Here’s how Sunday’s workout shaped-up:
- Hurdle bounds (5 hurdles, dual-foot, minimum reset between bounds) x 10 rounds
- Caber Toss with the 45 lb medicine ball x 8 throws (see explanation below)
- 5-second, fixed-time sprints for distance x 16 sprints (drop-off method)
The hurdle bounds acted as a bit of post activation potentiation (PAP) to set me up for a good series of heavy, all-out throws. Note that if I were “competing” in the caber toss, I would not have done as many rounds of the hurdle bounds, but would have done only 3 sets or so — just enough to “prime the system”. Here’s an informative video clip on PAP. Also note that at 3:21 into this particular clip is a fantastic demonstration of the medicine ball overhead throw (i.e., caber toss). She’s using a much lighter implement here, so as to work on the speed component of this power exercise, whereas I’m using a much heavier ball, and working the strength end of the speed/strength continuum. The take-away message here is know thy weakness and endeavor to fix said weakness.
Let’s take a look at how the throws shaped-up, and how I used the drop-off method to know when to “pull the plug” on the exercise:
I initially set my distance marker at approximately 30 feet. I knew this to be an “in the ball park” range from previous (and logged) experience, but again, I could have just as easily thrown first and then set the initial mark. Here are the throws, results and actions taken:
- beat initial mark (reset to new distance)
- beat mark (reset to new distance)
- beat mark (reset to new distance)
- beat mark (reset to new distance. This wound up being the day’s PR, at approximately 33 feet. I then figured my drop-off from this point. For a high threshold, power dominant exercise like this, I like to use about a 6 – 10% drop-off. This keeps me sufficiently challenged, yet clean of the overtraining abyss. With a little rounding, fudging, finger and toe counting, I finally settled on a drop-off of approximately 2 feet. Now I’ll keep on throwing until I fail to reach 31 feet.
- equaled mark
- slight miss
- larger miss (just a shade over 31 feet)
- something less than 31 feet. Drop-off acheived.
One thing to note with using drop-offs is this: It’s a play between numbers and percentages, accurate measurement and “feel” and past experience. I could have just as easily decided to pull the plug because my technique was faltering (a sure sign of fatigue, especially in sprints and in the high-power weight room exercises). Also of consideration is the ease of modality measurement. This kind of distance is both easily standardized and measured, so it lends itself to a more conservative interpretation of the drop-off method. Short distance sprinting, for example (where the drop-off can be as little as 1%), is a little more fuzzy and, therefore, calls for a little more “feel” input.
After this, I moved on to some 5-second, fixed-time, barefooted sprints, using the same type of drop-off set-up (albeit with a much reduced drop-off goal of approximately 1%, as “guesstimated”, in feet). I managed 16 sprints (with full recovery) before I finally reached drop-off.
So Why the preference for this kind of a workout?
This is all about fast-twitch muscle fiber activation, central nervous system activation, and prompting a favorable gene expression; it’s all about pushing my body to acheive a higher (and in my opinion,a healthier) peak anaerobic power (PAPw) output. It’s about fine-tuning a fast-twitch dominant, fat burning machine. It’s also a hellovalota fun! Compare this to a bout of mindless jogging — ugh, parish the thought!
…and an abundance of inspiration on hand ~
I really wish I’d have brought my camera to document the inspiration on display Sunday afternoon, at the ECU outdoor track. Some photojournalist I am, huh? Way to always be prepared, big guy! A Bot Scout you’re not. Anyway, let me see if I can recreate the scene: At the far end of the track — where the sprint events normally start — was a dreadlocked and wiry college-aged kid, a 60-meter and sprint-hurdles athlete, working with his coach (who I’d spoken with earlier, in between my sets of hurdle bounds) on block-starts and 60-meter acceleration. A picture of fluid, sprint perfection if there ever was one, blazingly — and I do mean blazingly — fast. Juxtaposed to this, puttering around the inside lane of the track, was an elderly man in a wheelchair. Not just any old wheelchair, mind you, this man — who by his limp posture, and the manner and multitude of straps required to keep him secure and upright in the chair, undoubtedly had recently suffered some form of severe paralysis — “pedaled” himself around the track by means of a hand-powered mechanism, attched to the wheelchair, that resembled a bicycle crank. The device was geared rather low, as the man, though “pedaling” in earnest, only managed a snail’s pace around the track. This he did, though, for the duration of my extended workout, while his companion (wife?) walked along beside offering small talk and encouragement. Two “coach-and-athlete” teams; two wildly differing sets of goals. Individually inspiring scenes in and of themselves; their juxtaposition, though, was a scene — and a lesson in both life, and fitness “goals” that I won’t soon forget.
It’s back to the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday, then another 5-day, no-gym stretch, with a trip to Atlanta thrown in.