Boxing Blog

    RPE and Weight Selection, The One Challenge, Shoulder Health

    Hi and welcome to another week,

    Some cold mornings and nights last week – but attendance at our sessions was great (apart from a couple of 6pm sessions interestingly enough…at the moment, if you want a ‘quieter’ session after work and the day isn’t Monday, then 6pm is where it is at) and I do hope everyone enjoyed their training.  With Alex, Eden and now Elie all away I wasn’t able to quite hit my usual number of Boxing sessions however was really happy with the ones I did complete.  There was a great balance between strength, cardio and boxing last week and it was as if the sessions had been planned out based on the ‘Our Workout’ poster up on the wall of the gym! J  Looking forward to the week ahead, to getting my training done ‘RIGHT’ and (hopefully) to get some balance in my life between work, family, footy and maybe (just maybe) trying to get just one day off (that would be super nice!).

    Today’s blog isn’t going to be super long but I am going to talk about weight selection during our Boxing classes today.  And I am going to try and talk about it here because it is super-hard to talk about it during classes.  And I am going to talk about it here because I did 30-odd Body Scans at another gym on Friday night and the following conversation was a pretty common one:

    ME:  ‘So – it is 12-months since your last scan.  Since last August, you have lost 1.5kgs of weight.  Now, that’s mostly good but you should be aware, 1kg of that weight you have lost is muscle’.

    Client:  ‘But how can I have lost muscle?  I am training 3-times every week and I train really hard’.

    ME:  ‘I am sure you do train super hard and great work getting to the gym so often.  I guess I should ask if you have been steadily increasing your weights – continuing to challenge your muscles to adapt to the extra loads’.

    Client:  ‘Well, not really.  But the workouts are really hard and I have been coming 3-times every week’….

    You can sort of imagine where this is going.  Around in a bit of a circle and – in the case of the crew on Friday night, well, I don’t do their programming or apply their coaching so it was hard to be too helpful.  But if you think back to the February challenge, we had a heap of people who lost weight but ALSO lost a bit of muscle…and I am sure we have had a heap of people who have continued along the same track in the interim.  And for a lot of you guys in that category (and based on my last Body Scan, I am one of them!) well there might be a lot of reasons but the first one is this – your RPE isn’t in the ‘RIGHT’ zone for strength gains.

    RPE is the Rate of Perceived Effort and it is often (from a programming sense) used to define how ‘HARD’ people find an exercise.  For example, we use it regularly at footy to make sure that we aren’t constructing sessions that are too challenging during a week after a particularly tough game.  In the gym it can be used broadly to define how hard each exercise is and is based around a bit of an assessment of ‘effort over time’ assessment.  For example, 2 minutes on the assault bike is ‘harder’ than 2-minutes of bridging.  More specifically, getting 15 calories on the assault bike in 1 minute is much harder than achieving that same target in 2 minutes!

    So – this kind of brings me to the point.  What ‘RPE’ should YOU be targeting when you get to the strength efforts of your class?  In other words – how heavy a barbell/kettlebell/dumbbell should you choose for each exercise you have been assigned?  It kind of breaks down like this (simplistically) and is all set on a ‘scale’ of 1 (easy) to 10 (hard).

    RPE 10:  Failed or could not possibly lift up the barbell/kettlebell/dumbbell even ONE more time.

    RPE 9:  Could have done ONE more rep.  (Maybe).

    RPE 8:  Could have done two-three more reps.

    RPE 7:  Could have done a few more reps and (if you are being honest) the barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell really felt like it was ‘flying’ for those first couple of reps.

    RPE 6:  Could have done the assigned reps twice – maybe more!

    When you are in a Boxing Class, you generally want to be floating between that RPE 7 and RPE 8 number if you want to continue to challenge your muscles to ‘grow’ – and girls out there, don’t stresss…that doesn’t mean ‘get muscly’ – you guys don’t have enough testosterone floating around your systems to starting putting on masses of muscle.  But you want to be in that 7-8 range during boxing classes (and Body Work classes for that matter EXCEPT during the strength specific components of Body Work when you want to be in the 8-9 range).

    What does this mean?  It means if you are using a 10kg bar for a set of 20 repetitions, if you have to do that SAME exercise for a set of 10, you want to be going UP in weight.  And the same for a set of kettlebell goblet squats.  And same for ANYTHING else you are doing.  If you want to stay on the path of continual improvement then you need to keep making adjustments to the weights you are using.

    Now – before everyone gets too excited about the way to 100% guarantee that they continue to (at least) hold on to the muscle they have got whilst completing their training, well, there are one million other factors (well, about a million I suppose) than can come into play as well, but this is as good a place to start as any.  I took up the challenge with this today by racking up a 50kg barbell to complete the barbell circuit in boxing AND by using a 40kg kettlebell to complete my set of KB Swings.  The second part of the challenge for me is simply to keep it up and do it again when I train tomorrow!

    See you in the gym,


    Gym Update #1 – ‘The ONE’ Challenge

    4-weeks down – 1 week to go.  Please remember guys I will be in running Body Scans for challenge participants NEXT SUNDAY (July 9th) so put it in your diary and get in on next Sunday to check out your body comp results.

    My challenge efforts are almost completely off the rails – well, the training is on track I guess but my efforts to eat 3x per day are close to being ‘over’…I just cannot get the balance right between breakfast and lunch more than 1-2 times per week…and yesterday (Saturday) between work, junior footy and senior footy I ate an orange at 5:30am then nothing more until 7pm…not awesome.  I guess this week is another chance to get it right!

    I am hoping everyone’s training is on track and remember, if you need some help/want some assistance or ‘tweaks’ to your program then hit me up when you are in the gym or send me an email to

    Gym Update #2 – New Gear and other Stuff

    Happy to say our new MMA gloves, Bag mitts and HOODIES all arrived in the gym last week.  You will hopefully have noticed all of our gloves are now coming in Round 1 carry bags and (hopefully) this will allow us to revamp all of the shelving etc in the gym over the next month or so…we will see how we go!

    Thanks to everyone who picked up one of our new ‘TRAINING’ branded hoodies – they look pretty cool – and we are still missing a portion of the order.  Once the rest of these arrive, I will set up an online ordering system (similar to what we use for the challenges) for anyone who missed out but still wants a hoodie…

    The new slam balls I mentioned last week also arrived – 9kg and 15kg sizes – so I am hoping we are well set with that gear for the time being.

    Gym Update #3 – Running Club Off and Running

    So – we abandoned running club this morning due to the weather and the absence of a few of our regulars…when you are a small crew, 4 people missing is a BIG number!

    Homework for this week is a series of ‘SURGE’ efforts – really hoping to see 40-minutes work done here.  It should work like this:  30-seconds PUSH followed by 30-seconds jog (no walking at all) for 20x efforts.  When you are done, walk for a 3-5 minute recovery rest, reset and go again.  The basic rule of thumb is that if you don’t need the 3-5minutes break in the middle, well, you aren’t surging fast enough…so up the pace!

    See you all next Sunday.

    Gym Update #4 – Round 1 “Help Line”

    This is a repeat of last week’s note – as mentioned, stay tuned as we continue to build our database!

    Been spending a bit of time working on getting a database of specialist services together lately – trying to use the experience we have garnered in the past Seven (7) years in Cockburn to be able to offer pretty basic consults for people who need help with medical services, external training services and a few other things.  The way I see this working is that if you need some physio help, we connect you with the physio and are able to discuss the issue with them directly before you arrive for your appointment (and in theory we can set up the appointments but that is a bit more of a work in progress).  Same for chiro, podiatry, OT…you name it.  Same for specialist training services (sprint coaching, olympic lifting etc).  Whilst I wish we could cover EVERYTHING in house, it simply isn’t realistic given the wide range of specialist services people are chasing…

    Anyway, in the short-term, if you need help with something and you are a member of the gym, dont be shy about asking for help and we can get you in touch with the people best positioned to help you.

    Gym Update – Footy Tipping and Fantasy

    Another crazy week of upsets – but BEN (whichever Ben that might be!) has managed to pick 7/9 to be the stand-alone winner of the week.  There was chaos and turmoil at the top of the ladder though with leader Michael Campbell selecting just 4 winners and the chasing pack growing in number…just 8-weeks to go and still 15 people within 4 points of the lead!

    Fantasy scores were OK this week – but only one coach (Liam of JaegerBomb) topping the 2200 point mark.  Other reasonable scores (2130 +) were recorded by Ash, Travis and Justin…there are only a few weeks until finals so be sure to get your trades done in team and get those injured players onto the bench!

    Link of the Week

    Nice article on shoulder care:



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