ME Workouts

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  • #9170

    Hi – Thanks for the hugely useful book and resource. I have a question about training ME. I am using the template in TFNA having designed my own program around that. My main objective is Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainier in June and I am in the Base – ME phase currently. I was curious as to your opinion on to what extent namely lower body ME workouts other than weighted carries have utility – e.g. IWTs, circuits (such as “Those Burpees Sucks”), frog hop / calf raise intervals etc. Generally speaking – are these must haves, nice to haves, or unnecessary particularly for a route such as Liberty Ridge? Thanks for your feedback. – JP

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    Peter W on #9175


    My take is that most of the classic Gym Jones or crossfit style power endurance/metcon workouts tend to be too short in duration to elicit the right training response. TFTNA M.E. work seems to be most cleanly characterized as: sport specific movement with a high (perhaps higher than the actual event) muscular load that lasts long enough to have an aerobic impact. Both the sport specificity and duration are often off in these workouts when RX’d.

    But I think that they can be tweaked into being very useful training means with some thought (my guess is that this is most true when the objective is more intermittent/higher intensity than Liberty ridge though). Earlier this year when an elbow injury was keeping me from climbing, my M.E. sessions were a mix of long IWT’s and intervals using bodyweight exercises. For the intervals I tended to use lunges or heavy stepups (KB swings also seem like a good idea). I found 6×30:30 w/ 2-4 min rest to be good intensity level for 1hr progressing to 90-120 min sessions over 2 months. My first few sessions of these alerted me to some calf and hip muscles I hadnt felt in a long time.

    Best of luck!

    Anonymous on #9203


    Thanks for the nice words and also thanks to Peter for chiming in too. You are both right about ME. There are more forms of ME than you can shake a stick at. And most of them work across a wide range of event goals. That’s what has made gym circuits and HIIT protocol ME like Cross Fit and the Gym Jones and other copy cat models so popular. They’re effective at improving local muscular endurance (work capacity) in some of the major locomotive prime mover muscle groups. We really should be calling what we do ‘L’ME but I chose ME many years ago because people got confused wen I added the “Local” in front. Anyway…..So, even though you are not going to be Burpeeing your way up Liberty Ridge the transfer of the training effect to climbing steeply uphill from doing burpees till you puke is significant and you will feel it.

    Historical Digression
    As we mentioned in our book ME training has been a mainstay of conventional endurance sport training methodology for nearly a hundred years. Yuri Verkhoshansky wrote extensively about employing it for track runners back in the 1980s. When I was young swimmer in the late 60s and 70s my coaches employed it. What is different in these current fitness fad models is that they build the entire program on ME. They see its effectiveness and draw the natural (although wrong) conclusion: This shit works so well lets just use it 24/7! After all why bother with that low intensity aerobic base stuff when you can’t really tell that it does much or even anything, whereas they see immediate and powerful gains from employing LME. All the traditional sports have tried this myopic approach many times over the decades and each time rejected it and come back to a more periodized and limited use of LME. Why? because it provides the best results long term.

    Sorry for the digression but I hope you can appreciate the history lesson. As with any history: If you do not heed its lessons you are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    While Peter is right that sport specific LME is going to give good results for you, the semi-specific movements of Lunges, box steps, split jump squats, even burpees (confusedly these fad LME programs use burpees because they want a “cardio” effect – don’t ask or I’ll go on another tangent). John, you can effectively mix in some circuit style, gym based LME workouts without upsetting, and in all likelihood helping your progression. Especially if you have limited access to the kind of terrain needed for the TftNA weighted carry ME workouts. We use gym LME circuits for lots of our coaching clients who are stuck with gyms rather than mountains.

    Use the same guidelines with the circuits as with the outdoor ME. Don’t over do them and keep the aerobic Z1-2 volume high during the ME phase.

    I hope this helps

    wagner.john.p on #9241

    Thanks both! Scott – appreciate the thoughtful response and background! Based on your response look forward to incorporating some but probably not much LME other than weighted carries – those will still be my dominant method. Good to know that some properly structured circuits etc. can have their place to a degree though and may add on occasion to slightly change the stimulus and break-up monotony.

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