance, contact us to arrange your free trial and consultation.

e-mail: info@strengthandperformance.co.uk

call: 01614808368

Lift BIG, get STRONG!

Z

Strength and Performance Coach

De-load Training – 22/3/2010

For us hardened, iron loving freaks, de-load weeks usually comes as a bit of a god send, having punished the body with increasing ferocity for 3 weeks non stop!

For Sean and Joe, this week was no different, they had trained hard and things had gone well – they had earned a bit of stretching, foam rolling and horsing around with some ART techniques!

For me, well, I had some unfinished biz to attend to. For starters, my head had been up my backside for the last 2 weeks or so. Training, subsequently had not gone well and to top it all off, a nice bout of food poisoning had just been the icing on the cake.

So, instead of de-loading i decided to take out my frustration on the weights.

Here’s what I cranked out today… short, simple, but it did the trick nicely:

a) Seated military press with chains – up to 1RM

b1) Seated Bradford press with chains

b2) mixed grip chins

c1) BB standing tricep extensions

c2) BB curl + chains and fat grip

Nothing clever just got the job done!

Looking forward to hitting legs tomorrow for some strange reason ;-P

If you have’t had chance to check out ’20 things that PISS ME OFF about commercial gyms’ – parts 1 and 2 then you must be CRAZY!!

stay STRONG and prosper!

Z

Strength and Performance Coach

20 things that PISS ME OFF about commercial gyms – Part 2

Since the release of ’20 things that PISS ME OFF about commercial gyms – Part 1′ last week, we have been inundated with Facebook messages, e-mails and text messages,

Most of these messages confessed admiration for our ballsy approach towards the ‘Health and Wellness’ centres where physical mediocrity is not only accepted but preached.

Various clients in the legal profession warned us to ‘err on the side of caution’ in case certain manufactures of ‘vibrating platforms’ got offended. Let’s hope they have more important things to worry about!

Even my mother left me a Facebook message, pointing out that ‘Star Trek’ and ‘dissillusioned’ had been spelt incorrectly – sorry mother, will do better this time hopefully!

So, without further a do, here is the much anticipated Part 2 (11-20)

Enjoy!

11) People who wear Beanie hats and other fashion accessories in the gym! – Unless your name is Dave Tate or you happen to be a serious bad-ass i don’t even want to see you with your hood up! Take off that ridiculous hat, mini-cashmere scarf and those Cristian Audigier jeans… they will NOT help you add weight to the bar OR pick up girls. Don’t you realise you look like a f*****g IDIOT??! WTF 8*

12) Gym managers that know Jack S**t!

Now this might not look like your A-typical gym manager but you can bet your bottom dollar that lurking within the magnolia walls and uber comfortable surroundings of your Health and Wellness Centre, there will be a desk-bound jobsworth, a glorified sales rep. .. the elusive gym manager!

This person doesn’t care about you or your results, all they care about is how many new members they can cram through the doors. He/she probably just plays with bits of paper all day and uses irritating acronyms like ‘FTE’  This person has probably never felt the caress of cold steel on the fingertips and when it comes to training, doesn’t know their arse from their elbow!  Their idea of a 1RM is the furthest they have thrown last months sales figures into the waste paper basket! WTF 9*

13) People who talk a great game then ask for a spot on 60kg! –  I DON’T GIVE A S**T WHAT YOU USED TO BENCH!!! If you tell me you can bench 120 then you’d better be pretty damn sure you can bench 120 because when the bar comes crashing down on your windpipe, I won’t be there to bicep curl it up for you! WTF 7*

14) The Overweight Fitness Manager – Do I really need to go into this?

“Now listen up guys, the best way to burn fat is that vibrating platform thingy!”

You can’t seriously tell me how I should train my clients when you clearly have never seen the inside of a gym or if you have it must have been through a rose tinted, Krispy Kreme doughnut haze! Instead of boring me with targets, how about you target that spare tyre with some barbell complexes hmm! WTF 8*

15) The person who needs a spot on rep 4 then tries to squeeze another 6 reps out! – This is always good for a laugh! “Yep, yep, i’ve got it…. my bar….No, no just give me a little hand and i’ll go again!”

If you read Part 1 then you will immediately recognise the ‘It’s all you’ approach that has to be employed here! When the bar is descending at the speed of a scud missile and you find the bicep curl back to the top position is getting harder and harder AND the lifter is still adamant that he has ‘another 2 reps in me’ then you know it’s time to rack the bar, mutter an obscenity and walk off! WTF 8*

16) ‘Balance Training’ – I realise that i may be leaving myself open to a whole load of abusive messages from avid ‘wobble board/disc’ thingy mgiggy fans and personal trainers from all over the world but the thing is….. i really don’t care!!

“But my physio said that i need to do my rehab on a wobbly, semi-circular rubber disc in order to strengthen my ankles”

Yes, I concede, this is true for some post injury rehab work.. there I said it!

However, if you’re not injured, and this is the thing that really hacks me off… maybe just maybe, and don’t shoot the messenger here but how about you first try your standing on one leg balancing act on a stable, FLAT surface! It’s hard enough trying to perform a strict set of pistol squats on the floor let alone on some over turned semi-circular rubber disc! And let’s face it, when will you ever be in a situation where the floor magically starts to tilt?  And don’t be a smart-alek, if you want to work your ‘core’ why don’t you try a set of Dead Lifts on for size? WTF 8*

I can’t decide who I want to scream at more….

“How was your super-functional work-out?”

“Oh yeah man, mine was great, my core got worked a treat!”

17) PT’s who can’t teach the most basic lifts – Instead of trying to baffle your client with tabata jumping dumbbell squats (Great for the advanced trainee of course!) and single leg Siberian twisting Medicine ball lunges why don’t you learn how to coach a f*****g back squat properly? WTF 9*

18) The member who performs the same routine EVERY week, EVERY month, all year long and then pisses and moans when they get NO results!

“But my mate Dave has been training for 10 years, he’s a big lad and he says that if i keep adding weight to my drop-set chest flies i will stack the size on!”

Look, I don’t know your mate Dave but if he’s anything like you then he must be a f*****g idiot aswell! I’m not trying to help you break through the plateau for the benefit of my own health. Fine, don’t listen to me… you keep your creatine induced, water-retention-swollen arms and your Chest and Tris programme and f**k off!! WTF 8*

19) PT’s that do internal qualifications and then instantly become an expert authority on!….. – In my humble opinion, taking part in a 2 hour Kettle Bell ‘master class’ led by some pimply faced PT Trainer who at first glance doesn’t look old enough to be your offspring, does NOT make you the leading light on one of the most difficult and taxing physical disciplines.

In some gyms, poor unsuspecting members are cajoled into taking part in poorly taught, dangerous, sometimes frantic kettle bell swinging sessions? Just to name one example…

I’m not pointing the finger of blame at the fitness professionals, who as a direct result of attending stupid fluff-filled courses, unwittingly become qualified in losing muscle and gaining fat! more at the paper-pushing Fatness Managers…. sorry, did I say ‘Fatness’? I meant Fitness Managers! WTF 7*

20) People who don’t put their weights back! – I bet you were wondering when this was going to rear its ugly head! It beggars belief how people can load the bar with a zillion kgs of weight and then expect them to somehow fly back onto the weight trees all by themselves! Oh sorry, did you think that the magical, tiny weight pixies did it for you? Or did you think that it is the duty of the hapless Fitness Professional who has been slaving all shift just to keep your grubby paw prints off the benches!

Seriously, how lazy can you be?? Thank the good lord above that you don’t train in our gym… and another thing, for those choice few stars that actually do bother to begrudgingly roll their weights back to the racks, could you at least spare a few brain cells in order to think for a second and then put them back, and here’s the really super-amazing bit….*insert drum roll* where you got them from? BINGO!!!

I don’t know about you but NOTHING pisses me off more than a f******g pig sty of a weights rack where you have to break your F*****G back in order to get the 40s out as some bright spark with all the brain capacity of a dead chicken has decided to place them right on the top tier at the back so you have to reach over 2 feet in order to pick them up! Grrrr!! WTF 10*

Well, there you have it, my top 20 things that piss me off about commercial gyms!

To be honest, I think there may well be another instalment to follow as i’m not convinced we’ve covered all the topics, just scratched the surface really!

If YOU have any suggestions for future rants I will be more than happy to consider them and you will get credited after your quote! All ideas below please or send us an e-mail at:

info@strengthandperformance.co.uk

I’ll e-mail our e-mail accounts manager and instruct them to have a look at it then they will probably pass it on to the sales department who will pass it over to the admin department who will then promptly lose it and deny all knowledge that it ever existed! ;-P

Hope you enjoy the blog!

Comment below

As always, stay STRONG!!

Z

Strength and Performance Coach

Trap Bar Dead Lift with chains plus Prowler for dessert!

Feeling somewhat inspired by Tom Martin’s MONSTROUS DL’s yesterday, the Strength and Performance crew decided to stick some heavy chains on the Trap Bar and go in search of some PRs!!

Yes, we are a bunch of slaves to the iron but let’s face it, i’d rather be a slave than a ‘vibrating platform-using ‘chump!

We didn’t quite manage to eclipse the Martin but some good numbers were hit and a fair few rice digs and some Prowler relays later, the general consensus was that we’d not had a bad session!

De-loading time next week, much to the delight of Justin ‘J-Bone’ Nixon (our newest and youngest crew member and an outright BEAST at that!)

Here’s what we did today:

a) Trap Bar DL + heavy chains – work up to 1RM

b1) lunge/step-up variation

b2) Romanian DL

c1) double KB swings

c2) front plank

d1) prowler runs

d2) rice digs

+ extra fat grip BB holds for time.

More craziness to come tomorrow and stay posted for the next part in the

’20 things that PISS ME OFF about commercial gyms’ series.

I am enjoying compiling more gems for your reading pleasure.

If you missed the 1st edition you must be LOCO! Go check it out NOW!

You will not be dissapointed!

In the meantime,

EAT BIG, LIFT BIG and GET STRONG!!

Z

Strength and Performance coach

20 Things that PISS ME OFF About Commercial Gyms – Part 1

The time has come my friends, to vent some LONG overdue steam on the fluffy, cotton wool-wrapped, namby pamby so called ‘Health and Wellness’ Centres!

Commercial Health Club Hassles

A Health and Wellness Centre…

These places are packed full of all the latest new fangled, over priced gizmos and  over-complicated machinery that wouldn’t be out of place in the next Star-Trek movie!

Such gyms make the MOST money from innocent, dissilusioned members who pay huge amounts of cash and then don’t attend from one month to the next. Should it be allowed? I’ll let you decide!

I’ve taken the trouble of writing down just a few of my all-time pet hates about the corporate beast and some of the cretins (sorry!..) who inhabit them. Lets start with Part 1 and we’ll get on to Parts 2 and 3 next week. I will be welcoming comments below.

Next to each point i’ve put what I affectionately call a ‘WTF’ (what the f**k) star rating from 1*-10*…. WTF 1 being, this mildly pissed off, all the way up to WTF 10* which means you’d better prepare to have my full unadulterated wrath bestowed upon you!!!
Deep intake of breath and here we go… points 1-10:

1) No lifting in bare feet/socks. Look, IT’S VERY SIMPLE, dead lifting in trainers with a heel is going to F up my form and risk injury! I don’t want to get injured so I choose to remove my trainers. I’ll take the consequences if i’m stupid enough to drop a s**t load of weight on my foot!  WTF 8*

2) No chalk – Why not?? So it’s messy… who cares? Have you not made enough profit this year to afford to pay someone to clean up the gym properly? WTF 6*

3) ‘Easy listening’ music – No, no, NO! If i wanted to hear Ronan Keating and Lulu singing ‘If tomorrow never comes, i would have gone to see Boyzone in concert! WTF 8*

4) ‘Vipr’ training (the latest in ‘functional’ training from the M.I.B (Mindless Idiots Brigade!) – Functional?? I’ll give you ‘functional’ in a minute…. how about i stick my ‘functional’ foot up your ‘functional’ ass!!!! Next time i’ll jump on a Powerplate to show how to do functional *cough* WTF 7*

5) ‘Vibrating Platforms’ – A prime example of Gimmeckery at it’s finest! Unless you suffer from MS or are doing a tiny bit of rehab/stretching then i don’t want to hear the  ‘P’ word! Why don’t these so called gyms try spending the money on more Barbells, Dumbbells, Power-racks and other useful pieces of equipment? WTF 9*

6) People who read newspapers on treadmills, X-trainers or any other useless piece of cardio equipment! – It takes a special type of gym-goer to believe that walking at the pace of a 2 year old while reading the latest copy of Reveal magazine will magically melt away that stubborn fat!  Hmm…… WTF 6*

7) Half reps – This includes Personal Trainers, and/or spotters who allow, even encourage half reps during a set or a 1RM for example! You know who you are and i don’t care how you justify it unless you’re deliberately doing a rack lock-out or floor press, YOU’RE F*****G WRONG!!! This will take up too much space if i complete my rant in full so i’ll skip to the end.. Grrrr! WTF 9*

8 ) The “It’s all you” crew – Going along the same lines as point 7, it’s NOT ‘all you’  if the neanderthal spotter behind you is bicep curling the bar for you!! WTF 8*

yes, yes, YES…. get it, it’s ALL YOU!!!… (note the half rep here)

9) The person who asks “How many more sets you got on there mate”? while you’re halfway through a set of  heavy military press.

– First of all, i’m not your ‘mate’ and just because you can see my eyes in the mirror it doesn’t mean I want to strike up a f*****g conversation halfway through busting my ass you inconsiderate moron!! How about next time you’re struggling with your partial rep heavy squat, I come over and suggest you go down ALL the way – see how you like the distraction! WTF 8*

10) Personal Trainers prescribing stupid exercises for their clients! – This is brilliant! The MOST stupid exercise I have EVER seen in my whole training life was this… I hope I do it justice!……The client holds a medicine ball with outstretched hands and performs a sideways jump into a squat onto a Powerplate which is vibrating on full speed!!….

*Leaving time in anticipation of a sharp intake of breath, long sigh or spontaneous laughter from anyone who is reading this*…..

If you don’t see the problem here then please DO NOT leave a comment below. WTF 10*

For anyone else, please feel free to comment.

Stay STRONG!

Z

Strength and Performance Coach.

Chains – Accomodating Resistance

If you know anything about serious strength training then you will know that having chains in your weapons arsenal is about as essential as having clotted cream with your scone and jam!

If you haven’t experienced training with chains then perhaps you have been hiding under a rock, or maybe working in a big commercial gym…?

Fear not, help is at hand. The video clip below will give you a brief insight into the great benefits of doing so.

For those of you who haven’t been ‘working out’  in  big corporate gyms, training ‘guns’ and chest at every oportunity, this will come as no huge shock to the system but for those people outlined above, this is (very simply) why we use chains.

Chains are used to accomadate resistance. They are an essential yet little used tool, incorporated into training to increase explosive power in standard weight training exercises.

The use of chains  teaches athletes to accelerate the bar through the entire repetition because the weight gets heavier at the top.  

The bottom of the lift is the phase that is the most difficult  because the athlete is at their weakest. However, the weight will be at its lightest as the heavy chains  rest on the floor.  During the concentric portion of the lift (the up-phase),the chains unravel from the floor.  This means that as the athlete pushes, the weight increases, forcing the body to accelerate through the whole lift in order to ‘outrun’ the speed of the chains.

Perhaps the best thing about using chains in training is the flexibility which they provide. Press-up with them, Pull-up with them, Dip with them, Dead lift with them, Bear crawl with them, the list just goes on and on AND on!

Here is what we rocked out yesterday:

a) speed bench with chains 9×3

b1) kettle bell swing to press/handstand push-ups

b2) rope chins with chains variations

c1) neutral chins with chains – 2x drop set

c2) BB press-ups with chains – 2x drop set

Enjoy the short training montage below.

Drop us a comment, ask us a question… get involved!!

Lift BIG, get STRONG!!!

Z