workout programmes and training ideas

RRRRRRUNNERS!!! 5 ways to avoid achilles pain and misery!!!

March 1st, 2019 by Phil Brown



Do this stuff and avoid being off training and a grump around the house because your achilles is feeling like an over – tight guitar string playing “Ace of Spades” out of tune.

Once your achilles tendon is inflamed, it takes a lot of consistent effort and energy to get rid of that “itis”…..wouldn’t you rather be using that time to make progress in your training? 5 EASY FIXES TO AVOID THIS COMMON OVERUSE INJURY will ensure you stay on track for that next personal best!


1. Stttttrrrrrreeeeetch!!!!

Get flexible, save yourself a “world of hurt” as Jesse in Predator puts it. If you “ain’t got time to bleed” then you want to get stretching regularly and with purpose so you can avoid being left at the back of the pack limping and on the menu as prey…….ok enough Predator gags…….

2. Errrrr…..warm up thoroughly? (see “warm up….duh!” coming soon)

You runners are SO bad at this……having a decent warm up strategy is not just a little extra that you do when you have time in your training session, it SHAPES the whole training session by affecting your performance so profoundly that it can make the difference between an hour of POWER……..or, looking and feeling like C3P0 out for a run…………

3. Keep your bum in the picture with regular functional strength work

Achilles tendinitis, calf pain, heel pain and other assorted pains in that area are often the result of that part of your body just getting highly beaten up and peed off enough to start complaining “we’re not gonna take it!” This overwork is often due to a lack of assistance from the biggest muscles in the body – the GLUTES!!! They  can get sleepy and you need to poke them with a stick to wake them up! Ok, no, don’t really do that, but you do need to wake them up with some focused and dynamic strength work. Box jumps, squats, hip extensions, walking around with your bum cheeks squeezed together (it’s a good look! Honest!)


4. Roadrunner was a very small and light bird………

Vary your running surface – pounding the tarmac is repetitive stress syndrome for the WHOLE body (hence the need for a strength component in your training), so give yourself a break and include some trail and beach runs in your schedule. Get some nice views in too and make sure to wear cool sunglasses while you’re out there…….pink lycra optional.


5. Get a deep tissue or sports massage regularly.

Recovery and performance can be positively affected by a decent treatment. It’s so much easier to keep injuries at bay than to spend time and money getting over them, so find an amazing therapist (ahem!) and book in for some regular TLC and energising for the body you’re expecting to do all this work!

CrossFit beginner’s WOD #3

March 14th, 2012 by Phil Brown

Run 1 mile

50 0r 75 or 120  box jumps or jumps to a static object – around 16″ high will work fine to begin with. 12″ if you find that too difficult.

Run 1 mile

NOTE: box jumps options for reps are scaled from beginner to more advanced in number. Pick what will enable you to keep going without ending up taking a big break between each single rep!

You can also scale the distance of the run if you wish, to 0.5 mile

Box jump video worth a look here

box jumps


CrossFit Beginner’s WOD #2

March 8th, 2012 by Phil Brown

OK chaps – here is another basic WOD for you to try at home or at your gym. Again, it requires no equipment except your body.

3 rounds of:

20 tuck jumps

30 sit ups

Tuck jump: Jump up from a standing position, bringing your knees as high as possible towards your chest each time.  When you land, you must straighten up to full hip and knee extension, then repeat the jump.

Sit ups: Anchor your feet under a static object and extend fully to touch the floor with your hands behind your head. Bring your arms back over and lift your chest up towards your knees until you can easily touch your shins. Keep your abdominal muscles tight throughout to stabilise your lower back.


NOTE: this WOD will take you by surprise as it works the abdominals and the hip flexors intensely. SCALING options include lowering the number of repetitions by five or even half, if you are very unfamiliar with sit ups or not confident with tuck jumps.



CrossFit beginner’s workouts

February 29th, 2012 by Phil Brown

As promised at last night’s community class class, the first of the beginnner’s CrossFit workouts. These WODS are bodyweight workouts for everyone and are designed to simply get you used to the basic mixture of the WOD without having to go to the gym or try to find weights. I will post options if you have a set of dumbbells at home.
If you are a complete beginner or returning to exercise after a long period, try to fit one of these into the week alongside our class at Friars. If you are used to circuits and have a reasonable level of conditioning, try 2  and see how you go.


3 rounds for time of

10 burpees – or, if you have a real struggle with burpees to begin with, try up and downs

20 squats (weight into the heels!)

30 sit ups (as practiced in class first week)

A good burpees video here – go to the burpee demo on the list

Up and downs are demoed in this video

Post your times/comments in the Facebook entry.


Non’s Great North Adventure

October 17th, 2011 by Phil Brown

Non Gwyn is a 27 year old teacher from Anglesey who this year has begun competing in half  marathons. She began with a little race in the North called The Great North Run and is  absolutely loving her new passion. Muscle and Movement Health took the time to ask her  about her running, her training and how she has worked with the clinic and training studio  to help her with her sport.

Hi Non, tell us a how you got into running in the first place… was actually by walking first wasn’t it? I’d always wanted to run and had done a few Race for Life’s but always gave up afterwards.

This year I signed myself up to do the Moonwalk with a group of girls from work. For those who don’t know the Moonwalk is a 26.2 mile power walk that’s done over night. I completed that in 5:33:37 in May and realized that with a little effort I could turn the power walking into running, and decided to sign up for the Great North Run & Royal Parks Half Marathons in September and October.
What led you to contact Phil Brown at Muscle and Movement Health?

Whilst training for the Moonwalk I found myself with pain in my left knee, my legs ached and felt heavy and my feet where really sore from blisters. I spoke to a friend who’d done a lot of training over the years and she recommended I go for a sports massage straight after the event. That’s when I came across Phil Brown at Muscle and Movement and Health.
Did you find the treatment you were given helped your training and competing?

I walked into the treatment room after the Moonwalk not being able to bend my left knee and could hardly put any weight on my feet as they were stiff and sore. I walked out ready for my first run.
Had you ever received any sports massage or soft tissue therapy before?

I had never received any sports massage or soft tissue therapy before and realized there and then how beneficial it was going to be to my training.

You and Phil Brown have started developing some complementary training strategies to improve your running times and keep you fit for running. Can you tell us what you were doing and how you feel this training made a difference?

I have stuck to three runs a week since starting training with Phil and have been doing some strength and stability work which includes………as well as explosive training which includes squats, running a 100 meters and then lunges.  When I added the Strength and Stability work into my routine I found within a couple of weeks I could utilize certain muscle groups like the hamstrings and glutes to power myself up hills much quicker.  Then after introducing the explosive training I found I had that extra bit of energy at the end of a run to finish strong or to push to the top of the hill stronger.
So – The Great North Run! How was it?? An exciting day yes?

Yes! Amazing! One of the best experiences of my life. The whole event was just fantastic and I’m definitely going back next year! The course itself took you from Gateshead in the City of Newcatsle all the way to South Sheilds, I didn’t see a part of road or flyover with out people cheering and showing their support. The atmosphere was fantastic and being part of such an event with proper athletes starting the race off and 54,000 runners all up for the same challenge was over whelming and by the end of the race I was an emotional wreck finishing in 1:53:35. 

How did the run turn out for you…? Was the experience similar to what you had discussed with Phil at the studio? Did you have an idea of what to expect or was it all a big surprise?

The run was fun, hard, easy and challenging all at the same time.  From discussing the race with Phil I went there with a plan of starting off slow and gradually picking up pace but I got lost in the atmosphere and completed the first mile at the fastest pace I’d ever ran a mile and as a result was tired by the end. Also in Newcastle I had a drop in energy levels and was so glad to come across the Bupa boost zone at 10 miles. Top tip always carry something like jelly babies with you during a race – I had never needed anything during training but you naturally push harder during a race and need to keep your sugar levels high to perform better. I was also quite shocked during the race to see people collapse around me and need proper medical attention because they were de-hydrated or had just pushed themselves to hard. I got quite un-nerved by this during the race and kept thinking is it going to happen to me? You just have to think about all the training you’ve done, that you are hydrated and that you can finish. Keep focused on your race and no one else is. Someone once told me “pain disappears with time but achievements last forever”. That’s one thing I tell myself when I hit a hard/dark patch when running and it always gets me through as it’s so true!

Do you have any advice for people training for their first competitive event?

Put in the hard work before the event so you can enjoy the day, don’t train too much 3 runs a week has been more than sufficient for me even though at times I would have loved to go out more. Your muscles need time to repair between runs and you’ll perform much better because of it. Also think of investing some money in a sports massage / soft tissue therapy during training, before and after a race. I can’t emphasize how much it’s helped me and I’m not just saying this because it’s an interview for Phil it really has! You walk into the studio with heavy tired legs and walk out feeling like you’ve been on a two week holiday to somewhere nice and hot. Think of it as an investment – you would never run in an old pair of trainers that have holes in them or in a ripped t-shirt would you?

How do you fit your training around the rest of your life? You are a teacher on Anglesey, so obviously really busy! Does training take up loads of time?

When I decided to start running I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t make up stupid excuses like “having no time to train” – I’ve made myself find time to train. If I know I can’t fit a run in after school I get up an hour earlier in the morning to do it then. No matter how tired you are going out you come back feeling 100% better, plus you then know your on track and don’t get fed up and angry as you’ve missed one of your training runs. Plus as I’ve only been doing three runs a week it hasn’t been taking up too much time, the more you run the faster you get so the good news is it takes up even less time unless you start contemplating a marathon like me! On average I spend an hour twice during the week training and then a long run at the weekend which I tend to do between 10-14 miles so two hours at the most. Obviously when I started my long run was 5 miles and it’s built up over time.

I believe you have just finished another half marathon in London? How do you feel your performance compared to The Great North Run?

My mission in London was to get a sub 1:50:00 time as the course was flat in comparison to Newcastle and I’d learnt from my mistakes in the first half. I set off on a 8:20 minute mile pace in London and kept a close eye on my Garmin watch all the way round to make sure I wasn’t picking up too much pace and also wasn’t slowing down. I carried jelly babies with me during the Royal Parks half and had one before each water stop so at approximately 5, 7.5, 9, 10.5 and 11. I also ditched the water bottle I’d carried round with me during all my training and the Great North Run as I felt it was weighing me down. It was my comfort blanket if you like during the first half but having let go of it now I’m so glad. If you go into the race fully hydrated you have plenty of adequate water stops on the way round. The combination of no water bottle and jelly babies helped me to no end during the second half. Keeping my sugar levels high meant I was more focused on the race, could push harder and felt stronger during the run itself. Also starting off steady and pushing towards the end was much better than crossing that line with nothing left in the tank. I completed the Royal Parks in 1:49:51 and felt fantastic! 

What are your plans for the next few months? How are you shaping your training?

I have another half in November and then one in March. Over the winter I’m going to keep my running to three times a week trying to increase the pace slowly and steadily. I’m also going to be working with Phil on building muscle so I have more power during longer runs and tweaking my diet so I get more sustainable energy for running from my food.

Many thanks for your time Non and good luck with your running!!

Workout of the Day

July 18th, 2011 by Phil Brown

Ok, so you may or may not have heard of Crossfit. I have been looking at some of their incredibly intense workouts and thought I would attempt “Barbara” to see how far I got!

Well, all I can say is that Barbara is an extremely intense workout that should NOT be attempted unless you have trained enough to develop the strength and stamina to cope with it.  I did NOT complete it and I am used to regular resistance training. To get strong enough to complete this workout in its “pure” form is an achievement that needs a serious history of scaled and progressive training. However, the exercises that make up the routine are all superb, all rounder movements that will challenge your body as a whole. Here is a scaled down version for you to try. You can add or subtract repetitions as you feel, to add more intensity or to lower it.

10 Pull ups

20 Push ups

20 Sit-ups (I prefer crunches here)

30 Squats

Make 5 cycles of this and rest for 3 minutes after each cycle.  Make a note of your time so that you can try to beat it next time!

Work hard but try to maintain a pace that allows you to complete the cycle. Use the first session doing this circuit workout as a “taster” to find what intensity level works for you.




Workout of the Day – Win a FREE deep tissue massage treatment if you’re strong enough!

July 15th, 2011 by Phil Brown

For those sadists among you who are used to a regular fitness programme, I am starting a new section on training ideas and suggested programmes for strength gains, fat loss, muscle toning and all over balance and stability.

Often in the clinic at Muscle and Movement Health I work with clients to develop small programmes of exercises that increase balance and confidence in movement: these are crucial elements to the process of proper rehabilitation. Once that process is complete, it is possible to develop more rigorous programmes of functional fitness for clients involved in sport or who simply want to increase and then maintain a higher level of strength, stamina and flexibility.

The workouts posted here are aimed at intermediate to advanced sports people or those used to a programme of regular resistance and cardiovascular exercise. With that in mind, here is a resistance and bodyweight circuit I used this morning. I found it very intense, but that was because I have a habit of not resting enough between sets!  You can manage the intensity by increasing the rest between stations anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. The general rule would be not to rest long enough to begin cooling down, but also making sure that you don’t run out of breath entirely!

The amount of weight you use should allow you to complete 10 reps of each exercise with good form  through 3 full circuits of this routine.

Circuit. 3 cycles of 10 reps each exercise: do 1 set then move on to the next exercise and work this 3 times round.

Power clean and press


Wide grip pull ups

Barbell or dumbbell walking lunges (lunge walk holding 2 dumbbells or a loaded barbell across your shoulders)

Push ups (perfect form full range)

Hanging hip curls


TIP: you are working for time here, so if you cannot complete a set, rest and then continue to the 10 to finish the set – you don’t have to complete every set all at once. Be careful to pace yourself as that last circuit can really test you!

Let us know how you get on!  If you email the clinic with your times and you are the fastest over the next 5 days, you will win a free deep tissue massage session here at        Muscle and Movement Health!

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