Welcome To The Strength Academy Blog!

Friday, June 13, 2014

10 ways to move forward in life

Our main page now has a blog so most of the content will be on there and linked here.

Please click on the image below for 10 tips on moving forward in life

 10 tips to move forward in life

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The overhead kettlebell swing - our verdict

For many professional kettlebell coaches and athletes the overhead kettlebell swing is a blasphemy that should not exist - it is that simple. However, usually you just end up with 2 camps throwing stones at each other.

Here we detail why it exists, why it is ultimately flawed and how you can get around it even if you need to perform this movement to compete.

Click the image for the full article

Enjoy :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CrossFit Raeda - the best gym in Harlow

Last weekend I finally got round to seeing the new venue in Harlow that is Crossfit Raeda

 Myself and owner Lee Ottey cleaning the place up

This is not your average gym and is run by some of the best coaches in the UK. What you have is a first class facility for weightlifting, strength and conditioning, athletic preparation and testing as well as regular classes to stay in shape. Annie and Lee have a wealth of experience as both competitive athletes and coaches having been an integral part of the GB handball team for the London 2012 Olympics. You will not find a venue run by someone who has dabbled in training, opened a gym and put shiny certificates all over the wall. These coaches are the real deal and have athletic testing sessions with light gates and a force mat to check progress and performance levels.

I had a lifting session there recently in prep for a competition and have to say that it was a very good session in a venue that I would like to train in as regularly as time and travel distance will allow being 60 miles away.

They have a set of 8 level platforms, Eleiko bars and competition plates hidden away and a fantastic wall-mount rig construction with an overhang ladder. You have the concept 2 rowers, a lot of good quality cast iron and competition steel kettlebells as well as the usual circuit stuff such as boxes, med balls and dumbbells. It is a great place to train, with first class coaches that will do more than just run you into the ground 3 times a week. They understand performance and will make sure you show steady progress, as injury free as possible, and with intelligently planned progressions based on your specific goals.

Aside from the Crossift classes the venue is also a recognised weightlifting club affiliated with British Weightlifting. Sessions are run for you to learn and improve these skills on a regular basis which will greatly improve your confidence when workouts contain these technical movements. The exercises are broken down into manageable chunks that allow you to fully understand what is happening at each aspect of the global movement so you begin to understand mechanics, power production, centre of mass and become a proficient lifter.

If you are within a 30 minute drive of this venue than I would simply make it your new training facility and finally get some professional coaching to achieve your goals. Far too many people zombie along in the local leisure centre looking and feeling no different to when they joined 3 years ago. Here you will be very surprised at what can be achieved when your time and efforts are specifically focussed on achieving your goals.

I also had one of my best ever training session there.

Go check them out!

Tel: +44 203 243 1020
Mob: 07738 210101 or 07958 359681

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Worlds Best Supplement Guide

Now and then something in the fitness industry comes along that really has an impact on many levels and the Examine.com website is one of them.

The team have spent the last few years researching tens of thousands of scientific articles on supplements and compiled it into a completely objective review of over 300 supplement products. The research is all human study based and graded on the robustness of the clinical trial that highlighted the main effects of each product tested.

This laborious task has resulted in the go-to website for all information on supplements and has received praise from around the world. The website is completely independent as has no affiliation, or supplement products to recommend or sell. By remaining impartial they ensure they are professional on all levels.

As a bonus for anyone in the fitness industry and particularly nutrition, body transformation, stage prep and athletic performance the entire site is available as an interactive PDF - currently over 800 pages and with the bonus feature of allowing you to focus on the supplements recommended for over 180 health goals. It is basically a complete offline version of the database with the added benefit of being completely linked internally and with an easy search feature for goals.

Many people spends £100s of pounds on website and forum membership for information like this. Even worse, some have to trawl through endless journals and clinical text with no real idea of the robustness of the study design and therefore scientific validity of the outcome. These guys have done it all for you.

Perhaps the best feature is that for a one-off investment of your average core text you get FREE lifetime updates daily. As soon as any new research is added the PDF is automatically regenerated each morning with the most up to date version.

Supplement info for life at your fingertips.

If you are not sure how good this information is then click on these guys -

 Click the book below to be taken directly to the product page for further information.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Durham Nutrition Workshop and some time off

The first round of the UK and Ireland nutrition tour has nearly come to a close with all of the major venues and requests completed.

It has been a very interesting journey of meeting great people, lovely cities, lots of travel miles and doing things rather than thinking about them.

The Durham event was a request and at the lovely Durham County Cricket Club. As you can see from the image, quite a location -

It was also great to have Neil from Genetic Supplements attend and provide samples and shakers for the delegates!

The day before the event we decided to head out to Blackpool as it was my birthday and I needed a hit of roller-coasters and near death experiences.

It is always reassuring to know that the zombie outbreak team has your back - especially in Blackpool

Between rides Alex decided to go for the plank pose and engage abs.

At 38 I decided on a lay down and a cup of ovaltine.....

The event went very well and it was good to meet up with Phil Earley - the only guy you need to go to for kettlebell instruction in Newcastle - his website can be found here - http://www.newcastlekettlebellliftingclub.com/

Neil was kind enough to let us take what remained of the samples so that we could try them for ourselves and provide feedback.

I have a championship event coming up in a few months and will certainly give them a good trial based on already seeing results from the sustain and recovery in just a few sessions based on my work capacity, and recovery. I also feel extremely focussed during longer sessions and actually switch off mentally - just getting on with the job.

The direct links to each product can be accessed by clicking on the images. These supplements are scientifically researched, highly engineered and top of the supplement food chain. We certainly recommend them based on a trial run.

Future nutrition workshops are below - click the fruit and veg!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ireland leg of the nutrition tour with Alex Ferentinos

The Ireland leg of the nutrition tour is sadly over and it did feel like one of those weekends where you are chasing to make up time and fit things in. Fire alarms at 3am, lost shoes, hire cars that could only hit 60mph if they went off a cliff and some great people. Anyway - that is how we roll.....

On the Friday evening we headed out to meet the S&C for Ulster Rugby - Kevin Geary - @kevGeary

Fantastic facility as you can see from the image and absolutely no fluff to be seen right down to the post workout shelf next to you - everything planned to the latter. A solid set up for athletic performance that instantly reassures you that in some sports they know how important sports science and strength training are. It may well be contagious in the future for sports using balls with different shapes!

Great conversation with a very knowledgeable coach that has made a huge impact on the team and shows you what hard work and knowledge can do if you are hungry.

The hotel was great (grand for people reading this who were at the events) and for visitors to Belfast I can highly recommend the Hilton Templepatrick. Very well laid out, lots do do, great food and Guinness! Although we are both no drinkers, this stuff always goes down a treat.

The talk went very well and Alex had shoes for this one - more on that later.

Great group and for me as host it is really good to see the material flow from event to event as the flexibility in the material delivery increases. While Alex is an expert in the field of nutrition he now has the opportunity to "play" the material based on the group, questions and topics that may need more attention to detail than others. These are essential skills and he is rolling.

After the Belfast talk we had an invite from Luke Haslett - @lukehaslett physique specialist and Phil Graham @clearCutphilG Northern Ireland's top pro bodybuilder to train at Rockpit Fitness Gym in Lisburn - @rockpitFitness. As you can see I managed to redeem myself with some forearm thanks to the grip training and we had to stand in the corner of the gym to fit all of Phil in the picture - he is a BEAST - the nice type.

The set up in Rockpit Fitness gym is no fluff as well. The equipment set up is solid and everything is catered for here in a big way as you can see from the images below. Click on any of the images to be taken to their homepage and if you are close to Lisburn, Northern Ireland, and looking to escape the circus known as modern day leisure centres and get some real training on then I highly recommend this place. 

The knowledge of the coaches is also of a very high degree based on the calibre of clients and the coaching, training and preparation work they do with their athletes. You do not just get a gym with shiny heavy kit and banging music and then wonder what to do - you get professional assistance in achieving your goals and making solid progress!

Alex liked Rockpit Fitness gym so much that he decided to offer his shoes as homage and went for the barefoot approach in Dublin - maybe some biomechanics paper he was reading on the feet. Containing almost 25% on the joints in your body I can see how some free movement would be beneficial and he obviously decided this was the way forward! Big thanks to Conor Murphy for helping organise Dublin - @nurishfood

A great weekend and a fantastic experience for both of us. We look forward to coming back in the near future and to the next venues on the tour.

Tickets and venues for the rest of the tour can be accessed by clicking on Dorothy below and as there are regular requests new events are added when confirmed.

Thank You Ireland!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Trigger point - your near perfect massage

I have been a user of the Trigger Point equipment for a few years now and decided to convey some of the benefits of this range of products.

The great thing about this range is that most of the items are small, lightweight and highly portable and this is a huge advantage for travel as well as pre and post competition.

When you massage aim to work from proximal to distal so that you shift the toxins away from the heart. I personally find that a session with the Grid to stimulate the fibres, then the trigger ball where required and finishing with the grid for tissue density is a good program.

The Trigger Point pack is a great start for self myofascial release -SMR- or self massage. If you know what you are doing you can really boost recovery from training with a 10 minute session post workout  Possibly the most important device is the foot roller. I personally used this on both feet for a solid hour - 30 minutes per foot. This was based on reading a stretching text advocating massaging the feet on a daily basis compared to the infrequency of other body parts. I realised this was something that I had never done and so made up for it! The text used a great analogy of the fascia on the body being like a duvet. If you pull one corner the entire duvet moves. For this same reason tight feet can cause cranial nerve headaches due to this tightness in the fascia. I did used to suffer from quite a lot of headaches and have to admit that since doing this treatment and topping it up now and then I have never had a headache like I used to. They are also extremely good for your feet after a weightlifting session, or training session using weightlifting shoes. Just 30 seconds per foot is all it takes and you really do notice a difference.

The block allows you to get deep into the soleus group by raising the leg and then placing it on the ball, or foot roller as required. It also comes with a DVD covering the major body regions.

The Grid is one of the best foam rollers on the market and mine has served me well for a good few years. Unlike many traditional foam rollers it maintains its shape and density and does not collapse over time so it is a one-off investment for less than the price of a good massage. The Grid also has several different surface textures so that stubborn muscles can be massaged in different was that may require different techniques from a therapist  The Grid is also just wide enough to hit the entire length of the posterior muscles that support the spine without you falling off and also allows you to slightly rotate the torso in order to increase the tension on one side when required. The Grid is full body and can comfortably and effectively be used for the following muscle groups with no problem at all -

Adductor complex
Glutes/Hip Flexors
Erector Spinae
Latissmis dorsi
Lower Trapezius
Most of the smaller upper back muscles

The Quadballer is also massage on the next level. If your sport regularly sends your legs into a coma then this will resurrect them. It is a lot more intense than the Grid and only a few minutes is required for the anterior and lateral quads to get them back online. The hamstrings can also be done with the Quadballer and it is great for the calves and surrounding regions. Many people complain of a tight iliotibial -IT- band. While this would often seem the perfect product for surfing along on this region I have often found that the Glute med and Tensor Fascia Lata are better regions to help relieve pressure here as the IT bands forks into both of these muscles at the hip region.

The ball is really the main "trigger" release from the Trigger Point family as it is the lazer of the gang. For stubborn knots a short blast with this will have you gurning for England and pain free in 20-30 seconds. Where the roller distributes the pressure over a large surface area, the ball focusses on a tiny area with a lot of pressure so you can view this as progress from the Grid if you really need to take it to another level for stubborn muscles. The ball should also only be used by people that know what they are doing and what their body can handle and requires as excessive pressure on a region that has never been through this kind of treatment could leave you feeling worse than when you started. 

While The Grid can access a lot of the smaller upper back muscles, the ball can get right in to the trouble spots. The trick is to progressively use the leverage of the body to adjust the pressure as required. Lying straight on the ball with the full weight of your torso will be a shock for most people used to a "gentle" massage. The ball is really the medic of the team and can access the real knots and tension areas specifically and often at the right angle to alleviate them with some cunning!

Verdict 9/10 - if you train hard then you will really appreciate how much these tools can do for recovery!