• TRX Pistol Squat Jumps

    If you can pistol squat it’s impressive, so imagine if you could TRX pistol squat jump!

    The pistol is a very challenging exercise and those that can perform the exercise with ease have incredible leg strength as well as balance and flexibility.

    TRX Pistol Squat Jump

    Benefits of the TRX pistol squat jump

    Leg Strength

    The pistol squat places your entire body weight onto one leg and can therefore be quite challenging on your leg strength. In addition because the pistol squat is single leg, you will often find that you can complete a rep on one leg and not the other. Pistol squats help to develop equal leg strength by isolating the legs individually. Naturally, when you work both legs together your strongest leg will do most of the work for you, without you even thinking about it.


    Plyometric training really just boils down to jumping. Adding explosive power to your workouts works your anaerobic energy system, increases your heart rate (burning more calories) and increases your explosive power, great for athletes who partake in short duration sports such as athletic sports like the high jump or even sprints.  


    The range of motion required for a pistol squat requires exceptional flexibility of the hamstrings, hip flexors and knee and ankle joints.


    Working on your pistol squat will develop your balance, essential for preventing injuries and beneficial into later life, as well as for your current performance.

    Increase stability

    Working with a single leg can help to improve your stabilizing muscles which support your spine, reducing back pain and aiding poor posture.

    How to TRX pistol squat jump

    1. Take both handles in your hands facing the anchor point.
    2. Take one leg straight in front of you.
    3. Bend the supporting leg and sink down into a squat, keeping your heel firmly on the floor.
    4. As you drive up, explode off your supporting leg and jump upwards, then land on the alternate leg.
    5. Repeat for each leg, alternating with every jump.

    To take it down a notch:

    Knock out the jump and if need be set up a bench or step behind you, so instead of completing the full range of motion, you tap your bump back to the bench or step. Yes this is a half rep, but no it’s not cheating as you will work your way up to the full range of motion. This is laying the foundations so you can perform the full exercise with skill, strength and most importantly, control.

    TRX Pistol Squats

    Crank up the intensity:

    This one's really challenging. Instead of just alternating your legs with your explosive jump you are now going to tuck jump before landing on the alternate leg. Sink down into your pistol then explode off the leg and bring your knee up for a tuck before landing. With all explosive exercises you want to power off on the up and land as softly as you can on the descent.

    Take me with you

    If you want to print off the TRX Pistol Squat Jump we have created a downloadable PDF you can download and share. 

    TRX Pistol Squat

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • TRXtreme Training

    Why just TRX when you can TRXtreme?

    At Sundried, we encourage you to get out there and do things differently, so we couldn’t just come up with a same old TRX routine could we? So we’ve made this one a challenge we know you’ll love, because what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you, so let’s do this.

    This workout is designed to build overall strength, power and increase your level of fitness - measured as your VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen you're capable of using.

    TRX Training

    Why are we onto a winner here? TRX + HIIT = core, strength and fat burning. What more could you want?

    TRX training was invented by Former Navy Seal a Randy Hetrick to keep his troops training with intensity in difficult conditions. The TRX keeps your body under constant tension using suspension, particularly focusing on core strength to support your bodyweight. Using the TRX is a great way to get fit because the training is functional, meaning we use multiple planes of motion, in similar patterns to how our body naturally moves. This type of training is designed to improve daily function, hence the name.

    The workout is designed to be intense and last around 30 minutes, although your body will be burning calories for up to 24 hours after! We shift from upper body to lower body to keep your heart rate up, blood pumping and calorie burning intense.

    A base level of fitness and previous TRX experience is recommended.

    Here we go:

    Workout Commences in T minus 5 minutes:

    You have 5 minutes, get your heart rate up over 130 BPM and your muscles warm and limber, get focused and get ready. Exercises may include a CV machine, squats, squats with oblique reaches, arm circles and jogging on the spot.

    Warmer? Limber? Showtime.

    Three Rounds. 6 Exercises. 1 minute on. 30 seconds rest. Repeat 3 times (Hell yeah, 3!)

    Exercise 1: TRX Burpees

    Hook one ankle into the stirrup, bring your hands to hit the deck for a burpee, jump your free leg back into plank, and then swiftly up towards your hands as you spring up to complete the burpee bounce. Keeping the TRX leg off the floor the entire minute!

    TRX Burpee

    Exercise 2: Row to Fallout

    Grab both handles and lean back with your feet in front of the anchor, row your hands in towards your chest as you pull your body up and then let your weight shift forwards as your hands pass your sides and straighten up by your ears for a fallout. Sounds harder than it is (lies, it’s hard).

    Exercise 3: Pistol Squat Jumps

    Grab both handles and bring one leg straight out in front of you, sink down (ass to grass) on the supporting leg into your pistol squat and then jump to repeat on the other leg.

    Exercise 4: Trx Push Up to Shoulder Tap

    Hook each foot into a stirrup and start with a suspended push up, as you push back away from the floor, tap each hand to the opposite shoulder.

    Exercise 5: Trx Squat to Star

    Grab both handles and sink into a deep squat. As you shoot up carry on past the start position into a star. You should have your hands extended over your head and be on the tips of your toes.

    Exercise 6: Sprint Starts

    Grab both handles and hold them by your ribcage (you should look like a chicken impression) face away from the anchor, sink one leg back into a lunge and then explode off bringing your knee towards your chest.

    The Final Countdown: 3 Exercises. 3 minutes. 45 seconds work and just 15 rest.

    Finisher 1: Trx Oblique Crunch

    Start in an extended plank with both feet suspended in the stirrups, bring your knees in and twist to either side, crunching your knees towards the opposite elbow.

    Finisher 2: Trx Plank up Downs

    Starting in a plank on your hands, drop each hand down to an elbow plank and then push back to your hands.

    Finisher 3: Trx Handstand

    Facing the anchor, hook one foot into the TRX, walk your hands back with one leg in the air as far as you can, and then kick the other leg up to make your handstand. If you can’t make it all the way to a full handstand, a diagonal hold is still a really tough exercise to master. Just don’t forget to BREATHE.

    Congratulations, you are now TRXtreme… and probably Trxtremly worn out!

    About the trainer: Vicky Gardner is a writer at Sundried and REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer, “Bodybuilding was my first love, but now I like to take my training a little more outside the box, so I never get bored. Plyometric’s are my favourite form of training at the moment, great for burning calories and increasing your explosive power... plus you feel like a human firework (and yes, I make the sound effects!)”.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Does Lifting Weights Make Women Bulky?

    Does Lifting Weights Make Women Bulky?

    Lifting Weights Will Make Me Bulky

    Thankfully, this is a complete myth. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. If it did, every man would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger! Lifting for women is a lot simpler than you may think. Let's explore why so many people believe this myth, and why it is just a myth. 

    Heavy weight training leads to weight loss

    Weight training speeds up your metabolism, as the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. Lifting heavy weights also raises your heart rate which also burns calories! So long as you are not overeating, you will not get bulky, and instead you'll actually lose weight!

    Women don’t have enough testosterone

    Testosterone is key when building muscle as well as a calorie surplus. Ask any bodybuilder, big muscles are not easy to come by, they're constantly eating to build their bulky muscles. Women’s genetics mean even if they are lifting heavy, their low levels of testosterone will sculpt and define their muscles without them ending up huge.

    Heavy lifting increases your BMR

    Your BMR is your Base Metabolic Rate and is the number of calories your body burns in a state of complete rest. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest when you're doing absolutely nothing! A pound of muscle burns around 6 extra calories per day than a pound of fat. Muscle is actually far more compact than fat; so the more muscle you build, added with the fat you lose from the extra calorie burn, the smaller you’ll actually become. The more lean muscle tissue you acquire, the more calories you’ll burn 24/7.

    Reasons you may feel bulky after lifting weights:


    As your hormones fluctuate throughout the month, your weight can change drastically. 8/10 women suffer from bloating before and during their period. Women actually gain pounds of water during this time due to the ability of oestrogen to cause fluid to be retained, which could be why you feel ‘bulkier’.

    Fluid Retention

    If you're new to weight training, when you first start training some women may experience weight gain, this unsurprisingly puts them off. The reason you may gain some extra weight when you first start weight lifting is that the muscles swell and retain more water as they repair. Once your body becomes accustomed to weight training this will become less of a drastic increase as your body recovers and settles into your routine. 

    Muscle weighs more than fat

    For most women, this is a tough psychological battle as we’re taught the less you weigh, the better. Muscle actually weighs more than fat, so you may look smaller and leaner and yet be gaining weight on the scales. This is why it’s useful to take body fat measurements, or if you don’t have the equipment for that, a simple set of before and after pictures will help you keep your mind on track if your weight is going up. Your weight may change but so will your body composition.

    Benefits of weights for women:

    1. It boosts your metabolism and raises your BMR so that you are burning more calories 24/7.
    2. Your chances of getting osteoporosis are decreased by increasing bone density.
    3. It is the most effective anti-aging activity to keep your body strong, fit and active.
    4. Weight training is empowering and will increase your confidence. Becoming strong can help you feel more confident in other areas of your life and help you to succeed not just in the gym.
    5. Weight training can enhance your curves, shaping your body with increased muscle tissue.
    6. Heavy lifting increases energy levels and mood through the release of brain chemicals that reduce anxiety and depression.
    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Physical Fitness Testing and Assessment

    Fitness Testing Assessments Vo2 Max Bleep TestFitness testing and assessment is an important part of training. There are many different ways of testing your fitness and strength, with some better than others. The dreaded bleep test at school is a classic example of a fitness test and is still used in policing today. Nowadays, chances are your smart watch can track your fitness for you, with many of the newer Garmin watches providing VO2 max testing as well as lactate threshold testing. But you don't need an expensive watch to track your fitness! We've put together some of the best fitness assessments around, why not give one a try and see if you're where you want to be?

    VO2 Max

    The VO2 Max test is a very popular fitness test among runners and triathletes as it is a universal indication of cardiovascular fitness. VO2 max is a rating of your body’s ability to consume oxygen. This is affected by factors such as how adapted your muscles are to exercise and how much blood your heart can pump.

    VO2 Max Testing Assessment Treadmill Oxygen

    This is the classic scene that you have probably seen in films and TV shows many times.The most accurate VO2 max tests take place in laboratories, whereby participants are given an oxygen mask to wear while running on a treadmill with their effort getting progressively more intense. Oxygen intake is monitored and VO2 max is the point at which oxygen uptake stops increasing. The units of oxygen are then measured per kg of bodyweight and a VO2 max score is calculated.

    It is possible to do a VO2 Max test yourself outside of a laboratory. You can do this at the gym on a regular treadmill, all you will need is a stopwatch and a calculator. 

    How To Perform A VO2 Max Test

    • Warm up on the treadmill for 10 minutes by walking and jogging at a gentle speed.
    • The test begins at a speed of 8km/h (5mph) and an incline of 0%.
    • Start the stopwatch and begin jogging.
    • After 3 minutes, adjust the treadmill incline to 2.5%, and then keep increasing by 2.5% every 2 minutes thereafter.
    • When you are unable to continue, the test stops.
    • Make a note of your time.
    • Once you have your time, use the following equation to calculate your VO2 Max:

    VO2 Max = (Time x 1.444) + 14.99

    Time is calculated in minutes and fractions of minutes, so for example, 13 minutes and 15 seconds would be 13.25 minutes, 13 minutes and 30 seconds would be 13.5 minutes and so on.

    Whilst many new smart watches provide VO2 max readings, these are only estimates, as they don’t take into account the measure of ventilation, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air. While they may be a useful guess, don’t get caught up by the value you’ve been given.

    What Does Your VO2 Max Score Mean?

    Once you have your score, you'll want to know what it actually means. Use the table below to see how your score rates.


    Age Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
    13-19 <25 25 - 30 31 - 34 35 - 38 39 - 41 >41
    20-29 <24 24 - 28 29 - 32 33 - 36 37 - 41 >41
    30-39 <23 23 - 27 28 - 31 32 - 36 37 - 40 >40
    40-49 <21 21 - 24 25 - 28 29 - 32 33 - 36 >36
    50-59 <20 20 - 22 23 - 26 27 - 31 32 - 35 >35
    60+ <17 17 - 19 20 - 24 25 - 29 30 - 31 >31



    Age Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
    13-19 <35 35 - 37 38 - 44 45 - 50 51 - 55 >55
    20-29 <33 33 - 35 36 - 41 42 - 45 46 - 52 >52
    30-39 <31 31 - 34 35 - 40 41 - 44 45 - 49 >49
    40-49 <30 30 - 32 33 - 38 39 - 42 43 - 47 >48
    50-59 <26 26 - 30 31 - 35 36 - 40 41 - 45 >45
    60+ <20 20 - 25 26 - 31 32 - 35 36 - 44 >44


    As you can see, the higher the reading, the better.

    Top VO2 Max Scores

    These athletes achieved the highest VO2 Max scores in the world. How does yours compare?




    VO2 max (ml/kg/min)

    Espen Harald Bjerke


    Cross Country Skiing


    Bjorn Daehlie


    Cross Country Skiing


    Greg LeMond




    Matt Carpenter


    Marathon Runner


    Tore Ruud Hofstad


    Cross Country Skiing


    Harri Kirvesniem


    Cross Country Skiing


    Miguel Indurain




    Marius Bakken


    5K Runner


    Dave Bedford


    10K Runner


    John Ngugi


    Cross Country Runner


    Greta Waitz


    Marathon runner


    Ingrid Kristiansen


    Marathon Runner


    Rosa Mota


    Marathon Runner


    Sit and Reach

    The sit and reach test uses flexibility as a basis for judging your level of fitness. The test measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. Tightness in this area is associated with lumbar lordosis, forward pelvic tilt, and lower back pain.

    How To Perform A Sit and Reach Test

    • Warm up for 10 minutes by doing dynamic stretches.
    • You will need a box, a marker, and a ruler/tape measure.
    • Sit with your legs outstretched and your feet flat against the front of the box.
    • Place the marker (it can be anything, a rubber is probably best) on top of the box at the edge closest to you.
    • Keeping your legs dead straight, lean forwards and push the marker along the box as far as you can using your fingertips.
    • Once you have pushed the marker, measure how far it went.

    What Does Your Sit and Reach Score Mean?


    Males (cm)

    Females (cm)




    Very good



    Above average






    Below average






    Very Poor



    The Vertical Jump Test

    The vertical jump is a measure of fitness through explosive power in the legs. The test is really simple to complete, to set up all you need is a wall and a tape measure. Start by getting the participant to stand next to the wall and stretch their closest hand up as far as they can and make a mark of this point. This is the standing height. The participant then leaps as high as they can in the air and touches the wall at the highest point of their jump. The distance from the start point to the highest point is then measure as your score. Take the test 3 times and take an average for the most accurate results.

    What Does Your Vertical Jump Score Mean?


    Males (height in cm)

    Females (height in cm)




    Very good



    Above average






    Below average






    Very poor



    Cooper Run Test

    The Cooper run test is one of the most popular fitness tests used to determine aerobic endurance. It is also used as part of military training, with different scores being required to make the different role entry requirements. The test lasts just 12 minutes and participants are required to run as far as they can for the entire duration. The test can also be used to measure VO2 max using several equations (in ml/kg/min) from the distance score (a formula for either kms or miles):

    VO2 max = (35.97 x miles) - 11.29

    VO2 max = (22.35 x kilometers) - 11.29

    What Does Your Cooper Run Score Mean?


    Very Good (metres)







    Very Bad



    Male: 2700m +











    Male: 2800+

    Female: 2100+










    Male: 3000+

    Female: 2300+










    Male: 2800 +

    Female: 2700+










    Male: 2700+

    Female: 2500+










    Male: 2500+

    Female: 2300+










    Male: 2400 +

    Female: 2200 +










    The Bleep Test

    The bleep test is a classic and is often used in school lessons. The test involves 20m shuttle runs from two marked points. The aim is to reach the cone before you hear the bleep. As the test continues, the frequency of the bleeps increases, with the time between getting shorter and shorter. The test requires a recording of the bleep and the score is then measured depending on how many rounds you last.

    What Does Your Bleep Test Score Mean?





    > 13

    > 12

    very good

    11 - 13

    10 - 12


    9 - 11

    8 - 10


    7 - 9

    6 - 8


    5 - 7

    4 - 6

    very poor

    < 5

    < 4


    Whichever test you decide to do, don’t just do it once and leave it at that. In six weeks time, hit it again, and see if your score has improved. Fitness tests are a great way of monitoring your progress and seeing if your training is actually working. Fitness tests make goals measurable and give you a benchmark to aim for. Do you have any other fitness tests that you enjoy doing to measure your fitness?

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Ellie Jones Personal Trainer

    Ellie is a personal trainer from Manchester whose passion for fitness and nutrition helps her motivate her clients. She tells us about life as PT.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up. 

    I tend to try anything out that will challenge me and upcoming events my clients might have on the cards to support them with their goals from park runs, obstacle races/courses, 10kms and Half Marathons sometimes or just outdoor sessions just for fun and to mix things up!

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    I’ve always been really into fitness and eating healthily. I have definitely got better with nutritional habits as I have matured, as now my focus is on how food correlates to performance and energy levels in daily life and to align with fitness goals. I was always a very energetic child and I think sport has always been a positive outlet for me growing up. To which I am sure my teachers and parents would agree. Whether it was throwing running trainers on after school to cope with exam stress or general teenage angst or just to add a social aspect when I got into boxing training in college, I found it really helped me to remain focused and have fun while keeping in good shape. I think through my fitness career and time in industry my passion for fitness and everything health has translated well to them, and I just hope I have passed on a bit of knowledge and motivation.

    What are your training goals now?

    Aiming to beat my Half Marathon PB from previous years.

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    I am a bit scared of horses, not the usual spider or insect phobia.

    What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?

    My future self would say, give yourself a break and don’t be so hard on yourself and to most importantly just look after each day and concentrate on doing that consistently and the rest will look after itself. Patience.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

    I tend to eat food with high nutritional quality, whole grains, high fibre and protein, I don’t restrict anything in my diet and eat plenty of carbohydrates. My preference is sweet potato and quinoa (although I’m not too great at pronouncing quinoa). I mostly eat lean meats like chicken and turkey or maybe a vegetarian substitute such as Quorn. I also have steak or red meat once a week and fish (salmon and tuna 2-3 times per week). Lots of spinach and veg!  I tend to avoid processed foods, and try and cook from scratch when I can. I do enjoy chocolate from time to time. I focus more on eating well than anything else to sustain my energy levels however I am mindful of not over-eating relative to calorie consumption but militant in approach. Food is for enjoying with friends and family and to fuel you correctly. Enjoy it.

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

    I try and use motivational interviewing techniques where possible and probe enough to let people come to their own conclusions and build their own reason and WHY exercising and keeping healthy, that may come in all forms: to play with their grand kids, to look better, to feel more confident. I do whatever I can to help keep them on track and regularly catch up and check in. I just try help educate and try and ensure they enjoy their journey of improved lifestyle/ behaviour habits.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I row twice a week with my university rowing club, have two strength and conditioning sessions per week and run 5km 3-4 times per week.

    Strength sessions involve compound movements such as dynamic warm up then squats, deadlifts, rows, press-ups, bench press, overhead press those kind of big movements progressed when needed usually super setted and split currently between upper and lower body work outs as that is currently the most time effective way for me to get it all in, in a week. Core workouts are usually added on to every other session and at the end of a run. Then a nice cool down, foam roll and stretch.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I keep my fitness up to date currently by reading research articles a lot of the time for university where I study (BSc) Exercise, Nutrition and Health. Although I prefer to read and research and make it specific to clients. I am genuinely interested and passionate to any new fitness work out, equipment I am usually up for giving it a go and seeing what it is about.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Simplify what you know in terms of science and make it assessable for clients.
    2. Find out what motivates your client and what they enjoy doing and try incorporate those things into your training with them, so they enjoy the journey while making it an effective work out.
    3. Always do your homework as a trainer, do your research and make sure what you are advocating is science backed and is well thought out/planned to benefit your client.

    If you could only do one workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Tough question, as your body well adapt to repetition, maybe a varied Crossfit work out (good form and well structured – of course).  

    Why work with Sundried?

    It is made well and ethically.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    “The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment” – Justin Langer.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren