A guy once came to WG for a look and asked "Where are the gym machines?" I showed him the squat rack and kettles to which he replied "But, I like to run. My question seemed to shock him, "What equipment do you need for running?"
We’ve just passed the midpoint of Week 3 on our Boot Camp program.
This means the guys have a mere 4 more training sessions before their week off.
But it also means they just had a cardio session.
For those who know, my main interest in strength & conditioning is Martial Artists and as an extension of that anyone involved in contact/combat sports. Look at any of my higher intensity group sessions and you’ll find Kickboxers, Kyokushin black belts, Kenpo men, BJJ players mixed in with the odd copper and few rugby/GAA heads. Each one of these guys needs to be able to hit and take a hit.
It’s well documented that increasing size and strength will boost hitting power and also provide armour plating for receiving impact. But that’s of limited use if the muscle isn’t backed up by an equally well developed cardio system.
It’s a like fitting a bigger fuel tank to your muscle car. You still have the grunt, the speed and the power, but with the extra fuel you can put that power down for longer. Less time at the fuel pump means more time doling out the punishment.
So at Wild Geese we spend a fair bit of time developing our guys work capacity. That way they can power through a scramble, a tackle or a heavy exchange of hands and have the cardiovascular strength to get the oxygen back into the body and do it again, and again. They have the breath control to keep the mind calm, the lungs to get the air in and the heart to pump it where it’s needed. This all takes practice.
We have a multitude of methods for developing this, but possibly the most effective is the method we use on the boot camp. It’s also detailed in the WMD manual.
It’s simply the following:
400m Run (the block we run round is actually 370m, but who’s counting..?) Hindu Push Ups 400m Run Bodyweight Squats 400m Run Bodyweight Rows 400m Run Kettlebell Swings
Repeat for 20 minutes continuously. Time the run. However long the run takes is the time you will spend on the following calisthenic/kettlebell drill. So if it takes 1m45 to cover the first lap, then you’ve got 1m45s worth of Hindu Push Ups to do.
Why only 20 minutes? First, try it and see. Second, it gives us a benchmark against which we can judge progress.
But honestly, it’s as much for convenience. We spend 10 – 15 minutes warming up with skipping, muscle activation and jogging. Then hit some short (sub 15meter) sprints, agility and reaction work for another short while. Then we start the cardio. Each week we increase the intensity of the sprint/agility work to develop a greater oxygen debt. We also try to get more round in during the cardio set itself. The combination of a larger oxygen debt plus increased work rate means 20 minutes is plenty!
The whole session, including a stretch at the end is done in under an hour.
On the Boot Camp we don’t necessarily time the run, instead we split the group in two, while one group runs, the other group does the calisthenics. It brings some love to the group, especially if the runs start slowing down…
This is cardio, WMD style. It works.
But don’t take my word for it, get out and try it yourself.