ATTILIUS and THE R7 SYSTEM

Learn more about the R's

About the R7 System

The R7 System was designed by Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Robertson with the goal of finding words that would create an emotive response. Using words that would give clients and athletes a clearer understanding of what their training session would involve. 

The better you understand something, the better your buy-in, and in turn the better results you'll achieve.

These emotive words listed below are divided into seven sections. Each section has a defined purpose, but sometimes not every section will be utilized based on each person’s goals. 

  • R1 = Release
  • R2 = Reset
  • R3 = Readiness
  • R4 = Reactive 
  • R5 = Resistance
  • R6 = Resiliency 
  • R7 = Recovery

With these words, we can think clearer about what your goals of each section should be. What are your short and long term goals? What are your limitations that you need to work around or focus on a bit more to improve upon? And the time factor. How much time do you have to devote to the program?

The R's Defined

R1 = Release

R1: Release

What areas are tight and stiff?

The process of the calming your central nervous system and removing the stress load on your body begins HERE.

As your central nervous system governs the muscles in our body, stresses of daily life, sleep quality, etc., can affect how your CNS functions. When your CNS is affected, an energy increase demand on the body arises, which in turn begins to impact our general mobility (shoulder and hips are examples).

Upon releasing this tightness, the energy demand on your body is also released, and joint mobility begins to improve.

Activities that you may be performing in this phase: (Releases are limited to 5 areas on the body max).

Foam rolling, Ball rolling, Neural mobility work, Myofascial release work, Quick stretch routine.

R2 = Reset

R2: Reset

Upon successfully completing the R1 phase, the RESET, a vital aspect becomes the next focus to both reset or reboot your central nervous system and re-position the alignment of your body.

By working on this reset phase this means you can:

Immediately access more mobility and strength without the need to compensate.

As you Reset and restore the position of your body, you will dramatically increase your ability to better handle more training load and stress which ultimately means higher performance gains and reduced risk of injury.

What areas are you struggling to move air into?

A1. Breathing drills:

Learning to exhale properly is incredibly powerful as it allows you to not only psychologically unwind but also physically.

Breathing is an extremely easy yet immensely powerful tool as it provides a direct means of access to your central nervous system.

Why?

Well, when we inhale, our heart rate increases and when we exhale our heart rate decreases. This mean when we inhale, we are stimulating our central nervous system and when we exhale, we are slowing things down.

During this phase we are going to particularly focus on the exhale as we want to slow things down for you to “reset” and “remove” any effects of stress on your body. We want to do this so that we be sure that when we apply the stress of training to your body, we are not overloading you and only applying THE RIGHT stress. This is the stress that is going to make you BETTER!

What movements will increase your range of motion?

A2. Restoring posture and alignment:

This section focuses on restoring position and alignment in your body.

  • Have ever complained of “tight” hamstrings, calves or lower back before?
  • Have you have ever felt “stiff” whilst trying to touch your toes?

Now, did you try to resolve those issues by stretching out your hamstrings, hip flexors, or lower back?

If you did, you might have found you only achieved temporary relief, right? If you are nodding and agreeing at this point, the chances are what you have experienced is the effect of stress and poor position!

What you will be introduced to are exercises that will allow you to immediately manage, restore and improve position and alignment within your body.

These exercises, will enable you to restore range of motion, resolve lower back stiffness and allow immediate access to touching your toes etc. All by simply restoring pelvis and rib alignment and improving the position of the muscles in your body.

The importance of your pelvis:

Your lower back, hip flexors and hamstrings all have a direct relationship with one another as they are influenced directly by the position of your pelvis and your rib cage. The position of these two key areas are influenced directly by breathing and stress!

If we can perform an exercise that pulls or repositions your pelvis under your rib cage using effective breathing strategies (diaphragm and muscles of your core), we know that we can immediately access new movement, reduced levels of pain and compensation and unlock your natural athleticism by reducing “tightness” within the body.

To achieve all of this in this phase, you will typically be asked to perform 1 or 2 reset exercises. These exercises are short to perform but are essential. They should never be skipped or rushed! 

R3 = Readiness

R3: Readiness

  • Physiology = warming you up.
  • Biometrics = helping you move better.
  • Specific = elements tied to a particular training structure.

This phase begins the classic “warm up” section of the workout, which is a science.

You will go through what is known as a sequential warm up where will perform a progressive series of drills that will transition you from the ground to begin with and then end with you standing up and ready to begin your training.

Throughout the warmup, you will target every major joint and muscle group and depending on which block of training you are in, even perform a few skill drills. By the end you will be fully mobile and ready to get to work! 

R4 = Reactive

R4: Reaction

Fully charging up your nervous system and firing yourself up.

Everyone should be doing some appropriate power work based on movements they will be performing in their sport or daily life. Power is one of the first things to disappear as we age.

The goal of this section is to improve power, explosiveness, and general athleticism. As we age, we lose twice as much power as we do strength. Therefore, if we intend to be able to continue to move fast, we must train it!

For most, the goal is not to build yourself into an elite athlete but simply to be able to play sports, play with your children or have an active job (firefighter, policeman, laborer etc.) all of which require a degree of athleticism.

Typical activities utilized in this phase are ones that are short and sharp in nature which can include simple bodyweight based drills, medicine ball slams, throws or jumping based drills. All which are performed with high velocity or intensity, and will be planar specific (horizontal, vertical, or lateral).

This section should be 15 to 20 minutes.

R5 = Resistance

R5: Resistance

For the vast majority, this is the favorite part of the workout! (lifting weights or using your body weight vs gravity)
 
Being strong or powerful is fundamental to every single athlete/person out there! Being strong in life can be likened to wearing a suit of body armor. 
 
When you get stronger, your entire body and bodily systems get stronger! It is not just your muscles! Your bones, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, and nervous system all get stronger! The same can be said for you heart and entire cardiovascular system.

Why is this important?

Well, it reduces potential for things to go wrong, IE stops an athlete from breaking down and potentially stops an elderly person breaking a hip if they fall over (stronger bones, less chance of fracture!). So, it is imperative for all to get stronger given the chance!
 
The question we must always ask though, is how much strength is enough for everyone? For example, does a 78-year-old Grandma really need the strength of a power lifter?? OR does she simply need the strength to carry her washing upstairs on laundry day? Or does a central midfielder in football need the strength or a prop in rugby? Probably not!
 

  • Movement efficiency is first and foremost the key.
  • Lower reps and sets focus on the neural end (speed, strength, power)
  • Higher reps and sets focus on the metabolic end (fat loss, hypertrophy)
  • Prescribe an appropriate tempo.
  • Prescribe a rest period that is in line with the goals (Neural = more rest; Metabolic = less rest)

R6 = Resiliency

R6: Resiliency

  • This is the metabolic/energy system component of your rehab or training session.
  • Aerobic engine gets built first (Extensive and Intensive).
  • Over the long haul, work to increase the intensity while decreasing the rest periods.


For rehab clients, it will start as very gentle and manageable cardiovascular training. Typically, the type of exercise given will depend on your pain or injury and the sole focus is to prevent your cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory fitness from declining. Steady state tends to be the method most often opted for here.

For training clients (or more advanced rehab clients) however it will some form of interval-based training. The length of work and rest period will be dictated by the goal.

This section is extremely important for you to do, as it helps build up your work capacity. The greater your work capacity the more RESILIENT you are.

You will work on your ability to sustain power or generate maximal power with the added component of being able to RECOVER and then REPEAT. This is such an invaluable trait to have in sports or in life.

R7 = Recovery

R7: Recovery

Recovery is probably the most important factor within all training or rehab. 

During this phase where your body gets stronger, more powerful, and more resilient. In the most basic way of looking at it, your workouts make you worse. During your workouts is where you are deliberately placing stress onto your body. It is the response of your body during the recovery phase where improvements and adaptations are made. Your body adapts so that it can more easily handle that same workout should it ever have to go through it again.
 
This is where the science comes in, place too much stress on the body with too little recovery time and you break down. Alternatively, place too little stress on the body and allow too much recovery time and you will not improve and may even LOSE fitness. It is a balancing act and one where all you need to do is give the body “the minimum effective dose” in which to improve whilst giving it the perfect amount of time to recover.
 
From studies taken using Special Forces in the Military and Navy, we know that the individuals who are able to switch their minds and bodies into rest and recover mode immediately after completing a grueling workout or operation, are the ones who are able to consistently perform to the highest level. It is these individuals who can seemingly operate without accumulating fatigue, illness, or injury. We know that this priceless trait should be the goal for all of us!

Just imagine a life without pain, injury, illness, or fatigue!  

Time to “Switch Off”:

The goal of recovery should be to switch your body “off” to get your body and mind into recovery mode as quickly as possible, at the end of your workout, so that your body can begin the process of making you stronger and fitter in time for your next session.
 
Your breathing, particularly your exhale is your line of communication to your nervous system. This will switch your body from the stress or ‘fight or flight ‘effect of your workout to recovery or ‘rest and digest’.

Sympathetic to parasympathetic.

Breathing pattern example: 3-4 second inhale, 6-8 second exhale, 5 second pause in fully exhaled position. Bang out 10 good breaths.

Summary

Core Training

Why do we train our core?

1. We want to control our lumbo-pelvic hip complex. We want to tie these areas together and control it. 
2. We train it because we want to be faster, stronger, and more explosive. 

Simply visualize your core as a box. On top of this box you have your diaphragm; on the bottom you have your pelvic floor; on the front you have your abs; and on the back you have your lower back. 

There are other muscles that can play a role in positioning (serratus anterior, hip flexors, lats) as well. Respect the fact that everything is connected and our entire body works as a seamless, integrated unit.

I hope this helps provide a better understanding of what this system is, why House of Attilius uses it, and how it can help you achieve your True Victory goals. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and we can talk more about it in detail. 

-Erick