Month: March 2014

Isometric Holds for Chin Up & Pull Up Strength


Part of getting people to do pull ups or chin ups is making sure that they are moving through that full range of motion, from the bottom hanging position to the top where their chin is over the bar.

Another complimentary method to develop the strength and muscular endurance required to get your client a chin up or a pull up is the isometric or static hold.

Have your clients perform these static holds and you will quickly see their strength increase. Another great way to work towards building strength over the entire range of motion is to have your client jump up into a pull up and then slowly lower themselves down. These “negatives” are quite tough and the time under tension is a great way to work the muscle. This eccentric loading should be used sparingly as it can break down muscle quite well if the athlete cannot hold the position well and the pull ups look more like a jumping pull up where there is lots of “braking” near the bottom of the pull up.

Here is a quick challenge for you. Combo isometric holds with burpees to keep you on the bar.


rest one minute

30 seconds

rest one minute

40 seconds

rest one minute

50 seconds

rest one minute

60 seconds

rest one minute

If you drop from the bar or aren’t in a flexed arm position then you have to start doing push ups until the work cycle is finished.

A great cash out or a challenge to keep your members happy and motivated!

Rugby Weekly Training Schedule

weekly rugby training schedule

Training for Rugby or your sport should be periodized to reflect the season and to maximize your work output. Your training shouldn’t have a detrimental impact on your playing season. Off Season training should be building strength and power, and in season training should be more of a maintenance phase.

The greatest hurdle to overcome with strength and conditioning program for a team is the compliance factor. Getting your team to practise is one thing, but to have them do the accessory work needed to increase the frequency of their training can be a challenge. With online shared drives and google documents you can track and have some more accountability with your team members. When you quantify the workout in either task dependant or time dependant type of workouts, then you will have a greater ability for to track your players progress.

There are two different ways to program workouts: time priority based workouts, and task priority based workouts.  A task priority workout is done for time, or as fast as you can.  For instance, doing a certain amount of rounds or reps is a task workout.  For example: “Complete 5 rounds,” or “Complete 50 reps,” etc.

A time priority workout is usually an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) .  If you’re doing as many rounds or reps as possible in a given time cap, that’s a time priority workout.


Offseason- From the end of previous season to eight weeks before the first Club Practice of the next season.

Monday Weight Training and Plyometrics
Tuesday Interval Training or other activity
Wednesday Weight Training and Plyometrics
Thursday Light and Easy Interval Training
Friday Off
Saturday Any Sports Activity or Fartlekking
Sunday Long Slow Distance

Preseason – Eight weeks before the first Club Practice of the next season to the first Club Practice.

Monday – Weight Training and Plyometrics
Tuesday – Interval Training
Wednesday – Weight Training and Plyometrics
Thursday – Interval Training
Friday – Off
Saturday – Fartlekking
Sunday – Long Slow Distance

Inseason – From the first Club Practice through the end of the season.

Monday – Weight Training and Plyometrics
Tuesday – Club Practice
Wednesday – Interval Training
Thursday – Club Practice
Friday – Off
Saturday – Club Match or Fartlekking
Sunday – Long Slow Distance


Core Competencies Weight Training for Rugby

1. Shoulder Presses

2. Kettlebell Work, Swings, Clean and Presses, Snatches

3. Pull ups / Chin ups

4. Bench Press

5. Bent over Rows

6. Turkish Get Ups

7. Back Squats / Front Squats

8. Deadlifts

9. Power Cleans


Monday [High Volume/Moderate Intensity]
Squat 5X5 (90% of 5rm)
Standing Press 5X5
Bench Press 5X5
Power Clean 5X3 (or Bentover BB Row 3×8)

Wednesday [Low Volume/Low Intensity]
Front Squat 3X3
Back Extensions or GHR 5×10
Chin ups 3×12

Friday [Low Volume/High Intensity]
Squat 1X5 (build up to 5RM with singles and doubles)
Bench Press 1×5 – build up to 1 set with singles and doubles
Press Assistance
Deadlift 1X5 ( try to use a higher weight each week)


Monday [High Volume/Moderate Intensity]..
Squat 5X5
Bench Press 5X5
DE Deadlift 8×1 @ 45% 1RM
Wednesday [Low Volume/Low Intensity]
Front Squat 3X3
Overhead Press 3X3 @ 80% of 5RM
Back Extension/GHR 5×10
Chin ups 3×12

Friday [Low Volume/High Intensity]
Squat 1X5 @ 100 % of 5RM
Bench Press 1X5
or 5X3
or 5X2
or 5X1
Deadlift 1X5 (set new PR)


Monday [High Volume/Moderate Intensity]
Squat 5X5
Push Press 6X3
Power Clean 8X3

Back Squat 2X5 (@80% of 5RM)
Press 2X5
Back Extension/GHR 5×10
Chin ups 3×12

Friday [Low Volume/High Intensity]
Squat 1X5
Push Press 1X1 (Ramping to a max single)
or 1×2
or 1×3
Deadlift 1X5
or 2×3
or 3×2
or 5×1
Monday [High Volume/Moderate Intensity]
Squat 3X8
Bench Press/Press 3X8 (Alternating)
Assistance work
Deadlift 1×5

Wednesday [Low Volume/Low Intensity]
Front Squat 3×3
Press/Bench Press 2X5 (@80% of 5RM) (Alternating)
Assistance work
Back Extension/GHR 5×10
Chin ups 3×12

Friday [Speed Sets]
Box Squat, 8-12 doubles with 45-65% of 1RM (1 min. rest)
Speed Bench Press/Press, 8-10 triples with 50-60% 1 RM (1 min. rest) (Alternating)
Deadlift, 6-10 singles with 40-50% 1RM (30 sec. rest)


Interval Training:  Based Generally on  a 1:1 Work to Rest Ratio

Ladder work based on interval training

one 25 m

one 50 m

one 75 m

one 100 m

one 75 m

one 50 m

one 25 m

Total for one set 400 yards

25’s and 50’s at max effort, the 75’s and 100’s are at 75 -80 % of max effort for a greater sustained effort.


The Joy of an Unstructured Run

unstructured trail

I don’t run as often as I should, or would like to. For no good reason. As a kid we grew up on a flood plain that had a nice wooded area with creeks and a river behind it. My brother and I would spend countless hours wandering around making up games, building forts, and running through the forest. There was always something very basic and pleasing about being there being active and spending time in nature. Over the years, those run through the woods became less frequent, as I glorified the notion of being “busy”.

I believe that running is hard wired into each and every one of us and it is part of being human and feeling alive! Part of running is just getting the impetus to start moving and then putting one foot in front of the other. Perhaps it starts with walking, and then moves into shuffles and then back to walking. Whatever it is, we all have an innate ability to do it.

Recently I went for a run in the local area of Wasaga Beach called the Blueberry trails. It was winter and the snowshoe trails had become a hard almost concrete like footpath through the woods. No showshoes were needed and all I needed was my running shoes. An old friend picked me up and out to the woods we went for a trail run. We didn’t discuss where or how far we were going to go, there were no training goals or milage that we had to hit. We just started running.

We chatted a little, but for the most part, we just flowed with the hills and weaved with the trails and concentrated on where our feet were going to go in the next half a second. When people discuss meditation a common theme is intense concentration on nothingness, and a focus. Although I haven’t practiced meditation in a traditional sense,  this unstructured trail run through the pines as the sun was setting can only be described as “meditative”.  The run felt natural, peaceful and the worries of the everyday melted away.

There were no outside distractions this evening as we ran through the woods for about an hour. There were no heart rate monitors, or strava apps running in the background on my iphone. I wasn’t using or doing fartlek training or getting ready for an upcoming race. I was just running, surging and cruising as the feeling hit me. The only sound that I could hear was the crunching of the snow beneath my feet, and the rhythmic breathing as I scanned ahead for where we were going next. I we ran I wasn’t thinking of anything other than moving and turning over my strides.  Too often I am found living inside my head, thinking, and planning, but while out running all I could do was focus of the now the immediate moment without thinking about events from the past, or upcoming activities from the future. I continued to breathe, focus, and breathe some more.

I enjoy training, working hard, and quantifying fitness, but getting outside of the gym and away from the treadmill or track is an experience something entirely different. I feel too often with technology we get caught up in trying to capture preserve the experience, instead of actually just living it. We have all seen those people who want to take a picture of a sunset or a concert, instead of actually just using your eyes and ears to sit and enjoy the experience. Some people would say “I feel naked running without my ______ ” fill in the blank choose one or more from the following (ipod, watch, water bottle, walkman, discman, google glasses, backpack, iphone, camelback, t-shirt, gps tracker, heart rate monitor, compression socks. If you are one of these people, then perhaps you need to bring it back full circle, and boil it down to our basic instincts and primal movements.

It has often been said that the best fitness regime is the one that you are going to stick with, and perhaps if my running had less structure, I would do it more, no milage logs, no average heart rate, no Strava tracks. This evening I was not running to get fit, I was running because it makes me feel good and connected to nature. The health benefits of these runs are an unintended consequence of doing something that makes me feel good and happy.

Leaving everything behind and running with no attachment to the outcome is incredibly liberating and enjoyable. Give it a shot and you may just find that you actually enjoy running more than your previously thought.


Lemon Butter Spicy Shrimp Recipe


A quick and easy shrimp recipe that is sure to be a hit as an appetizer or at a party or paleo potluck.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F
Melt a stick of butter and add fresh shrimp to let them get well aqainted with the butter. The shrimp should be fresh, but if they are not they should be thawed.

Cut a lemon into slices and add to the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and shrimp mixture.

To add that little kick you want to sprinkle the shrimp with a seafood seasoning mix or Italian seasoning mix. Either or works great.

Cook for 15 minutes and then let cool and serve! Voila instant buttery lemon shrimpy goodness! Paleo and primal friendly.