Charlie mid-season match play 2018

Charlie at Cotham Park Rugby Football Club.

He loves his sport, loves power and came in with a good awareness of his technical strengths and weakness in his game, which fed into what we felt he needed more of ahead of his upcoming season.
He wanted more power, more acceleration from a stand-still, and to be able to repeat these efforts throughout his match play. ‘Power endurance’

I have always admired the intent and commitment with which Rugby players have to apply.
We discussed aspects of his game; his own needs in relation to the demands of the sport, and increasing his capabilities in these areas:
In terms of Force production, including e.g. accelerating, driving, tackling,
and Force absorption including e.g. change of direction, resisting or taking a tackle,
and scrums and malls in both.

In short, we need both production and absorption of force qualities in abundance to reduce the chance of injury and maximise performance!

Charlie had an interest in the Olympic lifts.

He and came in with good all round levels of strength, more than enough with his Barbell Deadlift, Squat, good shoulder mobility, control and strength, good Hip and Thoracic mobility and lumbar stability.

Setting about learning the full C&J, rather than only derivates, seemed valid, especially with time out of competition season,

We found some areas where some bespoke targeted myofascial release and flexibility were helpful – he had an inkling he could do with more flexibility in places. Charlie learnt and employed these exercises and methods with good results as part of the training block.

Through learning the C&J, there were several ‘bonus’ areas where Charlie felt the results and was visibly stronger, which he knows can now feed into his game:

-Grip strength up – grappling opponents.
-Learning new movement patterns – a lot to process. So, using drills, developing stages, then trusting in the whole movement…as it has to happen quickly, without time to think through every stage!
-Fine tuning – thinking and feeling, where is the weight in relation to base of support, i.e.. front/mid/back of feet.

As well as increased power, what also comes with Olympic lifting is further confidence and precision, due to the high level of neural demand /movement mastery aspects.

I love the transfers this will bring Charlie going into pre-season and then competition season!
It was cool too, seeing Charlie’s (pleasant!) surprise as to the energy system demands! …High metabolic conditioning aspects…

I also wanted to make sure we gave Charlie at least a bit of time on accelerating in free-sprints, also getting some reactivity demand in, all the while aiming to make use of some PAP (Post activation potentiation) and allowing him to feel some transfer there and then.

Some training video snapshots on Instagram & Facebook…social media links at bottom of page…

Post-script: Some of my notes and reflections

  • Within the training, I programmed a bespoke RAMP warm up, including plyometric progressions
  • We tested out Charlies movement, and his main lifts,
  • Barbell complexing was utilised – such good work in so many ways including as extending warm up and preparation for loading up and progressing the lift.
  • We utilised several methods to increase power, including other loaded jumps, Kettlebell, barbell and hex bar jumps of various loading, and explored the differences,
  • As in match play having variety of motor patterns and ways to problem solve and to draw upon are useful!
  • He was no stranger to the sled push and lapped this up, aiming for a high % for him of high speed running.
  • It also gave me the opportunity to look at his leg and trunk mechanics and have a ponder.
  • The video clips also and importantly are my opportunity for reflective practice, ‘What was the aim, the focus, and on seeing the movement, what to get into, what to leave, which cue…when/why… was the outcome what I wanted… why/why not’
  • And the results by the session , by the week, were they good enough by my and Charlie’s standards etc. etc. And How did it inform my programming…
  • Towards the end of the block we evolved the session , going from power (with near full recovery) to power-endurance (decreasing the load he got to with his lift, and doing relatively extensive reps) including with explosive med ball throws.

…Awesome to see the levels of intent from Charlie – beneficial for his team not just himself! Brilliant to know he has stacks of ability to continue on with his development in his own training now over the rest of this summer.

Charlie’s testimonial

“ Nick was really flexible in his approach to training and we had a long discussion at the outset to discuss my aims. He’s knowledgeable, personable and very encouraging. In 6 weeks of weekly sessions, I was really pleased with the outcomes, starting as a complete novice in the Olympic lifts and saw quick progress in the clean and jerk. Recommended!”

Shout out to Thomas Stringwell and Gary Hutt for the initial Olympic weightlifting training and assessment, and Jez Birds for the training and mentorship…2017 was just the start!

For pre-season team training enquiries and bookings drop Nick a line.

Nick has tried and tested methods for team sport preparation in the BGS gym, which he can rent out exclusively for you and your team in which he will program, lead and direct your training for success.

I love this article from Jason Brown / Dr Rusin!

It’s well presented and communicated, its sits well with all the ethos of what I deliver and what my clients experience, in whatever resistance training setting.

My blog post commenting on this is for those curious about CrossFit, ‘functional training’, Olympic Lifting, Barbell & dumbbell work, those who may be training for health but also those training for performance.

There are many facets of the use of the kettlebell as another tool in which I see marked benefits and results which my clients see, do and feel!

The majority of my clients always laugh or question when I answer them with how I want to be training myself much better at the moment, that I can get a lot stronger/fitter/athletic, that in fact I am serious!

I rarely comment on CrossFit because I havent earnt the right- I haven’t put myself through a block of training – but this was a conscious decision! CrossFit has always interested me, but we know injury stats speak for themselves. (…So the last thing I wanted to embark on with my injury history) There are plenty of athletic movements I am still working upto myself!
Like anything, there is great coaching & programming practice and not so great practice out there.
It’s interesting observing from the outside how CrossFit is evolving and changing its approach.
I’m aware of the vast number of lives changed for the better, and the remarkable community about it.

Widening the foundations, ensuring enough mobility, stability and strength first, before power, before endurance, progressively building up an order of progressions of exercises first, this is nothing new, just quality training.

When I work with clients looking to increase power , including Olympic lifting, we’ll do it in a highly controlled way.
Whatever we’re doing quality always over quantity, and adequate rest.
If we ever go for strength-endurance or power-endurance, we still have to be sensible and put the weight down and stop the reps before we do a bad one, as past that point and doing a bad rep you’re just not being effective (never mind injury risk) It’s not worth it! Obviously save that risk for that one moment in your season/year/career in the actual sporting race/event if you need to?! We shouldn’t ever get hurt training in the gym!

I will teach someone the barbell snatch if they have ticked off several key boxes first that mean it’s safe for us to do it, and that they’ll get plenty out of it!
There’s no point setting about learning the snatch if there’s more to gain with simpler power exercises first!
The wider the foundations the higher the peak.
If we plateau…widen the foundations
The demands , rewards and adaptations promoted from the barbell snatch ofcourse can’t be replaced! Nor those respectively from the Clean & Jerk.

There are so many benefits to these exercises, so many training principles for safe effective progressive overload which my clients are well aware of and will find in common here!

Always at your own pace… I’m very much used to healthy in-house competition from coaching rowers and swimmers… In the resistance training setting, just focus on yourself! Compare notes of each other’s own progressions after the set!

I dont have many clients who I load-up in overhead squats,
but I do find lots of shoulder & thoracic spine mobility/stability benefits to working people in the overhead squat with a dowel (stick!) We will often incorporate these into warmups before kettlebell or Dumbbell where people are their overhead work, or before Circuits.

You know I love single-sided work…! Be it for working on imbalances or for athletic performance… For most sports you need to be good single sided.

I love how it’s this one…
And I love how the Burpee is the bonus! Come along to any of my sessions and ask my clients if I prescribe anyone burpees… 

If you want to learn or make sure you’re performing any of these exercises correctly, find your current strengths and weaknesses, or want some guidance with how to programme your training effectively, drop me a line, let’s book you in for a session!

Press ups!

Something I find I work with a lot with my clients in the 1-1 setting and the group setting is scapula control and ‘core’ control. Developing both is important to enable you to press effectively, in any direction.

Proper press ups are bloomin’ hard!

(I won’t reveal my small number of personal maximum reps anticipated here currently out of embarrassment for lack of my own training lately!)
To get the most out of a horizontal press, ie. Maximum function, maximum recruitment of the upper body and trunk, leading to maximal strength (think Force), and importantly to maintain healthy shoulders, the scapulae need to be retracted, the elbows should be close to the body, and the trunk region (think cylinder all around from the belly button), particularly abdominals, and transverse abdominals.

Breathe wide and deep and maintain control here to help co-ordinate all around the shoulders, arms and chest area for the pressing motion.

Being able to press with confidence is important in so many ways in daily life as well as in lots of sports, so do them with intent!

Amy, developing a 'good amount of reps' at a 'good height', at Berkeley Fitness Personal Training Studio, BS6
Amy, developing a ‘good amount of reps’ at a ‘good height’, at Berkeley Fitness Personal Training Studio, BS6

How to develop your press!

This is the other major facet I work with you on.
There is no point struggling with poor form, forcing things, giving maximal effort but getting poor results.
Over a period of time, starting with regressed versions/options, we eventually get you to a quality full press up.
There are many ways to do this, but the best way is to use a racked barbell.

Setting the height to challenge you and your form just enough, over many reps total, will then lead you to next session (eg. a few days later) to be able to lower the barbell height, (making it harder, ‘it’s physics’ 🙂 and complete presses here, with fewer total reps until fatigue/loss of form…
Over subsequent sessions increase the number of reps at a given height, and then lower the barbell height again…
Repeat this process well and enough and consistently and guess what… YOU WILL eventually be able to attain a full press up off the floor!..

…For healthy shoulders and a functioning upper body you MUST balance out pressing with pulling!…

If you want to know more about any of this drop me a line!

If you think more detailed guide would be useful let me know and I’ll make one!

This is about the body’s subsequent adaptation to the stress that it is put under.

There is also the principle of reversibility, which could be thought of as ‘use it or lose it’.

Below I’ve selected four graphs which describe Super-compensation. I have chosen to use each one for a different reason, in this order, in an effort to help people understand and apply it to their weekly activity.

Whether you are someone who has a busy life balancing work, family and are keen to make best use of limited time for exercise, whether you enjoy a narrow or wide range of types of training, whether you are an amateur or pro athlete, this has relevance across all levels.

An interest in science is not essential; an interest in understanding what these graphs mean is really helpful. It should be possible to apply this straight away to best programme out simply what you train and when. How much you improve, maintain, or decline, can be explored using these graphs.

Graph 1. Generalised single supercompensation curve.

This first graph is the most generalised version here, NB it doesn’t show the full story…

What it does show well and simply is that when we train, we stress our body and so its performance decreases, during recovery our performance increases beyond where it started. After a new level is set, at this peak , performance will then decrease back to a baseline.

A simplified graph showing a supercompensation curve.

On the y-axis , ‘Endurance capacity’ this could be all sorts of other specific performance measures, or range of general fitness qualities.
On the x-axis, units of time along this curve are not specified… read on and we’ll come back to this in the 4th graph…

“Different physical qualities respond at different rates, so it is misleading to think that there’s one generalized supercompensation curve” (Gambetta)

Graph 2. Not too little or too much..!

Like the bear-loving porridge eating character we know, it’s an apt phrase! And ofcourse this region in between too much and too little is the gold we seek! How intense this is, and what load we undertake, that might swing us from one curve to another is specific to us as individuals.

To ensure supercompensation, the individual must be healthy. (See my post on Strength Matters’ 6 pillars… )

The training volume, intensity, and frequency must be appropriate for the particular individual. If training is too intense, the individual will struggle to get back to the baseline, and no supercompensation will occur.

A graph showing how recovery and supercompensation may be affected with ‘under’ or ‘overtraining’ per session.

For more in depth from one of the world leading S&C authorities, Vern Gambetta, have a read of this detailed yet concise article:

If training too intensely: E.g. DOMS for 4 days which makes us feel unable to do some activities or train as we might have done following a more sensible session! It’s better to leave something in the tank, hungry to be active or train with intent again the next day and the next day..

Too light: E.g. lighter than a similar session a week ago, or a missed day or two, and so there is less (or no) supercompensation and actually we can arrive back to a lower baseline than where we were compared to a previous point in time following some great training,

(Ofcourse if we skip exercise/miss it for a few days, this downward trend is what we get). Consistency of regular movement is key for long term health as well as performance.

Graph 3. Long term training effect

A graph showing long term training effect of timing sessions with supercompensation.

So, if we train appropriately, i.e. train again at the time around which we are in peak supercompensation, we can elevate our level above our baseline.

Many of my long-term clients can now see how this has happened successfully over time!

Graph 4. Timing of supercompensation

So this brings me on to the final and most detailed graph. This shows us the different timelines of these supercompensation curves in relation to different specific fitness qualities.

E.g. strength training: Peaking / supercompensation adaptions occur around 48-72 hours after training.

So when we think about Resistance training

Can we now see that it is important to do some resistance training twice / week? There are many different ways to train utilising resistance.

A graph showing various timing of supercompensation with quality trained.

How should you train?

There is plenty of evidence around of people making adaptations through strength training once/week, though there are many other factors involved, including what else what other activities are done in the week, and what type of training programme in relation to experience and current ‘baseline’ shall we say at the start of the programme.

This also shows why when I work with any of my clients for strength qualities, if I generally see them once or twice a week I will always work the whole body in both sessions, and in case they don’t get that opportunity elsewhere in their weekly activity.
If you only work one portion of the body once/week in a certain training method, you are really missing out when it comes to overall performance.

Take what you do currently, and picture what a realistic and best training week of yours should look like?

Choose the qualities you want to work on , set out in a timeline, to aim work them again at the peak of supercompensation.

You can’t do everything at once, but you can train more than one or even two qualities concurrently with skill! This is perfectly possible for you and I in a good routine of doing some form of daily exercise.

Want some help designing your own training calendar with all this in mind? 
Any questions or need some examples?

Drop me a line or ping me a message via my chat bubble! – I would look forward to hearing about what you do.


Why is it so much harder at the moment?

When I was in a rowing squad (2015 feels a long time ago now!…getting older!) it was easy – well the committing to the training consistently – the training itself was ofcourse very very hard.
When I was injured and rehabilitating (2013, 2016) commitment was easy – I had a prescribed block of exercises to do and progress with, I knew I had to do it and why. Motivation was easy.
When I undertook a block of personal training to also gain some CPD if you like, under an S&C coach this commitment was easy too.
In training during my S&C qualification my commitment that year was faultless.


The other perhaps obvious and additional answer is in another question  – well what am I training for?
I’m now strong and fit enough again to do my favourite free sports in my spare time.
I’m healthy and active, my body composition is fine.

So the personal motivation isn’t quite there, even though I know how good I’ll feel generally and what impact and difference this makes in my wellbeing from all the side benefits of consistent training.

Professionally, I’m already used to and comfortable training those far stronger fitter than me now which is great, but I can always get stronger, ( a lot stronger!) and work on both this and technical aspects of S&C.
I must practice what I preach in order to keep relating to the progressions of my clients; be they youth, adult, young, old, someone training for performance, someone for health.

Reasons can be excuses – I don’t have time- I have to put all my time into my business or my clients, or my work, or my relationships, or my house , or whatever it is.
If something is necessary we design the time in.

And am I happy staying still? or de-training? , Hell-no!

So what must the motivation be next?

I realise that I don’t just want more of it I need more of it!

Increasing the personal abilities then returns to actually being linked professionally to ‘knowing or experiencing what it takes’.

Can I become a world-class coach? And why is this linked?

This snatch test is a significant performance benchmark … The strange thing is, I think that I already believe that once I get it, it will have actually been all about the process of getting it that gives me the next level of confidence I need, and then perhaps striving for Strong First certification.

But training alone is damn hard! And I realise that the vast majority of my own Kettlebell training has been on my own!

Who wants to hold me accountable or join in some training?

I first pressed and then snatched a 24kg Kettlebell in late June 2018. This was huge for me, (as I came into S&C well any formal free weights training relatively late) and a year previously I never imagined I’d get to that point.

During July I realised that setting the goal of 100 Snatches in 5 minutes was achievable. (The error was I didn’t set by when, and then reverse engineer / plan backwards accordingly). I think I’d accepted Ah, I’ll be busy with x, y, z, it’s not my priority, I’ll just keep it ticking over and see what happens… Well if I don’t integrate this and get back on it now it might never happen!

Spurred on by new motivation I did well just on once/twice a week specific training and by November I’d hit 37 each side in 5 minutes, and a couple of weeks later 50 each side in 8 minutes.

I’ve certainly experienced some de-training effect , I don’t fancy hitting 24kg  50 snatches on each side tomorrow but I only need a small amount of dedicated time weekly to retrain back to where I was in November and then go on to this Snatch test!

At that point the limiting factor was the strength and power , I had the fitness,
time to get both back and then step it up!

I often find December & January challenging, to stay on top of consistent activity or training.
It’s almost mid-February now… its only  4 months til summer… psychologically it all gets less hard
with more daylight, milder temps…

We all have dips but can still continue to progress over the long term.
Time to strive for a higher personal peak than last summer!

This isn’t even about the snatch test, it’s about maintaining a great all round consistent week/month/year with varied training and sport activities!…to continually progress, up-skill, gain and use experience, gain further confidence.

I need to give reason for some people to hold me to account! Who’s in?!

I’ve had some great advice on stepping up to swinging the 32kg so I’m ‘looking forward’ to that this week.
The most rewarding feelings in sport or in training are bettering oneself in whichever form this takes, while enjoying the process – like learning anything new.
This year I also intend to take up something new, to be a beginner again, to remember what it is like to learn something from scratch.

Another intent of mine this year is to not just listen, but listen and seek to deeper understand, and get to a place where I can ask deeper questions more readily, to then act on this and serve people better and better.

I love aiming to instil in my clients and athletes that they are limitless.

I’ve just posted some little Kettlebell vids from the beach on my Instagram! I also pose some questions for you in that post!

There’s a couple of snatch vids on my you tube channel.
I will be working on these..!

Do check them out and get in touch! It would be cool to hear from you.


NDM Sports & Personal Training brings you “Man-night Mondays!”

Gym too busy? Waiting for your weights or space? Bored of training alone or hitting a plateau?
These are big downers you don’t need!
You need to enjoy being strong and fit in the great company of others! You need to do this through embracing better training.

Come and reap the gains of training with a sociable group of likeminded chaps.

I’ll push you as much as you like, help ensure you progress, or just set or guide the training and let you just crack on.

Lap up the camaraderie, embrace the regular challenges, feel and see your gains.

Often the hardest looking chaps on the outside are the softest (in a good way!) on the inside. Often the most highly trained and skilled men are the humblest.
The Gentleman at training need not worry about offending others with shouting and grunting – it is encouraged! Research actually shows this helps your strength gains.
Testosterone – yes. Politeness – yes, and not because it’s a public facility, but because emanating goodwill, respect, helpfulness, cheerfulness, it’s understood that this all makes us feel better ourselves – not only the person we’re interacting with.

All levels, all ages, everyone is welcome.

At BGS Sports Centre I have stacks of heavy kettlebells for you to chalk up and enjoy, and the cap for the session is 8 men maximum, leaving you a ton of extra space.

I have 24kg x 3, 20kg x 3, 18kg x 1, 16kg x 3, 14 kg x 1, 12kg x 4

Train with a kettlebell, the ultimate in all-round whole-body strength & conditioning training, with one-tool. To get the most benefit it has to be done right! Technique is paramount.

Mood, sleep, energy levels, promoting better eating habits, and much more
For more mental and physical health benefits of resistance training:

Further info:

Kettlebell training is different than other forms of weight training because many parts of the body are exercised simultaneously elevating the heart rate for effective cardiovascular training. Kettlebells can be used in ballistic swinging movements utilizing the whole body along with momentum or used in more traditional press and squat exercises. The displacement of the weight from the hand requires the stabilizing muscles engage more with each movement and therefore requiring more muscle firing at once. Kettlebell exercises are whole-body exercises requiring full body integration and core stabilization.

The 6-week training programmes ensure that you develop multiple strength and fitness qualities. Alongside increasing your technical skills, you are progressively overloaded in demand.

A fantastic facet of Kettlebell training is the vast amount of general transfer and gain to other aspects of daily activity and life, as well as a highly engaging training mechanism itself.

NDM’s sessions have had great reviews and results for a wide range of people, of varying initially strength and fitness levels, varying activity and sporting levels from high as well as low.

If you have never been instructed with kettlebells before or done very little weight training before consider booking a 1:1 directly with Nick at NDM in advance of your first group session.

You may also find a 1:1 highly beneficial ahead of joining in this group training.

A Waiver & medical info form is to be completed online via email invitation link before attending.

Now hit the auto-scroll to top , then hit View Schedule or Book Package headers, top right.

snowboard jump

Autumn Judging

What a fantastic week judging at the BWA Tiree Wave Classic, Round 2 of 4 for the British Wavesailing Title 2016. The weather provided and the sailors ripped. We successfully held double elimination for Pros, youth and junior fleets, 5 rounds for Ladies, and triple eliminations for amateurs and masters fleets!

tiree 16

I was also lucky enough to get on the water around competition, thanks fellas!

Check out the daily videos made by Red Handed TV

BWA Round 3 Cornwall was tricky enough for competitors with the roll-over postponement, Hats off to all who committed to the competition weekend with such tricky conditions.

BWA Round 4 Avon was such a success, perhaps beyond everyone’s highest hopes and expectations. A lot of fun was had during this high pressure/light E’ly weekend… Congrats to all 2016 winners and a thank you to all competitors and event teams for such good vibes.