Guest Blogging continues – new articles up.

Two new articles from me up this week on other websites –

I just had a guest article published at Spa Breaks, titled ‘Five Exercises to Start Doing this Summer’, check it out today!

5 Exercises to Start Doing this Summer

spabreaks guest article

And another at My Fresh Perspective, which is on the main page.

James Schofield writing for My Fresh Perspective

Summer is coming!

Hi everyone,

How are you all doing?!

There have been some issues with the website and hosting stuff but I’m very pleased to say that James Schofield Training is now back fully online!

I spent the weekend at Body Power 2015, here are some random pics and of course me hack squatting at car for reps! The weight was 160 kgs, so just a little bit of fun but it was good nonetheless! Aside from that, there was a whole host of fitness professionals, bodybuilders, and talks from knowledgeable people in the industry so it was definitely a day well spent!

With training partner and good friend and Top 10 Transformation finalist Tom Reed

Body Power 2015 Transformation finalists - congrats to Tom Reed finishing top 10

Body Power 2015 general pic

James Schofield Fitness Training Q & A – Is DOMS Necessary?

Hey everyone,

Just a quick note about a video I did to answer a question posted by Holly for my Facebook Group James Schofield Fitness Training.

If you have any questions at all make sure you get at me here in the comments or on my group and I’ll do my best to help you out!


Happy Training!

My reply to the post 3 Ways to Develop Explosiveness for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Hi everyone,

Spotted a post on my Facebook from some fellow Nova Forca warriors and the video compelled me to reply immediately.

You can check out the original post here:

The article itself is basic and poses no issue, but the video at the bottom of the page that they have embedded meant I needed to write a reply.

Here is the video embedded below:

And my (rather lengthly) reply:

This article and video really caught my eye… Thanks Ben Loki-two + Jose Mata. Sorry that this is a long post, but fundamentally some of the things being talked about in the video aren’t quite correct, and as I’m geeky with this it interested me to talk about it.

The problem with considering stuff like the video for BJJ is that it’s never as simple as saying ‘yes do this’ – everyone is different and everyone has different strengths (and previous training) which will affect where are how you should work.

It’s very important to think carefully about what you are trying to improve, and consider the speed – strength continuum. (Widely accepted to be along the lines of
Absolute Strength – Strength-Speed – Speed-Strength – Absolute Speed.)

Of course, this will vary for every athlete. A powerlifter will do almost all of his work at the Absolute Strength end, but also work with weights at say 50-70% of his 1 rep max to develop his ‘explosiveness’, in this case, strength-speed. (Moving a still heavy weight as quickly as possible.) They would rarely work in the absolute speed end however.

On the other end of the scale (absolute speed) you’d consider a sprinter that will do most of his work in the absolute speed end, which would be (surprise) sprinting. A sprinter however will work in the strength end, lifting weights, heavy squatting and deadlifting to build up muscles which will power their sprinting. They would also do tempo runs, which are slightly longer ‘sprints’ at 70-85% to build stamina – therefore moving slightly away from the absolute speed end of the continuum.

Which brings us to a BJJ fighter (the part you’ve been waiting for) – a bjj practitioner falls very much in the middle but towards the strength-speed end. They are dealing with opponents of a substantial weight, and often their movements will be opposing the force of their opponent. (Think bumping your opponent with your hips.) For the top game, often you will be switching between speed-strength and absolute speed. (Passing the guard [more force], then transitioning from side control to north south [not as much force]).

Pushups - James Schofield - Nova Forca

This means that (in working on the strength-speed or speed-strength parts of the continuum) resistance is required when training (the only thing they show with resistance is the med ball jump squat and the sprawl). Moving a light weight as explosively as you can will create greater force than using your bodyweight (all the featured box drills.) Especially important in a sport where you are dealing with your opponents force. Unfortunately, the jumps they show are pretty worthless. The athletes aren’t creating maximum force with each jump, they’re just jumping repeatedly, with no pause or reset. They aren’t training for an improvement in their jump, they are training how to jump continuously with no break – eg. conditioning.

The problem with the box drills that they show is that they don’t really accomplish anything – they are again, too high rep and are basically conditioning. They work quick feet, there is no progression. Doing endless small jumps back and forth onto a minimal height will only improve your conditioning, it won’t make you jump higher or be more agile. You’ll just become better at jumping on and off boxes. So yes, it is a training skill which can be implemented in your bjj training, but it’s not going to increase your explosiveness much if at all. If you wanted to do this you’d need to change some things:

Firstly, you need to work in lower reps than the 10 they give for all the exercises here. (They may have lower reps in the olympic lifts section, but I switched it off by then.) 5-8 reps would be a much better number – the more advanced the athlete, the less reps are required. If you are better at producing maximum force with each jump, you won’t require as many before you fatigute. Any jumps you do when you are fatigued means that technique is not perfect, which essentially means you are training bad motor control, and consequently becoming worse at jumping. Quality is important.

Another thing that the video misses is that it features only lower body and then upper body (excluding the sprawl med ball drill and the olympic lifts.) Medicine ball work is much more effective for fighters because it uses the whole body and includes power transfer between these parts of the body. Sidenote: A study done (I think at Michegan University) measured force production and the result was that weighted jump squats were just as useful for creating power as olympic lifts were.

They seem to have overlooked medicine ball throws totally which are probably the best way of creating power. Throws are great because you’re working your body as hard as you can, technique isn’t that important (in that you can still do well without doing it perfectly every time.) but explosiveness is.

Nova Forca

For more on the plyometric side check out Dr Yessis, who is pretty much the most knowledgable person on plyometric training there is. If you read that link you’ll notice his demand for quality when performing reps and the strict avoidance of fatigue.…/some-thoughts-regarding…/

Finally, there is the minimal amount of rest on offer in the video. Short rests keep your heart rate elevated and keep you working hard, eg. conditioning. Sprinters and olympic lifters will rest for minutes between sets – why – so that their central nervous systems, as well as their muscle fibres, recover fully. The video has some great exercises, but unfortunately they are more for general strength and conditioning rather than improving your athletic output like producing more force and jumping higher or being faster. Too often coaches get conditioning mixed up with power + explosiveness.

So the title “3 ways to develop your explosiveness for bjj” is a bit of a misnomer. Hope that’s of some vague interest to you guys. No matter if not, I enjoyed writing it. Any questions, comments or ideas please get at me. Thanks very much for reading.

Building Muscle and Getting Ripped…In a month.. With limited equipment

Hi everyone,

I got this message from a good friend of mine who is going away on holiday in a month. After speaking with him further he said he could train 4x a week. As this isn’t a traditional type of question I thought I’d write a full response for the website, as it is possible to build muscle without any access to ‘real’ weights or minimal resistance.

“Schoffs, I’ve got a month till I hit a beach holiday. I have limited equipment in my flat (i.e. none) and just want to build muscle doing exercises at home. Any ideas?
I do have access to this outdoor gym:”

Firstly, let’s consider the equipment at the outdoor gym… There’s a leg press, lat pulldown, bench, pull up / dip station and chest press. All the machines (As far as I can tell, I’ve never been) involve using your bodyweight as the resistance of the machine, for example the chest press said you’d use about 30% of your bodyweight as resistance.

Because of this, I’m not sure it’s going to be too useful for my friend’s needs, but I suggest going along and trying it out and seeing how the resistance stacks up.

Pushups - James Schofield

With just 4 weeks to go, the most important thing to focus on will be consistent resistance training, coupled with hard HIIT circuits. (Build muscle / burn fat).

I would prescribe training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You want to focus on workouts that develop the maximum amount of muscle in the quickest time possible, but with a preference to certain motions to allow optimum performance the following days. Research has shown in trained individuals, skeletal protein synthesis is elevated for up to 36 hours after a session. (48 hours in those untrained.) In simple terms, giving yourself the whole weekend off is too long.


  • Day 1 – Push
    Day 2 ? Pull
    Day 3 ? Push & Core
    Day 4 ? Legs

Before you all go crazy, yes there are two push days. His focus is to look good, which all things being equal means chest, shoulders and abs.

3*10 = 3 sets of 10 reps. All rest is 1 minute.
// = superset, perform both exercises immediately before resting

Monday -

Explosive Push Up: 3* to failure.
Slow eccentric Chest Press: 3*12 Explosive concentric (pushing), 5 second negative. (I assume the weight will be too easy but there’s not a lot we can do about that, shoot for 10 second negatives if it’s too easy)
Slow eccentric push up: 3*10 5 second lowering portion on every rep
Tricep dips using the bench: 3* to failure / 1 minute rest

Sprints (Maximum Effort) 10 * 7-9 second sprints / 45 seconds rest per sprint

Tuesday –

Pull Up 3* to failure // Chin Up 3* to failure. 1 min 30 rest.
Slow eccentric Lat Pulldown 3*12 (pull down fast, release the weight up slowly) 5 second release portion on every rep.
Negative Chin up – (only the lowering portion of a chin up, jump and catch the bar to start high.) 3*5 reps 10 second lowering portion on each rep.

HIIT: Maximum effort -

3* 30 seconds of mountain climbers / 30 seconds rest
3* 10 burpees with full pushup. / 1 minute rest

Thursday –

Chest Press 3*10 // Dips 3* to failure
Slow eccentric push up 3*10 5 second lowering portion on every rep
Core Circuit 2 sets total: V Sit 10 // Side Plank L 45 seconds // Side Plank R 45 seconds
Burpees with full push up 3*10 / 1 minute rest

Sprints (Maximum Effort) 10 * 7-9 second sprints / 45 seconds rest per sprint

Saturday -

Leg Press 3*10 // Squat Jumps 3*10 / 1 minute rest
Bodyweight Squats 3*12 with 5 second lowering portion / 1 minute rest
Bulgarian Split Squats using bench 3*20x leg / 1 minute rest
Standing Long Jump 3*10 / 1 minute rest

3* 30 seconds of mountain climbers / 30 seconds rest
3* 10 burpees with full pushup. / 1 minute rest

So there you have it. If you have any questions, give me a shout on the James Schofield Training Facebook Group

Don’t forget to hit up the Twitter @JSchofTraining

Happy New Year + The Idle Man

Welcome to 2015 everyone!

I apologise for the lack of recent updates. For those that don’t know, I am out in Kuwait right now and my focus has been on a few things, but unfortunately writing articles hasn’t been at the top of that list. More news to follow, but recently I have been concentrating updates on the – James Schofield Training Facebook Group which focuses on my choice picks in training, health, and supplementation from around the web and is growing all the time.

I have also been working on a new website for my personal training, which will be finished soon! As you know, I do love to write so I am pleased to say I have been asked to appear as a guest blogger on fashion website The Idle Man, where I will be contributing blogposts frequently. Check it out, it’s a great resource of fashion items, deals and guides to help you look your best whatever you’re be doing!

Are you Wasting Your TIME with Ineffective Cardio?

People all across the UK are now (or have been) hitting the gym as it’s (sort of; still) the New Year. I commend these people for making the effort and taking that plunge into fitness. However, if they don’t see results, they won’t stick with it. Cardiovascular exercise (otherwise known as cardio) is much more complex than just ‘running on a treadmill’.

‘Steady State’ Cardio is Not Enough

Doing traditional aerobic steady state cardio exercise as we know it has almost zero effect on fat loss. (1) You know, the kind where you jog on a treadmill for 20-45 minutes at a reasonable pace, all the time feeling smug and reminding ourselves how good this is for us. We’ve all done it. Whilst it is true that all exercise burns calories, unfortunately exercising this way will not get you the body you want. This is due to adaptation, and, quite simply, how amazing your body is.

Consider this example: If you run for 20 minutes every day you will undoubtedly see your cardiovascular fitness going up. Unfortunately, all that happens is that your body adapts and becomes more efficient at running. You will become fitter, and better ? but only at running. Think about construction workers that do heavy manual labour for 8 hours a day. For the first few days and even weeks they are sore as heck and their muscles ‘hate’ them, but as the weeks pass, their soreness decreases, until it is almost non-existent. Are they all huge ripped muscular beasts? Generally speaking, no they aren’t. (Note: This is not a slight at construction workers in any way shape or form.) Your body is an amazing thing and it adapts to doing what you consistently do. Therefore it is essential to train in intervals and progressively increase your workrate to avoid stagnation.

Takeaway: Doing cardio exercise in the traditional ‘fat burning zone’ (55%-65% of your maximum heart rate) does almost nothing for you in terms of fat burning!

Muay Thai provides great interval training - @JSchofTraining muay thai with Fawaz Bader

Muay Thai provides great interval training

You Need Interval Training!

Interval training involves periods of higher intensity, and ultimately harder work and periods of easier, lighter intensity work. This gives us the holy grail of fat loss – Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC effect.

The EPOC effect means that you burn calories even after you have stopped training. If you do the aforementioned steady state cardio, your calorie burn stops the minute you leave the gym. If you do interval training, your fat burning can continue for many hours afterwards therefore maximising the results of your efforts.

A study conducted by the University of Western Ontario showed just how effective interval training is: They had 10 men and 10 women training 3x a week, one group running 30 second sprints and resting for around 4-6 minutes between efforts. The other group did 30-60 minutes of exercise on a treadmill at 65% of their maximum heart rate (the top end of the traditional fat burning zone).

After 6 weeks of training, the group doing interval training had lost far more fat than the group doing plain old cardio. (12.4% compared to just 5.8%). That’s a pretty astonishing difference, and might be alarming for those of you spending an hour on a treadmill! (2).

Scientists don’t know the exact reasons for such huge differences in fat loss, but it’s thought that more fat is burnt due to (at the very least):

The EPOC effect and increased resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after training (1)
Targeting abdominal fat more than other variations of cardiovascular exercise (3)
Improved insulin sensitivity in the muscles (1, 4)
Spikes in growth hormone (1, 3)

Health Club Treadmill - running

Takeaway: Do high intensity interval training if you want more comprehensive and longer lasting results. Anything else cardio wise is simply a waste of time. Interval training takes more effort yes, but the results are substantially better. (The fact that it takes more effort should be a major clue in why your time is better used this way.)

How Should I Structure my Interval Training Sessions?

The simplest way to structure an interval session is to start with a certain time ‘on’, where you will be going hard (e.g. sprinting), and then spending as long as is necessary recovering. On a treadmill or running outside a good start is twenty seconds of sprinting followed by two minutes walking or light jogging to recover. Then you can change your rest periods as your fitness improves, and try and match your time, every time, for however many sets you want to do.


Sprint 20 seconds. Recover (walk or slowly jog) for 2 minutes. Repeat 5x times.

As this becomes easier, start to decrease the rest times by 15-30 seconds.

Sprint 20 seconds. Recover for 1 minute 30 seconds.

The optimum intensity to work towards would depend on the individual but we like to get our clients working on a 1:1 ratio as quickly as possible ? this means 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 20 seconds of recovery.

If you are putting a lot of effort into your training (as you should be doing) it simply isn’t sustainable to do 10x or 15x sets of this type of training. If you can, your ‘on’ efforts are lacklustre!

Final Thoughts

Cardio can be a great way to improve your general fitness and heart health, but it’s important that you do it right in order to get the maximum benefit from the hard work you put in. We have used sprinting as an example, but to make it easier, pick a cardio exercise that you enjoy ? it could be anything ? running, cycling, the elliptical machine, or even sports that have naturally occuring breaks or time constraints like boxing, squash, or basketball.

What cardio activities do you enjoy?! Or do you prefer to lift weights? Comment below and tell us what you think! Share your best circuits or interval ideas and encourage others to do the same. Thanks for reading!


James Schofield - Fitness Professional @JSchofTraining

James Schofield is a fully qualified personal trainer and athlete working as an athletic performance coach at Kuwait’s premier training facilty, SPARK.

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1. J Obes. 2011;2011:868305. doi: 10.1155/2011/868305. Epub 2010 Nov 24. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.Boutcher SH.
2. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jan;43(1):115-22. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e5eacd. Run sprint interval training improves aerobic performance but not maximal cardiac output. Macpherson RE, Hazell TJ, Olver TD, Paterson DH, Lemon PW.
3. Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity. 2008;32(4):684?691. [PubMed]
4. From: J Obes. 2011; 2011: 868305. Published online 2010 November 24. doi: 10.1155/2011/868305

The Hanging Leg Raise – How to and Demonstration Video

Summary: This is an essential core exercise for athletes, those looking to improve their physique and those who want a serious core workout. You need to be both strong and aware of your body to perform these properly with a minimum of momentum. The hanging leg raise involves hanging from an overhead bar or using hanging straps (shown in video) and raising straight legs up to your hands or the bar. It’s basically an ab workout all on it’s own!

Hanging Leg Raise - @Jschoftraining

Hanging Leg Raise – @JSchofTraining

How To: Hang from an overhead bar, chin up grips, or use hanging straps, and with as straight legs as possible, raise your legs up high to your head / to the bar. Tilt your pelvis and engage your core as hard as possible to lift your lower body skywards. Once at the top, lower your legs again in a controlled manner until your torso is straight again before repeating. Control the movement as much as possible to minimise swinging. Momentum should be limited as much as possible as if the abdominals aren’t effectively engaged it is possible to hyperextend the spine. Many people perform leg raises and bring their legs to parallel or 90 degrees, which is ineffective in fully engaging the lower body musculature, but is of course much easier. Bringing your legs up high to your hands engages the posterior chain more completely and provides a much tougher core workout. The straighter your legs, the harder the exercise.


Regression: If a partial hanging leg raise is too difficult to perform, then the best variation is the seated leg raise with a closed knee joint (bent knee). If this is too easy, you can try hanging and raising your legs with bent knees.


Seated Leg Raise (Bent Knee)

Muscles worked: Rectus and Transverse Abdominus (abdominals), complete posterior chain stabilisers – illiapsoas (hip flexors), tensor fascia lata, sartorius.

Secondary muscles worked: Upper body (to support and hold the torso!) but especially shoulders, arms and back. Quadriceps femoris must be tense to keep your legs stable as you raise them.


Thanks for reading, for more exercise and training ideas and videos make sure you hit CTRL+D and bookmark us, hit up the Facebook group (James Schofield Fitness Training) and check out the Youtube channel.


Twitter: @JSchofTraining
Instagram: JSchofTraining
Youtube Channel: JSchofieldTraining

James Schofield Fitness Training Facebook Group

Unfortunately this site has clearly been neglected a little, as I now live in Kuwait in the Middle East, and work is busy and time-consuming! I have been posting to my Facebook group as it is easy to update, and thought now would be a great time to pass some of this information onto you -

James Schofield Fitness Training

Check it out and see my latest deadlift video (206.8 kgs at a bodyweight of 93.5kgs), stuff on metabolic conditioning and how to use this to get the absolute best benefit out of your workouts, and also how and why you should perform a supremely underutilised exercise, the humble back extension. Loads of information seconds away at your fingertips!

james-schofield-fitness-training / @jschoftraining

Aside from James Schofield Fitness Training on Facebook, we’re also gaining momentum on Instagram and Twitter – check out -

@JSchofTraining now and read about my lifting, nutrition and workouts, and all the best of what’s going on in my world of iron!


My Take on Metabolic Conditioning, or Metabolic Resistance Training

I posted this to my Facebook group (James Schofield Fitness Training on Facebook) and did a little write up after reading this article about Metabolic Resistance Training.

Read the article and collect your thoughts, then consider what I have to say below – which I think is a much more effective, safer way to achieve the same goals.

>>> I thought this was a very good article, it’s effectively how I train 100% of the time now (in my own way) – however – I don’t do it like they do here in circuit form, in fact I don’t think I ever would because I like to focus on my lifts and my movements. The KEY paragraph is this:

‘MRT covers many combinations of CV and muscular training involving many techniques to increase intensity such as circuits, supersets, speed work, compound movements and low rest. It bridges the gap between aerobic and anaerobic activity and as such could be the perfect thing to get you away from the hours on the treadmill.’

If I am not having an out and out ‘strength’ day, every exercise I do will be supersetted with some sort of Metabolic Training. For example, after I have done my heavy squats, I’ll do some legs assistance work. This could be as simple as doing single leg leg presses. I superset this exercise with box jumps, squat jumps, or high bench jumping steps (like having one foot on a bench and one on the floor, and jumping and switching your feet for 20 reps). This ‘extra’ exercise turns the overload UP and the heart rate sky high as it is a challenging exercise for the heart whilst providing a tough challenge for the muscles themselves.


Battle Ropes - Fantastic Metabolic Resistance!

Battle Ropes – Fantastic Metabolic Resistance!

Some examples:

Prime leg exercise superset with jump squats or box jumps
Prime leg exercise superset with single leg jumps or hops
Bench Press superset with push ups or knee raise push ups
Chin ups or Pull Ups superset with core work or hip raises

thanks to Nick A Titley

Squat Jump!

Obviously it’s much easier to do effective metabolic work with leg dominant or whole body activities. how many push ups can you do? 20? Doing bench press then a set of push ups would achieve the same – you are workign for between 20-30 seconds which as you should know is the ideal time for a short interval of work. As long as you get between 20 and 40 seconds of good work in, you’ll be feeling it!

It’s that simple – pick your exercise, pick another that is related and more taxing on the heart but still utilises resistance, and go nuts. You literally don’t need to do conventional ‘cardio’ ever again. Thanks!

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