Give Your Legs A Deserved Break While Still Making Strides Towards Your Peak Fitness
As a dedicated endurance runner looking to beat you previous best half marathon time, hours of dedicated training pounding the tarmac can seem like the only way to nudge up towards that new personal best. However these hours of training and kilometers in the legs cause training stress on the body and as you up training loads and could lead to injury. What if there was a way to still make improvements while giving your legs a day off? Or if you sustain an injury, still maintaining or improving aerobic performance during a period of rest? Let me introduce you to the transfer effect of training.
Training the cardiovascular system through exercise with the arms can be an effective way of stimulating physiological changes beneficial to aerobic performance with the legs. A study by Turner et al, 2018 investigated the effect of upper body high intensity interval training using a battle rope on lower body aerobic performance. A group of professional cricket players performed three sessions per week for four weeks of the high intensity interval rope training. The sessions performed were 2-3 sets of intervals that consisted of 15 seconds of all out work followed by 15 seconds of rest for 8-12 repetitions, with 2-3 minutes rest taken between sets. During this four-week period the players performed no running or additional cardiovascular training.
The results of the study identified a significant improvement in aerobic performance, as assessed by a YoYo intermittent recovery test, when compared to the group of players who performed no rope training. In addition the players produced the same blood lactate on a sub maximal running test as prior to the training, whereas the group who performed no rope training actually produced significantly more blood lactate when performing the sub maximal running test. The result of the study highlights the effectiveness of the upper body high intensity interval training at –
1) Improving aerobic performance in an intermittent maximal aerobic running test when compared to no training during the same period of time.
2) Helping to maintain lactate response to submaximal running during a period of no aerobic running training.
So if you want to boost your fitness and running performance without adding any more miles to the legs, or if you have picked up an injury that’s keeping you from training for a week or two, try adding upper body high intensity interval training to your weekly schedule. If you fancy giving it a go try this short sharp high intensity workout using a battle rope –
15 seconds of all out work, 15 seconds of rest x 8-12 repetitions. Rest for 2 minutes. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Thomas D Turner. Effect of upper body high intensity interval training on exercise performance in professional cricket players. OAJ Exercise and Sports Medicine. 2018, 2(1): 010
Author Bio –
Tom Turner is a fully qualified, Personal Trainer and Fitness coach serving clients in the Cardiff area. Tom studied at Cardiff Metropolitan University graduating with a BSc in Sport & Physical Education before progressing on to graduate with an MSc in Strength & Conditioning. As well as his academic qualifications he is also accredited member of the UK Association of Strength & Conditioning (UKSCA) and has also published research in health and fitness in sports science journals.