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Fitness Questions From Instagram (December 2021)

How to boost strict bar muscle up reps, the best resources to learn ‘movement’ & ideas for faster progress with the reverse Nordic curl/active hero pose…

I’m trying to boost my muscle up reps for a comp near the end of the year and I’m currently doing 5×2 (with 10kg) then taking the weight off and going straight into 3 more reps with my bodyweight, to make up the traditional 5×5. What do you think of this? Any good? Or any other ideas?

Here’s an idea: how about doing 5×2 with 10kg added and then doing 5×3 with just your bodyweight? That way you’re getting the same volume but without the fatigue factor, that’s surely got to be showing itself when you come to the successive +10kg muscle up sets!

This way you’ll keep your form much better than the other way. The only thing this approach lacks is fatigue itself but there are a few ways we can get around that…

  1. You can stay with the structure suggested above & work to cut the rest down week to week – but only to a sensible amount. It will depend mostly on how south your form goes when the rest gets so small?
  2. You can keep the rest periods set and quality high for the 5×2 & 5×3, then run a separate EMOM (Every-Minute-On-The-Minute) structure where you aim to push it a bit – you can start with 1-2 muscle ups each minute and crank them up to 3, 4 or 5 eventually.
  3. You can do your way on one day and my way on another day, and just keep them decently apart across the space of a week.
  4. You can even do the EMOM approach separately from the weighted approach.

It all comes down to what else you do through the week, how much you’re finding you’re making progress, how fast you want/need to make progress and ultimately, the feedback from your body once you try a given template.

How did you get your knowledge in regards to ‘movement’? Are there any specific resources you’d recommend? I would love to learn more than the generic YouTube based stuff. That’s boring.

(BACK STORY: this was asked to me on the spot and it stumped me a bit because the answer is super detailed and almost impossible to come up with off the tongue. So I put my answer in an Instagram message instead!)

I guess the knowledge base I have is down to my interpretation of dozens and dozens of books, coaches, courses, classes, personal training sessions and my own sessions, too.

All of that as well as hours and hours’ worth of absorbing info from YouTube, Reddit, various fitness websites and the internet in general.

Much of the knowledge I have was acquired because I was genuinely curious and passionate about the topic/subject matter. There’s been many a Saturday evening where I’ve pondered why I can pull high and fast, yet my front lever row is so bad. I’ve googled it and found no resources on it directly, and then struck gold stumbling on a reddit thread that’s either confirmed my theory, or added to a theory I had.

I’ve always liked mystery and hate not being able to solve them. This shows in the girls I seem to like *sigh* but on the plus, it makes me love learning even for learning’s sake!

But to answer your question, I’ll keep it quite brief and spare elaborating on everything I list and just list them. Much of what I list will be fairly self-explanatory as to the realm of the content.

  • Strength Camp (Elliott Hulse)
  • Overtime Athletes (Chris Barnard; also associated with Elliott back in the day)
  • Charles Poliquin (athletic based strength training)
  • Jason Ferruggia (fundamental laws of training a wide population & lots of gold concerning running a gym/business etc)
  • Paul Chek (holistic health approach & nutrition – also lots of gold on functional training, too)
  • Ryan Faehnle (hardly known GENIUS when it comes to programming for everything; be it bodybuilding, athletics, dieting & more)
  • FitnessFAQs (Daniel Vadnal – an almost perfect mix of empirical evidence, scientific research & theory all blended in and presented in an easy to digest manner)
  • Emmet Louis (everything pertaining to mobility/flexibility and even handbalance/calisthenics/gymnastics. What Emmet doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing)
  • Cal Dietz (a highly respected/rated strength & conditioning coach – author of Triphasic Training. Everything related to speed, power & strength development for sports is Cal’s speciality)
  • Every client/person I’ve had the pleasure of working with in a coaching capacity. They’re your best teachers in many ways as they show you what works in the real world. They force you to problem solve and you notice patterns; universal laws almost & variations alike. If you’re observant enough you can learn loads ‘unofficially’ in the fitness/movement scene.

I could be even more specific but I’ll leave it there for now. It’s essentially years and years’ worth of accumulated information across both theoretical and practical modalities.

I’ve seen your recent progress with the reverse Nordic curl and wondered if you had any tips for it? I seem to remember you dabbling with it way back but it looks so much more improved now?

Yes! I’m glad you noticed – this is my newest skill or ‘unlock’. It took me quite a while from when I first saw/knew about it, mind you. But I’ve really made some leaps and bounds with it lately. So much so I’m making both a video and written tutorial/walkthrough on the move! So keep your eyes out for that.

I won’t go too in depth here as everything will be covered in the upcoming tutorial but if I could give one paramount tip, it would be to use a training method that’s objective as opposed to subjective. Think bands vs height markers. One is subjective, the other is objective.

Also where you sequence the move will make a lot of difference. Like they always say, what gets attacked first, foremost and freshest, will progress the most. So it needs to be a priority if you want to get better at it. No fucking way, right?!

And the last little tidbit I’ll give here is to be sure the position is as easy to access as possible (flexibility). If you can’t get into it, you can’t really train it.

Above all though you have to be motivated, or at least I had to be. I had to really want it and have it in my head that I did, or else I don’t push hard enough. Understanding the move and its benefits will help with this one – this again will be covered in more detail in my tutorial coming soon (shameless plug, I know).

And that’s this year’s Q&A done and dusted, guys. I can’t believe where the year has gone, as cliche as it sounds.

I was in two minds about continuing these Q&As into the new year but the popularity of them tells me all I need to know. So it looks like they’re here to stay!

If you want your question featured in next year’s feature, you know what to do: follow me on Instagram (@straight_talking_fitness) and hit me with a direct message. If social media is the devil to you, don’t worry, send me an old school email instead:

Let’s see what 2022 brings in terms of questions!

Until then….

JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

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