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Walkin’ the Walk and, the Pitfalls of Pushing Too Hard

September 9, 2010

Okay, so I hear something akin to the following more often than I care to mention:

“c’mon, man, you don’t really limit your workouts to a half-hour or so a pop, do you?  I mean, you look like you workout seriously…and a lot!

Well, as they say —  if I only had a dime for every time I’ve fielded a comment along those lines…   🙂

But the truth of the matter is, in fact, yes; of my workouts that are strength and/or metabolic conditioning-based, 30-minutes a session is my target limit.  Now I do have workouts within my “grand, overall scheme” that well exceed that half-hour limit; those particular workouts, however, are focused on bettering an aspect of physical preparedness (instantaneous power output) that, quite simply, the vast majority of trainees need not concern themselves with.  And, as imposed by the nature of these particular workouts, there is a lot of rest time built into the overall session, and metabolic conditioning takes a backseat to other concerns.

But “instantaneous power” based workouts are another topic for another day — and for a different demographic than we typically see at Efficient Exercise.  Today let’s talk about efficient strength training and prime anaerobic (and, by extension, aerobic) conditioning.  Let’s talk about improving overall health and, (especially so for the endurance athlete) injury-prevention.  Let’s talk strength training, the Efficient Exercise way.

At Efficient Exercise, we’re known for being the area’s experts at squeezing a good deal of effective, muscle-building and metabolism-stoking work into a short period of time.  As an example, here’s the workout I performed yesterday, at the Efficient Exercise downtown location.  Note that this entire session clocked-in at 28 minutes, start to finish; also, being that this session was performed alone, I had to stage and adjust all the equipment myself as I went along.  That is to say, there was no pre-staging any equipment, as I prefer to “free-lance” while progressing through a workout — Physical Culture as an impromptu performance art, you might say!  In any event, this does add to the total time outlay; if I had a trainer to work with I believe I could’ve shaved another 5 minutes or so off the total time — both via equipment set-up, and by way shortening my time outlay at each station (quick, deep inroad via forced-reps, negative overload, and other “high intensity”, partner-assist methods).  Okay, so let’s take a look at what I did:

Tru squat: (weight – 100, counter weight – 115, wide stance, 3rd pin, 4040 tempo*) 12, approx. 15 secs. rest, 10 – then immediately to:

Super-slow leg curl: 150 lbs x 10, approx. 15 secs. rest, 10 –  4040 tempo

Nautilus Pec Dec: 110 x 7 ( 4040 tempo), then immediately to:

Nautilus chest press/crunch: 150 x 12 ( 4040 tempo)

Nautilus pull-over: 200 x 10 (4020 tempo), then immediately to:

Strict reverse grip pull-ups: bodyweight x 6, 15 secs pause, 4 (5010 tempo)

Nautilus shoulder lateral raise: 160 x 10 (2040 tempo), then immediately to:

X-Ccentric upright press: (no counter weight, no added weight) x 7 (4020 tempo)

*”tempo” is simply the cadence of each individual repetition.  Typically, this is expressed as a four-digit number, corresponding to the repetition’s eccentric phase, pause at the bottom of the movement, concentric phase and, pause at the top of the movement.  So a 4020 “tempo” would correspond to a repetition “cadence” of a 4 second lowering, an immediate turn-around into a 2 second lift, followed immediately then by a transition into another 4 second lowering.  Wash, rinse and repeat for the indicated number of repetitions.  This is an important concept (as are exercise load and total repetitions and/or time under load — TUL), as an exercise performed in a 2010 tempo is a world-apart different that that same exercise performed under, say a tempo of 8080.  We can sprint 100 meters (at a very fast tempo, of course), or we can drag a weighted sled, at a slower tempo, over that same distance; same distance covered, however, each method produces a very different exercise “profile”.

Shifting gears, now — and speaking again of proper strength training, and strength training’s positive influence upon injury prevention — check-out the article that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal: Why Trainers say ‘Slow Down’

Yes, as any Type A endurance athlete can tell you, overtraining can no doubt lead to injury; it’s just a matter of time.  I do wish, though, that the article’s author would’ve mentioned the vast importance of strength training in injury prevention.  It’s a concept that endurance athletes who are current Efficient Exercise clients can no doubt attest to.

In health,


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