Friday, 11 February 2011

UK Strength and Power Series News

The UK Strength and Power Series Qualifier dates and locations are now LIVE! SPQR will be there and look forward to seeing you.

The UK Strength and Power Series is a strong man (or woman) event designed for the rest of us. You don't need to be Mark Felix (or Geoff Capes for those old enough to remember him) to enter; it's a fun filled day with lots to do for the whole family.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The SPQR Warm-up

The standard SPQR warm-up is as follows;

Run or Row 1-2 minutes (basically around the block once or twice)
High knee running 20 metres
Butt Kickers 20 metres
lunge walk with twist 20 metres
Russian walk 20 metres (video of the general exercise here)
Arm Circles x 10 each side backward
Arm Circles x 10 each side forward
Slow Squat x 5
Spider Stretch x 5 each side
(video of the stretch here)
Slow Push up x 5
Slow Sit-up x 5

Any other stretches that may be required due to injury or the workout of the day

That's basically it. Quick and easy and gets you set up for the day; it's not a workout by itself but should get you going nicely.

The warm-up is something we leave up to you. We recommend you join in, but also realise that many of us have our own preferences for getting ready to workout.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Vires et Honestas part 2

In one of my earlier posts I explained the whole "Vires et Honestas" slogan we use at SPQR (read it here). The thoughts I put down in that post are especially clear to me today after a disappointing session with the University sports team I coach.

We have a week to go before the start of the new season which means I have (had) one final Sunday session and one Thursday session to teach the guys the new skills they would need to play and win next week. Unfortunately, only twenty or so players turned up. That's not a bad number you might say, but when I tell you the sport is American Football and I need a minimum of 18 players on the sidelines to even be allowed to play the game then my problem becomes clearer. Factor that in, then add in the fact that this is a minority sport over here (at best) and that I have had a total of just four weeks to train guys who never even touched a football before starting University how to play correctly and most importantly, safely. This is a game where catastrophic injury can and does happen, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Add in the further factor that of those guys that did show up for training, only a handful were linemen, the majority were the so-called "skill position" players and it further complicates things.

Everything in football starts with the line, be it offensive or defensive. Without either, nothing will work as expected and the training session becomes less and less useful. Sure, we can run the plays, but without the offensive line blocking, the whole timing of the play is shot. On the defensive side of the ball, with no big guys up front it's just not worth the time put in.

Why weren't the players there? No idea. Only two of the missing players had the decency to call me, e-mail me, text me or facebook me. Hey, I'm flexible, if you have a legitimate reason I can live with it, but to just not show up? That disrespects me, my coaching staff and, more egregiously in my eyes, disrespects their team mates. Vires et Honestas holds implicit the meaning of team, brotherhood, fraternity. Those guys that didn't show up have shown neither strength nor honour and the team is weaker as a whole because of it. In addition to missing a valuable training session, the fact that they weren't there today means they will not be registered in time for the game and so next week my squad will be depleted further.

Coupled with this, many of the players that did show up lacked passion and intensity of effort. They were just going through the motions which helps no one. I keep telling them, train to be mediocre and that's the best they can ever be and I mean it. It is very rare that an athlete will achieve the peak level of their training goal - more often than not the result is less than that. Give me someone that only tries to be a B student and I will show you someone with a C average, give me that same student and have them shoot for an A every time, then that C student becomes a B+. The same is true in sport, school and in life.

If the only effort you display is the effort to be average, then that is the level you will achieve ON YOUR BEST DAY - every other day you will be less so and your life will be the poorer because of it. If you believe you are average, how can you expect to beat the guy in front of you? Often, the difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner believes he will win, the loser believes he might win. The winner may not be any better than you physically, but if that belief is there he will prevail.

The same is true in the gym. When you walk in and see that workout on the board, you have to believe you will own it. Once it gets in your head that it's tough, tougher than you can handle, then you will quit - I guarantee it. Believe you can accomplish the workout and you will - I guarantee that too!

Vires et Honestas means that in everything you give your best, for yourself and your cohorts. Anything less and you are just making platitudes to the words.

Vires et Honestas!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cookie Cutter training

Scaling the work to fit the capacity of the athlete is something too often overlooked by many personal trainers. A cookie cutter approach to exercise prescription is fundamentally flawed and will result in many clients simply quitting because the work is too hard, or not progressing as they should because it is too easy.

Pretty much anything can be scaled with some imagination, allowing each and every athlete to work at a level at which they will see great results.

Today's workout involved a combination of deadlift and handstand push-ups. Deadlifts are easy to scale - simply adjust the weight used but the scaling of a body weight exercise such as the HSPU requires a bit of thought - you can't easily chop weight off an athlete!

In the shot below, Chris is demonstrating a scaled handstand push-up. By having his legs resting on the box, a significant percentage of his body weight is supported. Because of this, Chris is getting a good workout at a level he can maintain with intensity and good form whilst at the same time building the proficiency required to move up in the progression until he can do a full handstand push-up using his whole weight.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have an athlete who has progressed through to the full HSPU, so to maintain the intensity of effort his version was completed wearing a weighted vest!

Vires et Honestas!

Monday evening

Tim came over for an evening session and learned a new movement - the sumo deadlift. This is a great accompaniment to the standard deadlift and concentrates more on the quadriceps. It's also often slightly easier for the taller athlete, like Tim.

The workout format was the same as the morning session -
3 sets of 5 sumo deadlift followed by a conditioning routine -
5 rounds for time of;
Run 250m
30 Sit-ups
30 Good mornings

The shot above is Tim after he finished the workout - the huge grin says it all! We then moved on to looking at the handstand and demonstrated some basic progressions to build confidence in the inverted position.

Vires et Honestas!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Tyres and sandbags and burpees - Oh my!

New Chris (;)) and Tim came over on Saturday for a quick workout to clear out the cobwebs - Three rounds of a Fight Gone Bad protocol of Jumping Pull-Ups, Tyre Flip, Burpee, Hammer Strikes and sand bag cleans. Unfortunately, neither of them seem to be able to count so they have no idea on their totals which is a shame. Both of them put in a good effort though and coped well with the unfamiliar movement of the hammer strikes and the sand bag cleans.

Chris has become a regular at the garage recently, putting in 4-5 days training in a week and is already seeing some good results and we will hopefully help him along the way to achieving his goal of becoming a police officer.

Tim hasn't been down in a while, but it's good to see he hasn't forgotten everything we taught him on the "Essentials" course.

One of the key things we look to foster at SPQRFitness is the enjoyment factor that comes from working out in a group - it allows you to gauge your progress against others and gives you that much needed support group to keep you going when the going gets tough. Hopefully the Saturday morning group session will become a regular occurrence and we can work on some team events to build up the camaraderie in the garage.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

SPQR latest news

Apologies for the lack of updates - get set on doing a workout of the day for friends of the site and it all goes out the window..... What? You aren't following the daily workout over at Head on over there right away and get cracking.

Things are going from strength to strength in the garage. Thanks to Tim we now have power in there so it won't be quite so dark as the mornings and evenings draw in. Never fear though, I won't be getting a heater in there - what? You want me to make it easy for you? Heck, if it's creature comforts you want, there's a Globo right down the block. Pretty sure they could get you warm and toasty in no time. Of course you won't get in the kind of shape you will working out in the garage and with the amount of work you will be putting in with us, you'll be warm enough in no time!

The whiteboards are also up so your times will be up there for all to see. What better incentive could you need to push that little bit harder?

New toys in the garage include a couple of beer kegs kindly supplied by the local university bar. Typically, those darned students had drunk them dry before we got our mitts on them, but that means I can fill them with sand and water to make it a challenge lifting and moving them around. We also have a rowing machine which was kindly donated by a friend of the site. No, it's not a Concept2 but it does give us some more options for our workouts and will do just fine until we can afford a C2.

In other news, SPQRFitness has been named the official speed and agility source for the University of Surrey American Football team (it was an "unofficial" thing before, now we actually get recognition on their website and that of the University Student's Union). We are also in negotiation to perform the same task for the rugby teams so watch this space for news.

Anyway, keep on training and keep watching the site for news on developments as and when they happen.