Category Archives: Fitness

SHEFFIELD HALLAM POWERLIFTER ED HOLT: “IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE YOU CAN HURT YOURSELF BADLY”

Sheffield Hallam student Ed Holt, 20, from Northampton, started strength and conditioning training at college, however since starting university he has trained for mass and is now a power lifter.

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With his second powerlifting competition coming up at Iron Athlete Gym on April 25, Ed’s approach towards weight training has changed greatly from his previous two years of bodybuilding.

As most young adults begin weight training to get bigger, mainly to look better – Ed trains with a goal in mind, to become as strong as he possibly can.

“I moved towards powerlifting because there was a more achievable goal. The goals in powerlifting are more intrinsic. It is showing in a sense saying you can do this much. I think also because less people do it. Most people say the go to the gym and they get a big pump, but not many go do powerlifting and say I did X, Y and Z amount.”

Powerlifting competition

Entering his first ever powerlifting competition in November, Ed finished with a 175kg squat, 115kf bench press and a 210kg deadlift, while weighing in at 86kg.

Unfortunately, his training for this competition hasn’t gone as well as he’d like due to an injury setback in his back.

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“I’ve only been properly training back since January. I’ve not been able to train deadlift as I’d like, my bench has been alright, my squat has been iffy. I’d love to get a 125 bench, 210 squat and a 190 deadlift at the comp. The back injury means I can’t deadlift as much as I did in the last competition.”

The powerlifting community appears to a close-knit environment where everyone supports each other and they want their rivals to do well, break plateaus and succeed.

“The atmosphere was really positive at the comp, everyone helped everyone out, it was brilliant. People were lending each other wraps. For such a small space, there were about 50 people there, so it was packed.”

Bodybuilding

 Ed’s weight training story began at 16, where he began strength and conditioning training as part of his hockey course, to improve performance. Moving to university, he advanced onto bodybuilding; “It was the environment I was in. I wasn’t in strength and conditioning for the sake of doing strength and conditioning.

 Not playing an important factor in his life due to the excitement of university and going out drinking, he became much more motivated to train in his second year. Starting off three of four times a week, it slowly progressed until it got to Easter and there was no lessons – he was going to the gym six days a week and four of those days, even going twice a day.

“I went so often because I knew you had to go that many times, I knew it’s what you had to do to get bigger. I realise now it was stupid to go so often and I was over-training, I didn’t know as much as I do now about steroids. Those who were on (steroids) were able to go that many times a week and they were eating much more than what I was, they were to cope with that mass of training.”

What is the difference between training as a bodybuilder and as a power lifter?

“It’s a massive thing, because powerlifting is so objective and competitive bodybuilding is so subjective. Bodybuilding is a very loose term, whereas powerlifting is very specific. People call themselves a bodybuilder, because they want to get bigger to look good. The training intensity is a big thing; you can be really intense in bodybuilding. In, powerlifting you can’t make any mistakes. If you make a mistake in bodybuilding you just lose a rep, if you make a mistake in powerlifting you can hurt yourself badly.”

 What are your future goals?

“I don’t know about my goals, I’ve got camp America coming up and my gym focus is going to change after the comp. Because of work basically, because of the nature of my new work. There isn’t a powerlifting gym, and I’ll be too tired from trapeze. You don’t need one rep max for trapeze, you need flexibility and stamina, so I’m going to train for those instead.”

“It depends where I am, I don’t think there is a powerlifting gym in Northampton, I’ll want to get back into it. It’ll be frustrating going down to whatever after a year out, when I know I’ve been able to do the amount I am now.”

Vital Stats:

  • Name: Ed Holt
  • Location: Sheffield
  • Hometown: Northampton
  • Age: 20
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 90kg
  • Years Weight Training: 4
  • Bench Press: 120kg
  • Deadlift: 210kg
  • Squat: 200kg
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5 WAYS TO BREAK THROUGH GYM PLATEAUS

Most of us have a tried and tested routine, however we often hit plateaus. Here are a few simple Style Council methods to spice it up and negate boring repetition.

  1. Move Chest Day

    chest day
    This might not sound ground-breaking, but Monday is infamously known as ‘International Chest Day’ for a reason. It is hard to put a finger on it; however male testosterone kicks in after the weekend and dictates that they must bench press at the beginning of the week. A plague of grunting men and bars clanking against metal can be heard from the vicinity of any gym.

Instead of waiting around and slowing the tempo of your workout, try legs or back on a Monday.  Chances are the squat rack will be freely available and you will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted, intense workout.

  1. Incline First
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Development of the chest is a gym buff favourite – a mirror muscle and t-shirt filler. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to find scanning through a gym that the majority of people have a much thicker bottom half of the chest.

When it comes to chest day; going through most people’s minds as they enter those holy gym doors, is that they want to rep out as much weight as possible on a flat barbell bench press.

The middle of the chest is best stimulated through this method and it is a great way of developing the middle chest. To best stimulate the upper chest, perform a barbell/dumbbell press at a 30-45% incline.

You already include incline exercises in your routine? Good, but if they are a secondary press in your workout, you won’t reach maximum growth. The upper chest will already be pre-fatigued due to flat pressing and will significantly lower the amount of weight you could be pushing.

By mixing it up and starting with inclined will produce a fuller, desirable chest and can even help smash through plateaus on your flat bench press.

  1. Widen Your Squat Stancesquat

The traditional narrow stance of feet shoulder-width apart when it comes to squats is a wonderful quadriceps burner. The squat is a goliath exercise; it utilises a number of muscles, developing strong, powerful legs and creating a solid posture.

Taking a wider stance gives the same great quad activation level, yet works a greater number of muscles and comes with a number of distinct advantages.

Glutes

The glutes (or bum cheeks), are a great source of power and are triggered at a superior level when taking a widened foot-position.

The allowance getting deeper with your squat means the glutes are activated to a greater degree than with narrow squats, according to research from the University of Abertay, Dundee.

Not just women can have booty.

Quads

Narrow stance squats provide a substantial burn on the quadriceps. Most of us go by “feel”, it there’s a deep burning sensation it results in success and we may not get that same feel from a wider stance. Despite this lesser “feel”, the activation is still there.

Not only that, narrower stances put a greater stress on the knee joints than a wider stance. In time this could result in patellar tendon strains or tendonitis. In other words, you may be walking like a penguin in a few years’ time.

Hips Don’t Lie

Like glutes, hips are another strong source of power. The wide stance exhibits a larger hip flexion and a bigger range of hip extension.

Stronger hip flexors provide improvement in a number of things, including power through various lifts i.e. squats/deadlifts, they are useful for sprinters (greater power for greater acceleration) and can handle a remarkable amount of stress, not just in the gym but in life.

  1. Pull Up over Pull DownDSC_0005[1]

Lat Pull-Downs is a firm favourite when it comes to creating an envious V-shape taper. The strong contrast between a slim waist and broad lats is any bodybuilder’s dream.

However, going for bodyweight pull-ups is a useful way of enlivening your training. Being able to perform numerous repetitions of wide-grip pulls is an impressive feat, even more so when you can add weight to it.

It also elicits the core and stabilizing muscles much more than what pull downs do, which is a major advantage.

This does not mean there is no place for pull downs; perhaps use them as a workout finisher to get that final muscle-building overload.

  1. Cut Your Rest

If you’re not progressive overloading, you are going to struggle to see a difference. Cutting down rest times is a simple yet very effective way of bursting through plateaus and shocking your body into growing.

Reducing rest time increases your tempo and is a great advantage when reaching hypertrophy.

Many professional bodybuilders go by 30-60 second intervals between sets for optimum hypertrophy.

With reduced rest your body will have to adapt to doing more work in less time and increases blood pushed around your muscles – which you will get a crazy pump from.

Your metabolic rate will also spike, meaning that you have an increased capacity to burn fat and calories. A leaner physique can’t be a bad thing.