WSBB Blog: Summer Outdoor Conditioning
Summertime is now upon us, and with the increased temperatures and sunny weather it is a great opportunity for lifters and athletes to get outside and get some conditioning work in. For most of the year, especially for those of us who live in four season climates, we are stuck indoors or extremely limited to the amount of exercise we can accomplish outdoors. Now, we all know about sled pulls, sled pushes, sprints, yoke walks, all of the typical powerlifting and strongman conditioning exercises, but in this blog we will go over a few outdoor activities that are not only effective exercises, but a good time as well. Here are a few ways you can have some fun while getting in some good training this summer.
Hiking is one of the best ways for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. Especially for larger athletes, a hike is a great way to build cardiovascular capacity. No matter where you live, there is more than likely a good trail to hike that you can get to within an hour. One major benefit that makes hiking a better option than the typical walk is the changes in terrain. You will have to use your legs and trunk to ascend, descend, and maneuver along the changing terrain. For this reason, hiking is a much better alternative to walking for the active athlete.
Outside of the training benefits, hiking is a great way to get some fresh air and clear your mind. If you want to increase the training effectiveness, you can wear a weighted backpack, hike a more difficult trail, or take your dog to increase your pace.
If you want to get in the best cardiovascular condition of your life without being drenched in sweat, then swimming is your go to activity. There is no doubt about it, swimming laps will absolutely tax your body from head to toe. Not only will swimming benefit your cardiovascular capacity, swimming has a positive effect on recovery and muscle growth. Think of swimming as a great exercise that has low impact on the joints and high impact in regards to strength and cardiovascular endurance.
Swimming also has a restorative effect on the body, allowing for a low impact exercise that stimulates blood flow throughout the body aiding in overall recovery. For this reason, swimming is a great activity to throw in on rest days. Get a few laps in to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up, then spend some time hanging out in the pool. It’s the best of both worlds, training and relaxation.
Now more popular than ever, kayaking is a great way to spend a day in the outdoors while getting a solid workout in. Kayaking requires two major things, strength to row the kayak, and trunk stability to control and balance the kayak. This makes kayaking extremely effective when conditioning the arms, shoulders, upper back, and trunk. Depending on the difficulty associated with the body of water you are kayaking on, this activity can be an easy day on the water or an extremely taxing workout. For the athlete, we recommend going for the more taxing approach, as long as you have the swimming ability to navigate moving water safely. Kayaking allows for a great workout while getting to travel through nature in a way that is more entertaining than the basic hike down a trail.
This summer, get the most out of your training by getting some training in while you’re having fun. Training doesn’t have to be done at a gym, it doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t need to limit your conditioning work to sleds and yokes. Find activities that you enjoy doing outdoors, and create ways to make those activities double as effective training tools.