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Project Ski: Session for 12/17/08

Posted Dec 20 2008 5:50pm

"Hey - wanna' go for a jog with us? We're all goin' out to the park and go for a run since we've been sittin' all day, " asked my colleague.

I felt good about going since I had been "working out" for a long time using a NordicTrack Cross Country Ski Machine for several months. I had lost some weight, toned up. I felt good.

"Yeah, sure sounds good. Be right there," I replied.

I was attending a conference in Chicago, in 1987, and the running group was about 10 physical therapists from around the country who wanted to jog through Grant Park.

They jogged about 3 miles. I jogged about 800 yards and was breathing so hard I thought I might inhale several small rocks.

Even though I had trained the same muscles you use in jogging and used movements very close to the running motion pattern, I had zero fitness for jogging. Nada.

The human body is inherently lazy seeking the lowest level of energy exertion that's required. Your body learns in a very concrete way. You become adept at what you do. Sometimes, that's really important like in sports. If you want to get good at shooting free throws, it won't happen if you're practicing dunks or jump shots. Likewise, if you want to get fit to jog, you have to jog at some point; not use a ski machine.

So, you may notice that my sessions have a certain amount of variety. Consistently variable is how I describe it. What I'm trying to do is build a broad base of physical, mental, and emotional fitness before I begin to focus on sport specific capacity. I don't want to spend several months of practice only to end up "inhaling rocks".

Today's session was relatively short but not particularly easy.

A series of Yoga poses followed by Burner Ski Squats.

I cycled through the following poses holding each one for about 5 seconds trying to breathe slowly. I quickly discovered limits in flexibility which increased the difficulty in holding the pose. I was tired enough after 20 minutes that I couldn't keep the forms so I stopped feeling much looser, a little sweaty, and overall good.

.Burner Ski Squats are done like this:

  • Set a timer for 30 seconds.
  • Stand with feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Squat down to about a 90 degree angle at the knee placing the weight through the heel of the foot more than the forefoot and reach forward with your arms.
  • Stand back up.
  • Repeat as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Hold the squat position for 10 seconds and oscillate up and down a very small amount (this is the Burner part of the squat - Burner is a term we use at Sports Center for positions that make your muscles really burn).
  • Hit the reset button on the timer do it all again for 10 cycles.

After six cycles I could not hold the Burner position. At all. My muscles were just out of fuel. I'm blaming it on the Yoga.

Any Yoga poses that required me to bend sideways (Side Stretch Pose, Triangle Pose) with my arm overhead felt like I had some steel cables inside my muscles. They just would not budge. And that made breathing very tough.  Obviously, I need some work here.

I guess I need to be a little more consistently variable ;-)


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