SAPT Q and A: Question from a Runner and Help From Link

Oh wait, I meant, "Ask the SAPT Coach." Sorry, we were having a Zelda discussion with our interns the other day...

"Is there a benefit to doing your strength workout under time? If you get your cardio somewhere else do you really need to rush?" - Supa Fly Runner

Ok, that's not really the name of the questioner, but she's a really fabulous runner so that's her assigned pseudonym.

Great question yeah? As in all fitness-related question the answer invariably is: It depends. *insert head scratching here*


However, for simplicity sake, I'll make the answer as straightforward as possible. I'm going to assume that there are two camps of people: 1- Team Runner. These folks run on a regular basis, either long distance or short. If they don't run, they find their aerobic work somewhere else: biking, swimming, swinging (that would be me), or some other modality specifically for cardiovascular/anaerobic training (sprints, hills, monster fighting, stuff like that.)

Morpha, the water temple boss, keeps Link running for his life. Great cardio!

2- Team Not-Runner. These folks do absolutely NOTHING (intentionally) to train their cardiovascular system (aka aerobic training). These could include general fitness folks who lift weights (either seriously or not... I'm looking at you Mr. On-The-Phone-While-Doing-Curls-Man), powerlifters who DON'T training beyond lifting (yes, I know weight lifting can be considered a form of aerobic training, but let's be honest, many powerlifters completely ignore their aerobic system. To that I say. "stop it." Oooo... future post! Sorry, I got distracted. Back to this one.) or anyone who just sits eating beans like this guy.

nom nom nom...

Answer for Team Runner:

Assuming that you are strength training for the purpose of getting stronger (which, I would hope is the reason), then no, you do not need to rush the workout. The purpose of training under load is to prod the body to adapt to the stress by getting stronger muscles. It's a bit more involved than that physiologically, but that's the basic idea of lifting weights. So, if one is rushing about with little rest between sets, the body won't be able to produce as much force (due to fatigue) thus one will be relegated to lighter weights. And light weights don't cut it when it comes to building strength. Solution? Rest as needed between sets to allow for near to full recovery so that the most force can be produced each rep (translation: heavier weights can be used). This has the added benefit of improving rate of force development of your muscles. If you don't want to read this lovely article by Kevin Neeld, then the bottom line is the faster muscles can produce the needed level of force (to say, run), then the faster you'll propel yourself across the earth. It's like the Bunny Hood in Legend of Zelda:

Yes! Link's rate of force development is increased ten-fold!

Focus on the purpose: increasing strength and don't worry about trying to make it a cardio session (if you're lifting heavy enough weights, you'll be winded anyway. ;) )

Answer for Team Not-Runner:

Even elite strength athletes need some sort of aerobic training. (as I alluded to, this will be a future post.) While the main movement of the day, be it a squat, deadlift, or press variation, should be completed with the needed rest periods in between, the accessory work can be sped up a bit. For those trainees who don't want to do any outside aerobic work other than their weight room sessions, which is totally fine, hustling a bit during the accessory movements or throwing in a weight cirucit every so often would provide a suitable aerobic training effect. Having an efficient aerobic system, namely the body's ability to use oxygen to produce ATP (the form of energy muscles need to function), is important both for recovery during training sessions and sustaining life. It would be unwise to ignore such things. This would be your heart status:

Not. Good.

Adding a little hustle to the accessory exercises will provide a decent aerobic training effect while still maintaining the goal of building strength during a training session. Training said system will help foster quicker recovery both during training and afterwards.

All that being said, again, it depends on what your training goals are but hopefully this post helps clear up the question of how to execute your strength training sessions.