Category Archives: Rough Strength Method

6 Lessons in Effective Strength Training

6 Lessons in Effective Strength Training

Do you remember school lessons? Good. This article is not about them. It is rather about life lessons you learn the hard way. Throughout the time I spent training, I’ve acquired a couple of them, and I believe it will be beneficial if I share them with you.

Be prepared for reiteration though. “There is nothing new under the sun”, right?

Lesson 1: Experience beats studies and opinions of other people (anytime)

A lot of coaches and trainees agree on obvious subjects like progressive overload or compound exercises. I’m yet to find an intelligent individual with solid experience in strength training who doesn’t think that progressive resistance matters. However, when it comes to debatable themes like low-carb diets, protein, high reps vs low reps, etc., there are wars. In reality, people just can’t perceive a simple fact: Continue reading

Does Time Under Tension Matter? + A Natural Remedy for Your Joints

Time Under Tension Principle

As you can see, it is another article with completely illogical combination of subjects. What can I say? I’m just good at this stuff. In all seriousness, these two topics are the result of my recent experimentation. And while the first one is somewhat predictable, the second one may surprise you.

With no further ado, let us get to the first part.

Time Under Tension

I was introduced to the principle of time under tension [TUT] by the works of Charles Poliquin. As I understand, he is the biggest proponent of using this variable in strength training.

The idea behind the TUT principle is simple yet reasonable. Continue reading

The Last Implement You’ll Ever Need for the Upper Body Development

Today I would like to share my thoughts on the ultimate upper body strength training implement. What do you think it is? Barbell? It is cool and effective, but it requires lots of additional equipment like plates, squat stands, and possibly a power rack and a bench, as well as it is not quite mobile. What’s else? Sandbag? While it definitely does the trick, you are limited to the size of your bag and the amount of filler you need. Kettlebell? Not really. Again, it is mobile only if you have a car, and it is definitely limited to the heaviest one you have (unless you know this).

So what is it? Is it your bodyweight? Close enough. In my opinion, gymnastic rings are the ultimate upper body strength developer. How come? Let’s find out. Continue reading

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to Calisthenics

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to CalisthenicsIt is the 100th post here on Rough Strength, so I decided to make it special. Not long time ago I managed to set up a pulley system at home destroying neither the walls, nor the ceiling (more on this later), and I am truly amazed with the results of my experimentation with it. I will go further and state that the pulley system invention is possibly the best thing that happened to heavy calisthenics. If you strive to learn advanced skills like Planche or One-Arm Chin-Up, then this can be your lucky ticket.

Why Is the Pulley System So Awesome?

First of all, why should you bother? Continue reading

What Equipment to Add to Your Training Arsenal

What Equipment to Add to Your Training Arsenal

Rough Strength is all about getting more with less – getting stronger with anything you have at hand, getting a good diet with less money investment, being smarter about your training and nutrition, etc. It is a minimalist approach that shows you how to become a better version of you starting right now, not in some distant future that depends on whether you will be able to attend a gym or not. It is excuse-proof and excuse-free. That is why I like it so much.

However, what to do if you have been implementing the Rough Strength Method for a decent period of time, have some extra money, and crave some equipment variety? It is not really necessary, but if you add right tools to your training arsenal, you can benefit big time. And the sweetest thing is that some of them will not cost you a lot of money.

So I created the Rough Strength chart of the possibly useful additional equipment. I am assuming that you are already familiar with the Rough Strength Triad: calisthenics, sandbags, and kettlebells. Still I will devote a couple of paragraphs to these bad boys. Furthermore, I have put the tools in a specific order. The more effective/versatile/cheap implements will be higher, the less effective/versatile/the more expensive – lower.

Without further ado, the Rough Strength chart of what is useful: Continue reading

How to Learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch

How to Learn the Double Kettlebell SnatchSo the Double Kettlebell Snatch, huh? “You love it, you hate it, you love to hate it.” It is the exercise that I consider the most technically demanding of all the kettlebell drills. This movement is a true test of strength and explosiveness when performed with heavy weights. It humbles a lot of people that consider themselves really strong. And finally, the Double Kettlebell Snatch is the exercise that brings results.

Let’s talk a bit about the drill itself.

[NOTE: by “Double”, I always mean “performed with two kettlebells”]

What Is the Double Kettlebell Snatch?

Here is a video from the one of my previous training sessions: Continue reading

Training an Exercise Only Once per Week for More Strength

Awesome Ring Dips

It seems that a lot of people get somewhat crazy with high-frequency training nowadays, and by “a lot of people” I mean me. Strength training is my drug, and I am afraid that the addiction to it cannot be cured. No amount of rehab can fix things, and it is too late for me to get back to “normal life”. I guess I am doomed for eternal searching for another dose of this narcotic…

With all seriousness, if you love something that much, it is quite hard to tame yourself and not to do it daily. There is nothing wrong with high-frequency training if it is done properly. You should remember that if training frequency is high, volume and intensity should be in check. Despite what you heard, you cannot train to failure in high volume every day. It just will not work. In this case, injuries, frustration, and lack of progress are the only possible results.

[Check out this article for more information on the relationship of volume, intensity, and frequency in strength training]

Anyway, let us get back to the theme. In addition to irresistible urge to train daily and several times per day, I like to train hard. I mean REALLY HARD. Low reps and eyeballs-out-of-their-sockets style. Again, most of the time I need to calm myself down, and often it takes huge effort not to fail a practice session.

You should probably know that recovery is the name of the game in strength training. If your recovery is not sufficient, then you will not be stronger. This is the law you cannot violate. Therefore, to make high-frequency training work for a guy with average genetics (me), I need to be VERY precise with training variables. If I do one or two reps or sets more than I should, then the program can fail badly. Oftentimes this fear of doing more takes the fun part out of the training, and it becomes a boring job.

What to do then? Cutting that frequency can be a viable option. Continue reading