T Nation

Fit, Strong and big

To start, this is not my first rodeo. I have always been in good shape and have years of lifting behind me. Last year I set a goal that I was not sure I could obtain. More of a power lifter by nature, I always admired the “In shape” guy, the full package dude that could show up in a gym and not make a fool of himself then go out and run a few miles.

Now back to my quest; I wanted to run a 10k (6.2 miles) under 60 minutes and squat 600 lbs. Reasonable for me to achieve but I wanted to do it on the same day, not the same year. I finished the run at 50 min. and got the squat. Mission complete!

My problem is this; it tore me up! Serving two masters at that level just killed me. I want to stay in good shape but have come to terms with the fact I just can pound the miles. I hate anything like a treadmill, that’s for rats, and an elliptical is almost as bad. Has anyone found anything that will not seriously detract from their mass building and is heart friendly?

47 y.o.
5-9"
210 lbs

Barbell Complexes have been one of the great tools that have allowed me to stay away from the cardio machines and in good shape. Have you tried them?

Swimming.

Although see my other post in this section, at some point endurance building and strength building are weakly mutually exclusive as the two pathways inhibit one another.

You are proof positive though, that that shouldn’t keep someone from pursuing goals in each area.

[quote]eaboadar wrote:
Barbell Complexes have been one of the great tools that have allowed me to stay away from the cardio machines and in good shape. Have you tried them?[/quote]

I’m not looking to get a workout while I’m weight training. My current leg workout is along those lines :). I do see the benefits of what you are saying though.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
Swimming.

Although see my other post in this section, at some point endurance building and strength building are weakly mutually exclusive as the two pathways inhibit one another.

You are proof positive though, that that shouldn’t keep someone from pursuing goals in each area.[/quote]

Ow if I only had access to a pool! That would be the answer; no impact, set you own pace, not a muscle in your body doesn’t get hit. You couldn’t be more right.

I’ve always found 3-4 3 minute rounds of skipping rope followed by 5-7 3 min rounds on the heavy bag to work my heart better than anything else I’ve tried. However, that much time on the heavy bag definitely requires a good pair of bag gloves and wraps or your wrists won’t be very happy with you.

Sprinting. Or any other form of High-Intensity interval training. There are no benefits of distance running that you can’t obtain from doing interval training. There are, however, tons of benefits of interval training that distance running will NEVER give you.

And if you can do Strongman-style workouts, that would probably best suit your goal of keeping your strength while being conditioned. Can’t beat the prowler, farmers walks, or any form of sled drags for those goals.

I suggest erging on a C2 rowing machine (or, even better, taking up Masters rowing). Rowers are some the biggest, strongest most powerful endurance athletes out there. This is largely due to the fact that mass isn’t a deficit in rowing to the same extent as it is in running or cycling and the impact free nature of the training allows bigger guys to put in huge training volumes (i.e. Canada’s Men’s 8 rowers are between 210-230# and they will train 20 times/week).

These guys are aerobic and anaerobic monsters who can also put up respectable (if not elite) numbers in the weight room and look pretty good doing it, by most peoples’ standards. Also older guys are able to remain relatively competitive and injury free for a long time. Lots of strength athletes incorporate rowing based conditioning workouts with good success.

Even better than swimming, IMO.

Cycling.

I cycle to and from the gym. 8km each way. Enough hills and wind resistance to get the heart pumping. Easy on the joints.

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Didn’t Waterbury do a rowing article a few months ago?

sounds like its up to you to pick the “cardio” sport" you wanna be good at. if you wanna continue running, and be good at running, run.(on the grass) you wanna cycle, ride. both of those will take power away from your squat as thoise workouts in those two sports will tax your legs. swim with a pull buoy between your legs. all upper body then.


I second the sprinting or HIIT. But I do 2-3 runs per month also, just so I can.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Sprinting. Or any other form of High-Intensity interval training. There are no benefits of distance running that you can’t obtain from doing interval training. There are, however, tons of benefits of interval training that distance running will NEVER give you.

And if you can do Strongman-style workouts, that would probably best suit your goal of keeping your strength while being conditioned. Can’t beat the prowler, farmers walks, or any form of sled drags for those goals.[/quote]

I don’t have a body weight problem so we can throw out a need to focus on weight loss. That being said, does the strongman style get the heart rate up and keep it there long enough to benefit the heart? I have heard from sprinters that the up and down heart rate is actually more beneficial then a steady rate at a lower level. Anyone have some research on this?

batman730,
I’m not sure where all that rowing would leave my lower back and hips. Maybe it could be mixed in somehow.

[quote]doublelung84 wrote:

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Sprinting. Or any other form of High-Intensity interval training. There are no benefits of distance running that you can’t obtain from doing interval training. There are, however, tons of benefits of interval training that distance running will NEVER give you.

And if you can do Strongman-style workouts, that would probably best suit your goal of keeping your strength while being conditioned. Can’t beat the prowler, farmers walks, or any form of sled drags for those goals.[/quote]

I don’t have a body weight problem so we can throw out a need to focus on weight loss. That being said, does the strongman style get the heart rate up and keep it there long enough to benefit the heart? I have heard from sprinters that the up and down heart rate is actually more beneficial then a steady rate at a lower level. Anyone have some research on this?

batman730,
I’m not sure where all that rowing would leave my lower back and hips. Maybe it could be mixed in somehow.

Buy a cheap heart rate monitor and you can test yourself to see what your HR does during intense intervals.

Short answer to your question: Yes, HIIT does illicit the desired benefits for your heart. Long answer: I don’t have the science to support this, but I’m pretty sure all the heart rate nonsense that steady state cardio people focus on is simply that: nonsense. I don’t believe you have to keep your heart rate at a certain level for a certain period of time to benefit your heart or overall health. I’ve run a marathon in the past, done various 5ks and 10ks, and my resting heart rate during those times was no lower than it is now, when I never do more than 90 seconds of consecutive “cardio” at time. (and it’s usually more like 30 seconds).

When I run a sprint, or do a heavy 40 yard prowler push, my heart rate goes through the roof. Then I rest. Then I repeat. Depending on what specific type of conditioning you want, you can lower resting times, and/or increase the total volume of work you do. But again, I think focusing on a high-level of exertion when you are doing the damn exercise is the key to conditioning. There is science to support what I am saying, and I know Charles Poliquin is a big proponent of this, so I’m sure he’s quoted it in one of his articles on the subject.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Short answer to your question: Yes, HIIT does illicit the desired benefits for your heart. Long answer: I don’t have the science to support this, but I’m pretty sure all the heart rate nonsense that steady state cardio people focus on is simply that: nonsense. I don’t believe you have to keep your heart rate at a certain level for a certain period of time to benefit your heart or overall health. I’ve run a marathon in the past, done various 5ks and 10ks, and my resting heart rate during those times was no lower than it is now, when I never do more than 90 seconds of consecutive “cardio” at time. (and it’s usually more like 30 seconds).
[/quote]

I don’t know. My morning resting heart rate a couple of weeks ago when I got back into lifting and doing conditioning work well and often was in the high 50s.

But I couldn’t run miles without feeling like utter shit. Made me decide that I’ll really have to get the miles in from now on.

Not sure what your conditioning work looks like, but I have no problem running 5 miles anytime I am doing consistent interval work. Try doing workouts of 4-6 timed quarter-mile sprints and see if running 3-5 miles is still difficult. I doubt it.

But more importantly, I don’t know why ability to run long distances is so high on people’s list for “health”. It’s a fairly unnatural thing and causes stress to the body. It elevates cortisol levels, is very hard on the joints, etc. I feel like we’ve been duped into believing distance work is so great the same way we were duped into believing cereal and processed carbs were healthy for us back in the 80’s and 90’s.

I personally enjoy distance running, and will go through periods where I do it from time to time, but over the course of the year, the main core of my workouts will always be lifting and various interval conditioning work. And that’s for health and aesthetics.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Not sure what your conditioning work looks like, but I have no problem running 5 miles anytime I am doing consistent interval work. Try doing workouts of 4-6 timed quarter-mile sprints and see if running 3-5 miles is still difficult. I doubt it.[/quote]

Max incline treadmill runs (the one that Wendler talked about in his winter conditioning article) and DB complexes.

Those two have made me fairly good at short (less than a minute) bursts of effort, but that’s about it. I can’t seem to maintain long-term stuff unless it’s a 10 min/mile jog or something equally non-strenuous.

Probably because I just never trained myself to do long-term work. I did plan on doing those quarter-mile runs that you talked about recently until I had the worst flu experience in my life and had to move.

Maybe. I would think most Americans got it drilled into their head that they need to be able to run for a while into their heads through what the military does + what their P.E. teacher taught them.

That being said, it is my personal opinion that you should be able to run, actually run, for 1-3 miles and still be able to do strenuous things afterwards. It is a very useful ability in real life, after all. And 1-3 miles is hardly a long distance.

Absolutely agree with you here. And for many people, jogging 1-3 miles IS in fact “conditioning work”. In other words, if you’re out of shape, that is great activity for you. But once you’re in somewhat respectable shape, interval work is the way to go. And if you are going to hit the track for the quarter-miles, remember to TAKE IT SLOW! Don’t go nuts the first time out. A slow steady increase in volume and speed over the course of a month or two is a good plan.

[quote]eddiealfano wrote:
Absolutely agree with you here. And for many people, jogging 1-3 miles IS in fact “conditioning work”. In other words, if you’re out of shape, that is great activity for you. But once you’re in somewhat respectable shape, interval work is the way to go. And if you are going to hit the track for the quarter-miles, remember to TAKE IT SLOW! Don’t go nuts the first time out. A slow steady increase in volume and speed over the course of a month or two is a good plan. [/quote]

I tried a 1/4 last year with my son and timed it, 71 sec., thought I was going to have a heartatack! He did it in 51 sec. I can see the benefits because my heart rate had to have shot up. I guess taking it down a notch and doing more has to help the pumper.