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Showing posts from 2016

Taking a drag... or the sting in the tail

Previously in the blog... (Part 1

In our last episode, our intrepid hero had gone off to find some tucker having survived the static (ish) events of the day. And while I was having a munch on my lunch, I found myself thinking about the events so far at Nailsworth Strength and Fitness and was wondering if I could have done more. I won't lie, that's a crappy place to be. Of all the things you could be thinking about after a competition, the one that shouldn't come up is "could I have done more?". You might think "could I have done better?" or "Could I have done that differently?". But the question of whether you could have done more, that should be beyond doubt, an emphatic, resounding no. 

But unusually, I wasn't unhappy. Curious about how it might have gone, and a slight thought about perhaps I might have been able to get more but ultimately relatively happy as I'd hit target (and therein lies one of my issues with goals...but that'…

Strange brew...or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bench press

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Having had to break my run of trips to Westbury for Ironworx Strongman, I had Nailsworth Strength and Fitness' Autumn Strongest in sight. The problems were multiple but the two most prominent were that it was going to involve multiples of bodyweight for many of the rounds and it also involved a bench press.

If you watched the Olympics you may have noticed the trend across the weight categories in weighlifting. As the bodyweight increases, generally you see an upward shift in absolute strength, that is to say the weight on the bar. But there comes a point after which that weight represents smaller multiples of bodyweight. And there's the rub with this format. It is demanding but it is accessible to a broader spectrum of lifters than a comp with just an absolute weight in it. But it it means the big boys are going to have to shift some big weights for reps which start to feel like a cardio workout.

But what's my beef with the bench? For your average gym monkey a bench press wo…

And so it begins

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The bugle sounds, the charge begins...we're off. The first couple of days of the burpee ladder are under our collective belt and with our Australian contingent getting us off to an early start, we're all present and correct.

For most people the first day (or couple of days) are a bit anticlimactic. We're talking about burpees after all and the 100 day ladder is a big deal...so what's with the damp squib? Well, to quote Egg Chen in Big Trouble in Little China

"That was nothing. But that's how it always begins. Very small."

You see, for all that the duration and end point of the challenge puts people off, it builds incrementally. The first few weeks are barely worthy of commentary (the exact point it starts to become more of an effort varies with individual). That's kind of frustrating if you want to shout about it, I mean, it's a bit of a hollow brag to whoop yourself up over a small handful of burpees. 

But that's where some of the growth lies. At…

Burpee Ladder - I'm not so sure...

I've had a couple of people talk to me offline about the burpee ladder and those conversations have started something along the lines of


"I'm kind of interested in the ladder but I'm not sure about the full 100 days"I understand the question. My first instinct, of course, is to say "don't worry about it, back yourself anyway" but for some people it leaves something which is just to daunting. They're focused so much on the enormity of the latter stages that they'll miss out on the benefits of the challenge. I get that, fear has stopped me doing plenty of things over the years, and most of them I later come to regret (mind you, occasionally fear has kept me alert and safe, so it's not enough to say "fear is bad").

So, what to do? If the fear is creating a binary position for you i.e. you're either going to do take the challenge or you're not. And the not seems likely, why not try one of the reduced options that I proposed a…

The burpee ladder 2016 - Are you in?

It's fast approaching that time of year again. Teachers and educators are joined in their wailing and gnashing of teeth by students of all ages. But much more importantly than that, September sees the return of the annual 100 day burpee ladder. This year will be 1st September to 9th December inclusive.

Fancy joining in? Just an interested observer? Here's what you need to know:


We'll be doing burpees every day for 100 days.It's ok, we'll start with 1 on 1st September. We will do 100 on the final day but we'll have built to it.They don't have to be done in one set.They don't have to be done in one session.There are lots of modifications to the humble burpee to make it easier or harder. Before we start, pick your minimum standard for the ladder. You can spice it up on days when you feel lively but you'll not go below this marker.Be realistic. The point of the exercise is consistency, not showing off. Just because you can do 50 or 100 on day 1 doesn'…

All Things Have Their Season

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I've been thinking about training a bit recently. Partly inspired by the end of the indoor rowing "season" and partly on the back of a couple of conversations I've been having. 
The indoor rowing "season" is actually a year and runs from the 1st May. Having just come to the end of the 2015-16 season it seemed a good time for a review.
Top level, I completed 1.4 million metres over 108 hours of sliding up and down on the metal rail. Sounds like a lot of time in the same 8ft x 3ft but it's significantly less time than I spend watching TV. Also, while it is two thirds of my recorded lifetime distance, it is a pretty moderate sort of distance for most indoor rowers. That's not surprising, I don't have a long history of anything that would help me very much and while the physique I've been gifted and enhanced with nutritional choices (good and bad) might have some uses, it is not one that you would look at and think "rower". 
It's been…

Competition without competing

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On Saturday 9th April I went down to Exeter for only my second ever indoor rowing competition, the Fitness Matters Devon 1k and Team Relays. Competition is the official description, I never made any bones about being competitive! If this is your first visit to the blog, welcome! Long-time readers will no doubt be stunned to know that I've been giving the event some thought. Because I'm a caring sort of guy, I'll share those with you.

The Concept 2 indoor rowing machine is pretty much the gold standard of rowing machines and has been setting the tone for 40 years now. If you've ever set foot in a gym you'll know what I mean. It looks something like this   and you're pretty much always guaranteed to be able to get on one, no matter how busy the gym is. There's a reason for that! They're pretty much despised by the gym cardio junkie and the meathead (and all stops in between) in equal measure. They're self-propelled but against resistance and among Conce…