T Nation

Strength, Aerobic Ability, and Lose Fat?

Little bit of background. I’m a 20 year old aspiring powerlifter from Scotland. I’ve been eating to gain strength the last 6months or so and have really put on weight.

I weigh about 100kg (220lbs) at 6ft 1 and want to decrease this because I’m carrying a significant amount of fat. I’ve started eating clean and cut out junk food completely apart from Sunday which is my ‘cheat day’.

I also want to improve my aerobic capacity because it’s become terrible with my previous ‘CARDIO KILLS GAINS’ approach.

Lifting numbers:
Squat: 200kg/440lbs
Bench: 130kg/286lbs
Deadlift: 245kg/540lbs

Lifting schedule:
Monday - Squat
Wednesday - Bench
Friday - Deadlift

So basically what I am looking for is help to incorporate some form of cardio and conditioning into my training without losing muscle and compromising my strength. I have access to a treadmill, exercise bike, weights, kettlebell, space for circuits.

Any help is greatly appreciated to help me lose some bodyfat and improve my aerobic capacity whilst keeping or ideally gaining strength.

Hill sprints

Since you have the bike, doing some interval sprints on this every morning is a good way to get your metabolism kick started, and as bikes are very low impact, it shouldn’t mess with your lifts too much. With weight loss, you’re bound to lose a bit of strength through reduced leverages though.
Perhaps instead of trying to dramatically cut fat you could simply make your diet uber clean, drink fuckloads of water, and try to spead the fat by gaining more muscle?

Not to pimp my own stuff but this should cover pretty much exactly what you are looking for

Tim - speaking of that article I was hoping you could weigh in on this scenario about specificity -

In the 1960’s or so the Eastern Bloc rowing programs started to see a surge in success compared to the Western countries (in particular over the US and UK). From 1920-1956 the US won every heavyweight 8+ medal with 1960 being the first loss.

Some have suggested that this was a time period where the Eastern Bloc began anabolic usage in some of their olympic program and this is why they had success over us (may be true but I’m considering that just an excuse at this point) where others pointed to a change in training. It was said that the Russians used to row out past the point and not return for around 2 hours, no one knew what they did. Later on it was found they were doing high volumes of utilization work CAT IV and V mainly or (UT2/1 depending on the system of rating exertion).

I know in recent times studies have espoused that VO2 max is the largest indicator for rowers performance and that large amounts of CAT IV/V work are one of the best ways to perform that, yet I cannot help but think about the specificity of it and in turn question that model of training for rowers. Since the competition distance is 2,000 meters - is it arguable that high levels (15-20k rows) is simply overkill or not having high correlation to the actual competitive distance? Would higher AT levels versus VO2 Max yield better results in upper tier collegiate/elite level rowers?

Also I sent you a PM awhile back regarding another article you wrote about walking - not sure if you got, but is there a reason to not jack the incline up to max when walking?

Mercury - if you prove you can get a good 2k time while doing little endurance work / ut3 threshold work(or whatever it was - its been years and years) it would be immense.

My personal experience is I started doing a shit load of high volume (often 2x2hours a day) at UT3 and I went from high 6.20 to low 6.10 2k. (5k went from 17.10 to 16.30). This was in 3 months. I didnt gain any strength with weights (I didnt really know how to lift)

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
Tim - speaking of that article I was hoping you could weigh in on this scenario about specificity -

In the 1960’s or so the Eastern Bloc rowing programs started to see a surge in success compared to the Western countries (in particular over the US and UK). From 1920-1956 the US won every heavyweight 8+ medal with 1960 being the first loss.

Some have suggested that this was a time period where the Eastern Bloc began anabolic usage in some of their olympic program and this is why they had success over us (may be true but I’m considering that just an excuse at this point) where others pointed to a change in training. It was said that the Russians used to row out past the point and not return for around 2 hours, no one knew what they did. Later on it was found they were doing high volumes of utilization work CAT IV and V mainly or (UT2/1 depending on the system of rating exertion).

I know in recent times studies have espoused that VO2 max is the largest indicator for rowers performance and that large amounts of CAT IV/V work are one of the best ways to perform that, yet I cannot help but think about the specificity of it and in turn question that model of training for rowers. Since the competition distance is 2,000 meters - is it arguable that high levels (15-20k rows) is simply overkill or not having high correlation to the actual competitive distance? Would higher AT levels versus VO2 Max yield better results in upper tier collegiate/elite level rowers?

Also I sent you a PM awhile back regarding another article you wrote about walking - not sure if you got, but is there a reason to not jack the incline up to max when walking?[/quote]

Mercury - thanks for the post. I am not an expert on rowing and it is a weird sport (in a cool way) since it is pretty long and continuous compared to most sports, but there is a longer recharge period after the stroke which makes strength more important than in most aerobic sports, and being heavy is actually a benefit as opposed to a negative for most cardio activities. I am not totally familiar with all of the terms you used but I think I get the jist of it. To me it would depend on what everybody was weak in. If the VO2 max is poor (for super good rowers) then that needs to be worked on and the long rows would help with that (as well as cement good form assuming one was training with good form). If strength or lactate threshold was weak then one would work mainly on that. The primary energy system in my mind for rowing 2K is still oxidative since it is 5+ min so I would think VO2 is crucial. Having said all of that I have talked with a few elite rowers and it does seem to me that their training volumes are massive given that the event is only 6 minutes or so and I would guess their methodologies could be improved upon. But really at the end of the day at that level my guess would just be that, a guess, I don’t have enough experience working with high level rowers to formulate a good training plan for them.

Regarding walking, you can jack up the incline assuming your shins can handle it. If your goal is fat burning a max incline might be a lot for some people but I suspect with your cardio background it would probably be just fine. I don’t recall the PM but sorry for not answering it, I try to answer them all. Take it easy

[quote]Tim Henriques wrote:

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
Tim - speaking of that article I was hoping you could weigh in on this scenario about specificity -

In the 1960’s or so the Eastern Bloc rowing programs started to see a surge in success compared to the Western countries (in particular over the US and UK). From 1920-1956 the US won every heavyweight 8+ medal with 1960 being the first loss.

Some have suggested that this was a time period where the Eastern Bloc began anabolic usage in some of their olympic program and this is why they had success over us (may be true but I’m considering that just an excuse at this point) where others pointed to a change in training. It was said that the Russians used to row out past the point and not return for around 2 hours, no one knew what they did. Later on it was found they were doing high volumes of utilization work CAT IV and V mainly or (UT2/1 depending on the system of rating exertion).

I know in recent times studies have espoused that VO2 max is the largest indicator for rowers performance and that large amounts of CAT IV/V work are one of the best ways to perform that, yet I cannot help but think about the specificity of it and in turn question that model of training for rowers. Since the competition distance is 2,000 meters - is it arguable that high levels (15-20k rows) is simply overkill or not having high correlation to the actual competitive distance? Would higher AT levels versus VO2 Max yield better results in upper tier collegiate/elite level rowers?

Also I sent you a PM awhile back regarding another article you wrote about walking - not sure if you got, but is there a reason to not jack the incline up to max when walking?[/quote]

Mercury - thanks for the post. I am not an expert on rowing and it is a weird sport (in a cool way) since it is pretty long and continuous compared to most sports, but there is a longer recharge period after the stroke which makes strength more important than in most aerobic sports, and being heavy is actually a benefit as opposed to a negative for most cardio activities. I am not totally familiar with all of the terms you used but I think I get the jist of it. To me it would depend on what everybody was weak in. If the VO2 max is poor (for super good rowers) then that needs to be worked on and the long rows would help with that (as well as cement good form assuming one was training with good form). If strength or lactate threshold was weak then one would work mainly on that. The primary energy system in my mind for rowing 2K is still oxidative since it is 5+ min so I would think VO2 is crucial. Having said all of that I have talked with a few elite rowers and it does seem to me that their training volumes are massive given that the event is only 6 minutes or so and I would guess their methodologies could be improved upon. But really at the end of the day at that level my guess would just be that, a guess, I don’t have enough experience working with high level rowers to formulate a good training plan for them.

Regarding walking, you can jack up the incline assuming your shins can handle it. If your goal is fat burning a max incline might be a lot for some people but I suspect with your cardio background it would probably be just fine. I don’t recall the PM but sorry for not answering it, I try to answer them all. Take it easy
[/quote]

Thanks for the input, didn’t know if you had any experience with high level rowers or had any thoughts on the sport in particular so figured I’d ask. I coach at a very competitive high school program (multiple boats qualified for youth nationals yearly) and have been an elite rower myself. I’m a bit at odds with many of those in the rowing world in that I actually believe in lifting. Collegiate rowing is a bit behind in the S&C world and many S&C coaches simply don’t have a rowing background and don’t know how to program for it. I came from a rowing background into a S&C and am simply seeing if there might be a way to redefine the way we train, unfortunately most simply go with “this is how we’ve always done it”. Thanks again for the reply!