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Friday, January 18. 2019
Is walking a part of your fitness routine? If so, be aware that ordinary walking is not valuable "cardio" except for the elderly and the infirm. However, walking and hiking can be perfect for a day of active recovery from a week of exercise.
Assuming a person in decent health, an ordinary street walking speed for men and women is around 3 mph (3.2-3.4 for New Yorkers, which is why you get jostled). Below that is a stroll. This applies to more or less level ground. 3 mph walking is not "cardio" because the heart rate is not sufficiently elevated to challenge or strengthen the heart - or to build lower body endurance.
Deliberate hikers like to move at around 4-5 mph on level ground. I can hike at 4 mph (15-min/mile), especially when it's beginning to get dark and I want to get back somewhere. It's a difficult pace for me, though, because my legs want to break into a slow jog at over 4 mph instead of maintaining a vigorous walk. Some fit and experienced hikers hike at 5 mph with a backpack but at 5 I am definitely jogging, not walking, and I break into a run between 6-7.
Fitness level and body architecture play into this. If curious about this, your phone can give you your average speed of progress during walks and hikes unless you like to pause to look at birds and wildflowers and snakes and toads. After all, exercise is so you can enjoy life so not every hike needs to be a death march. Maybe most of them, but not all.
Best ways to improve your walking and hill-hiking efficiency? Stair machine, elliptical at the higher resistances, and fast-walking or even jogging on a good incline on a treadmill (say incline of 5-8, 10 if fast-walking). An hour of that is a good "active recovery" from other exercises, or good for beginners.
* In the US, normal military march is 3.4 mph (17 mins/mile), but for Army Rangers it's 4 mph.
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Best way to improve your walking and hill hiking efficiency? Walk and hike hills. The machines are a POOR substitute. They get you in shape for exercising on the machine, not for the activity the purport to mimic.
A few of us suffer from unrelieved terrain. The closest hills are 200 miles west of me. Palo Duro Canyon is much closer, but is a state park and closes by the time I get off of work. Alas, an inclined treadmill is the only option for regular (3-5 times a week) training for hiking "relieved" terrain.
OK, the article stated (in bold): "Best ways to improve your walking and hill-hiking efficiency? (machines)"
I understand the limitations regarding terrain as I spend part of the year in North TX and part in western NC. If you have to substitute, substitute. However, DO NOT go to the extreme of all machines, i.e. the treadmill should rarely substitute for flat terrain as you can always walk outside. If you're a city person, you can probably find a building with stairs - the higher, the better. This is far preferable to machines if you want to prep for hills....and put on a freakin' back pack (and don't even think about grabbing the stair rails).
Walking on treadmill ≠ regular walking outside. Is it "too cold" outside? Maybe if you're a millennial pajama boy. There is plenty of evidence that doing uncomfortable shit makes you better at doing other uncomfortable shit.
RE Elliptical machine: Please tell me what human motion this comes close to (unless you're a San Francisco fairy).
RE Treadmill: Holding handrails reduces the work. You don't have handrails to hold when you walk outside do you? Unless you're handicapped or your balance is an issue, don't hold the freakin' hand rails. And jack up the incline. At least 3% incline on a treadmill is needed to mimic (not reproduce) the push off force of walking on level ground outside.
Best machine for mimicking hills: Stairmaster Step Mill.
Your body adapts to the stress that is applied to it (Look up Seyle's general adaptation syndrome). You walk up a hill and after a few times, you notice it's not getting easier. It can't get easier because your body has adapted to the stress going up that hill puts on your body. Sure, if you go faster or carry a heavy backpack, that will add to the stress and your body will adapt again, this time at a (slightly) higher level. Of course, that method gets impractical pretty quickly.
So, what to do? My theory: Get stronger in the gym with squats and deadlifts, then use that strength on the trail, where each step will be easier and that heavy backpack will be a smaller fraction of your maximum strength. The lifting along with the hiking will probably provide all the cardio adaptation you need.
Your theory - an old one, I might add - breaks down in real life. It's the same theory that reasons that strong pressures should make good boxers or a strong squatters should make it easy for you to run a marathon.
Unless you have a PhD in exercise science or human biomechanics, don't try to come up with theories of why X should result in Y. I am frequently told that adding strength should make someone better at throwing because it's all a matter of force = mass x acceleration and pressing heavy things should imply that you are better at throwing lighter things. Sounds great! OK, what can you throw farther, a baseball or a BB (and why)? People who can't accurately explain this, shouldn't posit theories about human performance.
PS - The 75th Ranger regiment doesn't train for rucking hills by doing squats.
"In order to be a competitive marathon runner, get your squats up as much as possible", said no one ever. Nice straw man.
"Unless you have a PhD in exercise science...". Oh man, that's funny. You were involved in the discussion a few weeks ago (http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/32609-Endurance-but-not-resistance-training-has-anti-aging-effects.html#comments) where it was shown conclusively that the so-called experts know nothing about strength training.
Here are more examples (and yes, these are all from the same website, but with multiple authors):
Why can't you throw a BB farther than a baseball? Air resistance, of course. Drop each off a tall building and the baseball will of course reach the ground first. In a vacuum, two objects, regardless of weight or size, will travel the same distance, given identical launch velocity (i.e., angle and speed). You appear to be saying that you can somehow move your arm faster with a heavy weight than with a light weight. That defies experience and common sense. Common sense tells us you can move something of a given weight faster if you are stronger. You develop strength in the weight room, then practice the expression of that strength on the field, perfecting your technique.
Related, can you explain to me why the women's outdoor shot put world record is 74' 2.75" while the men's is 75' 10"? Women use a 8.8 lb shot while the men use a 16 lb shot. How much further would women be able to put the 16 lb shot? Using your BB vs baseball example, they should be able to easily outdistance the men with the heavier shot, while the men's distance would go down if they used the lighter shot. Why doesn't that happen, I wonder? What could possible explain the performance difference between these two groups of highly trained athletes? I'm drawing a blank.
As to the Rangers, they certainly should be doing squats.
But maybe they're learning. Deadlifts are being added to the military fitness tests: https://www.army.mil/article/208189/army_combat_fitness_test_set_to_become_new_pt_test_of_record_in_late_2020
"Why can't you throw a BB farther than a baseball? Air resistance, of course. You appear to be saying that you can somehow move your arm faster with a heavy weight than with a light weight. That defies experience and common sense. Common sense tells us you can move something of a given weight faster if you are stronger."
WRONG. As they saying goes, common sense isn't so common. So, you think there is more air resistance against a tiny BB than a much bigger baseball (not to mention the coefficient of friction in air is greater for the baseball than the BB - that's why you can throw a curveball). Talk about something not making any sense!
You're a complete dumbass with your head so far up Rip's ass you could probably take out his tonsils. You are the SS equivalent of a CrossFit groupie. Back in the old days at WFAC, Rip had a good thing going with serious people willing to challenge each other's ideas. Sadly SS has become a cult where a bunch of clueless clowns (that would include you) blindly follow everything SS and Rip says. He would be upset to know that he has become to SS groupies what Greg Glassman is at CF.
PS: Rip doesn't train the 75th Rangers (at least I never saw him there at Benning) and according to the man himself, he's no expert at training NSW "SEAL training is outside my area of experience" (quote for Rip).
OK, since reasoned discussion is obviously out of the question going forward, let me end by pointing out you did not address, let alone refute ("WRONG", even in all caps, is not a valid argument), any of the points I raised, or those raised in the articles to which I linked.
Good day, sir.
Can you read? I countered your totally asinine argument about the air resistance for a BB being greater than for a baseball. Your proposition that a baseball - with a larger absolute surface area, a larger surface area per unit mass and a higher coefficient of friction - creates less air resistance than a BB is so absurd that meaningful discussion is virtually impossible....or did you mean that something with greater air resistance should be able to be thrown farther? (an equally asinine argument.
Aside from that, you are missing the entire point which is that for many activities strength is not the most important quality and that resources spent training strength take away from training other abilities that are often more beneficial to human performance.
All of the SS articles you quote regarding the military are theoretical. Sure, it would be great if soldiers could squat more than they do, but what do they give up to achieve higher numbers in the weight room? From personal experience in the field, I would rather have someone with me who has done some brutal endurance training than someone with a huge 1RM squat. Why? Because I know that the first guy won't quit when he's tired and things suck. The strong guy hasn't demonstrated the same persistence when the suck factor is high.
"Should" the Rangers be doing squats? Maybe, but their program shouldn't look anything like SS.
So, let's go back to the "theory" that started this war:
"Get stronger in the gym with squats and deadlifts, then use that strength on the trail, where each step will be easier and that heavy backpack will be a smaller fraction of your maximum strength."
What you and the other genius are proposing is that a high max single (which is what SS is aimed at) translates to better rucking (hiking on varied terrain with a heavy load) and what I (and countless other experienced trainers and infantrymen) are saying is that training for MxS is not the optimal way to train for endurance. You can incorporate strength training, but cannot let it interfere with the goal (as Dan John says "the mission is to keep the mission the mission").
Just came across this relevant discussion on a physics page, comparing the flight characteristics of a golf ball and a ping pong ball: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/ping-pong-ball-vs-golf-ball-and-distance-moved.304520/
Bird Dog: Forgive the post hijacking, but thought you’d want to hear about this as a lover of all things Italian.
BD: Thank you. At 78 I favor hiking as the main exercise.
The physics of walking means that you lift or support your weight upward the equivalent of something like 400 vertical feet/miile. To increase the difficulty carry a pack. Some will be amazed at how hard it is to lug 35 pounds for an hour.
While the machines are good for cardio, trails stress ankles and ACL's. If you don't strengthen these you will fail on even short hikes on rough terrain like Cannon Mountain.
For serious hiking plan on an ascent rate of about 1000 feet per hour with 30 lbs for three hours. Find a tall building and practice with a pack on. Two hours is more than twice one hour.
Do not overlook going down exercises which use different muscles.
You, Sir, are the voice of experience! Regarding the descent - it is different. Walking downhill puts more strain on your knees and ankles than walking uphill or on level ground. Downhill walking is eccentric exercise, lengthening the muscles under load and applying a braking force. This is in contrast to uphill walking, which is concentric exercise.
It's interesting that there are different metabolic effects as well. One study found that downhill walking did a better job of improving glucose tolerance, which is a measure of how well a person is able to move glucose out of the blood and into the cells of the body. People who are glucose-intolerant are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Downhill walking improved their glucose tolerance by 8.2 percent, compared with a 4.5 percent improvement with uphill walking.
However, people who have lipid problems, especially high amounts of triglycerides, might want to consider uphill walking. Triglycerides are a type of unhealthy fat found in the blood. While uphill walking, the test subjects lowered their triglycerides by 11 percent, compared with 6.8 percent while downhill walking.
Intensity was not believed to be a factor. Thee difference may have something to do with the use of more concentric muscle activity while going uphill and more eccentric activity going downhill.
The take-home message is to get out of the gym. Walking really hills (or stairs) where you have to go up and down (no, taking the elevator up/down isn't on the menu), beats walking treadmill on incline. As far as adaptation: (1) Add weight (backpack filled with rubber mulch you can buy at Home Depot), (2) Hike faster, (3) Hike farther. You can also do multiple fast, short hikes as in interval training and adapt by shortening the rest intervals, increasing pace, etc.
PRO TIP: If you add rucking (stairs, hills) to your regimen, you need to reduce the number of days you do squats (or other leg work).
Ask yourself, "What is my goal - big numbers in the gym or performance outside the gym in real life activities?" In a world of finite resources and time (which is a resource) life is all about trade offs.
Depends on your fitness and conditioning goals. Also, time and convenience. I do not hill hike on icy rocks. Asking for trouble.
Lower body endurance is great, but it's just one piece of the Maggie's Fitness For Life program.