But the kitchen roll workout is not only a great procrastination tool, but it’s also a time saver, a challenge and a great way to get you in shape
What is it?
The kitchen roll workout is something that I created while procrastinating early one Sunday morning. I was having a lazy morning on the sofa and really wasn’t in the mood to train
I had a family event in just over an hour and couldn’t really be bothered to faff about driving through Chichester traffic, trying to park my over-sized pickup in my gyms carpark and train
So I decided to pick four exercises that were personalised to my goals and perform 5-10 sets of each exercise with 45 seconds rest. All from home.
I grabbed a piece of kitchen roll to simply count my sets. Tearing a small rip with every set I’d performed
The beauty is that I didn’t even need to leave my living room. I had “Wallis and Gromit – A matter of loaf and death” on (I’d highly recommend watching) and a coffee pot on the go
Personalised Your Workout
The only equipment I had was a pull-up bar and my own bodyweight, so I performed;
10 sets of 10 – Pull-ups
10 sets of 15 – Lunges (with my back foot on the sofa)
10 sets of 10 – Slow-motion Pressups
10 sets of 10 – Jackknives
For this session, I wanted to work the biggest muscle groups in my body to get the most out of a short workout
But of course, you can personalise the exercises to suit your goals
Say you want to work out your legs more you can pick a lunge or squat variation. Maybe you want to focus more on your upper body and your triceps by performing dips and press ups. Maybe you just a super intense ab workout by only picking four ab exercises!
Aim for at least five sets of each exercise with a max of 10
Rest for no longer than 45 seconds (make sure you have a timer on hand)
Count all your sets by ripping a small incision down the kitchen roll (this stops you miscounting)
Don’t get distracted by any chores or anything that needs doing around the house
I’d also suggest you don’t sit down on the sofa between sets. Getting up once to train is hard enough for some so don’t attempt to do this fifty times!
Have a tall glass of water nearby and keep sipping during the workout instead
Why it works
The kitchen roll workout is so effective for a few reasons;
1. You can really master an exercise
Form comes before anything else. Forget the tempo, the reps, the resistance. Good form always comes first!
By performing 10 sets of one exercise you can really hone in on the technique which will get you better results as well as making sure the right muscles are working
Good form is something I will nag about until I’m blue in the face. That’s why I include detailed instructional videos in all of my online client’s plans
2. It’s so simple
It’s a lot easier to train if you only have to think about doing four things. Not ten different exercises with ten different pieces of equipment.
There’s no queuing for equipment or any travelling to and from your gym
You can make your living room into your own personal gym with your own music or choice of TV channel!
3. It’s easier to get motivated
Lack of motivation is the biggest killer of results
If you lack motivation to train I’d really recommend giving the Kitchen Roll workout a go!
I don’t care who you are, what athletic background you have or how fit you currently are
NO MATTER WHAT you will get days when you lack motivation
It happens to us all! Your favourite sportsman or woman will have days like this. I have days like this. YOU will have days like this!
I think newbies to exercise don’t quite realise this
The people who get consistent results push through their motivation barrier and train no matter how they’re feeling
So give the Kitchen Roll workout a go next time you’re feeling un-motivated or you’re short on time
For a personalised exercise plan and ongoing support check my out my Online Coaching package. Complete with my own Recipes and the Primal eBook
Muscles are the foundations of a great body. They create shape, a more confident posture and increase your metabolism
“Never sacrifice getting stronger for being a burpee queen” – Jim Wendler
When it comes to building a killer body YOU MUST get stronger. I don’t mean big and bulky but stronger!
A stronger body will have denser muscles, we refer to this as “muscle tone”
When someone says “I just want to get a bit more toned” – this really translates as “I just want to get a bit stronger”
Females especially, avoid this term. “Toned” is a more fluffy, a far less scary term.
I’m SO lucky to be a trainer in 2018. Weight lifting is becoming way more popular, in women too!
Women are slowly beginning to realise that picking up a set of dumbbells that weigh more than their water bottles, won’t create bulky muscles, but will in-fact shape, develop and “tone” their bodies!
So if you’re reading this right now and you’re a female, who lifts weights. You have nothing but respect from me.
Why you should get stronger
A stronger body creates shape in the right places. A stronger body will tighten your stomach, make your bum more shapely, your arms more toned and less jiggly, your legs firmer and your posture more upright.
Note: a jog, star jumps, burpees, or any other cardio will do NONE of the above.
A stronger body is a confident body.
Imagine less jiggle, a tighter waistline and a taller posture.
These are the marks of a super confident person!
Love being naked – Learn to lift!
We refer to muscle as “expensive”. It requires a lot more calories to exist than fat.
What does that mean?
Once muscle is built you need to eat more calories to maintain it. So if you like eating, or you find it hard to keep fat off, by increasing your bodies muscle % will help keep you leaner all year round.
There is no secret to fat loss, but if I had only one tip, it would be to get stronger ASAP
One last comment on muscle bulk
The biggest objection I hear about weight training is the fear of getting bulky.
Women have about 10% of the testosterone men have (testosterone is a muscle building hormone)
So for you to get bulky, you’d have to be eating HUGE amounts or injecting illegal naughties into your thighs once a week (steroids)
Getting bulky doesn’t happen by accident. It would be like me playing golf for the weekend and waking up a as Tiger Woods..
The bottom line is that muscle is sexy. It WILL make you more confident and it WILL make you leaner!
Let’s be honest. We all want at least some form of Ab definition. Let me try and help!
I won’t get too jargony now. Nice and simple here.
The stomach muscles are made up of 4 muscles. Understanding how they work will help you develop and find them:
Rectus Abdominus (Abs): These are the juicy ones you see on men on the front of the magazines. The 6-pack. These flex the spine.
Transverse Abdominus (TVA): Maybe you’ve heard the term in a Pilates class? These are trunk stabilisers. Think improved posture. Less lower back pain.
Internal & External Obliques: These are the horizontal lines you see on really lean people, located on the side of their bodies. These are the rotation muscles.
So How Do We Work Them all?
Below, I’ll link a super simple workout for you to add to your weekly routine, but first I want to quickly cover exactly how to work your stomach muscles.
When I run my group exercise classes I usually end on a core routine. Usually, a 5-7 minute blitz before we start stretching down. I’d say 90% of the time, I will be the first one to stop because it hurts so god-damn much.
A lot of people in my classes find it hard to even engage their abs to perform a plank or a crunch. But why?
As a society, we sit a lot, we usually eat foods that bloat us, and generally, we don’t need to use our stomach muscles as much any more. Imagine 10 thousand years ago. Early man would have been hunting, foraging, walking. Now they needed abs!
In the New Year I’ll be releasing a Free E-book guide to help reduce your body fat, with a nutrition plan. You’ll notice there’s no mention of gluten or dairy. (YAY Freebies!)
Both diary and gluten can cause pretty-bad bloating in most people. So I’ve axed them. But only for that reason. These foods can be integrated if you really can’t live without them, but I’d highly recommend monitoring your intake.
Does this day sound familiar?
Cereal with milk for breakfast. Sandwich for lunch. Pasta for dinner.
That’s a pretty common diet right? Every meal contains high levels of gluten. That’s a lot of bloat.
Try eating a bowl of cereal then perform a plank. The second you bloat. Your abs switch off. No activation.
If you can’t feel your stomach working… It’s not!
How Can You Wake Them Up?
Let’s help engage your stomach muscles.
Lye on your back with your legs in the air. Lift your bum about a centimetre, and slide your hands under – palms down. You want your lower back to be dead flat on the floor, keep re-arranging your hard so your backs cemented to the floor.
Before you start the movement, imagine a dumbbell is about to fall from the ceiling and land on your stomach. Suck in your stomach a tad and squeeze. This is your starting position.
One leg at a time, slowly lower to the ground. Keeping your stomach braced at all times. You want to try and hit 10 reps, your feet stopping about water-bottle-height. 10 reps might be easy. So pause. Re-set your stomach and keep going. Always stopping after 10 reps to check your stomach is still engaged.
When performing I want you to think about your stomach muscles, this is called mind-to-muscle connection. By resting your hands on your stomach, you can help your brain engage these them!
Aim to complete 50 – 100 reps before starting this workout.
Let’s Work your Stomach from Every Angle
Quick Description (You Might Not Need to Read this bit)
ABS: Crunches; Think about “peeling” off the ground and sitting up towards your knees, engaging your stomach during each rep. Each rep is beautifully controlled.
TVA: Bird dog; On all fours, with your shoulder blades over your wrist. Slowly lift your left arm and your right leg so you’re “pointing”. Hold for 2 seconds and return. Swapping sides after 15 reps. Perform these without arching your lower back, super slowly. These might not be “sexy” and produce the same burn as a crunch, but these are essential for decreasing back pain and tightening your waist.
OBLIQUES: Bicycle Crunches; A bit of coordination here I’m afraid. Lye on your back with your knees at a 90 degree angle. With your hands on your temple rotate towards your opposite knee, kicking your other leg out straight as you do so. I want these slow, none of that erratic kicking please.
Complete Core Workout
Single-leg Raises 5×10
Crunches x 20
Birdbog x 30
Bicycle Crunches x 60
Try and complete the whole sequence at least 3 times a week
Pause when you need to, remember; form always comes first. It’s better to reset than lose control of your movement so your back and hip flexors just do all the work. Be patient.
One Last Note
Abs are a bi-product of strength. Strong people have abs, they might be covered by a layer of fat. But they’re there. To really develop your stomach muscles and drop your body fat to be able to see them, get yourself a good weight training plan and download my Free nutrition e-book in the New Year!
I really hope this helped answer a few queries I’ve received regarding Ab training recently. I’m only an email away if you have any more questions. Email Me
The Reverse Plank: The One Exercise you need for Better Posture & A Healthier Lower Back
I’m going to set you a challenge. Perform the reverse plank everyday for one whole month. I can promise you less-rounded shoulders, no lower back pains, a stronger core & more toned glutes.
The Reverse Plank
Benefits of a reverse plank
Less rounded shoulders; To have your arms beneath your body and your chest up tall (like the photo above) requires great flexibility through your chest, shoulder and bicep muscles.
These are the muscles, that when tight pull your head forward to create that horrible rounded neck. This also causes NASTY neck pain and tension headaches.
A reverse plank will stretch out the muscles associated with rounded shoulders.
No lower back pain; To hold a reverse plank, you need a strong set of glutes (bum) to keep your hips up. Weak glutes lead to an overactive (and painful) lower back. (I’ll go into more detail about this later)
A stronger core; You’ve done a normal plank before right? and where does that burn? your stomach muscles. The reverse plank is no different. To statically hold your body up requires a strong core.
Why I like the reverse plank so much
When exercising I like to use movements that get the most “bang for your buck”
In other words, exercises that benefit as much of the body in one movement as possible
A good example would be squats
Squats target the whole lower body, the stomach, lower and upper back. So you get a lot out of a set of squats!
We refer to squats as compound exercises as more than one joint is required throughout the movement (ankles, knees and hips)
We also get isolation exercises
An example of an isolation exercise is a bicep curl (the elbow is the only joint required throughout the motion)
Isolation exercises have their use but you’ll get much more out a compound exercise like a squat
The reverse plank, in my opinion, is one of the best compound exercises I can offer to improve your posture
Glutes are the muscle group I get asked the most about. Everybody wants a nice bum, but so many people struggle. If you’ve ever said ” I can’t feel my bum working” when training legs, this articles for you.
If you’ve ever spent more than 3 minutes on Instagram you’ve most likely come across half naked girls flaunting their asses to cash in the followers.
Big glutes are definately “in” right now.
Every girl wants a nice bum, but most find it tricky to actually engage them.
The Glutes are hugely important for a few reasons:
1.They look good
2.They look really good
3.they protect your lower back & knees
4.& they’re crucial for getting stronger safely
Why do so many people struggle to feel their bum’s working while performing Glute exercises? As a PT I uses phrases like “engage your core” and “squeeze your bum” all the time.
I’ve been known to drop off to sleep on the sofa muttering “gluuutes” incoherently.
But even after the nagging, most can’t feel their bums actually working properly.
So they won’t grow. They won’t develop, and they won’t look all juicy when you look in the mirror.
Let me very quickly explain 2 reasons why you can’t feel them activating.
Reason 1: Your Glutes are fast asleep Zzz
As a society we sit a lot (I’m sitting right now!)
The average person in the UK sits down 9 hours a day.
The glutes, spending the vast majority of the day being used as a cushion, simply fall asleep.
They stop activating.
There’s a genuine condition called “glute amnesia”
Your brain, which sends electric signals to the muscles, can’t locate the glutes to tell them to work.
So when people squat or lunge their poor quads (the muscle at the front of your thighs) end up doing all the work.
Do you get clicky knees? Or can you feel your lower back working when you stand up?
You have weak glutes!!
Your glutes have simply fallen asleep Zzz.
If you are an office jockey (like me), get up at least once an hour and have a little wander.
Move about. Have a quick stretch and move a bit of blood around that motionless body.
This will not only help you become more active but it will release your tightening muscles.