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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Smolov Squats #3 06 NOV 09

After a day off on thursday I was about 80% ok and ready for the workout

Back Squat 160kg 5x5
Mil Press 65kg 5x5

By the last 2 sets of squats I was a mess again but recovered fairly well over the weekend and ready to hit 170 for triples on monday.

Also embarking on a plan to clean up my diet a bit this week and add some cardio back in after completely piking on it last week.

Goals for this week - Eliminate bread from my diet this week, minimise consumption of other refined carbs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smolov Squats #2 04 Nov 09

Did a light deadlift and bench press workout on Tuesday and tried to walk like a normal person without much success!

Fronted up to the gym today and by the time i'd warmed up i could almost feel my legs again. That didn't last long as it was straight into the workout

Back Squat 150kg 4 x 7
Military press 60kg 4 x 7
Face pulls 40-45kg 5 x 12

I intended to do cardio afterward but I could barely stand up after the squats!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Smolov Squats #1 - 02 Nov 09

First Smolov Workout
Not doing the full voume protocol as it kills me for days afterward, working on approximately 25% reduction in volume.
BSQ 140kg 3x9
Mil press 55kg 3x9
Pullups 3 x 10

Almost lost lunch after the last set of squats!

November December training

With the world masters games weightlifting competition out of the way I took a couple of weeks to ease back into training before going at it full bore this week.

I'm trying to crack a 600kg / 1300lb raw powerlifting total, raw being belt and knee sleeves (not wraps) but no support shirts or suits. At the moment my best lifts are
Bench 130kg
Squat 200kg
Deadlift 245kg
Total 575kg

In my last strength cycle I added 5kg to my DL and 10kg to my bench but my squat stalled out so the plan is to attack the squat with a smolov cycle and only try to push the other lifts along a little.
Bench 137kg
BSQ 210
DL 255

Will give 602 total and I think that's achievable before I go on holidays to Thailand and lose it all again!

New Blog Direction

With the launch of my new blog/website for my business I have decided that instead of shutting down this blog I will use it as a personal blog for my training diary and any random observations about fitness, training and life in general.

If I find something cool or funny that might not be fitness related I'll post it here so as not to clutter up the material on the main blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Octogen Novice Strongman / Strongwoman comp 5th of September

Announcing the 2009 Octogen Novice Strongman / Strongwoman competition.

Strongman is taking off in Australia and this competition is an opportunity for first time strength athletes and athletes from other sports to have a crack at the challenges of strongman competition without the monster weights ot the higher level shows.

So if you are a powerlifter, policeman, crossfitter, olympic lifter, thrower, rugby player, fireman or gym junkie then this comp is for you!

Also, not forgetting the women we'll be holding a strongwoman comp on the same day

Each event in the competition will be demonstrated by experienced competitors from the Sydney Strongman Society and coaching tips will be given to get first timers up and running.

Comp details

Date - Saturday 5th of September - 10am
Location - Sydney University - meet at the Arena Gym
Entry fee - $50
Prizes - prizes for 1st to 3rd in the mens and womens comp
Events - see below
To enter - email

Men - open weight division

Farmers walk 90kg 75m
Log for max weight 70kg opener then 10kg jumps to 100kg and 5kg jumps thereafter, 3 attempts per competitor
Tyre flip and sled drag medley 25m
axle clean and press reps with 80kg
Stone for reps over 1200mm bar 110kg

Women - open weight division

Kettlebell clean and press medley - 16, 20, 24, 28, 32kg
Farmers walk 60kg 50m
log for reps - 45kg
Tyre flip and sled drag 25m
Stone for reps 60kg or 80kg
Any reps at 80kg trump reps with the 60 (so a single on 80kg will beat any number of reps with the 60kg and everyone will be ranked accordingly)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sydney Kettlebell Instructors Course

Just a final reminder that our next Kettlebell Instructors Course is being held in Sydney on the 13th and 14th of June.

There are still a few spots available so if you are interested contact us ASAP. As usual there are discounts available for group bookings.

Download info pack here

Kettlebell and Barbell Training Program

After several questions about Barbell Vs Kettlebell Training i've written the following article

Barbell Vs Kettlebell – Why can’t we all just get along?

One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years is that within the fitness industry there are certain people that for one reason or another have latched onto a single training method and who can’t be enticed to try anything new.

Sometimes the reason for this fanaticism is purely monetary (the person sells product A or has built their reputation and marketing on knocking everything else as dangerous etc). Sometimes after years of failure with various training methods the person has found something that works for them and becomes an evangelist for that method.

That’s fine for those people but they can be a pain in the ass for the more broad minded trainer since their fanaticism muddies the waters for people new to training and it becomes the job of the trainer to straighten the whole mess out!

A classic case in point is the Kettlebell Vs Barbell debate...

View the full article and example program here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Special Offer on Massage

As anyone involved in sports knows massage and other recovery methods are an important part of athletic training. Quite often when trainnig hard they can make the difference between recovering in time for the next game or session or having to back off and miss valuable training time.

Since I've been pounding myself training fot the strongman comp I've also made sure to include regular sports massage in my program. In some ways it's more painful than the training sesisons but it's been critical in allowing me to train as hard as possible.

Anyway, I was talking to Nick, the guy who does my massages and he's offering a a 25% discount on sport and remedial massage to anyone who mentions my name until the end of June. It's only valid if you live in Sydney obviously but if you can take it up i'd highly recommend it.

Nick works at Sydney sports medicine clinic with the NSW institute of sport and is also one of the team massage therapists for NSW Weightlifting.

To book your session email and make sure you mention my name.

Exercises You Should add to Your Program

Lets face it there are a lot of exercises out there. Once you get past the basics like squat, deadlift, overhead pressing and bodyweight stuff there is a bewildering variety of exercises that have been developed by various people for all sorts of reasons.

Some of these exercises are good, some are bad and some are just pointless (anyone standing on a BOSU curling a 5kg dumbell i'm talking about you).

So let's assume you've already got a solid basic program based on the powerlifts, olympic lifts, kettlebells or Crossfit often the question becomes:

What are some additional exercises you might want to add to your program that are going to push your strength and fitness along without turning your program into a circus act?

Over the next few weeks I'm going to add some short videos of exercises that I've added to my training and the training of my athletes recently and will tell you WHY you should add them to your program.

Here are the first couple

Band Benching

Face Pulls

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Kettlebell DVD Available now

My new Kettlebell DVD "Advanced Training" is available now from my website.

The new DVD has 7 sections covering advanced variations of swings, snatches, turkish get ups, stretches, rows, hand to hand drills and more.

I've also included a few bonus clips of core training.

Buy the Advanced Training DVD now

Sydney Strongman Society

A short video of Sydney Strongman Societys Saturday training sessions

And a video from the recent SSS Novice Comp on the 4th of April

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Glute Ham Situps

Just a quick post today with another video showing progressions and tips for the glute ham raise situp.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DVD Pre-order and Sale

As promised below the new "Kettlebell Power Secrets 2 - Advanced Training" DVD is almost finished and I'm opening it up to pre-orders.

The new DVD covers all of the advanced kettlebell exercises that I use in my training and with my clients. I haven't padded it out with novel crap that you'll never find a use for, just hard hitting drills that will have an immediate impact on your fitness.

Here are a few things that will be covered

Kettlebell swing variations, kettlebell juggling, kettlebell band and chain combos, kettlebell remedial drills and stretches, double kettlebell drills, new kettlebell core drills.

There are also tips on different types of kettlebell interval workouts to push your fitness to a higher level and bonus footage from some stuff I've been shooting with CrossFit Sydney and my strongman training.

To celebrate the launch there is a pre-order discount price of $29.00 but as soon as the first DVD ships (on April 6th) the price is going up to $39.00

As well as the pre-order special on the new DVD I've also put all our other DVDs and products including gymboss timers and personalised programs on sale for a limited time.

To order the new DVD and get the specials on our other products go to the following page.

DVD launch sale page

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Advanced Kettlebell DVD

Ever since I released my original kettlebell DVD people have been asking for more and now it's finally on the way.

Over the last few weeks I've been shooting lots of footage and have now done most of the editing for a DVD on the advanced kettlebell drills that I use with clients.

Now, unlike some other kettlebell DVDs this one isn't going to give you a thousand variations of every exercise, 99% of which you'll never use!

I've picked the drills that I use in my own training and with my clients in order to get the best results in the least amount of time.

The DVD will be available for pre-order later this week and will ship out on the 6th of April.

Here is a short sample of the DVD, more details to follow!

2009 Kettlebell and Olympic Lifting Seminars

So far this year we've run 2 Kettlebell instructors workshops and I'm now in the process of booking dates and venuse for another series of workshops all around the country for the rest of the year.

The plan is to get to all the major capital cities like last year but also if there is enough interest to get to a few smaller cities and towns so if you've got a group who might be interested in doing a 3 hour kettlebell or olympic lifting workshop or an instructors course please give me a shout at and we can arrange something for you.

More Training videos

Ok, it's been a while since I updated the blog mostly because I've been flat out with workshops and shooting lots of video.

Andrew and I have been shooting more stuff on the Glute Ham Raise including our latest short video on how to work up to doing full GH raise.

If you are any sort of athlete then you REALLY need to be doing these to strengthen your posterior chain and tie all your core work together. The problem for most people is that they lack the strength to do even one proper GH raise.

The following video should fix all of that as we show you several steps to doing full GH raise.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Strongman Competition and Workshop

Two quick updates on Strongman

1. The first Novice comp of the year for NSW will be held on the 4th of April at Sydney Uni. Details can be found on the Sydney Strongman Society Facebook page and you can download the entry form here

2. For those who aren't quite ready to compete Jonathan Gordon and I will be running a Strongman Workshop from 10am to 1pm on Saturday the 18th of April at Sydney Uni.

The focus of the workshop will be on teaching the correct lifting techniques for common strongman events such as stones, log, farmers walk, tyre flip and more. Cost is $99 for the three hours and a lot of the profits are going back into new equipment for the strongman group so that we can expand and run more workshops and comps. Email to sign up.

Cool Links to Check Out

Just thought i'd share a few resources and websites I've found recently.

Nick is a top level stuntman, trainer and strongman and at the moment he's been advising me on training for my first strongman comp. Nick is currently training a bunch of other stuntmen as well as one of the competitors for Worlds Strongest Man 2009.

Check out his website for some wiked videos of his stunts and strongman events! Nick is Also available for training consultations and he recently told em that he's looking at doing some more detailed online coaching so if you need a program for strongman he'd be the guy to call!

Mike was one of the original Senior Kettlebell instructors in the US and way back in 2004 I got to train with him both privately in LA and then again at the RKC in Minnesota.

Mike has got some great articles on kettlebells, diet and hormonal control for maximal performance and he's also got some excellent DVDs.

I just watched his latest 4 DVD set "Collision Course" which includes over 9 hours of footage from 7 different trainers (including grip legend John Brookfield and Pro Strongman Mark Phillipi) and there is some excellent stuff there.

If you want some new ideas to sharpen your kettlebell or strength training program then I highly recommend checking out Mike's site.

Some great videos here of innovative strength and power training. I met Henry Day on one of my trips to Perth last year and he's not lying when he calls the Muscle Pit "Perths Strongest Gym"

If you are in Perth i'd recommend giving them a call but even if you aren't check out their videos.

Core Strength Videos

Over the last few weeks I've again been reminded of how important (and overlooked) core training is.

For a start the strongman training I've been doing has been absolutely hammering all the muscles between my neck and my legs. After some of the sessions I'm so sore that it hurts to breathe.

Secondly I've got a couple of new clients who have got great leg and upper body strength but who are being held back because their core is the weak link the the chain and they can't effectively transmit those forces from one end of their body to the other.

Third, I went to an excellent seminar on lower back pain by Mike Robertson (more details on that one later)

At the end of the day core strength training isn't as sexy as Olympic lifting, powerlifting or strongman but it's very important stuff. Too often people get to the end of a workout and just throw in some crunches without thinking about doing any harder core strength and stabilisation work.

So here are some new videos that I've been shooting with the guys at CrossFit Sydney showing some very effective core exercises. We've shown several progressively harder variations of each exercise so you'll be challenged no matter what level you start at.

Hanging Leg Raise Variations

Glute Hamstring Situps

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Strongman Training - Some thoughts and a new video

Ever since throwing my hat in the ring for this Strongman comp in June I've been doing a lot of thinking about strongman training, especially as it relates to guys having a go at their first comp.

So as I progress toward the comp I figure I'll make some notes about my musings and see how they work out in reality.

This weeks random thoughts

1. 5kg may not seem like a lot but in strongman it can be the difference between easy and impossible! This week I did farmers walks at 100kg (relatively straight forward) 105kg (hard but doable) and 110kg (made it a whole 8 metres!) and had the same experience of axle cleans. 80 for triples and then a bunch of missed attempts at 85kg.

2. Strongman is unforgiving of weaknesses and when you find yours you need to prioritise training. I'll freely admit that my overhead strength is crap at the moment but in the first weeks of my program I was treating mil press and push press as accessory exercises but now i've made the first exercise in each gym session an overhead lift with an additional overhead lift later in the program. No use having a huge deadlift and squat if you are going to fail as soon as the events head above the shoulders.

3. Back off weeks are your friend! Last week I was cranky and sore but a week of lighter workouts has renewed my enthusiasm for training and i'm looking forward to attacking the next few weeks of training.

Anyway here is a video of some farmers walks and stone simulator training. Stay tuned for the next video of some squat and deadlift variations i'm experimenting with in my quest to hit a 230kg / 500lb deadlift before April.

Abs, Power Cleans and Rowing

Just a quick preview of one of the videos we've been shooting with the guys at CrossFit Sydney.

This one is a series of 3 progressively harder workouts utilising the same basic movement patterns of hip flexion (knee raise, knee to elbow, straight leg raise), hip and leg extension (hang power clean, power clean, power clean + push press) and some monostructural cardio (rowing)

These workouts show how the same movements can be mixed into simple but effective CrossFit style workouts that will challenge anyone from absolute beginnner to advanced athlete.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Advanced Kettlebell Training

Once you've mastered the basics of kettlebell training there are a lot of different ways to increase the difficulty of your workouts.

Here is a link to an article I wrote on a couple of simple ways to change your kettlebell training to make it more effective for martial arts, military and sports conditioning.

Advanced Kettlebell Training #1

I'm a big fan of these types of training and I'm also a big fan of the gymboss timer which allows precise timing of these sorts of workouts.

We've just started stocking Gymboss timers so if you need one for your workouts jump across to our Training gear page and pick one up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strongman Training Week 1

Here is a short video of my first attempt at some event training in the gym. Farmers walks at 100kg weren't too bad but it's been a long time since I did any stone loading practice or axle work and consequently my technique was pretty rough and the weights were down.

Anyway, I'll post more videos of future sessions which will hopefully show some improvements!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Muscle Building and Strongman

One of the most common goals I'm asked about is gaining muscle mass and recently this topic has become very close to my heart.

As regular readers will know I've just entered a Strongman show in June and despite competing in the "Lightweight" category at 101kg and 179cm tall I'm a good 4kg under the weight limit for the class.

Now from weightlifting I can tell you that the last thing you want to do in a weigh category sport is train and compete so far under a weight limit for two reasons.

1. It's muscle mass that you are just giving away

2. Some other dude will train all year at 110kg and then squeeze himself down to 105 for the weigh in, rehydrate and effectively you'll be competing against a 110kg monster.

Therefore I'm aiming to add about 6-8 kg over the next few months so that I can be that guy that lives and trains at 108 - 110kg and then squeezes in under 105 for the comp.

What most people don't realise is that putting on QUALITY muscle mass for strength sports is not easy. You can't just eat crap all the time because you'll put on fat and once you've reached a certain level of muscle mass it becomes harder and harder to convince your body of the need for more. Furthermore while you could use bodybuilding techniques the type of muscle you put on is different to the type required for true strength sports.

So stay tuned and in furture posts I'll be sharing some of my strategies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pumping Iron

Yep, thats right, the Classic movie about Arnolds 1975 quest to win a 6th Mr Olympia.

I was watching it last night while I was doing some work and even though I'm not big on bodybuilding as a "sport" or even on training just for looks I have to say it's a pretty good movie for a few reasons.

1. It shows what bodybuilders looked like before the ridiculaous steroid freaks of the current era looked like. Was there steroid use in mid 70's bodybuilding, undoubtably but nothing like what you see now! The guys in Pumping Iron are big, muscular and lean but none of them look like they've dropped out of an Alien spaceship. These days bodybuilders present a completely unrealistic picture of what you can achieve in the gym, mostly because the magazines refuse to admit that these guys are all juiced up to the eyeballs! Kind of like airbrushed female models modern probodybuilders set unachieveable goals for guys and make everyone wonder why they can't be 110kg of ripped to shreds muscle!

2. The strength training in pumping iron is pretty basic. Over and over you see guys benching, rowing, squatting (deep squats too), pressing overhead and deadlifting. There are few fancy machines around. Big basic training like this should never have gone out of fashion!

3. In places Pumping Iron is just damn funny. Listening to a young Arnold talking about sex, commitment and playing mind games with other lifters is very interesting. It's no wonder the guy has had three very successful careers in bodybuilding, acting and politics. Love him or hate him the guys got ambition and balls.

I believe that there is a new edition of Pumping Iron out on DVD soon so I suggest getting together with some fellow muscleheads and watching it for a little motivation!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whats New in 2009

Ok I hope everyone had a good break over Christmas. I had a bit of time off (thus no posts for over 4 weeks!) but got stuck into training and a few new projects as soon as the new year started.

So here is whats coming up in 2009.

#1 - I got a brand new video camera for Christmas and I'm getting the hang of the editing software so look out for heaps of new videos and DVDs. I've teamed up with Andrew Cattermole from CrossFit Sydney and we are now taking a half day each week to shoot videos of Olympic weightlifting, strongman training, CrossFit workouts, Kettlebells and heaps more. I've included my first new video here. This shows a few of the ways I warm up before my strength sessions. (excuse the music, it seemed like a good idea at 2am while I was editing it)

#2 - I've just launched the "Octogen Insider" system that gives people access to 6 full monthly programs for various goals updated monthly with new programs and exercises. This system combines most of the elements of our fully personalised programs at a fraction of the cost and we are offering a 30 day trial for just $1.

#3 - Last year was a complete write off for me in terms of serious training. A hernia operation, two bad chest infections and tons of travel made training hard and competing in anything impossible. This year however I've recovered and reprioritised and have just entered the NSW State Strongman show to be held on the 27th and 28th of June. Stongman is really taking off in Australia and I'll be helping wherever I can to promote the sport.

#4 - Also coming this year is the 2009 World Masters games. With 28 sports and more competitors than the Olympics it's going to be a huge event for Sydney and somehow I got "Volunteered" to run the Weightlifting Competition. 500 athletes and over 100 officials and volunteers for 8 days!

#5 - Other stuff. Over the next few weeks you'll hopefully see a switch to a new blog format plus a new kettlebell specific website coming soon.

#6 - As usual I'll be running workshops and instructor courses around Australia and there is also talk of a New Zealand workshop but i'll keep you posted.