Get signed up to be among the first to receive recipes, workouts and science-backed advice straight to your inbox!
Taken from a British GQ article…
“Ross is a decorated expert in the fitness industry. For over 10 years he’s been involved in every area of sport, fitness, and nutrition imaginable. He started as an international athlete playing water polo for Great Britain but later moved into the academics of sport and graduated from the world renowned Loughborough University School of Sport and Exercise Science.
After receiving a 1st class honours for his dissertation on the different strength and power adaptations to various training protocols, he decided to apply his practical and academic experience to become a strength and conditioning coach and performance nutritionist. A role he loved and loves since he never really gave it up. Recently he orchestrated the “functional weight loss” of close friend and 7 times WPC World Champion (and first man to ever Deadlift over 1000lbs) Andy Bolton. Following kidney complications Andy needed to lose 40kg before being considered for a transplant. So Ross helped him drop from 165kg to 124kg and is pleased to report Andy is now healthy, happy, free from dialysis treatment and will look to take the British under 125kg record this year adding another chapter to his already legendary career.
Ross is also co-founder at what is considered the UK’s most innovative sports nutrition company The Protein Works, writes for range of publications (including GQ, Menshealth, Telegraph, Askmen.com, Mensfitness and more) and has amassed a social media following of well over a half a million people.
Now Ross continually looks to challenge the current doctrine of the fitness and nutrition industry in an effort to make things better.
A scientist, sociologist, and philosopher of training and nutrition, his stunts are often designed to (1) Push the boundaries of human physical excellence and (2) Raise money for charities very close to his heart. Stunts include..
In one of his most well-publicized experiments, Ross was working with many athletes from weight-based sports at the time and saw a lot of dangerous weight cutting practices. So to quite literally “practice what he preaches” he used a variety of methods (some conventional and some not) to lose over 24 pounds in 24 hours. He also set an unofficial British Powerlifting record during his weight cut and recorded a good 5km run to show when done correctly, performance shouldn’t be entirely compromised during a weight cut.
Ross also hoped the stunt would prove to people that ‘weight loss’ is very different from ‘fat loss’ and that scales shouldn’t govern peoples nutrition or self-esteem and are only a numerical reflection of our relationship with gravity. The stunt trended on Twitter worldwide, Ross appeared on Australian TV and it was even translated into Mandarin.”
More recently Ross also completed the World’s Strongest Marathon
Taken from a Mail Online article…
Fitness-Themed Adventurer Ross Edgley Runs 26.2 Miles Pulling a 1,400kg MINI Countryman To Raise Money For Charity In The #WorldsStrongestMarathon
As well as for charity I also hoped
Taken from a Telegraph article…
Which is why – as well as becoming a “vehicle” to raise funds for charity – the World’s Strongest Marathon also serves to offer a different perspective on the common belief that strength and stamina are distinctly separate, and can’t be improved simultaneously.
This is an idea engrained in gym folklore that’s based on the often-quoted work of Robert Hickson and his research into “concurrent training”. For those not familiar with concurrent training, this is where an athlete trains more than one fitness component (strength, speed or stamina) at equal amounts of focus, all within the same workout. In Hickson’s view – supported by research from the field of molecular biology and his own experiences – this approach will produce less than optimal results. To understand this, here’s a brief back-story.
Robert Hickson was a keen powerlifter who had followed a traditional strength training protocol for most of his athletic career. This was until he went to study in the laboratory of Professor John Holloszy. Holloszy is considered the “father of endurance exercise research” and every lunchtime he would leave the Washington University Medical Campus and run through the nearby Forest Park.
Keen to make a good impression, Hickson decided to break from his usual training protocol and accompany Holloszy.
But weeks into his new routine he discovered the strength and size of his muscles were decreasing. This was despite the fact he was still doing his strength training at the same frequency and intensity. When Hickson approached Holloszy with his strength and conditioning dilemma, Holloszy suggested this should be his first study.
So in his new laboratory at the University of Illinois in Chicago, that’s exactly what he did.
Published in 1980 in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology he concluded that concurrent training dilutes your effectiveness to improve a specific component of fitness (ie strength or stamina). Your body doesn’t know whether to become stronger or more endurance, since the “potency” of your training a specific component is lost.
It’s not important to understand the intricacies of each. Just know that, according to research from the Division of Molecular Physiology at the University of Dundee, strength training and endurance training bring about very different adaptations within the body. Combining both forms of training “blocks each other’s signalling” to adapt.
But is this really true, in the real world? Science always has a habit of studying things in isolation; compartmentalising things that are never compartmentalised in nature. Should we not be considering the body in its more powerful entirety?
Take the research published by the Department of Health Sciences at Mid Sweden University in Östersund as an example. Amazingly, researchers found cardio combined with strength training could actually “elicit greater muscle hypertrophy than resistance exercise alone.” What this means is, contradictory to Hickson’s research, combining cardio with weight training could actually increase muscle size.
To test this theory, researchers took 10 male athletes and monitored them during a five-week training program that consisted of unilateral knee extensor exercises. One of each subject’s legs was conditioned through a training protocol very similar to most conventional strength-based routines where they used a weight 75-80 per cent of their 1 rep. max and completed four sets of seven repetitions. The other leg was subjected to exactly the same routine, but was also coupled with a 45-minute cycle during each session.
After five weeks scientists took muscle biopsies and used a MRI scan to analyses the changes in the size and strength of the leg muscles.
What they found was the leg that had been subjected to both cardio and strength training – essentially concurrent training – was noticeably bigger than the leg that performed strength training alone. Objectively, results revealed the vastus lateralis (the muscle that’s located from the side of the leg) had increased by 17 per cent in size in the cardio-strength trained leg compared to 9 per cent in the strength-trained leg. Furthermore, the volume of the quadriceps femoris (the muscle found at the front of the leg) had increased by 14 per cent in the cardio-strength trained leg compared to 8 per cent in the strength-trained leg.
It’s widely known that performing any form of cardiovascular training dramatically improves your capillary density. Capillaries are the small blood vessels that network through the muscles and by increasing their density you also increase your own ability to supply the working muscles with blood, oxygen and nutrients during training.
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of strength training as power-based athletes arguably place too much emphasis on shifting iron rather than looking after their capillaries. But one man who certainly didn’t neglect this was famed strongman Geoff Capes. Crowned the World’s Strongest Man in 1983 and 1985, it would make sense that he trained for strength, right? Wrong! Standing 6ft 5in, weighing 23 stone, he was known for running 23.7 seconds for the 200m, was a national-level cross-country athlete in his youth and had a collection of marathon medals in his trophy cabinet to prove it.
But putting anecdotal evidence aside, it seems that objective research could also support this idea of caring for your capillaries. That’s because a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology set out to monitor the adaptive changes in the muscles that occur during intensive endurance-based training.
Researchers monitored athletes closely during a 24-week training program that was heavily orientated around cardiovascular training. After the experiment, muscle biopsies were taken to reveal all subjects displayed, “An increased capillary supply of all muscle fibre types.” Specifically for athletes involved in strength-based sports this would allow for faster recovery between bouts of intensive training and an increased overall work rate.
This would be especially important if supporting a strength training program like German Volume Training (GVT).
This is an age-old training protocol that is often referred to as the “ten sets method”. It involves completing 10 sets of 10 repetitions, with 60 to 90 seconds rest in between, using a weight that’s roughly 60 per cent of your 1 rep. max (or a weight you could perform 20 repetitions with). It works on the premise that you subject the muscles to an extensive volume of repeated efforts on a single exercise. The muscles are then forced to grow and adapt as the body is loaded above its habitual level (what it’s accustomed to) with both weight and volume.
Believed to have originated in Germany in the 1970s it was made popular by Germany’s weightlifting coach Rolf Feser, who advocated its use to weightlifters who wanted to move up a weight class during off-season. Canadian weightlifter Jacques Demers – silver medallist in the Los Angeles Olympics – also famously used this training protocol and credited it for the renowned size of his thighs.
Finally, in terms of muscle-building programs there are very few that are supported by as many experts as German Volume Training. But it’s clear to see how cardio and an improved capillary density can help you in those final sets. Since even the strongest of athletes would struggle without any endurance capability and as a result would be unable to complete the workload recommended by GVT training to increase muscle mass.