Keep both feet on the ground

You want to improve your running…

You know that outside of running getting stronger can help…a lot.

You take the time to have a look at what exercises are the best ones to help improve your running…

Put together a little programme for yourself full of single leg exercises and head off to the gym.

Full of enthusiasm to get going.

A few weeks is you notice some of them are starting to get pretty tough to perform.

They were fine when they were light but you struggle for balance as the weight has gotten heavy.

And that’s the problem with the…

“Unilateral training is better for athletes” way of thinking.

They are great for athletes but they do come at a cost…

A lack of stability.

Once you get above a certain weight the need to stabilise your body goes through the roof.

Which kinda takes away from the sole reason you’re in the gym is to get stronger.

And to make significant strength gains we need stability.

Without the stability of two feet on the gym floor…to maximise force and therefore strength.

One way of getting aorund this is to use the safety squat bar.

This frees your hands and allows you to hold onto the rack.

This can be a total gamechanger brining the stability of a bilateral stance to the movement.

It really does let you load it up a lot.

But not everyone has a safety squat bar. 

You can get around this by using dumbbells.

Dumbbells lower your centre of gravity, which helps massively but you can be limited by your grip strength.

Which brings us back to good ole squats and deadlifts.

Unilateral training is great and there are a host of benefits to doing it but bilateral work is still needed…

Even if you do spend all your time on one leg when you’re running.

How to give yourself a superhero makeover

Ever wondered how Hollywood actors like Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth go from looking like your neighbour to, well, a superhero.

The transformation of Chris Hemingsworth when he first played Thor was incredible.

He went from being your typical average-sized actor to, well, looking like Thor.

And Jackman was the same for Wolverine.

And when you look at their training programmes they’re mental.

But, and it’s big but…

All they had to do was turn up and train.

All their food is prepared for them…

Their daily routine is mapped out for them (Basically eat, train, sleep).

All of which goes to show when it really comes down to it

The foundations for successful training aren’t laid down in the gym or on the road.⁠

But in the supermarket…⁠

The kitchen…

And the bedroom (get your mind out of the gutter)…⁠

If you get your food and sleep nailed down you’ll achieve a degree of success regardless of the programme you use.

Skip these basics and no amount of killer training sessions or well thought out programmes will give you the success you desire.⁠

With food, getting your 5-a-day is the absolute bare minimum you should be doing.

And I’d recommend doubling this over time.

Ensuring that you have a large volume of veggies in your diet does a few different things but the big thing for me is processing power.

Lots of veggies mean lots of nutrients.

Which are essential for hormone production.

This means faster tissue repair of the damage caused by training and a more effective conversion of food into energy.

And therefore super important for recovering from training.

Which neatly brings us to sleep.

Sleep is where most of your recovery takes place.

Anabolic hormones flood your body an hour or so after you fall asleep

And these are essential for tissue repair.

So failing to get a good night’s sleep is to self-sabotage your chances of success.

And even one poor night’s sleep can have a big impact.

Less than 6 hours of sleep has the same effect on your cognitive function as being over the drink driving limit.

Continued poor sleep makes this worse. And the effects of a period of poor sleep are sneaky.

Because you only notice the difference between today and yesterday.

Not between today and how you felt 5 days ago.

You don’t feel much worse but you’re gradually feeling more tired and cranky.

And along with this your performance and ability to adapt continue to decline.

You then need not just lie in but an extended period of time where you’re sleeping well to get back on track.

So do yourself a favour and think more of doubling your 5-a-day and watch how your recovery and performance improve.

Does intermittent fasting work? (Guest post by Alex Neilan “The Sport Dietitian)

I’m really pleased to be able to bring you some advice from Edinburgh’s top dietitian, Alex “The Sport Dietitian” Neilan. This will be the first of regular input from Alex. The goal is to bring you solid, evidence-based dietry advice to help you stay healthy and maximise your performance.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, rather a dietary pattern, meaning it does not dictate which food should be eaten, rather when food should be eaten. Intermittent fasting is currently very popular among the health and fitness

Continue reading “Does intermittent fasting work? (Guest post by Alex Neilan “The Sport Dietitian)”

Back Pain Myths Busted

You love playing golf, going to boot camp classes or CrossFit, running or perhaps it’s BJJ or tennis that is your thing. Regardless it is regularly interrupted by back pain.

You can’t think why as there is no obvious cause.

But you’ve got sharp, achy, persistent back pain that doesn’t seem to be going, it’s easy to just accept it, carry on with your life thinking it’s something that just “happens with age”.

You might have the odd occasion when your back pain frees up, you think that’s it, it won’t come back…

…Days, hours or even minutes later the pain has returned, and it’s even worse than before.

All you can think is “why is this lasting so long?” “How long will it take before it gets right?”

“Why is this happening to me?”

We understand how frustrating this can be, affecting your mood, energy and the way you’re moving every day.

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the misinformation around back pain.

Continue reading “Back Pain Myths Busted”

3 questions you should ask about exercise and back pain

What questions should you be asking about exercise and back pain if you’ve hurt your back? Of all the aches, pains and injuries we suffer from back pain is the one that is clouded in the most mystery. Spoken of like a death sentence in newspapers, magazines, on the news and social media nothing could further from the truth.

If you happen to have hurt your back what questions should you be asking about what to do? Continue reading “3 questions you should ask about exercise and back pain”

Breathe In Breathe Out

As obvious as it may sound but getting your breathing correct is really important.

I’ve noted before that I place a big emphasis on breathing during the rehab process. I do this because of how we can influence the autonomic nervous system, basically how we control whether we are in rest and digest mode or fight/flight mode.

I was reminded yesterday of how big an impact it can have.


Continue reading “Breathe In Breathe Out”

Everything Is Awsome


Everything is awesome

I have to admit that the tagline on the photo is a blatant steal from the Lego Movie.

If you haven’t seen it, I have several times now, though not by choice, the main character sings this at the start of his day. Well before everything goes a bit Pete Tong and Bad Cop and President Business get in on the act.

When back pain, or any other issue, appears on the seen it can seem a bit like this where one day it’s “Everything Is Awesome” and the next it’s like you’ve been struck with the evil Kragle and can’t move.

It’s pretty hard to feel like everything is awesome at this point. Continue reading “Everything Is Awsome”