Training for Easy Endurance

It seems like forever since I had the spare time to write a blog post about everything. It’s been about ten weeks now and so much is going on it’s hard to find the time.

The first thing I will say, is for my training updates you should check out my page at Breaking Muscle. My training log is a weekly event there and covers my biggest issues for the week. Breaking Muscle is also the source for all of my latest and greatest thoughts on kettlebell training such as this article on the swing, or this one on RKC training. So if you check here and nothing seems to be happening please head there because there’s three updates a week from me on there.

I spoke before about training for endurance and how to accumulate that training so that you wound up with considerable fitness. That post is here. Some things that I need to amend have already made themselves evident –

Training for strength with an “easy strength/ 40 day plan” is a bad idea. The short version is it’s too often and tightens the body up too much for the important training. In particular it makes running VERY difficult.

A better option is three days per week, like most athletes train. I can even see a time when this should be cut down to two sessions and then finally removed completely in the final few weeks to allow as much recovery as possible.

Anyone who says that long course athletes should be doing heavy barbell work knows nothing about endurance training. For starters, “heavy” is relative. If I trained “heavy” in the squat for me right now I wouldn’t be able to run or ride effectively for at least two days after. This muscle fatigue would likely also impact my swimming too believe it or not. I plan on squatting, but never going above 100kg. That’s 125% of body weight for me, and will provide me more than enough strength for everything I will need. At the same time it won’t break me down, won’t make my back sore or tight and won’t necessitate too much recovery.

To save the shoulders as much as possible never use a straight bar for any pressing. To many, this will be strength training heresy but it makes good sense. A fixed bar doesn’t leave you much wiggle room to fit your body under the bar. Your posture is going to be a bit off from hours spent riding or swimming and your shoulders fatigued and possibly even verging on impingement if you swim a lot. So what you need is a way to get weight overhead that gives you room to fit that lift to your body, not the other way around. And this is where kettlebells and dumbbells fit in.

Some lifts should also be gotten rid of – back squat because your shoulders will probably not like it; the pistol because your body is likely spending enough time hunched over from riding and performing a lift with load that mimics that is actually going to add to your potential troubles, not make them better. There’s a few more but those two are the biggest issues.

The biggest things you need to spend your time on are – stretching, sub maximal plyometrics and recovery. Seriously. If you plan to be able to train the hours you need to chew up miles at high speed then you better have those three nailed down.

The actual endurance training is such a big topic it needs a dedicated post (at least) on its own. So let’s save that for another time, but for now, if mile munching is your goal, start thinking about weeding out lifts that aren’t in line with those goals. At the finish line no one cares about your deadlift.

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One Response to “Training for Easy Endurance”

  1. Andrei Says:

    Andrew, what about training to complement BJJ and wrestling? Not so much an endurance sport when compared to Ironman/marathons/bike riding but would be interesting to hear your view on what the best way to bulletproof your body for that.

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