Sunday, May 18, 2014

Timed Squats for Cardio

Timed Squats
During the summer of 1967, Tommy Suggs and I decided to experiment on ourselves with a squat program designed to increase cardiovascular, respiratory fitness. This may seem to be a strange goal for a pair of aspiring competitive weightlifters, but actually cardiovascular, respiratory fitness is an important variable in our sport. Total conditioning counts for a great deal as some contests drag on for as long as twelve hours and the more fit athlete has a definate advantage over his opponents. Those who are in better shape can train harder and longer and, if they are practicing the right kinds of things, should improve more than those who do not do so. 
- Bill Starr, The Strongest Shall Survive
I've done my share of timed squat work in the past and always found it to be a fun change from the grind of straight reps. Recently, I've been doing higher rep work, and occasionally doing them in a timed format (such as a minute straight - repeat as tolerated, intervals, "20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8") can make it more palatable. As long as proper form is insisted upon and the load is appropriate, you could do much, much worse than squats when selecting an exercise to do for conditioning. It goes without saying that high technical competence and focus is a prerequisite to this kind of approach to cardio.

Yesterday, I did two sets of light front squats for one minute. I plan to add sets over time and vary the time on task and load. It will make for a fun experiment and I'll keep you posted over the next couple of months. This is the second set from yesterday:

Related Squat Rx Posts:
"Tabata" Squats
Sustained Heavy Breathing Training

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sassy Friday Post

Squat Rx - Putting The Squat in Sasquatch Since 2007

Friday, May 2, 2014

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

The happiest thing for me about this day's race was that I was able, on a personal level, to truly enjoy the event. The overall time I posted wasn't anything to brag about, and I made a lot of little mistakes along the way. But I did give it my best, and I felt a nice, tangible afterglow. I also think I've improved in a lot of areas since the previous race, which is an important point to consider. In a triathlon the transition from one event to the next is difficult, and the experience counts for everything. Through experience you learn how to compensate for your physical shortcomings. To put it another way, learning from experience is what makes the triathlon so much fun. 
Of course it was painful, and there were times when, emotionally, I just wanted to chuck it all. But pain seems to be a precondition for this kind of sport. If pain weren't involved, who in the world would ever go to the trouble of taking part in sports like the triathlon or the marathon, which demand such an investment of time and energy? It's precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive - or at least a partial sense of it. Your quality of experience is based not on standards such as time or ranking, but on finally awakening to an awareness of the fluidity within action itself. If things go well, that is.
 - What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami, pp. 170-171