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Strength & Conditioning & Ethics

The gym is the perfect setting to think about one’s actions, and then work on improving them.

Health Body – Healthy Mind

A “Philosopher-Coach” can improve the physical culture as well as the cognitive culture of their athletes.

Which will yields improvements in emotional as well as physical intelligence:

“There are ‘proper’ ways to lift – just as there are ‘proper’ ways to live” – Both can be taught and practiced in the gym

 Physical Activity

Is associated with Higher GPAs and therefore a greater chance of getting into university.

Improves interpersonal skills and bolsters Leadership skills

In General Physical Activity & Sport Improves Mental Health

…. Until it doesn’t.

  • Too many current day examples of athletes, coaches, therapists or those in a position of power, abusing that power and overstepping boundaries, even committing assault.
  • This does NOT help the mental health of anyone. 
  • It is this type of culture that needs to be changed.

An ethically-minded coach can affect positive changes to our athletic cultures.

The youth represent our future and deserve to be invested in properly.

The best place to invest and initiate this change is in schools.

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Training Principle You Have To Live By: P.A.P

The previous posts outlined S.A.I.D, Progressive Overload and the use of Novelty in your training program. These principle all require consistency of practice & time for the adaptation to express itself.

The current principle being examine is less of a ‘principle’ and more of a ‘hack’ – because the effects of it are felt within a single session.

(P.A.P) Post Activation Potentiation

Originally defined by Robbins,8 PAP is a phenomenon by which the force exerted by a muscle is increased due to its previous contraction. 

Lorenz, Daniel. “Postactivation potentiation: an introduction.” International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 6,3 (2011): 234-40.

The exercise you do first influences the performance of the exercise you do second. Depending on the intensity of the first, the second exercise will either be negatively or positively influenced in regards to strength/power/performance.

Obviously we want to focus on the positive enhancements. But lets not completely disregard the negative because we can learn from that too = the fatigue from an initial exercise can degrade the performance of the next if there is not sufficient recovery between the two. If you practice too much at a ‘degraded’ performance level then your body will adapt to only being able to perform at that level, therefore stymying your progress.

How To P.A.P

  • REST MORE = 3 – 12 minutes before fatigue stops masking the potentiating effect. This depends on the fitness level of the athlete
  • First Exercise: use heavy weight = at lest 80% of your 1 rep max
  • Second Exercise: lighter and explosive or longer in duration

Most of the studies have shown that the first exercise should be a Back Squat. But you can use any compound movement.

The second exercise can pretty much be anything else. Although it should be something specific to your weakness or sport.

A note of caution, P.A.P should only be used by more experienced lifters, or with guidance from a coach.

Why P.A.P

Simply because it works. P.A.P produces short term improvements when done right. Accumulation of short term improvements leads to long term improvement. This is the goal of Training.

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from wiki:

Agency may either be classified as unconscious, involuntary behavior, or purposeful, goal directed activity (intentional action). An agent typically has some sort of immediate awareness of their physical activity and the goals that the activity is aimed at realizing. In ‘goal directed action’ an agent implements a kind of direct control or guidance over their own behavior.

A goal of mine for 2019 was to be more proactive and to really engage with life. That is how I started thinking about Human Agency, and how it could be applied to the fitness industry.

In my ideal world, the role of a Coach would be to educate their client/athlete to a certain point of understanding where they need the coach less and less. That is the basis of my whole approach. Each of these Posts have had in mind the idea of educating the reader to the point of being able to do it themselves.

It may take time to figure out this intuitive approach to training, but life is long too!

Taking Physical Agency will improve your ability to engage with your environment, maybe not making your life longer, but at least making it easier!


Take Agency of your Health & Fitness!
(is that even grammatically correct?)

Create your own movement routine and figure out what works best for you.

Do what feels good but DON’T forget that you still have to train Strength (with resistance / weights).

Train intuitively but DON’T forget to train functional movements and to balance out your pushing and pulling movements.

The next few posts will help clarify how to adopt this approach to training.

There are certain rules / principles / ‘physiological triggers’ that when understood lead to a better understanding of how you should be training.

Until then,
Stay Strong!

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Keeping The Blade Sharp

“Keeping The Blade Sharp” is a practice I embrace as a StrongFirst Instructor.

  • It means practicing what I preach and not letting my own training go to the wayside as I get busier with new clients.
  • It allows me to stay in touch with the experience that I am putting my athletes through.
  • It holds me to a higher standard of strength and conditioning.
  • It provides me with the opportunity to learn from the struggle – for strength is made only in the forge.

This commitment keeps me healthy.

YOU TOO should make this commitment!

I am not saying drop everything and become a StrongFirst Instructor (not against the idea either) – but what you should do is make a commitment to a movement routine.

In previous posts I have discussed what type of exercises you should be focusing on and talked all about functional movement, so I won’t go into it now.

All this is to say that you need to be continuously practicing these functional exercises, and using a corrective movement strategy if you have any weaknesses / asymmetries.

Why? Simply because:

If you don’t use it,

You lose it.

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Every Day Movement


you practice movements that your body will default to when you have to use similar movements in your daily life.

However – you should not categorize ‘exercise’ as something to only to be done in the gym.

Here is why – Evolution: In order to eat, ancient humans had to move. There were certain things they had to do every single day in order to survive: walk, climb, sprint, hide, hunt …. using a whole in the ground as a toilet… All of these activities require mobility & motility.

The Modern World has turned this evolutionary structure on its head, and serious health issues have arisen because of it.

We need a ‘return to nature’ of sorts, to bring us back into balance.

… Return to natural movement … to functional movement !?!

(great segue, I know )

SO, what should I be focusing on when it comes to exercise and functional movement?This first point is also a highly overlooked aspect of coaching:

  • How are you BREATHING, are you maintaining POSTURE / technique and what are your EYES doing. If you involve all 3 of these things into your movement practice then you will be in BALANCE.

Second point:

  • you need to balance out your pushing and your pulling. Train the Lower body and the Upper Body with these pushing and pulling movements
    • The lower body should be trained more than the Upper body
    • Pulling movements should be trained more than Pushing movements

Getting Strong and Mobile is actually quite straight forward once you figure out certain rules and start to follow them. (more on this in a later post)

However it gets tricky when you start to talk about “Asymmetries and Corrective” – because of individual differences. More on this in the next post…