Sunday, September 7, 2008
Performance Hybrid Training for Metabolic Conditioning and Fat Loss
I first learned of metabolic conditioning in the early 1970s. High-Intensity Training pioneer and Nautilus inventor, Arthur Jones, conducted extensive exercise studies at West Point. The cadets involved were varsity football players, i.e., young and in good shape. Jones found that in some of his brutal circuits, due to a type of systemic shutdown, the athletes were unable to continue working out while the same exercises, with the same weight and longer rests were no problem. It was when the rest periods were shortened between exercises (to little to none) that the athletes experienced nausea, lightheadedness and were otherwise unable to continue the circuits. Strength-wise, they could handle the resistance required, and all of them were in good cardiovascular shape (as tested on the Cooper 12-min Run Test) so what was it that was shutting these athletes down? Jones named this previously un-described conditioning Metabolic Conditioning. Once this discovery was made, people (myself included) began experimenting with metabolic-style conditioning workouts.
When heavy strength efforts were combined with short rests plus elevated cardio stress, the metabolism couldn't handle the increased demand: the cadets suffered systemic failure. Jones, and the people running the experiment, saw this form of conditioning as a boon to athletes seeking to develop high levels of simultaneous strength, endurance and cardio. The programmed workouts simulated real-world conditioning needs, especially those involved in intense sports such as boxing, judo, wrestling and jiujitsu. Of course, any athlete can benefit from this kind of android-like work capacity! Once the liver adapts to producing the enzymes needed to buffer the high levels of blood lactates, huge amounts of work can be accomplished in short time increments without undue fatigue. What an athletic advantage to have this kind of work capacity! You can literally work your opponents into the ground!
When coupled with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, moderate fat diet, metabolic workouts catalyze body composition changes. The tremendous metabolic stimulation stokes the fat-burning mechanism for hours. At the end of a day, you'll burn far more calories completing a workout like this than a longer, low-intensity aerobic workout. Anaerobic work increases aerobic capacity while the reverse is not true. Not only does aerobic work not increase anaerobic capacity, it may have a detrimental effect! Most sports (outside of distance running, cycling and swimming) are anaerobic-based and you'll get the biggest bang for the buck by doing the Coach's performance-hybrid workouts. Unlike straight cardio routines (performed on bike or treadmill) metabolic conditioning can add muscle while simultaneously improving cardio conditioning.
Once I "got it" in the 1970's, I ran with it. I experimented with various high-intensity metabolic routines and consider them a major factor in my successes in wrestling and jiujitsu. I've successfully trained many world-class and amateur athletes using my hybrid performance conditioning.
Another huge benefit of this kind of training is it's effectively anti-aging. Recent research shows metabolic conditioning gives a considerable boost in HGH and T-levels. For you boomers wishing to remain ageless athletes, I highly recommend you give it a try.
As a further method of raising my own T-levels, I have my ever-helpful assistant don a bikini and oversee my training whilst looking pretty. It's a well known fact looking at scantily clad women raises T-levels in heterosexual males. She counts my reps, times my sets, and provides my peri-workout nutrition. Something every guy over 40 can definitely use!
The basic idea of putting together a metabolic conditioning workout is to choose primarily whole-body movements using a lot of muscle mass. The goal is to spread the fatigue evenly over the entire body, not just one muscle group. Of course certain muscles will fatigue earlier than others in some exercises, but local muscular failure is to be avoided. Recently, I've been reading the work of Christian Thibaudeau and it's been influencing some of my exercise selections and pairings. The workouts consist of metabolic pairings in twos or threes, with a brief rest between each mini-circuit. There are usually two or three of these pairing per workout. The first movement is usually fairly heavy, followed by a body weight/whole body movement, then chased with a core-specific movement. I like to include level changes in each group and make sure to balance hip/thigh level changes, e.g., squats or lunges, with hamstring/glute/low-back level changes, e.g., heavy swings, snatches, cleans or deadlifts.
People often ask me how I combine this or that when constructing workouts and today's workout, in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, is a perfect example of how the Coach puts it all together:
Warm-up with the Maxbells Kettlebell Mobility Series
(a joint mobility series I designed making use of the KB, which strengthens and mobilizes every muscle and joint in the body)
A1) Double KB Front Squat-to-Military-press
(the difference between my move and the Thruster is I do a full ass-to-the-floor squat)
A2) Lifeline Jungle Gym Chin-Ups w/ Bent Leg knee Raise
*start from a dead hang (JG suspended from tree limb or swing set)
as you chin yourself, bring the knees to the chest and squeeze the abs
A3) Alternating Elbow-to-Knee aka Bicycles
15 reps L/R (30 total)
*hands must be clasped tightly behind head, you must touch the elbow to knee and fully extend the leg each rep
perform A1-A3 with no rest, then take 70-sec rest. That's one round.
Perform 5 rounds.
B1) Double Kettlebell Snatch
B2) Bench Jumps
Max in 30-sec
B3) Renegade Row w/ push-ups
*If these are easy for you, do the advanced version with your feet elevated on a bench
B1-B3 are a circuit. perform 4 rounds. Rest 60-sec between rounds.
You'll be sucking wind bad when you hit the Renegade Rows! Keep your form tight and minimize any twisting (which is very difficult). Keep the abs engaged.
C1) Alternating Clubbell Shield Cast
20 reps per arm, 40 reps total
*I used 15# clubs but you can use dbs if you don't have clubs or see my earlier blog on making inexpensive clubs.
C2) Iranian Twisting Push-Ups on push-up board
C3) Two-Hand Clubbell Shield Cast
* I used a 35# club
* This is a very similar movement to gadja training used by wrestlers in northern India and totally smokes the core as well as the grip
6-8 reps each side
Perform C1-C3 without rest. 60-sec rest after C3. 4 rounds.
This little routine will work you from top to bottom and your ticker as well. You'll feel an even fatigue throughout the entire body, with the exception of the last circuit which is mainly grip, wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder. It's a tough routine, take your BCAAs and your recovery drink.
After I finished, I took a dive in the local art museum fountain to cool off, then feasted with my young assistant down at Famous Fourth Street Deli with a six-egg-and-cheese omelet and a side of lox.
The above is just one example of the types of workouts I create for myself and my clients and specifically meets my needs as a jiujitsu practitioner. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think, I always appreciate hearing from you.
Yours in Strength & Health,