Published on December 25, 2008
Photographer: G Monkie (CC)
In addition to athletes, this program is ideal for anyone who’s struggling to maintain muscle tissue. Those of you who’ve transitioned over to a raw or largely raw diet will benefit from performing these exercises. While I devised the program to help myself become a better endurance athlete, it’s what enabled me to maintain muscle mass throughout my shift to a mostly raw diet about four years ago. It works exceptionally well for creating mobility and fluidity of movement.
A few decades ago, endurance athletes were encouraged to avoid “gym training” for fear that they would develop heavy, bulky muscles. The reasoning was that extra mass without function would inhibit endurance performance. Which makes sense. However, the reason “gym training” was adamantly shunned by the endurance culture was primarily because it was lumped together with the body building culture. Of course, the main reason bodybuilders lift weights is to build bulk. They also weight train for symmetry and definition, but the vast majority of their time spent training is working to get bigger.
In the early eighties, some endurance athletes began supplementing their regular endurance training with weight training in the hopes of improving endurance. The results were mixed. While the athletes generally gained some strength, they also gained weight. Therefore, their strength-to-weight-ratio showed only very modest improvements and not enough to justify the energy expenditure in performing the extra workout. In other cases, strength-to weight-ratio dropped. Why? The problem was that these endurance athletes were doing body-building-style workouts that were designed to grow muscle size with little or no improvement in functional strength. Which resulted in a reduction in the endurance athlete’s most valued attribute: strength-to-weight ratio.
When it was realized that various training principals and techniques could be reworked to make bulk-less strength gains, gym workouts for endurance athletes were revisited.