FUNCTIONAL TRAINING IS THE SECRET TO TRAINING HARDER AND LONGEROur resident athlete adventurer will attempt to climb a rope for 24 hours until he’s scaled the height of Everest. Here’s how his training can improve yours
STORY BY ROSS EDGLEY
MONDAY 4 APRIL 2016
Functional training can take many forms. But on 22 April I will attempt The World’s Longest Rope Climb and rip up the rulebook on functional fitness. Starting at 9am I will pull myself up and down a 20-metre rope repeatedly for 24 hours until I’ve climbed the height of Everest (8,848 metres). Inevitably, once I took to social media to announce the news, my inbox was flooded with questions of, “how” and “why”.
Firstly, why? For me this was a logical sequel to The World’s Strongest Marathon. See, pulling a 1.4 tonne car for 26.2 miles raised lots of money for charity, but it also left me with a newly acquired work capacity, an inability to over train and a tendency to get bored very easily. A few hours in the weights room didn’t seem like enough. Which is why I rung the Teenage Cancer Trust (my chosen charity). Bought a rope. Found a tree. Then began training for this year’s charity stunt number two.
Secondly, how? As I explained after the World’s Strongest Marathon, fitness is not black and white.
When it comes to training we too often think in terms of repetitions, sets and training times. But the human body isn’t a repetition-counting machine. It’s far more intricate and powerful and can be subjected to thousands of training variables. One of the most overlooked of these variables — and a key component of functional training — is work capacity.
Once you understand this, everything from climbing a rope for 24 hours to training legs free from soreness the next day all become possible. Here’s how.
Functional training is the secret to training harder, heavier and longer
Work Capacity can be defined as the total amount of “work” (training) the body can perform and then positively recover and adapt too. If you have a high work capacity and you’re training for a marathon, starting day one of training with a ten-mile run becomes doable.
Your body can tolerate this “stress” and “stimuli” and — for those who like the science — your body will positively adapt by increasing lung capacity, the muscle’s capillary density, mitochondrial efficiency, fatty acid-oxidation enzymes and basically just make you a better run from the inside out.
If you have a lower work capacity, that same ten-mile run will leave you in bed, over trained with your immune system in tatters. In short, a higher work capacity means you can tolerate heavier, harder and longer training sessions. Therefore work capacity is good. So how do you get more of it? More sets, supplementary cardio and “finishers” will improve your workout.
Functional training: how to increase work capacity
Worth noting is the exact answer to this is still being debated among functional training strength and conditioning experts to this day. All athletes are so biologically different it becomes hard to assign a single blueprint. But if you look to incorporate the functional exercises below into your training, work capacity will increase.
Functional exercise: add more sets
The first is also the most simple: add sets to your routines. Let’s say you can do three sets of three repetitions on a 140kg squat. What would then be easier? Trying to complete three sets of three repetitions with 150kg or just adding another 140kg squat for one repetition at the end? The extra 1 repetition, obviously. Then next session add two repetitions with 140kg and three after that. Once you’re able to do five to eight sets of three repetitions your work capacity has improved. Now it’s time to drop back down to three sets with a bigger weight (maybe try that 150kg now).
The key is adding that one repetition per session. It’s not that taxing on your body over your established baseline. Then when you drop back to just three sets, it’s less volume than you’ve grown accustomed to, setting you up nicely for the subsequent re-ramping of the volume.
Functional exercise: add cardio
The second is to add additional cardio-based workouts around your strength training. This could exist in the form of 20 minutes cardio in the morning, which would allow you to perform your usual strength-based training in the afternoon or evening. Or, depending on your circadian rhythm (your biological clock, which determines when your body “peaks”) and your work schedule, you could perform your strength training in the morning and your cardio in the evening.
Whatever method works best for you, know that adding cardio-specific workouts in and around your usual strength and conditioning routines remains one of the easiest ways to increase work capacity… The Trainer Boxing/Functional Training Club Hood River http://www.thetrainerhoodriver.com #thetrainer #hoodriver#personaltrainer #functionaltraining #functionaltrainer#rusticparkour #psychology #muaythai #fitness #functionaltrainer #health #running #fitnessaddict #workout #cardio #mma #training #healthy #parkour #boxingfunctionaltrainingclubhoodriver #columbiarivergorge #active #strong #motivation #determination #lifestyle #getfit #fatloss #fatfighters7 #boxing