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1000 Reps

Volume Day – My 1000 Reps Protocol

By | motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays, Training Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

My 1000 reps protocol

This months training article, I’m sharing about my very own training program. My training protocol -My 1000 Reps Protocol. This is a mix and match of what works for me. I’m a huge fan of the conjugated Westside Barbell programming, the Cube Method for Strongman and Wenning Strength.

Once again there is no one program that is the best. But what works best for you. My base structure and backbone of my programming and training evolves around the Cube Method by WSM competitor Josh Tighpen. Which features technique, max effort, speed work and volume. Along the years I’ve also picked up Matt Wenning’s methods of programming by including the Wenning Warm Ups and his training philosophy into my program.

You have to read both Josh’s and Matt’s books at least twice to understand and appreciate what proper training protocols looks like.

1000 Rep Protocol

First you must understand that it doesn’t mean 1000 reps per set. 1000 reps protocol means the cumulative sum of all the reps on training day. I prefer to do this training my upper back and on legs day. But before we even start we need to warm up. Because my triceps are one of my weakest links. I will always start with warming my my triceps, upper back/hamstrings and abs.

People do forget that abs are not just to look good they are just as important for bracing and stability. This is how my warm up looks like… I love the Wenning Warm up for legs but I increased the volume slightly because I hate myself (Just Kidding).

Triceps
Light x 50 reps x 4 sets

Hamstrings Curls
Light to Moderate x 25 reps x 4 sets

Abs
Heavy to Moderate x 25 reps x 4 sets

Total reps for Warm Up = 400 reps in under 15 minutes no rest in between exercises.

I start with my triceps because they are probably my weakest and I suffer bad tendinitis. But once I get blood flowing through my triceps and elbows, the pain goes away. So the madness begins…


Sunday – Leg Volume


V-Squats
2 plates – 20 reps
3 plates – 15 reps
4 plates – 12 reps
5 plates – 10 reps x 3 sets (Work sets)
No of Reps = 77 reps

Leg Presses
5 plates – 20 reps
6 plates – 20 reps x 5 sets (Work sets)
3 plates – 50 reps (Because suck it up, that’s why)
No of Reps = 170 reps

When I state 3 or 5 plates, it’s the number of plates on each side.

Hamstring curls
Heavy – 12 to 15 reps x 4 sets
No of Reps = 60 reps

Leg extensions
Light to Moderate – 25 reps x 4 sets
No of Reps = 100 reps

Seated Calves Raises Pyramid x 2 sets (below rep range is 1 set)
5kg x 10 reps
10kg x 10 reps
15kg x 10 reps
20kg x 10 reps
25kg x 10 reps
20kg x 10 reps
15kg x 10 reps
10kg x 10 reps
5kg x 10 reps
Empty x 10
Number of Reps = 200 reps

Total Reps = 1027 Reps.

Would I encourage you to do this? Definitely if you would like a new challenge or really hate yourself. How long will this training session take you? It takes me less than 2 hours to complete this. Also take note that this is done with a steady flow of carbs in my intra-training drink (see below for my preferred supplement of choice).

Some variables that you need to take care of before attempting this volume day.

1. You need to have a restful night sleep of at least 8 hours. If you working night shift, don’t bother you will feel broken for many days after.

2. I train in the morning and breakfast needs to be on point with carbs, protein and good fat. You can’t do this fasted. If you are on a keto diet, don’t try this either. You really need fuel to even attempt this session.

3. Don’t take a pre-workout, but instead keep your energy levels constant with a intra-training BCAA supplement (My personal favourite is Blue Star AminoFast) with carbs (ANS Performance Carb HP). I would sometimes also munch on apples between sets.

Give this a go and let me know how you feel. In the meantime stay injury free and train hard. You can get the above supplements from the amazing guys from Couz-Nutri.com

Deadlift

Interview with Coach Rich Thurman

By | Deadlift, Food for thought, Health Tips, Interviews, motivation, Tip Tuesdays, Training Tips | No Comments

I’ve known Coach Rich since way back in 2010. I think as an athlete I’ve been very blessed to have gotten to know, work with amazing people and coaches.That time he was more into strength and conditioning as a trainer. He still does coaching and training but his training methodology and philosophy has changed. Mainly by incorporating more natural movements and tools likes mace, club bells and everything else in between.

I had an amazing session with Rich as I take him through the paces of what I do for stability and on a rehab day. In this session we traded training philosophies and different training techniques.

One of the points that we talked about was the importance of showing up and doing your best at competitions. Instead of just achieving PBs at the gym because only lifts at competitions counts. What was interesting was when Coach Rich asked me what I did for a day job… Do catch that bit during the interview.

I really enjoyed this interview / training session because it was pretty chill but we also managed to put in the work. We do hope that you enjoy the

You can also follow Coach Rich Thurman

Follow Coach RT3

http://www.instagram.com/coach_rt3

http://www.facebook.com/coachrichthurman

Deadlift is Life

Training for a Stronger Back

By | Deadlift, motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays, Training Tips | No Comments

Training for a Stronger Back

I’ve been getting questions how do I train for a stronger back. People have been asking me

– How do I improve my deadlifts?
– My back is not so strong, how do I get my back stronger and bigger?
– My back would round when I deadlift, how do I stop that from happening?
– What program do you use?

Ok so let’s get something straight first… I’m not a certified personal trainer or expert coach with 30 years of experience. I just like lifting all heavy things. Even until today I still seek help with my lifts, technique and training. One of the things that you should always do is, always seek knowledge. Most of it comes from books and most from experienced athletes. That being said, not all professional athletes would make good coaches. So you have to be discerning in your choices.

So what are the best training program for a stronger back? Every training program is good if you are consistent enough and stay the course of 4-6 months. Nothing is going to happen after 4 weeks, all these posts on 30 days transformation is just rubbish! Strength training doesn’t work that way… your deadlift won’t increase from 250kg to 365kg in 4 weeks.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Louie Simmons Westside Conjugated Method, Westside Barbell is probably the strongest gym in the world where all the world champions train and congregate there. Or even Mark Rippitoe’s Starting Strength method which encourages everyone to have a novice mind-set when it comes to training.  I personally lean towards the Cube Method for Strongman by Josh Thigpen is particularly amazing because after all strongman is my sport. You can find these resources on the internet of course.

So what do I use for my training? I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with local and international coaches and professional athletes. The only variable is consistency and sticking to the program. So let’s just get on with it…

I train my back twice a week. I divide into upper back and compound movements.

Monday – Upper Back Volume Work will always be done at a gym with machines

Hammer Strength Machine Pull Downs (Overhand) + Superset with DB Rows on an incline bench
1 plate x 20 reps
1.5 plates x 15 reps
2 plates x 12 reps
2.5 plates x 10 reps
3 plates x 10 reps
4 plates x 8 reps x 2 sets

Superset with DB Rows on an incline bench
30kg x 10 reps

Hammer Strength Machine Pulls (Underhand)  + Superset with Barbell Raise on an Incline Bench
2.5 plates x 15 reps x 4 sets

Superset with Barbell Raises on an 40 deg incline bench
40kg x 10 reps

Cable Lat Pull Downs (Close Grip)
Moderate x 15 reps x 2 sets
Heavy x 10 reps x 2 sets

Seated Cable Cable Rows (Close Grips)
Moderate x 20 reps x 3 sets


Barbell Shrugs with Smith Machine (Pyramid) x 2 sets

1 plate x 15 reps
2 plates x 15 reps
3 plates x 12 reps
4 plates x 10 reps
3 plates x 12 reps
2 plates x 15 reps
1 plate x 15 reps

This above is one set… you take a 5 minute rest and do one more set

Thursday will always be a heavy deadlift day

It’s always done at a proper strength and conditioning facility with ONLY metal plates and a deadlift bar.

Conventional Deadlifts
40% x 5 reps
50% x 5 reps
60% x 5 reps
70% x 3 reps
80% x 3 reps
90% x 3 reps x 3 sets
* 40% to 80% is actually my warm up… Be prepared for this to escalate really quickly

Barbell Rows or Pendlay Rows
Light to Moderate x 12 reps x 4 sets

T-bar Rows or V-Bar Renegade Rows
Light x 12 reps x 2 sets
Moderate x 10 reps x 2 sets
Heavy x 8 reps x 2 sets
Light x 20 reps x 2 sets

Facepulls + Superset with any Abs Exercises
Light x 20 reps x 5 sets

Superset Abs – Cable Pull Downs
Heavy x 20 reps x 5 sets

Give it a go and let me know how you like it… It’s probably going to hurt a lot, because after training I’m usually wasted on the floor and have questionable life decisions.

In the meantime, train hard, may your back get stronger and stay injury free!

 

Why motivation doesn’t work

By | Food for thought, motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays | No Comments

Why motivation doesn’t work

So we have been looking on Pinterest for motivation. Especially motivational quotes to get yourself out of bed, hopefully to feel inspired. Get out of bed, pack your bags and hopefully hit the gym or the pool. Then you tell yourself, I’m going to rest a wee bit more… Then you find yourself lying in bed scrolling down on Instagram (IG) for more motivational posts on #fitspo or #fitspiration #fitfam or whatever hashtags that they use.

The more you scroll down the more you use your data and then you start comparing yourself to these picture perfect IG models. Some weird exercise or modified “hip thrusters” for them booty gains or you start creeping on some sporting personalities. Look at their technique in the deadlift and you start telling yourself; “I’m going to lift 800lbs one day!”.

Then you continue scrolling down and double tapping and liking more posts on IG only to realise that you have just spent thirty to forty-five minutes doing nothing productive other than having a finger work out by liking someone posts. Then you go into this self-depreciating mode where you start comparing yourself to the lifts or physique of the athletes or models on IG. “I wish I had a body like that!”. Then self-doubts creeps in again, as you lie in bed and then contemplate on life mysteries, why do I have bad genetic, why am I so unmotivated.

So here is the thing… Motivation is really something positive, it helps you light that fire. It also gives you that kick in the butt that you need. But sadly motivation doesn’t last very long or have much hoped for longevity. Motivation is like starting a fire, you need fire to keep you warm especially if you cold or hungry and how you keep that fire going is constantly feeding the fire more fuel or wood. This constant act or habit of adding wood to the fire to keep the fire going. But what happens when you run out of wood, the answer is pretty obvious. You find more wood to keep feed the fire to keep the fire going. Now enough with the metaphorical stories and let me just summarise that into bite size pieces.

Yes, you need motivation, but motivation doesn’t last very long, it’s probably going to last you for a good 6 to 8 hours at most after you watch a motivational video. You need to form a habit, a consistent habit (Which I will share more later in this article) and this consistent habit needs to be maintain (adding wood to the fire). So what are the habits you ask? It gets you into routine… Wake up a certain time, eat breakfast a fixed time, what you eat for breakfast may vary but I can eat the same thing every single day and be happy.

Train at a certain fixed time, go to work at a certain time. Studies have shown that it takes approximately 21 days to form a habit. Exercising or being active is actually a privilege. Some of you may argue… “Oh wow… it’s so boring, how can I live my life being so mundane and boring!”. But here are my counter arguments

  • Being healthy is not mundane
  • Not having any health problems is not mundane
  • Not paying excessive hospital bills is not mundane
  • Able to walk on my own and NOT in a wheelchair is not mundane
  • Able to work and earn a living is not mundane

Yeah you probably get the point… Keeping yourself healthy is definitely not mundane or boring. Being bed ridden with health issues is going to be worse. I’ve had friends whom at 45 years old had to undergo heart surgery because of the lifestyle choices that they made. So enough of me being the angry sod who is the bearer of bad news. Let’s get down to what really needs to happen in order to turn that motivation into action plans that work.

 

Start with a GOAL in mind and plan

A few years back, I had a tertiary student whom approach me and asked me “How did I get so strong?” and “How do I stay motivated to constantly train day in and day out”. My response was this “I’m not motivated to do anything that I don’t want to do. I start by committing myself to a goal which is to do this or this competition in a year”. The key operative words here are committing and goal, these are the two essentials things you need. In 2016 the goal for myself was to finish top 10 in the Arnolds Amateur Strongman Classic in South Africa and to finish the year with a 400kg (880lbs) axle deadlift. The Arnolds have the reputation of being ‘athlete breakers’ because the competitions are so heavy that it sometimes become career breakers.

So the Goal was competing in the Arnolds, but goals alone are not enough. You need a game plan and method. First thing I fixed was my nutrition by working with a nutritionist to fix my “seefood diet” and I worked with a pro strongman to fix my training. I also read up to increase my knowledge on how programming works and what would work for me. It became a trial and error and I now finally have a formula that works for me. Now I also had a countdown app on my phone to remind me 16 weeks out, 12 weeks out, 8 weeks out 4 weeks out, 21 days out and you get the idea. This constant reminder on my phone kept reminding me that whatever work that goes into competition prep is essential for a respectable finish.

And when competition day came… I was mentally and physically prepared. Because once you know when you put in the work and effort, everything will fall into place (in theory anyway). I broke my finger in the first event and that hampered the rest of the day. But being the stubborn mule that I was I still competed and attempted in all the events finished 6th place on Day 1 with a broken finger, and day 2 tore my calf on the yoke in the morning but I still managed to finish 10th place after 2 days of competition. Yes, on hindsight I should have better judgement but I didn’t fly 20 hours to be a cheerleader or a spectator and I still need to fulfil my commitment to my goal. In summary

  1. Commit to a goal
  2. Design out a plan that works
  3. Seek help for areas that you are weak in (mine was nutrition)
  4. Remind yourself constantly
  5. Commit to giving your best even when it’s not favourable (broken finger/torn calf didn’t kill anyone…. But did you die???)

Consistency

When we speak about consistency, what exactly is consistency. Lets put that in the sporting context… “It is the ability to repeat the same purposeful behaviours day in and day out to achieve a goal that you have committed to”. That’s my definition anyway, yours may be different but consistency is key. A few years back I spoke to one of the guys that train in the gym I own. He lost a whopping 20 to 25kg in body weight from a burly and chubby 105kg to present day body weight of 75kg. I already knew the answer to his weight loss but I just asked him point blank “Fauzie, what’s your secret to losing weight?”.

His reply was simple… “Initially I just came for fun to the gym because training was different from other gyms but the more frequent I came, the healthier I feel. It was 3 days a week, then it became 5 days a week for just 1 hour to train. After 6 months I saw a different person in the mirror, I had more energy, I feel stronger and most importantly I feel healthy. I really have no secret formula”. At this point… I interjected, there was a secret formula to begin with all you did was you were consistent in your behaviours. I think this speaks more in volume than anything else.

Being able to deadlift 400kg on competition day at Static Monsters 2016 is no miracle of God or when the planetary systems aligned in my favour. But it was the consistent and purposeful behaviours that I’ve committed myself to daily. Wake up early daily, have breakfast and put in the work repeatedly hours in the gym day in day out, some days I had double training sessions. It was tough. There are days that I woke up broken, sore and I have just nothing left but this are the days that make you a better athlete. You can have all the big dreams in the world but if your behaviours are not consistent and purposeful nothing is going to happen.

The concept of consistency in a nutshell is the accumulation of your work and effort, daily be it training, active recovery, eating, sleeping and injury management on day 1, 16 weeks out up to competition day needs to be consistent. Success does not happen overnight, it is an accumulation of progress over a period of time. So lets quickly summarize that

  1. Commit to your set goal
  2. Fail to plan, Plan to fail
  3. Set a routine (eating, training, work, sleeping) and commit
  4. Always be consistent and purposeful in your behaviours
  5. Routines are mundane, mundane = results! Remember that!

It’s not the routine, it’s a goal… every single effort, every single rep, every single training day, every spoonful of food, every meal and every night worth of sleep. It all adds up! Be consistent

In the meantime, train hard, stay injury and always lift strong!

Training to Be Stronger

By | motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays | 2 Comments

Training to be Stronger

This month for “Tip Tuesdays” and since my sport is on strength and moving heavy stuff. I will focus on tips and tricks that I use to get stronger and be competition ready for those of you who are prepping for a powerlifting, strongman or any strength competition in the near future focusing on training to be stronger. This is the program that works for me. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it works for you.

But before we do that. I’m going to debunk a myth of strength training from my own experience,  what I’ve learnt from my coaches and athletes who are bigger and stronger than me.

Myth: You need to lift heavy weights all the time to get stronger
Truth: Yes. But you do NOT need to lift heavy weights all the time.

So when people ask me “What muscle do you train when you do a deadlift?”. First reaction is to slap the person silly but not everyone is a gym rat or an athlete so I tend to keep it in and smile and respond to the best that I can.

So which brings to the real question…

Does lifting heavy make you stronger? Yes it definitely does because more weights you lift/move you will incorporate more than one muscle. And when you incorporate and activate more muscles from different parts of your body that would have an instantaneous by-product which is strength. But the real question would be are you performing and executing the lifts with good form and proper technique?

But lifting heavy to get stronger is not enough! Let’s just be upfront and honest, while in my younger lifting days 15 to 20 years ago. All I want to do is be the biggest and strongest guy in the gym and lift more weights than everyone else just because I could. This approach to training had both positive and negative outcomes getting  stronger which is a huge positive but mainly this approach caused me more negative effects which were feeling burned out, tired of the gym and getting stuck in a plateau.

So let’s cover and break this article into a two parts

Lifting heavy and lifting in general

Plan a training cycle in 6 to 8 weeks period where you aim to achieve a certain weight you want to lift safely. And if you are planning to go heavy or “Beast Mode” all day and every day. Just stop and re-evaluate your training goals. Firstly because a “Beast Mode” program is not sustainable. You will be doing more harm to your body, you want to be lifting for a life time

So here is me sharing with you my very own lifting program that I use to prepare for my competitions.

My lifting program includes

Max Weight Day
An example of my Max day Lifting program would be as below
40% x 5 reps x 2 sets (Warm Up)
50% x 5 reps x 2 sets (Warm Up)
60% x 5 reps
70% x 4 reps
80% x 3 reps x 2 to 3 sets (Working Sets)
50% x 20 reps

On a Max Weight Lifting day it should not exceed more than 10 sets in total, if you are feeling strong enough for that day you can go up to 90% of your 1RM for 2-3 reps. I like to do a 20 reps finisher just to flood my muscles with blood. This at times can be a questionable life decision.

Maximum Repetitions Days
An example of my Max Repetition Lifting program would be as below
30% x 20 reps x 2 sets (Warm Up)
40% x 15 reps x 2 sets
50% x 12 reps x 3 sets
60% x 8 – 10 reps x 3 sets
65% x 6 – 8 reps x 2 – 3 sets

Repetitions days are never meant to exceed 65% of your 1RM and a maximum of 12-13 sets inclusive of warm ups. You might want to rest longer between sets because this could be mentally demanding.

Speed / Dynamic Days
50% x 2 reps x 10 to 12 sets (1 minute per set)

Many athletes and gym rats underestimate Dynamic lifts. “Oh it’s so easy! Just 2 reps!”. Trust me after the 7th set you will be asking doubting why did you start in the first place!

So here is me being awesome and sharing with you how my own 1 month program looks like

Monday Presses and Overheads Tuesday Deadlifts Wednesday Thursday Squats Friday Strongman Training Day
Week 1 Technique Max Reps Rest Dynamic Max Weight
Week 2

Max Reps

Dynamic Rest Technique Dynamic
Week 3

Dynamic

Technique Rest Max Reps Max Weight
Week 4 Deload Deload Rest Deload

Dynamic

My rest day is fixed on Wednesday because I am unable to train 3 days in a row because of the physical and mental drain on my central nervous system (CNS) that my training programs puts me through. I’ve tried training 3 days is a row and it was just dangerous as I felt tired, lousy and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Be safe not sorry… these are the things that you tend to pick up from experience over the years.

Technique and Form

Lifting heavy in the gym is an awesome sight to behold where you can see guys in the gym squatting over 240kg with perfect form. You know when the guy is lifting because the whole gym goes quiet just to observe and see what’s going on. Lifting heavy with terrible form is dangerous and if you need someone to bail you out in the middle of a repetition, chances are you are NOT strong enough! Drop the weight and complete your set safely.

While ego lifting may attract attention it does NOT do anything for your safety (Trust me guys… You don’t attract the ladies with bellowing, shouting and groaning with every ego lifting repetition, all you attract are “gym-bros” who gives you high-fives and that’s about it).

Technique and form when performing the lifts are crucial it sets apart the difference between going home for dinner or being hospitalized and having dinner on the bed being served to you by a nurse! So how do you execute a lift with proper form and technique?

Learn from the best! There are many strength coaches in our sunny island. It seems nowadays there are also many “Online Coaches” too who will write your programs. Personally I have nothing against them but as much as there are quality and credible “online coaches”. There are just as many bogus ones. Make sure you do your own research BUT nothing beats a coach by your side with his watchful eyes watching over you like a hawk. I’ve been lifting and competing for many years and I still have a coach.

In my next article on training, I would be covering the importance of accessory work and managing your plateaus.
Being strong is NOT easy and you have to put in the hours, time, effort, dedication and love into being Strong. It’s a choice that you make giving up is not one of them!

And if you are looking to get stronger and need help for coaching. Click Here to find out more…

In the meantime enjoy lifting! Be strong, lift smart and stay injury free!

Ahmad Taufiq
Team Optimum Nutrition Strongman Athlete

 

Interview with Joan and Augustine

By | Health Tips, motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays | No Comments

Interview with Joan and Augustine

This month’s I had the utmost privilege of speaking with two of the most respected individuals in an interview in the fitness industry in Singapore, and within the region Joan Liew and Augustine Lee.

I have known both Joan and Augustine personally for quite some time as they were formally part of Optimum Nutrition Team ON athletes from Singapore. I have huge respect for them both as athletes, professionals and most important mentors even to myself.

Augustine has a reputation of being the fierce and unassuming trainer. But in this interview we manage to bring out the side that we don’t see very much of. As someone who is warm, cracks jokes (yes he does) and rather jovial. Augustine shares his experience, deep training philosophy and most importantly dropping knowledge bombs that always seem to be enlightening.

Joan has built herself up quite a reputation of always being the hardest worker in the room. To me she defines the definition of commitment and discipline. In this interview she shares with us all her personal sacrifice, commitment and refining the term we use as discipline. After all she is the only IFBB Professional Athlete in the Singapore.

In this interview also both of them share their new program “Joan and Augustine Strength Program. This program includes a systemic and customized to an individual’s needs and training goals. To me as a Strongman athlete, strength means everything! The stronger you are, the better you will be in competitions. So its interesting to hear from the both of them why being strong is important to the every average Joe or Jane.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did chatting with the both of them. In the meantime, stay strong and train hard!

P.S
Pardon the terrible noise, especially the blender going off halfway through the interview

Interview with Dr Shara

By | Chiropractic, Health Tips, motivation, Strongman, Tip Tuesdays | No Comments

This month I had the utmost privilege of speaking with Dr Shara Downey, Doctor of Chiropractic of Singapore Chiropractor.

A little bit about Dr Shara,

Dr Shara repertoire includes, pregnant women, children, infants, average working adults and athletes. She comes to her own when she treats strongman athletes because in her own words. “I don’t have to hold back when I work with strongman athletes!”. She has been treating me since 2009 and is the reason why I have been injury free and competition ready for the whole year.

In this interview we talk about the what can chiropractic adjustments do for the strongman athlete,benefits of chiropractic treatment, how it works, when you should do it and most important the cost of treatment.

 

I hope you enjoy watching this interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing Dr Shara. If you are unable to watch the video, please click on the link below. In the meantime, stay strong and keep on lifting!