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Strength training to lighten the load
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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Question for Jennifer on 02/28/2013 14:29:38 MST Print View

@Dave: ahhhh...makes so much more sense now!! I can't last 90 seconds on a rower. Ever.

@Cesar: looks great. I wouldn't change a thing - except maybe your warmup. MAYBE light cardio instead of the stretching (see my previous post)...but honestly, I'm far more of an advocate for sticking with what works for you...more injuries happen when people try to mix things up because someone else told them they should do something differently.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: Question for Jennifer on 02/28/2013 14:47:11 MST Print View

Thanks for your input, and so quick too :)

Yeah, I am happy with it, but I always want critical feedback just in case--especially from an expert. It's a bit tricky to explain the concrete benefits of functional strength training as far as UL backpacking goes perhaps, I feel like it becomes a bit reduced to accepting someone's anecdote, i.e. "No, seriously guys, backpacking is easier and more pleasant in general now!"

But perhaps here are some more concrete examples, particularly if you are a parent. Today while lifting my 3 year old son up, I noted how it feels just as easy to lift him around as it was last year when he was 2--and he has grown quite a bit since then. A few days ago when taking my kids to pre-school, I was holding my 1.5 year old, and he dropped his hat. I squatted down to pick it up and was back up again and was a little surprised at how fluid and easy it was compared to a few years ago with my other child.

I challenge anyone to do 100 hindu squats in a row. I did a few times and was hurting for 3 or 4 days after, and then dialed it down to 50. My next goal is to get my two handed kettlebell swings up to 75 reps in a row.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/28/2013 15:26:45 MST Print View

"I have been doing intervals with a rower given the copious amounts of snow outside right now."

I'm told rowing is a great way to get cardio vascularly fit, and it makes a lot of sense if there's a lot of snow on the ground.

"I am wimpy." Nah, just intelligent.

"Are you still distance running?"

I wish. I had to give it up when I was 60 due to a chronic ITB issue. Still miss it. A lot. :(

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: This is a great thread!! on 02/28/2013 15:46:20 MST Print View


I now know why I like you. My favorite workout on the track was 440 yard intervals (pre-socialist measurement system). Everyone hated those days, except for me."

Mine, too, Nick. I continued to do them on into my mid 50's, a decade after I had stopped racing, just for the sheer joy of it. The times naturally had increased, but that didn't matter. It was just this old fart with a faint smile on his face out on the oval living his primeval dreams.

"These days my goal is to wake up above ground each day, and then go for some sort of a walk. Seems to work too. :)"

Pretty much the same for me. We'll have to find a way to get together and swap lies one of these days, before one of us doesn't wake up. ;0)

Rob P
(rpjr) - M
Thanks Jennifer! on 02/28/2013 16:11:08 MST Print View

For the great info on stretching...I definitely want to read more on non-static types of stretching. I feel like you could bill us for your expertise!

Also, apologies to Piper if this has gotten us too far off track... I hope not.

Edited by rpjr on 02/28/2013 16:11:50 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Stretching @Jennifer on 03/01/2013 18:08:21 MST Print View

"Then, to totally mess with all that you learned about stretching, Cochrane has a review updated in 2011 that pretty unequivocally says that stretching before, during, or after any exercise does absolutely nothing to alter muscle soreness any time during the week after the physical activity."

So far, all the discussion about stretching has addressed its effects on muscles. I am curious as to whether there is any effect on tendons, ligaments, and fascia. On a related note, you were extolling the benefits of foam rolling, with which I heartily concur based on personal experience. Do these benefits come just from smoothing out knots in muscles, or does the foam roll also stretch out tendons? I am thinking specifically of the ITB here. Just wondering.

weights on 03/02/2013 00:12:43 MST Print View

I read an article a while back, about an old american coach that trains some Kenyan runners in their village. When asked why they were so dominant, he answered "because they have never even seen a kettlebell"

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: weights on 03/02/2013 04:22:51 MST Print View

Kenyan runners have also probably not seen Cuben tarps or down sleeping bags either ;)

Also, I would rather be able to lift around my kids, my urban backpack full of library books and my laptop, bags of groceries, etc. with ease than run marathons with ease. I can hike 20-30km through rugged terrain and a pack (albeit a pretty light one) with relative ease, yet I see kettlebells fairly regularly. But yeah, a Kenyan runner would beat me, and beat me big time, at running long distances--but I have no interest or intentions of trying to compete with them, or anyone else for that matter.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: weights on 03/03/2013 12:59:18 MST Print View

"When asked why they were so dominant, he answered "because they have never even seen a kettlebell""

Haha, no doubt true, but this discussion is interesting on many levels.

Despite the comment that "you can be anything you want", there is no real evidence this is true. Top Kenyan runners have many in-born traits that seem to give them an advantage. They have smaller legs=less weight to move. They use oxygen more efficiently. They have a much higher proportion of type I muscle fiber. They have a higher incident of a gene which is associated with less muscle, less fluid retention, and more relaxed blood vessels—which would enhance oxygen uptake—and appears to be more prevalent in endurance runners in general.

As to converting from type I to type II fibers, there really isn't much evidence for this either. The best studies to date show that identical twins have pretty much identical proportions of each fiber type, even if one of them is a couch potato and the other trains hard. But all the science obscures the fact that, whatever fiber composition you are born with, you can definitely improve on either strength or endurance through training. The training leads to increased blood flow to the muscles you use, and increased mitochondria. All this makes the muscles you are born with more efficient. Keep in mind that the range of type I muscle found in the population ranges from 5-90%, but most of us fall somewhere in the middle, with an average of 45-60%. Also keep in mind that a subtype of type II fibers CAN actually work either way. Type IIa can be recruited for aerobic or glycolytic metabolism. So how much of this type you are born with can also influence how versatile an athlete you can be. The last thing to keep in mind is that the study of muscle fibers changing with training is still a very murky field of research. It traditionally relies on small muscle biopsies of a specific muscle (usually thigh), and there is a lot of error in interpreting this data because it doesn't look at whole fibers, just small cross sections in one muscle. There seems to be different distribution of fibers in other muscles within the same individual, so they may have better upper body endurance or strength than reflected in the leg biopsies. I expect to see an explosion of research in this area in the near future, as new MRI imaging methods will allow researchers to look at whole muscle, and many muscles, without the limitations of invasive biopsies.

The take-home message is, you cannot be anything you want to be, but there is a lot of room for improvement in using what you are born with. Sure, you may never beat a Kenyan runner in a marathon, and for sure you won't see many Kenyans excelling in explosive power sports, but you can improve on yourself, in either or both directions.