I had the pleasure of hosting Andy Bolton at my gym this past weekend where he presented his Strength Workshop. Andy delivers a very high quality workshop. He is extremely personable, passionate and knowledgeable in all aspects of training. Here are 10 takeaways you can apply to your own training.
Plank Warm Up
Andy is not a fan of a warm up that isn’t efficient. He wants fast and effective, with a return on investment. He took us through something he learned from Stuart McGill. McGill is known as the World’s foremost expert when it comes to the Lower Back. Quite the partnership then with Andy being, arguably, the best deadlifter to have walked the planet!
The Protocol: Side Plank x 10 seconds, straight into Plank for 5 seconds, into the other Side Plank for 5 seconds. No resting between transitions and you must create maximum tension yourself. If it is easy you are simply not contracting hard enough. You should be shaking like a shitting dog whilst doing this. Complete 5 x rounds and this, McGill states, is the equivalent of putting a belt on for 2 hours, due to the core musculature activation.
The Deadlift is all about Confidence
Andy is a big believer is not missing reps in training and leaving some kilos for the platform/competition. For this to happen you can’t miss a repetition in training which could leave doubt in your head about lifting the same weight on the big day. If you’re under-trained, you have fight left in you and this is the mind set you should take with you to competitions.
He also said that less on the Deadlift is More. This had carryover into the way his body responds to the deadlift and is explained in the next point.
Could Andy have Deadlifted 500kg+ in his peak? Well on the basis he told me that he pulled 470kg x 3 in training with straps…yes, undoubtedly!
Westside System was not for him
Andy does not discredit the Westside system and has indeed consulted Louie, but he found that benefited more from his system. Finding a way of training that you believe in is of paramount importance. Andy didn’t want to calculate band tension or chain weight at the top and bottom. He wanted the feel of just the bar and weight on his back.
Raw on Squat, save Suit/Wraps for competition
I always say Strong without = Stronger with. Andy concurs when it comes to the squat as it is the way he trained. Andy would complete his squat cycle raw and then add suit/wraps for competition. He knew that if he squatted 450kg raw in training that he would have 500-550kg in him with his equipment on.
Set yourself a plan that fits your lifestyle
Always create that need to want to train. Missing sessions does not get your stronger. Andy has never missed a session and this is a man currently on dialysis. He predominantly trains 3 x a week. If you find a Russian squat program that makes you squat 5 x, and you’re not enthusiastic about each of those 5 sessions, he reckons you should consider an alternative approach.
Don’t think about the weight, think about the set up
Andy sees people approach PB weights and watches them set up slightly differently and calls that they’re about to miss it. You shouldn’t focus on the weight. Simply the cues/checklist you have created to ensure optimal technique and then hit it hard. Belief is everything.
Wide Stance Squat = Narrow Stance Deadlift (& vice versa)
Look at successful lifters. You’ll see that those who squat with a wider stance, tend to deadlift with a narrow stance. This is also true vice versa. Just look at the Russians who squat narrow but deadlift sumo. Andy attributes this to the amount of stress the adductors are put under by going wide with both.
Intent on bar with every rep is key
Andy doesn’t recommend lifting half-heartedly. If he puts 65% in your program, he wants it lifted like it’s 90-100%. Something we both agree on is that warm up reps should be treated with the same respect as your work/top sets. Pay attention to technique, set up and intent to move the bar at maximal speed.
Everything you do, know why you’re doing it
Too many people are searching for Insta-fame or putting things in their program because their idol is doing it. At least research why this person is using ‘X’! Everything you do must have a reason and if you don’t know why, find out. Possibly hire an expert.
If technique isn’t right you can’t build power
Andy is a technician. He’ll identify the weakest point in your technique and fix this. Without that, your potential is already limited/reduced. Strength is a long term game and there aren’t many (if any?) World Record holders with inefficient technique. If you don’t enjoy the process of refining technique then you won’t last long in the Strength Game.
I can’t recommend Andy enough. He is a wealth of knowledge with also a great coaching ability. You will receive a huge return on investment by either having a consult with him, attending his workshops, being trained by him or reading his Articles & Books.
For more information visit his website: Click Here