By Hilary McRoberts
The 2005 FireFit season is fast approaching
By Hilary McRoberts
The 2005 FireFit season is fast approaching, and before you know it you’ll be standing there at the start looking up at the tower, wishing you had trained harder in the off season. But don’t worry, there’s still a lot of valuable training to get in before the season begins!
First of all, if you want a training tower, call Glen Goyer at LangFab in Surrey, B.C. at 877-526-4322. Plan ahead as it’ll take a year or so before you’re actually working out on it. In the meantime, there are many ways to simulate the course workout that can be done any time, anywhere.
Circuit training and course simulations are only limited by your imagination once you understand the basic concepts. If you’re lucky, the course will only last two to three minutes, so create workouts that mimic that time and the movements involved.
PHOTO COURTESY FIREFIT CANADA
The start of the relay competition at the 2004 Canadian Nationals Sherbrooke, Que. Competitors train hard just for this moment.
Here’s one of my favourites that I use for circuit training as well as a pre-competition warm-up, and can be done in the smallest of areas.
1. Step-ups for 30 seconds – hold your choice of dumbbell weights in each hand (e.g. 20 lbs.). Or for those who want to invest in a great piece of equipment, a weighted vest is the ultimate piece of training equipment.
2. Dumbbell rows – simulate your style of bent-over rope pull for 30 seconds.
3. Squats (30 seconds) – drop squats, lunges etc.
4. Pull-ups, hanging knee-ups, push-ups – pick one for 30 seconds.
5. Run a figure 8 with dumbbells in your hands as if running around hydrants, then drop as if to pick up the nozzle and run in place with a weight on your shoulder.
6. Finally, my favourite: walk backward up a flight or two of stairs. Make sure the path is clear and be careful, but if you can cleanly walkbackward up stairs, going fast on a flat surface will seem easy.
For variety, change the exercises. For example, a substitute for step-ups could be ‘running high knees’ or hopping and jumping. Make sure you have worked up to these exercises. If your muscles and ligaments aren’t ready, this could be an injury waiting to happen.
If you prefer running workouts, the combinations are endless. Here are three examples: 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. 5-10 reps., 15 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. 5-10 reps., and my all-time favourite, 30 seconds running high knees, 30 seconds sprinting, 30 seconds back pedal.
If you can find hills or stairs to incorporate into the workouts all the better but the main point is to train the system you are about to abuse. Don’t add the hills or stairs the very first time, as you will need to work up to this. Use them to make the workout more challenging as you get fitter.
Training is all about scheduling and timing. If you are planning to attend an event in June, then work backward to create a training schedule that will prepare you for this event. This is called “periodization.” You cannot maintain top competition levels all year long without setting yourself up for over-training injuries. Set a yearly plan defining what key events you want to peak for, i.e. a regional event in June and the Nationals in September.
Intensity and volume levels are arranged to act in opposing balance. In the winter months use high-volume, low-intensity workouts to strengthen the body to be able to handle the stresses placed on it later on. As you work towards your first peak (regional event) the workouts should be of higher intensity with lower volume so you can show your best in front of the hometown crowd. Working towards the Nationals would mean going back to improving strength and technique in higher volume workouts, knowing that you will once again be tapering off the volume as Edmonton approaches. Surviving and enjoying the FireFit competitions is about being healthy enough to work your body as hard as your mind wants to work.