Love To Skate. Love To Train.

I Love Skating

When the weather, here in the UK allows, I do a lot of skating. My leg muscles get worked hard when I do a 1 or 2 hour skate. I got wondering if my upper body was under-worked. Ya know, frog legs syndrome. Thick muscular thighs, skinny frail torso. I decided I should balance things out with some weight training, to ensure I keep strength in my upper body.

I watched Doug McGuff's YouTube video (21 Convention), explaining the biochemistry of High Intensity Training. McGuff as an M.D. and strength training coach, understands the complex workings of the human body. What he said in the video, made sense. McGuff's H.I.T. was a simple routine of 5 exercises and took less than 30 minutes in the gym.

I didn't want to spend hours training in the gym, or get heavily into weight training. I just needed to supplement my skating. Simplicity and the small amount of gym time required, were an appealing part of H.I.T.

I started working out based on McGuff's 'Big 5' High Intensity Training routine. I stuck with it for a few months, but found I would skip two or three weeks without doing any H.I.T. I wasn't lazy or lacked discipline. I followed McGuff's advice and worked H.I.T. to complete failure, including deep in-roading. After each workout, my legs were wrecked. Turned to jelly and difficult walking home from the gym. Complete recovery took about a week. Legs too weak to skate next day, even 3 to 4 days later.

I enjoy skating too much, and skipped weight training to ensure I had enough strength in my legs for skating. One observation about the weight training... I liked it. I liked how it felt, post-work out. When I didn't weight train, I missed it.

Problem. I can't do both H.I.T. and skate. After a rethink and looking at suitable alternative weight training routines, I read about StrongLifts 5x5. Its another simple training routine, that didn't require hours in the gym. Five simple exercises, performed 3 times a week, monday, wednesday, friday. The workouts take around 30 minutes in total. I was sold.

StrongLifts 5x5 differed from McGuff's H.I.T. routine, in you don't work your muscles to failure. I experienced little pain and almost no DOMS after the first couple of weeks. The 5x5 routine increments weight by 5 lbs on the next workout. McGuff's H.I.T. uses machines, StrongLifts 5x5 uses barbell free weights.

I've been following StrongLifts 5x5 for a month and enjoy it. Its simple, fast, easy to follow. No complex split routines or isolation exercises, just compounds. I'll stick with it for a while and see how things go.