Author Archives: Alan

About Alan

Cork man. Strength coach, mover, reader, coffee lover, wheelchair rugby player.

Tips for Training Through the Winter

As we all know, training in the winter months is hard. Typically its cold, wet and just miserable out most of the time. The gym just does not look as appealing as sitting in front of a warm fire does! We’ve all been there!But here are my top tips for battling through the horrible weather and getting you back on track with your goals! 

SMART Goals

I’m sure you have all heard of the acronym SMART before now. But if you haven’t it stands for the following:

Specific

Specific goals are vital to success with your journey. There’s absolutely no point in just going to your coach and saying “I want to lose weight”. or “I want to squat more weight”. Why not be more specific than that? let the person know how much you want to lose or how much you want to squat. The more specific you can make the goal, the better the chance you have of staying focused on that goal. 

Measurable

Is this goal measurable? Can it be completed within a time frame? Again, give yourself a timeframe or some sort of measure to achieve this goal by. 

Agreed upon / Achievable

Does this goal sound achievable for you? If needed, have you and your coach agreed the goal at hand and both believe its achievable?  There is no point in saying you plan to break the squat world record in 6 weeks time if you can’t even squat with no weight perfectly! 

Relevant

It’s important to set goals for yourself and not for others.  Remember why you started this journey and not why others have their own journey. If your friend has a goal of losing 10kg does not mean you need the same goal. Focus on yourself and yourself only. 

“Real change will come when you focus on yourself.”

Ritu GhatoureyTime

Put a end date on your goal. Give yourself a realistic timeframe for this.

SMART Goals have been around for a pretty long time now. There is nothing new or fancy about them But they do work. 

Sit down and have a think for yourself about a goal you have. Put it through the SMART process and reflect on it. If you are doubting yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or even your trainer about this goal. They will be more than happy to help you stay on track! 

Another way that can help you staying active is by achieving your daily step goals! If you are a relatively inactive person, start small. Aim for a daily step goal of 5,000 per day and build from there. Don’t beat yourself up if you do not achieve this target everyday as some days you might go over it, some days you might not. Look at your weekly average of steps.

These are just a few of the tips I use during the cold and miserable winter months to help me stay on track!

Hitting the Writing Wall

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down here to write a blog. As something I planned on doing more regularly I have not gotten off to a great start! I have hit a kind of wall as to what to write about on here, and I still don’t really know what content to put up or what not to put up. For something I planned on doing for myself I have quickly fallen into the trap of overthinking about what to write to look sh*t hot on here. Instead I should just be focusing on what I myself want to write about. After all this is a personal blog!  I’ve began to look at some great writers in this area to gain some inspiration and I have to say there’s some great content out there. If you look at the likes of Stuart McMillan, Bret Bartholomew, ALTIS, Dan John… You will not be disappointed. The stuff these guys write it’s just outstanding! Anyway enough rambling about my shortcomings of being more frequent on here! I’ll work on that..

Random Ramblings

Athletic Development

When it comes to athlete development there is no perfect way to programme design. Yes there will be similarities but its hard to give a one size fits all programme to a group of athletes and expect the same result from each and every one on that programme.

This is something that really struck home with me over the last few months. Especially from coaching the fantastic Rebel Wheelers Multi-Sports Group. A lot of the kids here have the same disability but by god are they all unique in their own way with what they need.  Athletes are individuals and they should be coached that way. Well no scratch that. Every single person you meet is an individual and each and every one of them should be coached that way. You cannot take a one size fits all approach to fitness. It may work in the short run, but long term it will not workout.

If you’d like to see a better insight into the work we do with this group at ACLAÍ have a look at the video below:

Ladder Sets

I have been playing around with these for awhile now after reading Dan Johns post about them a while back. They are a great way to up the volume of your sets without adding more sets in.  They are best utilised on alternate exercises to keep the tension on the resting limb while the other one goes to work.

Give this a try for your self and see!

Alternate Dumbbell Bench Press

Set 1:

2 – 3 – 5 -10 on both Limbs

Straight Arm Front Plank

Set 2 :

New weight

2 – 3 – 5 – 10

Straight Arm Front Plank

Set 3:

New  / Same Weight

2 – 3 – 5 – 10

Straight Arm Front Plank

Oh and it is best advised to leave our ego at home when your are trying this. They are a lot tougher than they look.


YOU’RE A FAILURE. SAYS WHO? SAYS YOU?

“As a coach there are two ways I can deal with results. I can tell you that you got 7 out of 20 or I can tell you that you got 7 right. If you get 8 right the following week that’s an improvement on your previous self. That should been classed as success. Unfortunately we want to rank people, particularly kids, to label them, put them in boxes. The challenge is that we potentially destroy them by constantly grading them against a higher figure.” 

I went to a talk in Setanta College a few years back where Dr. Dave Alred was speaking and it was an absolute pleasure to listen too. In the above article he speaks about how we shouldn’t be so quick to brand ourselves as failures. How that people think just because they are not where they think they should be or what they want to achieve that they are a failure, but they do not look at the margins needed to get to where they want to be. how these margins go out the window once you consider yourself a failure.

5 Things to Cut Out if you Want to be Successful

  • Give up multi-tasking

Most of the time spent switching between tasks is time wasted. Focus on the task at hand and then move onto the next one.  (Side note: I feel this is where I fell short on when it came to my blogs, I was trying to do them in between college work and it just didn’t work)

  • Give Up the Unhealthy Lifestyle

Take care of your body, try and get some form of exercise in everyday. think of those 10,000 steps! After all, the body is the only place you 100% have to live in!

If you want to be successful it starts with a healthy body, as the saying goes. “healthy body equals a healthy mind” 

  1. Quality Sleep
  2. Healthy Diet
  3. Physical Activity

Your body will thank you in the long run!

  •  Give Up Believing In The “Magic Bullet.”

“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”

— Émile Coué

  • Give Up Your Need To Be Liked

“You can be the juiciest, ripest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be people who hate peaches.”

— Dita Von Teese

This is something I have definitely taken on recently. I have noticed that I may not be everyones cup of tea or whatever but I’m ok with that now. I think this works both ways too, as you grow older and become wiser you are going to change, nobody stays the same throughout life.

  • Give Up Wasting Time
“The trouble is, you think you have time”
— Jack Kornfield 
Procrastination is an awful thing. To counteract this I’ve recently began setting out to-do lists for the day ahead. Especially on my days off as I will tend to just be a sloth on those days and do as little as possible if I do not have a plan.
More of these here

Podcast of the Week

Glutes, glutes, and more glutes w/ Bret Contreras “The Glute Guy” — 297

https://daily.barbellshrugged.com/contreras/

To say I’m not fond of a hip thrust myself would be an understatement! So it would be rude not to give the man himself a mention…

Podcast: Rebel Matters with Ainle Ó Cairealláin

Check out a podcast I did with friend and mentor Ainle Ó Cairealláin from Rebel Matters a few weeks back. I talk about how I dealt with my disability growing up, recovering from broken bones and my international wheelchair rugby career.

http://rebel.libsyn.com/ep-8-alan-dineen-on-overcoming-disability-getting-over-setbacks-and-professional-development

The Hang

Are you struggling with your grip strength in the deadlift or other grip exercises? Performing a hang can improve your grip strength and cause a great stretch in your latissimus dorsi while also improving your shoulder mobility. This exercise is such an easy one to add into your routine, it takes little time to set up and its a good way to recover in-between sets. All you need is a a chin up bar or a set of rings to complete the hang.

There are a variety of hangs to complete but I would start off with the Passive Hang.

Once you can complete this for over a minute without your grip going, then try a more advanced hang.

The other hanging exercises I would attempt are an Active Hang and Active Hang Reps. These two exercises work on scapula movement which is an added bonus!