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.

Measuring improvement!

In the fitness industry I see so many randomly designed workouts put out there, but very little programming with progressive overload!
Likely because the former is easy, and the latter is harder and skilled…
You know which one gives you actual benefits…

What’s the point unless you know you’re getting fitter/stronger etc?
Ok sure, body composition alone is a big motivator for many but it’s all a lot more fun when that’s the secondary gain not the primary aim…

Also knowing when we’re training to maintain, and not lose strength/fitness we’ve gained previously.

Whatever activities or sport you do, putting in at least 1 quality strength and conditioning session/week is important to compliment them, for injury prevention, improved performance, or simply making day to day tasks easier, and all the other good stuff alongside Benefits of Resistance training like improved mood, rest, sleep.

You could do this where-ever you are.

I’ve been working with a professional windsurfer,
Amongst several movement and performance benchmarks , pulling movements are important, so training to increase strength, power and endurance qualities of these , measuring increased load or reps transfers to making the sport easier (simplistically speaking)
Bracing the trunk is key so great core strength and control is a must, as is testing the training that it’s having the desired effect!

A distance runner reported increased speed at events that he put down to feeling of robustness through the kettlebell work, (even from low loads) e.g. with split squats ensuring movement was powerful, speedy. (He hadn’t changed anything else in his running program)

One of my regulars at Kettlebell small group training at Kellaway avenue loves the upper body and trunk strength compliment to her Pole Dancing & instruction.

I’m working with a snowboarder, who is quite the gymnast, is already proficient in strength training, so Olympic lifting is exciting for him, which transfers to the jump and land nature and repeated precision efforts.

Personally, I went through  a tough time just fitting in or planning any training for myself over the winter into spring.
Something I did do though was make sure I maintained…
e.g. 10 minutes of hard kettlebell work before or after a class was enough, when done right.
20 minutes on the barbell keeping the movement and power aspects going on Olympic lifting,
4 bouts of power15 strokes on the rower over a 2km base paddle.

More recently I’ve managed to practice what I preach again! And have felt all the prior mentioned benefits..

My kettlebell bunch have inspired me with this! – I’ve said it before – As they upped their strength, I felt I had to also!
We all did some Snatch ‘tests’ every so often, the buzz of improved scores is real! It’s been rewarding to see you guys and gals hit this…

I’m still steadily working towards 50 each side on 24kg in 5 minutes… 3 weeks ago I managed 37 each side, Last week 50 each side in 8 minutes.
6 months ago I seriously hadn’t thought I could make a single rep on the 24kg
The single arm press was key to the confidence here, after enough reps on 16kg
(My latest bouts on YouTube here!)

These are just a few examples, in each there are clear measurements that help see one’s development of fitness and strength qualities
These don’t have to be painful and horrible, they can be a ‘fun’ part of training,
they should be relevant to your needs and what you’re trying to achieve or develop
20 seconds max power on the rower
20s max power on ski erg
500 m rower
1.5 mile run
Split squat max reps on say a 70% load
max pull ups
max press ups
30 minute Watt bike
heart rate recovery from a 70% 5 minute effort of something,
after 1 min, after 2 min

If you’re unsure if you’re making best use of your own training time, just drop me a line for a free consultation where I’ll find out about your needs and could likely help you understand if you’re maintaining, detraining, or improving!
A 1:1 session including some benchmark testing/training would reframe where you’re at and empower you with greater understanding of what you’d gain by training with new specifics in mind, bespoke to you, for the next month or two.

Have a great November with all that you do!


Jo, supine pulls

Rich, (runner) Sled Push. Circuits at BGS

Physical and mental health benefits of resistance training:

Here’s a quality list from the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria:

“Physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training include:

improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury

maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age

weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest

may help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people

greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily

prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity

pain management

improved mobility and balance

improved posture

decreased risk of injury

increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis

improved sense of wellbeing – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood

improved sleep and avoidance of insomnia

increased self-esteem

enhanced performance of everyday tasks.”



Which facets of health do you think you could improve the most during the next month or two? by making a small change?
 This needs to be something which you can adhere to and engrain in a new routine. Get a friend or colleague to hold you accountable!
Please comment!


Training for adaptation

The various S&C sessions I run for the public are more than just increasing people’s strength and fitness; people help themselves with above as a by-product. Therefore, knowing I facilitate this is massively rewarding.

When it comes to resistance training, (use of weights, or in cases resistance bands can provide enough stimulus) find something of quality which you enjoy doing.
This must be something you’ll be up for sticking with, for at least a few months so that you can adequately progress, consequently making the adaptions which allow our bodies to then reap these health benefits.
Moving well when developing your resistance training is fundamental, and quality coaching is a necessity.

Mental and Physical links

Last week saw World mental health day. Personally, when I really stop and think about it, pain management (physical and mental link with this), improved sleep, sense of wellbeing are likely at the top of my own list of ‘the why of weight training’. Healthy mind; healthy body (people normally say this the other way around), this cause-effect works both ways.

Which health benefits did you already know?
Which didn’t you know?
Please comment.


My previous blog post featured Strength Matters’ ‘6 pillars of health’ podcast.
Do listen to this if you havent yet,
Why not have a go like I did of reflecting on how you are doing with them, out of 10.
Furthermore, getting these right as we go deeper into autumn can often feel harder to attain. Most exercise should leave you energised rather than past fatigue point.

What is interesting also is that no matter how high the level of the individual, getting the foundations right is key.

Previous week         –       Following week

Breathing            5             7    I went back to 3 minutes’ focus first thing in the morning in the lounge
Locomotion        4             7    I’d been sitting or standing still too much, not enough walking!
Hydration           7             7    Not bad, always tricky around my work
Daily joint mobility 7         8    I just gave this an extra minute’s thought/day
Diet habits          8             8    (They’re not bad!)
Rest                     6             8    Resistance training properly meant prompted earlier nights & better sleep

I just picked the two easiest to improve on first, I certainly felt the benefits.
Let me know yours!

Bespoke Into training sessions

If you would like to try one of my group training sessions, I have spaces at my bespoke free intro sessions:

For testimonials, check out my promotional video here and my google reviews

Kettlebell training Wed 17 Oct  Mind Body Studio, Westbury Park

Circuits session Thur 18 Oct  BGS sports centre

Small group personal training Tue 23 Oct BGS sports centre

If you are considering personal training or small group personal training please also browse here: