Lifting heavy....because this back ain't gonna grow by itself #deadlifts
Many thanks to Tom for the gifts as a leaving present as he moves onto pastures new. These awesome Reebok hoodie and lifting shoes (with the gold signature) has got to be the best looking weight lifting shoes I've ever seen. It deserves a 300+kg squat and some sort of powerlifting medal 🥉 to match the colour....watch out 2018!
Tom's been a superb and very dedicated client, the type that never misses a session, gives 100% every workout, never complains as I regularly push him through excruciatingly painful workouts and he sticks to the nutrition plan without any prompting whatsoever. He's been constantly improving, with a PB #deadlift a few weeks ago of 200kgx3! Basically, the type of client that every coach desires.
Good luck in your future endeavours Tom, it's been my pleasure.
🔸 25 week update from client Nick. Yes, it's just under 6 months and 5 stone/31kg/68lbs between the photos!!
🔹 Phase one was mainly a fat loss program based around strength training, high intense supersetting weight training, a scheduled amount of cardio and believe it or not a doubling of daily calories to get his metabolism firing properly.
🔹Phase two was a shift in focus from the high intense weight training to more strength and hypertrophy training whereby, I was looking to add lots of muscle in the right areas to sculpt his physique as the body fat came down. As you can see from the photos his muscles are well and truly popping from head to toe to create a balanced physique.
🔹 Nick has followed the plan from day one, showed massive amounts of dedication and these are the fruits of his labour. Well done Nick.......and we're not done yet!
🔸 Lots of unnecessary cardio or fasted cardio? NO
🔸 Low carbs? NO
🔸 Ban nights out, a bit of naughty food or alcohol? NO
🔸 FOLLOWED no-nonsense scientific principles for sustainable fat loss? YES!
🔸#mondaymotivation Squat 260kg/572lbs x5 - 3 weeks out
Well it was one of those days again.....when I woke up craving a heavy pull from the floor!
Very happy to nail a PB on my volume leg day, 230kgx12 with no knee wraps! The programming said 215kgx10x3 but after a fairly comfortable 220kgx10 it was time to toss my plan for the day and go with how my body felt, 12 reps later I had severe lactic acid burn but a PB in the bag.
Today was when I reintroduced caffeine into the mix after cycling off it a few weeks ago to improve my tolerance to it. Increased focus, fat burning abilities and appetite suppression couldn't come at a better time as I get to the business end of my prep. I had two strong cups of espresso as well as caffeine powder to give me 400mg - seemed to do the trick!
A client recently asked me if he should do half reps or full range of motion reps on the bench press. He's seen lots of guys using the half rep method to keep constant tension on the muscle and wondered what I thought.
Well after being disappointed that I had to cease doing the dumbbell version due to maxing out, as my gym only goes up to 75kg/165kg dumbbells, I had no choice but to switch to continue my strength progression
Technically I prefer the dumbbell version as I can keep the weight to my sides and illicit a better stretch as the hip extension feels more natural.
Nevertheless, when you've got nearly a quarter tonne load moving through your hamstrings, it gets the job done!
I love this exercise especially when it's done correctly, it produces a great stretch and contraction for the lats. Here's me doing 75kg/165lbs. Some of the main points when performing is :-
🔸 use zero momentum
🔸 fully stretch lats before commencing lift
🔸VERY IMPORTANT: notice how I flex my lats before each pull, you'll activate way more muscles through the full range of the exercise. If this is done correctly you'll see the dumbell raise about an inch as you shorten the lats. THIS WILL MAKE A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE TO HOW MUCH YOU FEEL YOUR BACK
Enjoy your back gainz!
Here's my client Nick who's lost a whopping 19kg/42lbs over the past 12 weeks! Nick has stuck to my training and nutrition plans 100% and he's been rewarded with fantastic results.
This is my primary rowing movement for my back thickness. I stole it from Dominic Haley, who in turn got it from his coach Alberto Nunez.
I think this movement is superior to a lot of other rowing movements. Even though I'm only up to 40kg/88lbs whereas I'd be lifting 150kg+ on barbell bent over or T-bar rows I prefer it because :-
🔸 it's harder to cheat
🔸 hence easier to track progression
🔸 I get both a superior stretch and contraction, due to my chest being supported
🔸 saves my lower back, so back is fresher for squats and deadlifts
Give it a try if you haven't already, it'll be a revelation. Firstly :-
🔹start with DBs slightly in front of delts and open out scapula to get a good stretch
🔹while contracted, pull DBs towards your navel, not your chest
🔹at the top, raise your chest while trying to contract your mid to lower back, hold there for a second
🔹lower weight under control, repeat
🔹10-12 reps for 3 sets should do the trick
Oh, and it's called the seal row because as I try to contract my lower back my legs involuntarily raise and I end up kinda looking like a seal (with glutes)!
Well it was a great day down at the The Muscle Unit, Barnsley with fellow powerlifter Louis Beaumont. Bodybuilding was strictly off the menu..... today it was all about tossing around extremely heavy weights!
With Louis comfortably going over 300kg and looking great for his meet in 4 weeks time, I had to step my game up, no fancy playing around with 240kg for fun, it was time to test myself for real. First up the squat, I slowly worked up to 280kg , the first rep was wobbly half way down, lost my line a bit due to having a slightly whippy bar but managed to steady myself for the other four reps. Felt strong with a bit more in the tank.
Next up the deadlift - I didn't plan to go too heavy here because I'd only gone up to 240kg this year but Louis wasn't having any of it and forced me to go heavier as he could see the speed the weight was moving well from the floor, so I took up the challenge, 290kg it was. My positioning felt great, leg drive was good and back was perfectly flat.....3 reps later concluded a great workout and definitely re-ignited the powerlifter in me, boy that felt good.
If you haven't tried paused squats yet, you've got to give them a try. I use them regularly with both my clients and myself. Here are five benefits :-
1) teaches new clients how to control the squat descent and keep tension in the quads. I think the eccentric portion of the squat can be somewhat overlooked, so by having to pause you must think much more about the descent and not just drop down and get back up. When I managed to control the descent myself I found that translated into a stronger and controlled squat and bigger legs also
2) I get way more quad activation, even when squatting work way less weight than my heavier squats
3) if you're squatting frequently, then alternating this exercise with standard squats means you can use lighter weights to take a bit more stress off lower back and joints while still getting great quad activation
4) it has cross over benefits to your standard squats as it will help your squatting strength and drive from the bottom
5) by shifting the weight to the outside of feet, then pushing your feet through the floor you'll feel your outersweep working very hard
Give them a try.....
I've been asked to make a video about this exercise, so here goes. It's a great movement to supplement your glute development whether you wish to build a bigger butt or in my case build stronger muscles which have carry over support to both squats and deadlifts. Even though I regularly squat 250kg+, I find that my glutes can still be relatively weak area and can give me hip and lower back issues but by supplementing this exercise into my program it has helped prevent these problems occuring.
This isn't just an exercise for females as a lot of guys have flat butts!
Enjoy the video and please Like/Share if you think someone else could benefit from seeing it
After a long 5 month prep, it's time to compete in my final domestic competition of 2016, the UKDFBA UK Finals! The first picture was taken way back in May (I weighed 118kg/18.5 stone), day one of my prep when I restarted doing cardio after a 6 month break and the second is winning my third consecutive NPA British title a couple of weeks ago (101kg/16 stone). This will be my 5th competition in 5 weeks and I've managed three firsts and a second place so I'm a very happy boy.
My plan was always to come in decent for my first show and progressively get into better condition as the season progressed. So I'm very much looking forward to mixing it up onstage with some of the best natty bodybuilders in the country and also showcasing what 5 months of hard grinding and discipline has produced.
Wish me luck for tomorrow!
Well it's 6 days out from NPA British Finals where I'll be looking to defend my heavyweight title. My training and competition prep are going great, I'm on course to easily bring in my best ever to stage, I'm exactly where I planned to be at this stage of the season. No slowing down just because I'm low in energy, tired and constantly hungry...if anything it's time to push harder, which I'm doing.
I split my back training into two days as I wanted to add crazy volume to keep my metabolism fired up as well as keeping my muscles under maximum stress. So yesterday I did eight different exercises for back including pullups, chin ups and a variation of different rows, including a lot of drop-sets, super-sets and lots of heavy volume.
Today was all about deadlifts, where I completed a total of 11 sets, including the 240kgx8 (VIDEO) . I was concentrating more on volume here with moderate weights rather than going too heavy. This was followed by 20 minutes of HIIT hill sprints. Feeling drained but never better! P.s. no comments about my white leggings or I'll bar you!
Touch base again soon
It was a good day at last weekends NPA MWC Pro-Am show where I got the win, finishing one place higher than I did in 2015, where I lost by a single point. As I've said previously my aim in the off-season wasn't to get simply bigger but to improve certain aspects of my physique - namely quad sweep, lat width, delts and I feel I've achieved that as my physique flows better now.
Over the last 16 weeks I've come down from 118kg (18.5 stone/20%BF) to 101kg (16 stone/7%BF) here to bring in my best level of conditioning ever onstage which was just about acceptable but as I stated last week this is only phase one, the starting point. Phase two is this coming weekend UKDFBA British qualifier, I will be in better condition and much fuller as I won't be limiting my carb loading this time, like I deliberately did for my previous show, I'll be a couple of kilograms heavier but sharper.
Phase three will be the NPA British Finals in 2 weeks time where I'll drop at least 3kg of body fat to take my conditioning to a serious level.
That's all for now folks but more updates to come.....
Well it's just two days to my first bodybuilding competition of the year and I've planned a busy schedule of competing after a 10 month off-season. I focused on improving certain body parts rather than purely increasing my mass and I've got to say it has been very successful. I'm currently sitting at a planned 101kg which I'm happy with at this stage, although I'm not happy with a very depleted diet face! I will lose another 4-5 kilos by the time of the final shows to bring in a level of conditioning far superior than I've achieved so far. Look out for my almost weekly shows and progress, this is only phase one!
Quite a few of you have been asking for details of my first show as you wish to attend. It's the NPA MWC Pro-Am in Penistone, South Yorkshire . All the relevant details are contained within the poster. See you Sunday!
After taking a few weeks break from deadlifts, I resumed them 3 weeks ago in lead upto my first bodybuilding competition in just 13 days time, the NPA Mike Williams Classic Pro-Am. I saw powerlifter James "Jimmy" Nuttall at the gym and he set me a challenge and it was simple.......pull a x3 body-weight deadlift before your first show. Weighing 103kg this morning, it was now or never, put up or shut up time. Challenge accepted and completed! None of this light weight squeezy, squeezy training for me, just shifting heavy a$$ weight to try to retain or even build new muscle.
I believe the GBPF Open British record @ 105kg is currently 330kg, so with a proper strength training cycle I feel I can lift quite a bit more than 310kg. Maybe 2017 is the year I accept another challenge and I hit that powerlifting stage again and do the heavy lifts where they count. In the meantime it's head down, grinding hard and a bit more pain to get ready for my first bodybuilding show in a few days
(Click on the VIDEO LINK to see my other recent strength videos)
After 9 months of hiding this footage my friend decided to show me this today, the 2015 UKDFBA Heavyweight pose-down.....so here it is. I came third in this brutal class with Adrian Grey dominating and Nigel pacing second. As you can see though, every heavyweight up there onstage looked great. Serious beef!!!!
5 weeks into my prep I've lost a steady 5kg, strength levels are strong and I'm happy with my current conditioning at this stage which is a lot better than any previous prep. Competition is roughly 3 months away, so I'm looking to get ready early rather than trying to play catch up this time. Calories are around the 4,000 mark and carbs 400g and I'm doing 30 minutes cardio daily, a mixture of both high intensity and steady state. I'm really not focused on trying to hit the stage as heavy as possible as I've got all the size I'll ever need, I'm focusing on bringing the right level of conditioning and detail to the stage.
Looking back to my first ever competition, I've got to say that I wasn't very impressed with my front double biceps pose, in fact I hated the pose for a number of reasons:-
1) My biceps and delts didn't look particularly impressive
2) My chest melted away once I lifted my elbows into position
3) My leg to waist size ratio made my stomach look a bit blocky
Contrary to what some people might think, I've never been obsessed with simply putting on more mass at the expense of balance, symmetry and proportion. As you can see in the comparison shots, I managed to address all of the areas I was focusing my training on. The latest picture is far from complete but at least I'm heading in the right direction.
For current off-season progress photos click the photo below:-
Progress is going better than expected, I'm at my heaviest ever body weight of 260lbs / 18.5 stone while also being at my leanest in off-season. I haven't changed my calories from last season, I'm not currently monitoring it but it's between 4,000 to 5,000 calories. I eat clean most of the time but will have some sort of fast food daily just to get in the calories.
I've amended my training by including a lot more powerlifting style training into my programming - this has resulted in me adding a few pounds of muscle since the turn of the year as well as reducing my body fat also.
I'm looking forward to beginning my shredding phrase where I'll be looking to drop approximately 20kg to see what is revealed.
Sam Watt - Champion personal trainer and nutrition advisor