“There is no great genius without a tincture of madness.”

– Seneca

Texas "Stonehenge", near Hunt
Texas “Stonehenge”, near Hunt

I’ve been under the hyper-crunch of an impending project deadline, and working so damn much lately, that this year’s summer solstice nearly passed me by, completely unnoticed.  That’s not like me, as I’m apt to wax Pagan come solstice and equinox time.  One thing I have noticed though — and this happens every year — that more and more of my workouts are occurring outdoors.  Sprints (both of the running and biking variety), bodyweight exercises, and outdoor kettlebell routines (for example) are showing up at a greater frequency in my workout journal.  And it just makes sense, huh?  Warmer and longer-lasting days bring that out in all of us.  This is, of course, a good and very Paleo occurrence.  Relatively few and far between now are the very heavy, strength-oriented loadings that tend to dominate my dead-of-winter (and mostly indoor) weight routines.  The speed-strength end of the weight spectrum dominates what indoor sessions I do perform time of year — sessions that might occur as few as once/week.  As an example of this, consider the last indoor session I managed to squeeze in prior to one of my (all to frequently now) long and drawn-out work days:

  1. Low Pulls x 4
  2. Bradford Press x 6
  3. Bodyweight, ballistic Pull-ups x 6

I performed 5 rounds of this complex, with an emphasis on single-event power production.  I emphasize single event here because I’ve found that some folks confuse overall workout completion speed with single rep. speed with an eye toward power production.  Two different animals here, with the latter leaning more toward that of an Oly lift format, and the former being indicative of a Crossfit-style workout.  Another way to think of this is that if I were performing this workout in a Crossfit-style manner, I’d do so with an eye toward maximizing a longer-duration power output — attempting to finish the workout in, say, 10 minutes or so.  Of course, this would necessitate dropping the poundages used and radically reducing the between rep. and between exercise rest periods.  Same workout components with a totally different set of performance guidelines and expected results.  And neither of these modalities is any “better” than the other; about the only thing that can be said is one might be better when considered in light of what your goals happen to be.

Anyway, if you’re north of the equator, get out and enjoy the summer weather while you can.  And get in some extra outdoor time for me while you’re at it, as I may end up resembling a pink-eyed lab rat by September with the way my work is going.  Such is life.  Oh well, this too shall pass, right?  Just more opportunity to adapt and overcome.  By the way, there’s just something about sprinting in the dead of night that accentuates the activity’s “primalness”.

In Health,

Keith

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I remember in one edition of the Performance Menu (an off shoot of the Crossfit Journal), the authors discussed the value of approaching crossfit WODS with a Power Bias (that was the name of the article). So For Helen, which is run an 800, 21 32kg kb swings, 12 pullups, you’d rest between each sub section of the workout, so that you could apply maximum effort to each movement.

    This was my first exposure to the concept of power bias, and shortly there after I found this site, and I was sold.

    • Speaking of displays of power over various time durations, check out the sprint legs of the Tour de France. Now, I’m a big fan of this race overall, but by far my favorite legs are those with a sprint finish. Can you imagine suffering through 187 km of tour racing, only to bust out an all-or-nothing sprint at the end? That is a whole other realm of “power”.

  2. Keith- this is a good point to make. I do some complex training a la Dan John, and the same complex can be trained a wide variety of ways- six exercises for six reps, no stopping, add a tad of weight, and continue- it’s a long time under the bar, and is fairly light, and is a grind of a work capacity effort. Or do the same six exercises, one rep each, more rest in between sets, adding more substantial weights, and you’ve got a whole different animal.

    Nice as always.

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