Want to get fitter, stronger and add some muscle in 2019? You’re not alone, but did you know that just focussing on those ‘mirror muscles’ can actually hold back your gains and make it harder to build a capable, highly functioning body? Max Cotton is a PT on a mission to help his clients become functionally fitter and stronger, so that whatever your body and sport goals, you can make 2019 your winning year.
Cotton has competed in everything from combat sports to triathlons over the last decade, so he knows firsthand the benefits of using your gym time to build a more capable body – and that with the right workout you’ll end up looking great too, as a happy side effect.
Cotton’s brand new The Badass System online training programme can take you from the couch to hitting more milestones than ever this year. He has designed an exclusive 2-week taster workout plan – inspired by The Badass System – for the RSNG community to tackle as the first step to success. It will get you fitter, stronger, and even start to build new muscle if you eat additional calories and protein. Read his pro tips for getting started, and then get ready to for your own fitness and strength journey…
Max Cotton’s Pro Tips For New Year Workouts
1. Be Smart When Choosing A Gym ‘Don’t let cost be the only factor in choosing your gym membership – the budget gyms massively oversell their memberships so you can’t go at peak times. Go and look at peak hours, like Monday evenings, and check the equipment – basic free weights are best and you don’t need machines.’
Be prepared to make training an obligation not an option
2. Find A Time Of Day And Stick To It ‘Train the same time of day every day if you can. Consider trying to train in the mornings before work so that nothing is going to get in the way of your training.’
3. Consistency Is Key ‘Be prepared to make training an obligation not an option – get pissed off if you miss a workout. Consistency is key and the more you miss the easier it is to miss more. By keeping it consistent you will not get the feeling of having training for six months and getting nowhere.’
4. Make Time For Ying As Well As Yang ‘Make time for recovery, by seeking out a yoga class or pilates – yin yoga classes hold positions for a long time and are great. You’re doing all of the ‘yang’ in your training so you need to balance it out.’
5. Don’t Burn Out ‘Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “I have not trained for months but I have made my new years resolution” – don’t burn out. There is a difference between motivation and discipline, so be realistic with the programming, start with 2-4 sessions a week and maintain the same number each week.’
6. Stick To A Plan ‘Do follow a programme – don’t assume that you can go without a plan. You can’t track your progress and your workouts will suffer if you turn up and just say, “I’m going to do arms”. All Badass workouts could be done in 45-60 minutes but don’t use time spent in the gym as a reflection of how hard you have worked.’
7. Looking Good Will Come Naturally ‘The Badass System programme is about more than just looking good – it’s what under the surface: strength heart and lungs, core strength, mobility and resistance to injury. It’s the programme to make you superfit.’
A warm body has a much lower chance of injury!
Exclusive The Badass System 2-Week Training Plan
This is a complete programme, covering all movement patterns to make you a stronger, fitter, more robust human. If following for more than two weeks, record your weights, reps and cardio numbers and look to progress every 2-3 weeks. If you find yourself about to do an exercise you have not before then ask a fitness instructor to check your form to avoid injury. And check with your doctor before starting any new high intensity exercise.
Make sure you warm up properly before each session. Dynamic stretching (keeping the stretch moving) throughout the whole body will prime your ligaments, joints and muscles for exercise. A warm body has a much lower chance of injury!
Day 1: Strength
1. Barbell Bench Press, Supersets: 4 Reps: 10 Rest: 90-120 secs between supersets
Position bench so that your head is underneath the bar, grip bar with hands just over shoulder-width apart.
Control the descent in a straight line, lightly touching your chest at the bottom. Do not let your elbows drive outwards towards your shoulders, then drive up.
After completing ten reps, move immediately onto the Deficit Row (below) for ten reps, before resting.
Beginner: 15-20% bodyweight including bar. Move up 2.5-5kg each side, each set, if safe to do so. Intermediate: 25-30% bodyweight including bar. Move up 5-10kg each side, each set, if safe to do so. Advanced: 35-50% bodyweight including bar. Move up 5-10kg each side, each set, if safe to do so.
2. Deficit Rack Row, Supersets: 4 Reps: 100 Rest: 90-120 secs between supersets
Lay facing the ceiling with your shoulders underneath the bar in the rack, and place your feet on the bench.
Grip the bar, engage core, raise your hips to create a straight line from shoulder to heel, and pull your chest towards the bar. To make the move easier, take the bench away and position your heels on the floor.
3. Front Rack Kettlebell Squats, Sets: 5 Reps: 5-8 Rest: 90-120 secs
Lift kettlebells to the position shown in the first picture. Lift elbows so that they are slightly underneath the line of your wrist.
Stand with feet around shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward or slightly outwards.
Control your descent, as if you were sitting on a low chair – just lower as deep as you can comfortably, aiming for parallel (the crease of hip in line with knee) or below.
Try not to let your knees turn inwards, or your heels come off the ground at any point. Reduce the depth if this is happening or lighten your weight.
Beginner: 5-7.5% bodyweight in each hand. Intermediate to advanced: Start with 10-15% bodyweight each hand and move up each set if safe to do so.
4. Barbell Deadlift, Sets: 3-4 Reps; 8-10 Rest: 60-90 secs
If your gym allows it, take your shoes off unless you are wearing very flat soled shoes.
Start with the bar over your laces (or where your laces would be) and grip the barbell with hands approximately shoulder-width apart with your shoulders over the bar. Look straight forwards and align your spine to be neutral, minimising the curve in your back. Toes pointing forward.
Maintaining a neutral spine, lift the barbell, driving through the legs first and not letting your legs straighten too early.
Lift until you are fully upright and the bar is touching your hips. Resist the temptation to thrust your hips into the bar and arch your back the other way as it will increase pressure on your lower back.
To lower, drive your butt back whilst keeping spine neutral touch down, reset if needed and repeat. When going heavy, change to an over-under grip to prevent the bar slipping out of your hands.
Beginner: 30-40% bodyweight. Move up 2.5-5kg each side, each set, if safe to do so. Intermediate: 50-60% bodyweight. Move up 5-10kg each side, each set, if safe to do so. Advanced: 70-80% bodyweight. Move up 10-20kg each side, each set, if safe to do so.
Day 2: Conditioning
AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible. As always, we want to create unbreakable bodies, so do not compromise form to get more reps out. This will lead to niggles and then injuries later on. Complete the following sequence as many times as you can in 20 minutes (beginner/ intermediate) or 25 minutes (advanced).
20 Kettlebell snatch (10 each arm alternating each rep) 10 kettlebell drag (5 each arm alternating rep) 20 Russian twists
With your kettlebell in line with your laces, sit into a deep squat, toes pointing slightly outwards, with chest and eyes forward towards a wall or mirror.
Grip kettlebell with fully extended arm, and drive up powerfully, coming up onto your toes and keeping the kettlebell close to your body.
Lock out your arm in one smooth motion, allowing the kettlebell to turn in your hand so that it rests on the top of your hand and wrist. Replicate movement in reverse for descent, and switch hands.
Start in a high plank position with your feet hip-width apart.
Reach through, and drag the kettlebell across the central line of your lower chest/ upper abs, rotating through your core.
Once it reaches the other side, roll the handle over the other way, switch the hand that is posting on the floor, and repeat.
‘Sit’ with your feet raised slightly off the floor, and your back neutral at a 45 degree angle to the floor.
Taking the kettlebell in both hands, keep it close to your body, and position over the top of your stomach (not over waist/ legs).
Twist across the body until in line with your hip but not quite touching floor. Twist the other way until in line with your other hip. Maintain control throughout movement.
Use a kettlebell weight of 10% bodyweight to raise heart rate, or if you’re new to these movements, or 15-40% bodyweight if you are experienced and looking to build power.
Day 3: Rest/ Catch Up
Take today to recover and hit up a restorative yoga class (such as the yin style of yoga), or some mostly static stretching (non moving) at home in front of the TV. If you’ve missed day 1 or 2, you can use today to catch up.
1. Overhead Press, Supersets: 5 Reps: 10 Rest: 90-120 secs between supersets
Raise the barbell in line with shoulders, with elbows beneath wrists, drive the barbell up, and once clear of head, push slightly backwards so that the path of the bar travels up and behind the head.
Control descent and repeat. If you are fatiguing badly by the 8th rep, you can use some leg drive (slight push from the legs) to finish the set.
After the final rep, switch immediately to the bent over row to complete a superset, before resting.
2. Bent Over Row, Supersets: 5 Reps: 10 Rest: 90-120 secs between supersets
Deadlift the bar up to standing, then drive your butt back in a hinge motion as if to lower your deadlift, to find the start position. Chest should be 45° to the floor.
Keeping neutral spine, pull the bar in towards your navel, keeping a solid core and your elbows tight in against your body.
EMOM- Every Minute On the Minute In an EMOM, you will complete your reps at the start of the minute, and the time left over is your rest. So, if your reps take you 35 seconds, you have 25 seconds before the next set begins.
Walking Lunges, Reps: 10
Using light weights, step forward into a long lunge, maintaining a stable chest and core. Step all the way through to the other leg and if possible do not stop in the middle.
Press Ups, Reps: 10
As with your bench press, align your palms with your mid-lower chest, not your neck or shoulders.
Keep a stable core, without letting your hips sink or rise more than your lower back. You can go knees-down if you struggle with press ups.
Deadbug, Sets: 4 Reps: 20 Rest: 30-45 secs
Come onto your back with your hands pointing up, and knees pulled in then drive your lower back into the ground and maintain this point of contact throughout the movement.
Imagine each hand is connected to the corresponding knee by a solid stick, and alternately drive each foot forward slowly, bringing the hand with it, and retracting as the other arm and leg move.
WHAT NEXT? Struggling with motivation to workout? RSNG spoke to World Champions and Olympic medallists to find out how they stay fired up to train – read the article also published today here…
You can sign up now for Max Cotton’s The Badass System now – it’s the complete rolling programme with the perfect balance of strength, cardio and conditioning – use voucher code RSNG40 to get 40% off your first month RSNG40
Comments are for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your Doctor before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.
Follow the writer on Twitter