3 Things that Improved my Photography that are Completely Unrelated to Photography

I’m often asked my general or best tips for improving at photography and while these are questions that can’t be answered without more information about the person asking, I do have some general tips and things that helped me immensely and can be applied pretty universally. I came to realise that most, if not all of my tips aren’t really related to photography or gear, but about the process and person instead.

An alarm clock and schedule
For a long time I shot almost nothing but mid-day light and night shots. The thing I was best at in my first year of photography was Light Trails. I’d like to say this was because it was something I was personally interested in and specifically went out of my way to shoot but in reality it’s mostly because those are the only times I was out shooting. Whether working (or in most cases, sleeping) I completely ignored sunrise and morning light and it wasn’t until I forced myself to take this omission seriously that I increased the width and breadth of my photography in no small measure. The two most popular times of day to shoot are Sunrise and Sunset and no matter what anyone tells you they’re both very unique and have their own palette and light. Excluding one from your repertoire means cutting out one of the best times of day to shoot and handicapping what you have access to and often simply by getting up earlier means you have access to a whole new range of photos. Not just the light and colours change but the types of wildlife you see, the way people dress and what they’re doing, the light and shadows in the streets do a complete 180 and you have twice the shots that you had before in almost any genre.
Take this seriously and set your alarm for early in the morning and schedule yourself time to go out and shoot- after all, the early photographer shoots the worm.

Social trip to Amsterdam
A car/willingness to travel
Being poor photographer is both a blessing and a curse. It limits your access and schedule and thus restricts the content you have available to you but at the same time it narrows your focus and forces you to get creative with what you have available. So it’s with a pinch of salt that I highlight this piece, but getting a car or simply travelling more, both locally and abroad is hugely important. I’ve come to realise that exploring new places is deeply rewarding and mentally enriching for human beings, perhaps in part as an evolutionary reward for those who survived in times of hardship or perhaps simply because it takes us back to that feeling of finding and learning about new places as a child. Whatever the case, being in new and unknown places is something that sets us in a different frame of mind- of being open to new surroundings and details and even cultures. This frame of mind is what we’re often striving for with photography so we can intuitively narrow in on great shots.
Whether finding new places means travelling across the world or simply walking a mile further out of your town or city than you have before to find a new section of woods or a new part of town, just being willing to find new things is a big part of growth as a photographer.

The best 3 shows I’ve ever heard of

Since I was little I’ve loved film and now I’m older I can appreciate the production and art in the craft as well as the story- it’s always made film something I love to learn by watching.
Conversely, I’ve had a special kind of dislike for TV shows. While there are plenty of exceptions, in the span of all my memory they’ve been little more than a mix of shallow creations with little value or story, and the non-fiction has always been just plain boring.

The exceptions come and go from time to time- Mythbusters and How It’s Made were two (initially) low budget mostly-independent creations that were focused and pure enough while still interesting enough to be good to watch. But blockbusters with soul are rarer still and you have to look at the outcasts and indie companies like Adult Swim to come up with anything with a skew from the status quo.

It’s with this in mind that I say shows like Futurama and the titles below are worth their weight in gold- they’re big budget blockbuster productions that stood the onslaught of the corporate overlords to keep their ethics, values, souls and stories intact and through that gauntlet they became shaped slicker and sleeker but still with enough depth to reach a mind or two.

These are 3 shows I feel represent this perfectly, the best 3 shows I’ve ever watched.


3. Firefly

Firefly is an interesting entry because it’s modern and oldschool at the same time. It feels like old TV- where a group of main characters are put through different situations and everything goes back to normal at the close. It harkens back to a time where TV shows ended on a pleasant moral point that the audience can think about, without soapboxing or arrogantly assuming right or wrong. The early Simpsons did this fantastically and many of the best fictional shows of the past stuck to this formula- but Firefly feeds it into a more flexible background story, a higher production value and more human moments than the universe it exists in has any right to portray. Firefly is the best of oldschool feel-good TV.

If you’re interested in Firefly you might want to check out the film version- Serenity. It’s a lot thinner and less character driven than the series but it’s a great entry point and has a faster pace.

2. Westworld

It’s with hestitation I add Westworld to this list because it’s so new and it’s similar to bad shows in a lot of ways- it has shiny production values and regular characters going through different situations each episode, perfectly regular normal TV. But what’s hidden to the audience while you’re watching Westworld is that you’re learning- you’re learning about the Universe and the characters and the rules that shape what you see around you without ever knowing it. Every interaction and scenario tells you a little bit more and gives you another piece of the map until you think you realise you want to know what the hell is going to happen next and how things are going to change- which is where the incredible story picks up. Unlike other shows, Westworld has a concrete story in place and a direction from day one and you have no idea what it is or where it’s headed unless you watch like a hawk. Throughout this development you’re also battered with moral considerations, questions of life and love and progress and technology and humanity. Westworld is a show that doesn’t dumb down to let you catch up to the story- it’s on you to interpret a lot of what you see and if you don’t keep up them you’re going to miss out.
It’s one of the few shows I’ve watched twice and it’s just as interesting a ride the second time as it is the first.

If you like Westworld check out Michael Chricthons other work- he’s a director and writer I could talk about for weeks because of two primary reasons- he’s intelligent and curious in equal measures. The original Westworld movie, while dated and cheesy by todays standards, was unique for the time. It’s basically Jurassic Park (also by Chrichton) with robots in that it’s a disaster movie about a theme park where the attractions become the danger.
More than that, read his books. He writes in a way that typically takes real history, science or evidence/discovery from either and writes according to the good old science fiction formula of what-would-happen-if.


1. The Wire

The Wire is everything you don’t do on TV- You don’t make a show about poverty, filth, crime and degeneracy because according to the studio audiences aren’t going to want to put themselves in those characters shoes. You don’t portray real life and all it’s little boring moments and failures because nobody wants to watch that crap. You don’t beat the characters the audience likes with a stick and show their countless mistakes and horrible attributes and you certainly don’t kill them off because that’s what happens in real life. The Wire does them all and more. The Wire drags you into the world and as you slowly come to understand the characters and their choices you find yourself routing for them and the scenario you think might just play- then reality and humanity hit and you’re left with your pants at your ankles and a bullet in your head, cause all the action and suspense and great writing in the world don’t change the fact these are, for the most part, real events taken from real case reports.
Despite the realism and issues The Wire deals with on screen, it never once blames anyone or tells you what’s wrong with the world- every character has dimensions and changes depending on the circumstances they’re dealing with and so while I felt angry at the city in the first season for the failures and lackings in the school system, the show comes back around later on to show that those failures I was bitter about exist for 20 other reasons, including being a result of the people I felt sorry for.
The Wire ultimately shows the human shit-show in all it’s strength and weakness and nails home the fact that being angry and upset at the state of the world is wasted sentiment- you can spend time trying to fix your small part of it and maybe make a difference, you can take what’s yours and help yourself get through it, you can bury your head in the sand, and you can walk away from it all and do your own thing but ultimately we humans are still going to be humans and the shit-show is going to play on.

It’s all in the game.

4 Things that Helped Lower my A1c from 10% to 6%

My HbA1c has never been terrible over the years but nor has it been particularly exemplary. At an all time high of 10.1% last year I decided to spend a bit of time and effort bringing it down for the next result. Here are some of the simplest and biggest factors that helped me.

1. Pre-bolusing properly
Pre-bolusing is taking fast acting insulin before eating, rather than at the same time. This concept is widely known and common practice for most diabetics, but most of us aren’t seeing much of a benefit, if any, because, like so much of diabetes, it’s easy to forget and hard to balance with the rest of life and we commonly inject only a few minutes before hand. Since even the best fast-acting insulins take at least 10 minutes to start working and don’t reach peak for about an hour, this means we’re essentially gaining a fraction of the benefits to consistent blood-sugars that we would be if we pre-bolus earlier.

I spent a bit of time builidng the habit of bolusing before I even start cooking- typically 30 minutes before hand but sometimes as much as an hour if I know my blood sugar is a little high and I know I’m not going to be interupted or have to do anything between injecting and when I eat. This is important because it’s all to easy to go too far with this practice and start suffering way more hypos because you forget to eat or get distracted by a friend at the door or any other event but with practice and consistency you can build this into your routine and pre-bolus by a lot longer for at least one meal of the day.

2. Eating less carbs
This is probably the first thing I’d recommend for early (but not new) diabetics suffering from high a1cs and high blood sugars. Carbs are the single biggest factor when it comes to insulin and blood sugars and nothing will have more of a positive effect than getting this right. The dietary recommendations in most western countries recommend high amounts of carbs (60% here in the UK) mainly because of fibre, and I could discuss and soapbox in length why I think this is a ridiculous and unhealthy recommendation but suffice to say I’ve personally found no good reason to consume anything more than 5-10% of your diet as carbs.

The internet is awash with low-carb diets and some work better than others for different people. I’ve tried most of them and have concluded that, for diabetes, they’re all different angles with the same principle- less carbs. No matter how you go about it- whether you prefer high protein, high fat, both or any other variation just keep your carbs generally low. Keeping the guidelines as wide as possible leaves you with more room to eat what you want and in my experience, less chance of falling back on high or refined carbs.

Dr Bernestein recommends less than 10g of carbs per meal and the Keto diet tends to recommend less than 50g or 20g of carbs per day. Again, I don’t recommend being so specific because everybody is different, as an 86kg power-lifter recommending 20g of carbs per day for both myself and say a 45kg young girl who does light exercise doesn’t make sense. Eat less carbs and adjust over time to suit your needs and find what you can consistently stick to and you’ll reduce your a1c over time as a result.

3. Eating more fibre and fat
As I said above, other than some circumstances for specific types of people, I find sticking strictly to diets usually doesn’t make sense and eating carbs is still a regular part of my diet, albeit in small amounts compared to most people, but by eating fibre and fats along with the carbs I do eat, I blunt the small blood-sugar spikes even more. For example, I like to eat small amounts of carbs both before and after gym workouts to keep my muscles fueled by glycogen. For this, I choose to eat oats, lentils and other foods which have a combination of high fibre and slow-acting carbohydrates resulting in a very low GI. I then add more fats and fibre wherever possible to effectively lower the GI even further- with oats this might mean coconut oil, pumpkin seeds or macadamia nuts. With savoury meals like lentils or beans this might mean more leafy or fibrous green vegetables, broccoli and the likes.

Other useful high fibre foods or high fat foods that can be included in many simple dishes include flax and chia seeds, avocado, many types of nuts and even some berries.

4. Setting my standards higher (or lower)
Another important thing that helped me lower my a1c wasn’t a physical thing at all but a mental shift. When I was first diagnosed diabetes was still uncommon and advice was sketchy at best. I was told by some doctors that an ideal blood sugar level was between 5.0mmol/L and 7.0mmol/L and others that less than 9.0mmol/L was perfectly healthy. It wasn’t until years later that I came to terms with the fact that the only truly healthy blood sugar range was that of someone with a functioning pancreas, that of someone without diabetes, which is a resting blood glucose of 4.0mmol/L and up to 7.8mmol/L an hour and a half after eating, which means an a1c of below 42 (6%). This is lower than the recommended level for diabetics, presumably because preventing dangerous hypos is a big consideration, but to aim for higher blood glucose levels as a result rather than aiming to be more tight with them seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Understanding this and coming to terms with the fact that I should be aiming for an a1c of 6% or less and resting blood glucose levels as close to 4.0mmol/L as I could manage suddenly made sense and I no longer felt like I shouldn’t try as hard just because I have a non functioning pancreas and I’ve been labelled as diabetic- in fact it means the reverse, that I should try harder.

5 Select Things I’ve Learned About Street Photography as a Beginner

Having tried my hand at street photography now for little more than 2 weeks I’d consider myself the last person to seek complex and detailed advice from, but at the same time many of the most valuable things I’ve learned throughout my life have been from people at around the same level of skill as myself while trying to get to that next level of ability and not from the pro’s who’ve been doing it for 20 years who explain without context and expect me to know anything and everything when I’m still stumbling to hold onto the basics. With that in mind, here are a range of basic concepts I’ve learned specifically relating to Street Photography in my early footsteps into the genre.

1. Light is Everything
One of the biggest separators between average and great Landscape photographers, and photographers in general is their knowledge and use of the weather, the light and the time of day. Most of us know of and have experience with Golden Hour and Blue Hour- the 1 hour after Sunrise and the 1 hour before Sunset. These are the times when the sun is lowest in the sky and provide a very horizontal light position, resulting in fantastic shadows, contrast and colour. So why do so many of us forget about this when we try Street Photography? Perhaps it’s because we get so focused on the subject and finding the right person that we forget we’re still (at times) essentially doing Portrait Photography, and if anything is important in Portraiture it’s lighting. The hour after sunrise is particularly loved by Street Photography because it’s often when most people are commuting to their place of employment in town. By using the light at a slight angle we can have long stretching shadows to emphasise someones walk to work and build a very sombre mood or shoot into the sun and create silhouettes against the street or pavements with ranges of tone.
Similarly, the Blue hour is not to be forgotten as it can be a time when people are heading out to the night life in the cities so people tend to be dressed to impress and particularly active and enthusiastic and with use of street light it can create a brilliant orange/blue complimentary contrast.

The Golden and Blue hours vary in length and their time depends on sunset and sunrise, meaning it changes from day to day and place to place. I’ve found this website particularly useful for getting detailed information by location but many phone apps have similar functionality and may also be useful.

2. There are Two Main Techniques, Both are Worth Learning
There are lots of different approaches and techniques used when shooting Street Photography but these main two take up the majority of space for most photographers.

First is looking for a good subject to shoot, then following them until you find a nice location or backdrop to shoot them against. This can feel creepy at first, and I suppose it kind of is, but then so is street photography in general if you look at it from the same angle. This alone is enough to turn many people off but there are benefits to shooting this way. It’s particularly useful if you’re far more interested in shooting the people than you are shooting the street or surroundings. Bruce Gilden is a great example of a candid street photographer who, despite what most would consider a very aggressive approach, gets fantastic results and doesn’t piss as many people off as you’d expect. His dominant approach is to walk the street against the crowd with a flash in one hand, a camera in the other and literally jump in front of people and snap them at the right moment. Another variation on this approach is to roam a particularly nice area and find someone you like then trail behind or in front of them to shoot once you have your desired backdrop.

The second technique is to find a nice spot in the city and wait for a subject. This provides a more relaxed approach as you’re often able to take an out-of-the-way position and many times go completely unnoticed. Here, everything is about timing and patience. You might sit in the same spot and snap 25 shots before you get the subject you want in the right position, but often that’s exactly what it takes to get an interesting street shot.

3. Framing and Telling a Story Become More Important
One of the things that attracted me to, and that I love about street photography is that it’s often more about context and story than other types of photography- that is, the way your photo is interpreted can vary from person to person but ultimately that interpretation is what gives the photo its impact. Whether it be a simple story like the lack of interaction and potential between two people who are close to each other that you can draw from, or something more obvious like a man in work clothes on the bus heading to work, it’s all about the context you put in the photo and the framing becomes a huge part of that. Getting in just enough to show elements of the story while also using the frame to compose is hard to marry but so often is what makes the difference between a good and bad photo.

4. The Largest Hurdle is Usually Yourself
I soon realised that the biggest weakness I had in street photography wasn’t anything to do with my skill or technical ability but was more basic than that- that I simply refused to take certain shots because of conscious or subconscious fear of what might happen, whether that’s physical altercation or simply a nasty look, it’s scary and hard to ignore in your mind. Most articles on street photography cover this in more depth but suffice to say the key things that helped me get over this were 1. Coming to terms with the fact that I was missing some of my best shots and that I wasn’t going to be a good street photographer otherwise and 2. That feeling embarrassed or self-conscious after being spotted taking a photo of someone revolves almost entirely around the fact that I’m simply not doing it enough or at all- that I might always feel that way but simply taking more candid shots means I can learn to ignore it quicker. After accepting those two things I went out and sought out shots I wouldn’t normally take simply to challenge my previous perception that I couldn’t take a shot because I was embarrassed or that I might not be missing a good shot anyway and lo-and-behold I instantly improved my repertoire and ended up with far more to show for it. For others, your demons about shooting people you don’t know may come in different flavours but ultimately we’re all simply self-conscious because we humans are programmed to care what others might think about us, but when that human trait gets in the way of progress you ultimately need to either accept it as part of your life and move a different way, or simply take the time and effort to overcome it like anything else.

5. Don’t Forget Indoor Spaces
For the first few days I shot on the street I completely ignored indoor spaces in favour of roaming the streets for a nice location. It wasn’t until I passed a pub on the corner of a street with an interesting looking guy having a pint and a completely different looking gentleman having a coffee on the tabletop outside that I realised there was a whole other world of shots either from outside to in, inside to out and simply outside and inside alone.
Using public spaces like museums, indoor markets popular indoor venues can be particularly useful since they’re often purposefully built and decorated for visual appeal and typically full of bustle but with their own quiet periods early in the morning. This early period can help you isolate a subject or simply set up your shot and wait. Other benefits include the fact that there are often tourists or people with cameras shooting so you wont stand out as much, and

When Did You Start

When did you start Photography?
I bought a Sony A5000 in October 2015 but didn’t take anything more than a handful of snaps on auto until extremely basic food photography in May of 2017 which is also around the time I started taking more than a shot every two months. So I’d say 2017 but for the sake of being anal it would be the end of 2015.

When did you start lifting?
I walked into a gym for the first time on the final days of December before 2016. I started off with a handful of arm exercises like dumbbell curls and dumbbell flyes because I had no idea what to do or even how to do basic things, nor any idea how to use any of the machines. I was also extremely self conscious. I began a very loose version of Arnolds Golden Six routine 3 months later (March, 2016) and added Deadlifts another 8 or 9 months later, so somewhere around November of 2016. I started Clean and Jerk in September 2017.

When did you start cooking?
Other than burgers and heating up processed foods, it was probably around the age of 17 or 18 I cooked things that could be considered home cooked meals.

When did you start coding?
I tried HTML and making websites when I was 13 or 14, the first website I remember making was called the Red Alert Construction Yard and was specifically about the video game Command and Conquer: Red Alert. It was a hub of useful information, screenshots and some weird stuff I tried making and I remember gaming hubs didn’t really exist at that point but of course later they became huge.
I discovered PHP at age 15 (so 1999?) and played a game called Planetarion at the time. I wanted to create something similar but also teach myself web programming so I made Colony-Wars.com which was a browser based MMORPG about colonising a planet and mastering technologies and structures to create fleets of ships and attack and defend with nearby planets for resources. I created the majority of it over 2 years but added to it and refined it over time. So I taught myself PHP, MySQL, Javascript and a few other things from 1999-2001.

When did you become diabetic?
I was hospitalised after falling into a coma and diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic in June of 2001. I woke up 2 weeks later and was discharged 2 days later. I was showing symptoms for approximately 2 months prior.

When did you begin a low carb diet?
I ate very high carb (approximately 150g+ per day) from ages 20-26 but had eaten fairly healthily and probably somewhere around <100g carbs/day before then. I slowly began experimenting but didn't move back under 100g/day until 2016, a few months after I joined the gym. I tried keto for the first time in late 2016 and again briefly in 2017.

Low-Carb Marrow Pizzas Recipe

The other week I walked past some weird green things on sale in my local Lidl and did a double take, wondering why the watermelons were in the vegetables section. Lucky for me, because that hesitation reminded me of the humble (and often watermelon coloured) Marrow, a member of Cucurbitaceae family (siblings include the Squash, Pumpkin, Courgette, Gourd and even the similarly styled Watermelon and Cucumber) which I had had as a kid in unappetising things like stews, but never learned to appreciate. After taking one home and baking several slices and still having a ton leftover thanks to the Marrows often huge size, I decided to use up the remainder trying out pizza boats, which I’ve now come to love and eat regularly ever since.

Not only are they low-carb but they’re absolutely packed with fibre and high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, Folate and Potassium meaning it’s a powerhouse of nutrition. Add the fact that it’s very filling and satiating yet ridiculously low in calories (just 28 calories per 100g of marrow) and even has some good protein and it’s easy to see why it’s now a regular in my recipes and diet.

Here’s the recipe for low-carb, low calorie filling Marrow Pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 3 Thick Marrow< Slices
  • 50g Mozzarella or any combination of grated cheeses
  • Toppings: Mushrooms, Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes

Pizza Base Sauce

  • 100ml Passatta or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Paprika, Basil, Salt & Pepper to taste

Serves: 3 Slices
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

First blend all the ingredients for your tomato pizza-base sauce for 2 minutes until smooth.
Slice your Marrow for a nice thick base and lay on a baking tray. Pour a couple spoonfuls of sauce onto each and spread out smoothly using the back of the spoon in a spiral motion from the centre.
Take a small handful of grated cheese and scatter evenly over the sauce. Optionally, add another grind of black pepper to make it look and taste a little fancier.
Slice and add your toppings as needed. If you’re using meat as a topping it’ll need to be pre-cooked since 13 minutes of baking generally isn’t enough to cook anything but thin bacon.
Finish with any herbs, spices or extra seasoning you want then slide the tray in the oven at Gas Mark 6 (400F/200C) for 15 minutes or until the base and cheese turn golden brown.
Plate and serve however you like.

How I got to a 200kg Deadlift

This weekend I managed a 200kg Deadlift for the first time. It’s by no means an impressive feat or a high number in terms of the Deadlift, but for someone like me who’s been lifting less than 2 years working on all round strength I have to say I’m very happy about it and after slowing down and taking a moment to reflect on my lifting progress I’m even proud of where I’ve gotten to.

In all flat, boring honestly, getting here hasn’t been difficult, but nor has it been particularly easy and the unexciting reality is that I’ve pretty much done the same thing since the early days and relied on nothing more than simple consistency and fixing any broken links in my chain to progress. Ultimately, no matter what the popular YouTube video titles or fitness industry will try to have you believe with fancy marketing and aggressive phrasing, everything in fitness is pretty simple, pretty easy and, at least from the outside, pretty boring.

With that said, there are some things I wish I’d known sooner, some things that greatly helped me and some general advice I’d like to pass on to anyone who may find it useful. First off, here’s a quick background.
I’ve been lifting for 1 year and 8 months now. I entered a gym for the first time in my life at age 31 with the New-Year-Resolution crowd in January 2017 and started doing Squats somewhere around 3 months in. I quickly progressed in Squats and still feel like I have somewhat of a genetic advantage for the squat in particular- perhaps it’s because I’m Scottish that I’m predisposed towards a short & stocky frame, strong bones and strength, or perhaps it’s because of my love of Oats (Oats & Squats are like Peanut Butter and Jelly) or maybe it’s just that I’m a bit of a short-arse. Whatever it is, the Squat has always been my best lift and was always ahead of the Deadlift for me, though I will say that’s in large part because I didn’t start Deadlifting until a good 8 or 9 months into lifting, mostly because I was loosely adhering to Arnolds Golden Six for almost a year, which is a minimalist routine lacking in a lot of areas, particularly the Deadlift. I reached 180kg x5 on Squat just last week and I haven’t tried a 1RM for a while but I’d guess it’s probably on par with my Deadlift just now, which means this is the first time my Deadlift number hasn’t been lower than my Squat, but again that’s mostly because I’ve focused far more on Deadlift than Squat in the past 2 months and had I been doing both in equal measure I reckon my Squat would still be a good 20kg more than my Deadlift.
After adding the Deadlift somewhere around November 2016- I started at somewhere around a 60kg Deadlift, usually something like 3×5, I quickly progressed up to 150kg by April 2017 with little trouble, mostly because my legs were already strong from Squats (which, for reference, probably went from 120kg to 160kg within this same time period).
In the very early days form was a big issue and something that helped me greatly. Watching YouTube videos and practising in front of a mirror helped me improve somewhat but it wasn’t until I found Joe DeFrancos Video on Deadlift form that I really knew what I was doing. This video is fantastic because it’s ultra simple and minimalist while giving you enough to get a good grip, grip width, foot stance, head and chest control and a great starting position with one or two simple cues.
After reaching 3.5 plates (160kg) on Deadlift I found it difficult to maintain my grip for more than 3 reps and made my first mistake-
I watched some YouTube videos and read some reddit posts and got the idea that avoiding things like chalk and straps was the better choice because relying on those would stop me from improving my grip strength. I spent another month or two adding farmers walks and still failing to grip much more than 150kg for 3 reps. Eventually I relented and made the intelligent choice to buy lifting straps and instantly added 20kg to my Deadlift. I was progressing again and have been adding close to 10kg per month since then.

To recap and surmise, the biggest and best advice I can give from my limited experience progressing on Deadlift is-

  • Take the single cue of pushing against the inner side of your eblows with your knees when you’re new- this will keep you right most of the time and propel your form quick.
  • Adding things like Romanian Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts or other variations will help you progress but not as much as simply doing more standard Deadlifts alone (unless you’re particularly weak somewhere). Do more Deadlifts to do more Deadlifts.
  • Stick with whichever grip works best for you. Early on (less than 100kg) this means double overhand for most. Once this isn’t enough (for me that was at 100kg->150kg) you’ll probably want to use a mixed grip. Once mixed grip doesn’t cut it any more (for me this is 150kg and upwards) lifting straps are not to be avoided for ego reasons.
  • If strength is your goal, 3×5 is enough, but lift as often as your body and diet will allow if you want to speed things up. For me this is 2.5x per week with Squats 2.5x per week also, alternating between medium and heavy days to give myself more time to recover.