We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, August 3. 2022
OK, OK, I know all of the arguments. The Maggie's fitness formula includes lots of everything for good reasons. Balance, agility, explosive power, strength, endurance, nutrition and proper weight, etc.
Endurance (say, jogging 5 or ten miles, or hiking 10 miles with a pack), is about your Slow-twitch muscle fibers and the number of mitochondria they contain. These can be trained, but not with heavy weights: it is more about the slog.
I see mountain hikers in training. They put on a weight vest and jump on the Stairmaster for an hour or two. At higher speeds, I would consider that cardio plus calisthenics plus leg strength. No need to do that for most people under 40, but sometimes we all have to connect with our inner masochist if we want to improve.
I have an elderly friend who takes his daily 3-mile walk with a backpack filled with old textbooks.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Once a week or so I'll do the morning dog walk with a 25 pound weight plate and some number of 5 pound bags of sand depending on how my ankles and knees are doing.
Weight lifting, calisthenics and training in the various cardio zones have very different impacts on your heart. When it comes to long term health and function you need to do both weightlifting and cardio.
There is a difference between working out for general fitness and training for a sport.
I don't recall anyone saying strength and enduance are close to being the same animal. My argument has always been that strength training contributes to endurance (not a whole lot, but some) and that strength is a generally more useful and beneficial attribute to develop than endurance. How many of us have a need or desire to run 10 miles, or even one? On the other hand, how many of us want to be able to easily pick up a grandchild when the time comes? How many of us want to increase our bone density as we age, so a fall doesn't become a death sentence? Strength training helps with that (and more), endurance work does not.
Sure, if you have a strenuous backpacking trip coming up, then take a month or two and focus on developing the endurance needed for that. But for day to day life, I don't see the need to obsess about endurance work. That doesn't mean I completely ignore cardio work, of course. I've been preparing for an upcoming powerlifting meet so it's taken a bit of back seat for a while, but after the meet I fully intend to do some sled work a couple of times a week.
Had my yearly exam yesterday--new young doctor. Like him! I explained how much strength I had lost during the covid lockdown and that was a trigger for a thoughtful and rather intense response. In summary here:
1. The lack of outdoor exercise and endurance work that was normal to our every day lives has been very destructive to the older generation--the very generation that the lockdown was supposed to protect!!
2. Endurance work--walking, riding, skiing, hiking, swimming whatever. Helps to KEEP the heart and lungs healthy!!! The older we get the more necessary it becomes as the various parts of the body become weaker--less strong. Doing entrance work holds back that natural decline--postpones it. Being locked down was TOO destructive to TOO many people!!
I can easily measure the decline:
prior to covid I did 4 laps in the pool easy. Now I don't even go to the pool. Last time I went I could not do more than 1/2 lap. Doc says to get back in the pool and that it is doable to get back up to 4, but it will take about a year to recover what has been lost.
For those of us who believe that Oprah's little slip about waiting for the older generation to die off was an indicator of a part of the long term strategy to make this country a socialist nightmare---the long term long down seems to have played right into that wish of theirs! Click on link below.
Endurance work does not, and can not, build strength above some low threshold.
Your swimming, while building endurance, does next to nothing to build strength and, because it does not load your skeleton at all, does not build bone strength, which is so important as we age.
Please, check out Greysteel Strength and Conditioning and buy and read their book The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40.
You are right! Of course, you need to work with weights to build strength. What I was talking about was a lack of ability to do the same things (not weight-based things) that I used to be able to do before the covid lock down. Things that in retrospect we should never have stopped doing! Of course, the pool was closed, but we should have still gotten out and done some rigorous walking--keeping the heart and lungs acting in a more rigorous way. Our gym was pretty much closed for most of the time, but we do have our own little dumbells and that plus some floor exercises helped a little bit, but it was the absence of breathing and rigorous exercise that caused so much damage--not the absence of weight lifting. Although lifting weights is important to the bone and muscle part of the system.
> How many of us have a need or desire to run 10 miles, or even one?
How many people need to bench press 300 pounds, or even 135?
The point of building endurance isn't to be able to run 10 miles, it's to condition your energy systems to be able to convert various substrates into energy rather than just relying on one. It's to work the mitochondria and to build more of them. Zone two and three training works different parts of the heart from weight lifting, and generally does different things.
This is not instead of weight lifting, it's in addition TO weight lifting.
Doing "sled work" a couple times a week is neither endurance, nor cardio. It's a form of HIIT that generally doesn't exercise the energy systems the same way.
Generally I like Mr. Rippetoe's work.
But two of the four arguments he presents are reasons to lift weights, the second argument is flat out wrong, and "the science" has demonstrated it, and the fourth argument is as true for weight lifting as it is for running or cycling.
As I sit here this evening I'm fighting chronic tendinitis from weightlifting. Yeah, unpossible, I know. Must have been me lifting with bad form or something...of course one could say the same about running, swimming or cycling.
Rippetoe has his hammer, and is going to pound anything around him with it.
He's not wrong about strength training. The stronger you are, and the more muscle mass you have (within reason) as you age, the more resilient you will be.
But cardio and metabolic training is also critical. Not marathon level events, but 45 to 60 minutes in zone two two or three times a week, with one interval session, either as your third, or as a fourth session does wonders for your heart and your metabolic condition.
It's not a question of either/or as he presents, it's a question of balance between the two. Actually four, as you also need some balance, flexibility and movement work.
And yeah, you can hurt yourself running. Been there, done the PT to fix it. But it's like lifting--if you don't do it with the right form, the right equipment and the right attention to detail you'll mess something up. I'd bet you get the same percentage of injuries per time-unit in the weight room as running or cycling.
So "need" might be too strong a word. Let's say that every healthy adult male "should' be able to bench 135 lbs, mimimum. It's a level of strength that is easily obtainable and useful in general day-to-day living.
Yes, there are certainly different energy pathways that the body is using to some degree at all times. It's my understanding that HIIT is so effective in building all types of endurance because during a HIIT session, all three energy pathways are being used to the maximum. But of course if you want to ride your bike 100 miles, at some point you will have to put in the miles. Previous HIIT training will make those miles easier, though.
Here's a quote from the abstract of a study (found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22289907/) that looked at the effects of HIIT training:
"A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training (HIT) can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis. While less well studied, low-volume HIT can also stimulate physiological remodelling comparable to moderate-intensity continuous training despite a substantially lower time commitment and reduced total exercise volume."
And I will still stand by my belief that concentrating on building strength is generally more useful and beneficial than concentrating on cardio (however you want to define that). Not that cardio work should be avoided completely, of course, just not emphasized.