By Mike Mahler
Intense cardio (the kind that leaves you huffing and puffing) is not only beneficial for the heart but for the brain as well. It also facilitates fat-loss–and can be fun. Try starting your day off with 20-minutes of sprinting and you’ll give yourself not only a natural anti-depressant boost, but a natural HgH and brain health boost. Afterwards, you’ll feel great and ready to attack the day. Make sure to ease into sprinting as over reaching is easy if you bite off more than you can chew. If you’re not used to running, start off with five 50-yard dashes, three times per week. Run fast for 50-yards; walk back to the starting point; then repeat. Over the course of several weeks, add another round every week or two, gradually working up to ten rounds. Make sure you do some joint mobility work before and after each session. I recommend doing your sprints on grass or a measured track, but avoid pavement. Get yourself some good running shoes, such as Nike Free.
Structural integrity training is also important, providing a type of strength not acquired with standard weight training. With structural integrity training, you’ll be under resistance for at least ten minutes. An example of structural integrity training is a ten-minute set of kettlebell snatches. Set a timer for ten minutes, then get as many reps as possible in that time frame. The kicker is you cannot put the bell down for the entire ten minutes. As fatigue builds, take your rest in the lockout position–but don’t set the kettlebell down. Switch arms every ten reps or do as many reps as possible in five minutes with the non-dominant arm, then switch to the other arm for the final five minutes. If you’ve never done a ten-minute set before, you’re in for a humbling experience! Starting with a light bell, your goal is to survive the ten-minute set. Don’t worry about reps, focus on efficiency and pacing. You may prefer to start with a five-minute set and build up from there. Make sure you check this clip to see some demonstrations of perfect technique for timed sets: Incredible kettlebell training
Another way to add in structural integrity training is weighted vest walking. If you like walking, this is a great option. I don an 90 lb. weight vest and walk my dogs for 20-40 minutes. Since I walk my dogs everyday, this is an easy way for me to get in a structural integrity workout.
What are the benefits of structural integrity training? In addition to creating mental toughness, structural integrity precipitates strength-endurance. For example, top strength coach Andrew Durniat competes in Strongman competitions. Though he’s typically not the strongest guy competing, he performs very well against much stronger competitors. Since Andrew is skilled in kettlebell competition training and can handle ten-minute sets with 70lb kettlebells, his resultant work capacity means his strength endures after other competitors give out. While his competition may beat him coming out of the gate, they gas long before the end of the competition while Andrew is still going strong.
Whatever your goals, structural integrity is useful. For example, if you want to get bigger and stronger, you must engage in high-volume training with short breaks. If you lack structural integrity, you’ll break down before your money sets are executed. Develop structural integrity and you’ll get better at everything you do–whether it’s long-distance running, high-volume weight training or intense sports.
If you want to add some weight vest walks to your routine, start with twenty percent of your bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs. start with 36-40 lbs. and work up to a forty-minute walk. Do the structural integrity walks three times per week. Once you get used to forty-minute walks with twenty percent of your bodyweight, add some resistance. I use and recommend The Mir Weight Vest: http://www.mirweightedvest.com