Friday, 26 March 2010


This morning, I had a very interesting training session with one of my clients. I have been training Andrew for about a year. When we started training Andrew had so called "bad knee", which according to his words qualified for surgery. He was a keen runner (which due to his knee problem he couldnt continue) and his only experience with weight training was - isolation movements and machines. Over the first few months we worked mostly on stability and techniques for basic lifts like deadlift, front squat, single legged stuff, etc.
Andrew has become much stronger, his knees are perfectly fine, he not only came back to runnning but also enjoys heavy lifting. Sounds good... however, there is one problem - his confidence. Although it has grown over the months, he still has got a little voice in his head telling him - " you cant do it" when he approaches a weight that is close or slightly above his PB.
I know he has got a great potential and is much stronger than he believes he is, but he stops his progression through psyching himself up - NOT to lift/push/pull beyond his comfort zone. Is it possible to overcome that fear, without actually getting your client injured? This morning, I have decided to do something, that is against most of the theories I have learned about the training. I have combined heavy deadlifts and heavy cleans in one session. Shouldn't have worked - but ..... Andrew hit his new PB on both lifts, with a perfect technique and great confidence. How did it work... After the warm up we built it up to heavy deadlift (in Andrew's case it was 80% of his 1RM). He did 3x deadlift with this weight and then immediately moved to 3x clean with 60% of his 1RM. After 2 mins of rest I have increased the weight on the bar for cleans (up to 65%) and kept the same weight for DL's. He repeated 3 deadlifts followed by 3 cleans.
Then: DL's up to 85% 2 reps
Clean up to 70% 2 reps, Rest (plenty 2-3 mins)
DL's up to 90% 2 reps
Clean up to 80% 2 reps, rest as above
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean up to 85% 2 reps, rest
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean 90% 1 rep, rest
DL's @ 90% 2 reps
Clean 100% 1 rep, rest
DL's @ 100% 1 rep
Clean - new PR, rest
DL's - new PR
Note there was no rest between deadlifts and cleans. As soon as he hit his PB on cleans he realised that the heavy deadlift was there to trick his mind. Andrew said, that cleans felt very light after performing heavy deadlift(s). The method worked for Andrew, I don't know if it works for anyone else. It only shows that most of the time we have to think outside the box to get the best out of our clients. Andrew has made me really proud this morning.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

It All Went A Bit Wrong At The Boxing Club

Not sure what happened, but today was one of those days. We were one Boxing Coach down, and the Boxers and Keep Fitters were pouring through the door. To top it off we had a batch of new starters who were clearly fish out of water. We took our time to put them on the right track, but some just weren't 'getting' it. We were clearly out numbered and struggled to stay on top of things.

The Boxers who are fighting for the championships this weekend, were arriving 45 minutes and then some into the session, dragging their feet. People were wandering off, standing around chatting doing their own thing. Not paying attention, being reckless. Head Coach Khan soon reminded them,

"You're here to train! This is not Boxercise. We train like Boxers. If you Don't like it, F**k off out the door!".

They soon focused on the task in front of them, but enthusiasm began to fade. It soon became clear that as we rounded up for circuit training, the club was frustrated. The Coaches were frustrated. The atmosphere was bleak. Head Coach Khan started, Cj continued. after a series of grueling bodyweight pieces, we truly finished them off with a Coach Skala classic....

Burpee Ladder

Burpee x 10
Burpee x 20
Burpee x 30
Burpee x 40

By the second set, the scale of the task ahead became apparent to all at the gym, and voices of discontent became louder. Frustrated, swearing, grunting and all sorts of medieval noises could be heard. Some at the club were even cheating and cutting corners. Cj took a different track to keep the boxers motivated from the third set.

"When I've finished counting to 30. You know if you've done 30 burpees or not. If you haven't, continue until you have completed."

Cj was surrounded by miserable faces. He continued,

"Don't do this for me. Don't do this for Sid (Head Coach). Do it for yourself. Do it because it will make you fitter. Do it because it will make you stronger physically and mentally. Do it because you will be better off for it."

Did some people still cheat in the third and fourth set? you bet they did. But a large number continued to complete their Burpees even when Cj had finished counting. A large number understood that by cheating, they were only cheating themselves. That what mattered in the end, is that at any one time they honestly gave it all they had.

That's what made today a valuable session for not only the boxers, but the Coaches as well.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Full Throttle Fitness W.O.W #11

Coach Skala and Cj Swaby were reunited again for this weeks session. With the Earlsfield Boxers preparing for the ABA Championships, Cj thought it only right to put together a session in their honour. The Mixcex Circuit Training and Tabata pieces are a perfect workout for boxers and those who want to train like a fighter.

To our dismay, Kat decided that she would finish US OFF with a brutal test of isometric leg strength endurance. The woman is phenomenal. Here is what we got up to..

Full Throttle Fitness Workout Of The Week #11 (W.O.W)

Warm Up: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Movement

Section 1: Cj Swaby

20:10 Modified Tabata Boxers Circuit

4 exercises. 20 seconds work : 10 second change over. x 3 rounds

1) Speed Punch with JC Santana Predator Bands
2) Medicine Ball Rotational Slam
3)Hand to Hand Swings
4) Skipping

Then into Single Arm Jerk Ladder.

Select three weights, one heavy, one moderately heavy, and one lighter weight. It goes something like this

1) Jerk x 1 minute per arm (Heavy weight)
2) Jerk x 2 minutes per arm (Moderately heavy weight)
3) Jerk x 3 minutes per arm (Lighter weight)

Then this is where the session took a bit of a turn....

Section 2: Coach Skala

A simple piece to finish, it was

20 walking lunges (knee to the ground)
30 second squat hold (with back to the wall)

x 5 rounds no rest.

So it was all going to plan, then on the final round Kat decided to lay down the gauntlet and set the group a challenge. The challenge? Hold the final wall squat for 3 minutes.

Lesson learned: When you take on Katarina Helcmanovska in a isometric leg strength endurance contest the only place available to you is 2nd!! Awesome. The clip will follow in a few days so you can see what we got up to.

Full Throttle Fitness

Saturday 12;15pm - 1:15pm
Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, Clapham, SW4 6LE
T: 07903 210 510 / 07859 803 793

Thursday, 18 March 2010

6 Reasons Why MMA Will Never Defeat Boxing

Cj Swaby Sends Word

Mixed Martial Arts, affectionately know as MMA has really come of its own lately. MMA Clubs have been popping up in the UK like daffodils in Spring. Before I get into the meat of this article, let me state my allegiance. I love boxing. Have been involved in it for well over fifteen years now. But that's not the reason I think MMA has a tremendously (yes, tremendously)long way to travel before it even touches the heels of boxing.

Let me also confess something else, I like a bit of MMA. Randy Couture is one of my all time favourite fighters, and it was the great man himself that got me interested into freestyle wrestling. I mean, you'll even find me down at London Shoot Fighters switching levels, shooting for a single leg take down, or riding the pipe to a double leg flare on occasion. Even against my better judgment, you may find me sitting in the stalls at the Troxy taking in Utlimate Challenge.

Now, my personal preference has nothing to do with the fact why I think MMA could not K.O Boxing in the UK (not anytime soon at least).It's to do with the infrastructure of each. MMA and Boxing are two very different animals indeed. I think the disparity between the two in the UK will become obvious for anyone willing to see past all the UFC hype, and will need to be addressed for MMA to grow and learn from boxing's mistakes, plus borrow from what boxing does extremely well.

1) Boxing has strong Amateur Roots

Boxing Clubs are often an integral part of the community. According to the A.B.A London Website there are 19 Clubs in London alone affiliated to the ABA London. Compare this to the dedicated MMA clubs in london and the difference in presence alone is obvious (this is not even considering clubs nationwide).

Boxing has annual regional championships, National Championships and others (to name but a few) for the Novice and Open Class Amateur to participate in.

Boxing has a strong rehab connection. There are schemes that cater for 'disenfranchised youths' and ex-offenders to try and keep them on the straight and narrow. The NHS even has referral schemes for Mental Health, Four-Weight World Champion Duke McKenzie, runs a successful 12 week scheme in Croydon which recently featured on the BBC and in the Big Issue.

For MMA to flourish and reach its full potential, it cannot be just a spectator sport. It needs to have strong grass roots to provide the next pool of talent, plus give back to the community and get involved so that it has that loyal support, and is not just the 'Next big thing' that dies a sudden death.

2) You can Box for England at the Olympics, You can't MMA for your country

This has to do with organisational infrastructure on a National and International level. If they are invovled in sport children and adults aspire to represent their country, as a media spectacle and rallying the nation together (a political agenda - but don't get me started), sport is a perfect vehicle for that.

Even if you don't make it to the Olympics you can still represent your country, and this only adds value to you as a Boxer should you deem to go professional.

3) The UK has a strong Pro Boxing system in place

Pro Boxing is a business. So is Pro MMA. Take this test, as this is an eye opener in itself. Name me 5 Millionaire UK MMA Fighters (didn't take you long did it?) Now name me 5 Millionaire UK Boxers (you see where I'm going right?).

Plus, Frank Warren, Barry Hearns, Frank Maloney these promoters are legends. They have generated many multi millionnaires in their time. While not all boxers are millionnaires, it can happen. The delivery system is in place.

4) MMA is Alien

MMA as a sport is not as accepted within the general media, while love him or hate him Alex Reid has raised MMA's profile a little (albeit in a WWF / WWE type style). Up and Down the UK the names of David Haye, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton are more likely to have been heard off than their UK MMA counterparts.

5) Royal Seal of Approval & Backed By Armed Forces

The Duke of Edinburgh is the Patron Saint of the ABA - can't get better than Royal seal of approval. With this backing comes vested interests (commercial and otherwise). MMA would benefit from a figure head of good standing to get behind it. Boxing is also integral to parts of the British Armed Forces, and they have boxing teams which actively compete.

These are just 5 reasons I think MMA need to address for it to fully realise its full potential here in the UK. I think a strong grass roots amateur base is key. The sport needs to become accessible, not just as a viewing medium, but also for people to participate. Once the it has truly integrated into the social fabric of this country it will become unstoppable. However, let me reiterate, Boxing and MMA while both combat sports, are two very distinct animals that could actually benefit from each other, and help each other to excel. Just my two pennies worth.

The 6th Reason I'll leave up to you.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Workout Of The Week (W.O.W) #10

Last Saturday we have decided to have some "fun". Sabina has just come back from her training trip to the US. She thought what would happen if we combined 2 training sessions in one (both sessions were "stolen" - part 1 from Nico - Romanian KB trainer, who works with US Special Forces; part2 from Gym Jones).

If you could survive special forces training "complemented" with Gym Jones leg killer - you can survive everything. This time we didnt plan any particular outcome, it was a fun, an experiment and mental toughness test. David, who smashed both workouts has made Sabina very proud!

Joint mobility warm up

Part 1 (Nico's KB Hell):
Done with 2x 16kg KB's
1 rep of each, then 2 reps of each, then 3 reps of each

Double Clean
Double Clean + Renegade Row
Double Clean + Renegade Row + Burpee to push up

Looks like:
Round 1: 1x Double Clean; 1x Double Clean + Renegade Row; 1x Double Clean + Renegade Row + Burpee
Round 2: 2x Double Clean; 2x Double Clean + Renegade Row; 2x Double Clean + Renegade Row + Burpee
Round 3: 3x Double Clean; 3x Double Clean + Renegade Row; 3x Double Clean + Renegade Row + Burpee

1 rep of each, then 2 reps of each, then 3 reps of each

Double Clean
Double Clean + Front Squat
Double Clean + Fron Squat + Thruster

1 rep of each, then 2 reps of each, then 3 reps of each


Then rest for 3 - 4 mins

Part 2 (Gym Jones):

7 rounds of:
30 sec of box jumps
1 min step ups
30 sec rest
Numbers to hit - 15+ box jumps, 30+step ups

Then rest for 2 mins:

5 rounds of

20 lunges
30 sec wall sit
(David had to hold 12 kg KB for the last 3 sets during the wall sit)

1000m row for time (just to finish off ;)

Cool down.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Full Throttle Fitness W.O.W No 9 (C'mon Vogue!)

Here we are. Work out of the week number 9. With Coach Skala off training at Gym Jones in America (and plotting with Mark Twight their UK workshops arrival) it was left to Cj Swaby to hold fort.

Having just edited an article by Steve Cotter for Fighters Only magazine about Strength-Power-Endurance (SPE) protocol for MMA fighters, Cj thought it only right to pay homage by utilising SPE protocol in our mixed circuit training (MCT). This type of training is great for MMA fighters looking to mimic the energy system requirements of their sport. We finished this off with a timed kettlebell set and a little bit of help from Madonna (it will soon become clear).

Full Throttle Fitness Work out of the Week No 9(C'mon Vogue)

Section 1

Warm Up: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Movement

Main Section: Mixed Circuit Training using SPE

The exercises

1)Double Kettlebell Jerk (Men: 24kg or 16kg / Ladies 12kg or 8kg)
2)Skipping (speed rope)
3)Sandbag Squat with "Tornado" rotation
4)Marine kit bag/ Punch bag: Shoot and flip

5 stations x 1 Minute each
Complete 3 rounds.
Rest 40 seconds between rounds

Section 2

12 minute continuous Kettlebell set

1)Single Kettlebell Snatch x 4 minutes (alternating 1 min per arm)
2)Single arm Kettlebell Jerk s x 4 min (alternating 1 min per arm)
3)Single Kettlebell Snatch x 2 minutes (alternating 1 minute per arm)
4)Single arm kettlebell Jerk x 2 minutes (alternating 1 minute per arm)

The Finisher

After a flash of inspiration, we did a timed steady state run and shoulder dip press up. This is how it went down.

Run two lengths of the gym then 10 shoulder dip press ups (see video clip below). Do this until Madonna's song 'Vogue' finishes. What we didn't realise is that the into to vogue is actually rather long, we had done about 40 press ups each and she hadn't even started singing! Believe you me, we weren't striking any poses after that track finished.

Full Throttle Fitness Class

Saturday's 12:15pm - 1:15pm
Balance Physiotherapy 113 Gauden Road, London SW4 6LE

T: 07903 201 510/ 07859 803 793

Friday, 5 March 2010

W.O.W - workout of the week 27th Feb

The training we did last weekend:

10 KB swings
1 burpee,
10 KB swings
2 burpees, 10 swings 3 burpees, etc... up to 10 swings 10 burpees
3 mins rest

then 5 rounds of KB Complex:
10x renegade row
10x push ups
10x clean
10x front squat
10x push press
10x double swing

Done in a race format. Winner chooses a "punishment" for the 2nd place, 2nd place chooses a panishment for the 3rd place etc...

Rest for 4 mins
KB Snatch ladder 10 - 1

BW squat ladder - Tag Team
("rest" in a squat position while other player (s) squat, the more people involved the harder it becomes)