Strength vs Size

Often resistance or weight training is universally referred to as ‘strength training’, even by personal trainers. This is worrying as in the majority of cases the style of resistance they’re relating to is far from ‘Strength Training’…

It’s important to understand the difference.

Resistance Training
This is simply the process of applying resistance to a given movement therefore forcing the muscles to work harder, resulting in micro tears and inflammation. In time, given adequate nutrition & rest, this can result in larger and/or stronger muscles. The way in which this is done though will have a huge influence on the outcome.

Strength Training
Technically known as ‘Myofibrillar Hypertrophy, this is the neuromuscular process of increasing a muscles force production. This is done by lifting heavy weights in an explosive manor for short periods of time. In our world we often refer to this as ‘high weight, low rep’. This style of training relies on explosive contractions and adaptations within the muscles actin and myosin fibres which produce the contractions.

Size Training
Technically known as Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy this uses metabolic overload and the accumulation of blood and sarcoplasmic fluid within a muscle to produce micro tears to the lining , the result is an increase in size & glycogen (sugar) storage but not necessarily strength. These adaptions are achieved by working the muscle under tension for longer, with a lower weight in a controlled manor. Typically this will be achieved via sets of 10+reps lasting at least 45 seconds where the individual adds voluntary muscular contraction to increase blood flow to the working muscle. We often refer to this as ‘low weight, high rep’, training for ‘pump’ or ‘metabolic overload’.

Which One Is Best
Traditionally it was believed that Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy cannot occur without Myofibrillar as the process of lifting any weights should make you stronger right?! However new research is showing that this may be untrue and that focusing on one may result in a reduction in the other.

Sarcoplasmic Pro’s & Con’s
– quick increase in visible size
– pump feels great
– no real increase in strength
– not functional adaption – fairly useless to an athlete

Myofibrillar Pro’s & Con’s
– Functional adaption – stronger
– Great for sport
– Also makes muscles bigger
– High demand on the nervous system

We recommend using a periodised training programme that would have you working solely within each field for 6-12 weeks before transitioning to a pyramid system that utilises both for 6-12 weeks.

We will release individual articles on all 3 of these offering example training plans & rep ranges.

Regardless of which phase you’re in your results will remain dependant on applying sufficient overload to your muscles paired with adequate rest & nutrition.

Happy Health,
Tom’s

Metabolic Overload Training

Metabolic Overload or Metabolic Stress training is 1 of 3 key ways in which you can train to gain (muscles)…

What Is It?

Essentially Metabolic Stress training is the process of training for ‘the burn’ & ‘muscle pump’ which relies on the constant pumping of blood into the working muscle, the blood fills the muscle resulting in micro tears of the muscle fibres and the accumulation of metabolites which are thought to then trigger anabolic signaling (trigger to grow).

How Do I Do It?

Metabolic stress training relies on the muscle remaining under tension throughout the entire set, the following points summarise this technique:

  • 10-20 reps/exercise
  • 3-4 sets/exercise
  • No rest at the top or bottom of the lift
  • avoid locking out at the top of lifts
  • constant tempo eg. 2020
  • <60 seconds rest between sets
  • rep to momentary failure

Applying It To Your Routine:

As we’ve said before all professional lifters and athletes alike will us a system of Periodization when planning their training, once again we recommend using a structure plan that periodically transitions through each of the 3 Hypertropthy systems offering well rounded and progressive results.

We hope that you find this information useful.

Happy Health,
Tom’s

Anterior & Posterior Chains

Chains are definitely lesser discussed than other anatomical functions.
Understanding your Anterior & Posterior chains though will undoubtedly help your fitness, progression & performance whilst reducing your risk of injury and skeletal imbalance.

What are they?

The Anterior Chain:
This refers to the muscles on the front side of the body including:
– Pecs
– Quads
– Core
The anterior chain plays a vital role in controlling forward movement, an essential in nearly all sports especially where direction changes are needed. Further to this your core muscles provide the foundation of all movement and power, an undeveloped or weak core will prevent you from training/progressing beyond a certain point as well as increasing the risk of falls.

The Posterior Chain:
This comprises of the muscles on the rear of the body, including:
– Hamstrings
– Glutes
– Lats
– Traps
– Rotator Cuff & Scapula Retractors
The Posterior Chain is responsible for holding us upright, without it we would flop forwards. Additionally they allow us to generate backwards force such as rowing and pulling.

How Can I Train My Chains:

Anterior Chain Exercises:
– 
Bench Press & Push Ups
– Planks, Sit Ups, Leg Raises
– Leg Extensions, Squats & Lunges

Posterior Chain Exercises:
– 
Cable Pull Throughs
– Hamstring Curls
– Rows, Lat Pull Down & Pull Ups
– Deadlift

Training For Balance:

Whatever your goals are it remains important that you have a balanced training plan unless you are training to address an existing imbalance, eg. a front chain dominant physique.

We recommend for every Anterior exercise or workout you do that you then do a Posterior exercise or workout… You could split this in many ways, an easy way to do so is to simply have 2 workout days, #1 Anterior & #2 Posterior…you could then use a 3rd session to address any muscles missed (delts & calfs etc) or run a hybrid workout that contains key lifts from each chain.

Using large, compound movements as detailed above will also aid you in recruiting the most muscle fibres and secondary muscles such as the Biceps & Triceps.

A balanced training plan and physique will not only provide the best platform for fitness, progress & performance but will also minimise your risk of developing structural issues such as pelvic tilt & shoulder instability.

We hope that this is helpful, we’re happy to help you apply this if you simply give us a shout.

Happy Healthy,
Tom’s

Winter Vegetable Soup

Warm up with this simple & nutritious Winter Vegetable Soup…

Serves: 4
Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
Carrot 330g
Swede 250g
Potato 350g
1 leek
1 onion
200g turnip
50g cabbage
1.5ltr veg stock
1 Garlic clove
Thyme
25g butter

  • Chop all the vegetables into small pieces or slice in a food processor
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onions on a low heat until softened
  • Add the leaks and crushed garlic clove and cook for a few more minutes until cooked down
  • Add all the remaining vegetables and stir so coated in the butter
  • Cook for 5 more minutes
  • Add the vegetable stock and thyme. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins or until vegetables are soft.
Allow to cool and blend.
Serve & Enjoy

Challenge Yourself

Who doesn’t like the feeling of achievement?!

Setting yourself Goals & Challenges is a great way to stay motivated and something to work towards, to cap it all off at the end you get an unrivaled sense of achievement…

Your goals don’t have to be huge, they could be something as simple as improving your lap time around the park by 1 minute in the next month.

The key to setting goals & challenges is to keep them SMART…We’ve mentioned SMART goals before and undoubtedly will again, for now here is a little reminder…

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At the end of every GOAL should be a reward whether internal or external….Last Sunday that’s exactly what we got when we took some of our Boot Campers to an 5k Inflatable Obstacle Race…Not only did we all get medals and freebies but of us including our trainers felt an immense sense of achievement that already has us focused on finding our next challenge.

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What will your next challenge be?

 

What Is Pre-Exhaust Training?

As the name suggests, Pre-Exhaust training is  a system that aims to Exhaust/Fatigue a certain muscle group. This is done using an isolation exercise such as a flye or extension before moving on to a compound lift such as a press or squat.

Why Use Pre-Ehxaust?
It is important to understand that muscles work in pairs to perform movements, for example the chest pairs with the triceps to push whilst the back pairs with the biceps to pull.
With this in mind, picture the size difference between the biceps and the back, which one do you think will fatigue first?  Given the biceps considerably lower size and power output its very likely that their fatigue would prevent us from fully overloading the back.

This is where Pre-Exhaust training comes in, by using an isolation exercise such as a reverse flye we can start to fatigue the back without placing stress on the biceps, this ultimately will allow us to perform a greater volume on the compound exercise.

Studies have shown that Pre-Exhaust training is an effective method for allowing a greater volume of work resulting in greater overload and muscular adaptation.

How Do I Use Pre-Exhaust?
Perform 1-2 isolation exercises on your target muscle group (3-4 sets each) before moving to 2 compound exercises (3-4 sets each).Isolation Exercises:

  • Chest: Flyes, Cable Cross Over
  • Back: Reverse Flye, Reverse Cross Over, Straight Arm Pulldowns/Pullovers
  • Shoulders: Side Lateral Raises, Front Lateral Raises,
  • Legs: Leg Extensions, Hack Squats, Leg Presses or Squats

Elevate Your Training

1 session is all it takes to see improvements in your workouts & subsequently your results…
 
Asma demonstrates this perfectly in her 1st Ever Session…Her KB swing improves noticeably within 2 sets…
For a small investment of your time & money you can speed up & increase your progress whilst minimising the risk of injury…
 
Good Trainers can help take your training to the next level & beyond…
 
…Great Work Asma…

It’s More Fun With A Friend

Exercising can become boring over time, this is a leading reason many people quit, inevitably resulting in a decline in their health & self esteem…

Experience and supporting studies have shown that working out in a group is not only more fun but more effective as people work harder when they are among their peers…

Boot Camps & Classes are a great way of meeting new people and sharing a fun & varied workout, therefore increasing the longevity of your results….