most adventure racers fear the gym, and I don’t blame them. Races don’t occur inside, they’re out in the gorgeous outdoors, so training for races should occur outdoors as well, right? Not to mention the often intimidating or off-putting atmosphere found in many gyms these day (gym rats, gym Bros, senior citizen speed walking clubs, etc.) Most of us think training for a race means you have to pound the pavement for long miles because that’s the only way to do it. My friend, I’m glad to tell you you’re wrong. Example One for how to use the gym to prepare for a race: The Quadzilla
Rob Shaul of Mountain Athlete is credited for designing this killer exercise complex. I can personally attest to its effectiveness to build serious muscle, elevate your heart rate, and suck the oxygen out of your lungs. To put it bluntly, this exercise will mess you up. Now, before any of you click away from the site and never return, please hear me out. We don’t have to spend hours and hours a day, grinding away on our bikes or kayaks, in order to gain a positive training effect. You can get a tremendous amount of work done in a short amount of time with the same benefit as a 2-hour training ride. Additionally, adding in some weight training is a fantastic way to build durability, a critical and often over-looked aspect of fitness. Strength gives your body armor plating, allowing you to absorb the inevitable bumps and falls that happen in adventure racing and related sports.
The Quadzilla complex is weight lunges, weighted jumping lunges, unweighted jumping lunges, and jumping squats. Do the same number of lunges (alternating legs each lunge), but twice as many jumping squats. Men should use 25 lbs dumbells for the weight, women 15 lbs dumbells. Trust me, that’s plenty heavy enough…
Do 5 rounds. The first week should do 3 repetitions for each exercise, then increase 1 repetition every week. So it looks like this:
Week 1: 5 rounds of 3 reps (3 lunges each leg), 6 reps on the jumping squat
Week 2: 5 rounds of 4 reps (8 reps of jumping squats)
Week 3: 5 rounds of 5 reps (10 reps of jumping squats)
Week 4: 5 rounds of 6 reps (12 reps of jumping squats)
I recommend doing the complex once a week, as far away from other quad-centric exercises to ensure proper recovery. Warning: This exercise stimulates some impressive growth. Don’t be surprised if you bike shorts get a bit tighter around the thighs. Your significant other will thank me.