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A Blog Post

Deadlifts are evil

Pretty much every gym on the planet, corporate or otherwise, offers personal training and in my opinion it’s not necessarily a good thing. This is not a rant about personal trainers per se but more about the state of the industry. I’ve been in the Iron game now for about 20 years and that’s as an instructor, if you include the 6 years of training myself and my mates in various garage gyms, I’ve been doing this kinda thing for over a quarter of a century. Which makes me ancient and massively opinionated, what it doesn’t make me, however, is right. I reckon that in the past 4 years I’ve learnt more, far more, than in the past 20+. Most of this new found knowledge has come from hanging out with the boys ( and girls) at my little ol’ gym and shooting the shit. Most of the fine people I’m lucky enough to have working for me are in their early 20’s and their thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm to improve themselves is infectious. The other big aide to improved knowledge comes from the Internet and fantastic sites like T-nation, EliteFTS, Bodybuilding.com to name but a few. Sport science is still in it’s infancy and so much about physical performance and the outer limits of what the human body is capable of is still not fully understood. So one of the (increasingly many) things that bugs the crap out of me are trainers who sit in their ivory towers and preach that it’s their way or the highway.

I seem to have gone somewhat off topic as I started talking about personal training. I was a personal trainer for about 12 years, so I’m not knocking the profession, but if so many gyms have them and if you’re a new-bug PT it seems to me that you’d be encouraged to stand out from the crowd in an attempt to pick up any of the business that is out there. And it is here where my gripe lies. I have seen PT’s do all manner of bizarre exercises to confused clients in an effort to seem unique. Rarely do clients follow a properly thought out linear/periodised program as every session has to be chock full of ‘shock and awe’ movements. Most sessions seem to leave clients on the verge of vomiting or passing out as if the extremeness of the workout is a measure of it’s effectiveness. Never have I seen any PT prescribe a de-load session or spend at least 1 entire workout re-enforcing exercise technique.
The main point of all this bile spewing forth is the massive encyclopedia of exercises that clients have to perform in any given session instead of sticking to the basics and striving to improve them.
Here is a list of all the exercises I think you will ever need to do:


  • overhead pressing in all it’s various forms
  • bench pressing in all it’s glorious ways
  • deadlifts in every shape and hue
  • squats and the myriad of guises it takes on


  • snatches
  • cleans
  • jerks
  • plyometric jumps/pushes/throws etc


  • loaded carries
  • complexes
  • EDT training
  • crossfit
  • kettlebells
  • boxing/mma/muay thai etc
  • sprints


  • push ups
  • pull ups
  • dips
  • burpees and similar

Now, that does seem like quite a list of stuff BUT you’re not supposed to do all of them in the same day! Pick a theme for your current workout regime and do 75% of your exercises from that category, then do 1 exercise from the other groups to round out your session and add some variety. No one can be amazing at it all, all of the time. Train consistently and stick to the basics and you’ll get there, I promise. As Gaz (one of the loons that works for me) said to me recently “Buy 5/3/1 program from EliteFTS. Do 5/3/1 program. Repeat until awesome!”
Here’s what I did:
5 mins of cycling
Lots of squats and lunges to get warmed up
3 sets of snatches to get really warmed up
Rack pull deadlifts – sets of 5 reps working up to 160kg
Bent over rows – 4 sets 10 reps @ 60kg, these were done with a static hold for 2 secs at the top of each rep
Lat pulldown – 4 sets of 10 done as above
TRX inverse rows – 4 sets of 10 done as above
10mins of interval training on the cross trainer
Good workout.

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