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Combined Strength Shoulder SFN

Hands up who can remember anything from the SFN Expo last week?

Strangely it feels longer than a week – which must be due to the amount of information that we are succumbed to daily.

At this year’s expo, we had a large presence from the coaches over both days – and genuinely superb to have some guys travel just to be with us and support each other.


The demo area was superbly kitted out by ClydeBuilt Fitness, who we must extend a genuine thanks, for giving us all that was needed to deliver some informative workshops.

I personally decided to step back from speaking this year to give younger coaches a chance to step up and hone their skills in presenting to an audience.


What has it got to do with the delivery of 1-2-1 training?

It’s a test of what you really know.

Under pressure, you can’t memorise everything you may have scribbled down the night before (point to note- Grant Ford had a seriously impressive set of cue cards, left unused…).

The height of your career will depend on the depth of your knowledge.

Presenting will magnify this, especially at a fitness show.  Add on top of that your peers and mentor looking on and it really does sink you to the level of ‘what do you really know?’.

My only worry for the coaches was that people might not show- which can often happen at shows when there is a lot on and it’s hard to focus on one thing.

Every single person that turned up, were there to learn and no ‘passing trade’ to convince!

Key Points from the workshops

Tom Morgan ran a well-received ‘stand on your hands’ hour of fun on both days.  The boom of bodyweight and calisthenics has seen a rise in interest and rightly so. It is the fundamentals block of the Combined Strength Training System.

Here are some points from Tom-

Practice what you preach” and “personal application leads to better understandingAlso, the “little tweaks and nuances of positioning, movement, training come from immersing yourself in the practice”.

From a group perspective, this is something that makes us standout in the industry. We ‘immerse’ and come together, train, coach, with real ‘in the moment’ feedback that sets the standard for the next meet.

Nikki Banks was the lady with the iron core and we had some people return on the Sunday to convey their delight in DOMS from places they never knew existed.

Here are some points from Nikki-

Breathing and core go hand in hand- practice engagement with breathing, inhale engage, exhale and slowly release”.

Progress from standing to kneeling, then seated with legs in front- in each stage think about scooping and hollowing from the belly button”.

Sean Brady is one of the youngest coaches in the group, who I am sure won’t mind me saying- that he was a little shaky.

It quickly subsided and he really put out some great content ‘Building the squat from bodyweight to barbell.

Here are some points from Sean-

Start from the feet and work up to the next available joint in succession”. Over the weekend the ankle was one of the main priorities that needed work and several people showed dramatic visual improvements after 30 minutes.

Warming up properly is vital and you must allow time to do this before you consider loading up”.

If you can’t squat then lunge until you solve the issue that is preventing you from doing so”.

Movement Preparation and working on priorities is a key part of the Combined Strength Training System. It’s the quality and quantity of movement that gives us the right information on the why, allowing the coach to program effectively.

Tom Morgan Combined Strength







Grant ‘Cue Card’ Ford was on point with a very popular ‘Bulletproof Your Shoulders’ workshop delivered on both days. It was great to see many Crossfitters getting stuck into the drills and movements shown; a testament to their commitment to improving!

Here are some points from Grant-

Daily full range movement of the shoulder is the key to health

Think of the shoulder as more than just raising the arm above the head- active internal and external rotation needs to be considered as part of movement prep

Active shoulder extension before progressing onto ring work such as skin the cat and German hang is vital to prevent injury”.

Recently we have incorporated Active Shoulder Extension to the existing movement assessment, which has now been upgraded to ‘Movement 7’.

Rob Clark of Hashtag Bobs Garage went full on with a live demo of Interval Weight Training (IWT) and showed the strength of his gym members as they came down to be the guinea pig on the session. He even brought his own Air Dyne which clearly, he meant business as always.

Here are some points from Rob-

Firstly, the importance of a 10 min cv warm up when it comes to conditioning and getting most out of your body.  It’s crucial to gradually increase blood supply to the vital muscles going to be used, heart rate, breathing and metabolism steadily rising to meet the demands of the session”.

If you want a body that works, then combine both weights and conditioning for performance that translates to real life”.

IWT is all about choosing a full body ‘weighted’ movement and then 2 minutes of cardio based activity that should work you around an RPE of 7-9/10 in simple terms, you shouldn’t be able to talk….

David Lees was giving out free drinks on both his workshops, with the focus around kettlebells and the Turkish Get Up.

A key take home from Dave was slowing the movement down and really focusing- moving from the simple use of a shoe to teach and groove in the pattern to a cup of water.  Yes, there was a few wet faces J

Here are some points from Dave-

Adapt and thrive, have a plan but expect to end up going off course to meet people where they are

Slow the movement down and break it into parts that will help making something complicated more achievable”.

A great warm up for Eddie Hall and his deadlift seminar- well done ‘Die Hard’ and I still owe you a forfeit…

Brain Milligan from FITPIT in Troon delivered a Sunday afternoon session based around maximising training with limited equipment.

Here are some points from Brian-

Get stable on the rings before using them for movement- think straight arm strength before bent arm”.

Maximise the use of leverage when it comes to bodyweight training”.

Don’t feel the need to rush straight into ring training- earn the right to progress and ensure you can achieve 30+ reps on the press up before levelling up”.

A thank you to coaches, Malky White, Luke Tarbatt, Mark Middleton and Ollie McCarthy who made the trip to hang around fellow coaches on a great weekend.

Ollie leaves us with this –

Face to face interaction and quality hands on coaching will always trump social media, videos and online presence. Seems simple but was very evident in the workshops”.

Couldn’t agree more and cements the reason that a huge part of our continual professional development as a coach is done in person.

Always a little further.

Coach Andy McKenzie