Training Through Hurricane Sandy–Minimum Effective Dose

Many of us on the East Coast are preparing to submerge for a week of rain and lost power with Hurricane Sandy, and possible an early end to the fall rowing season based on experience with Hurricane Irene last year.

How do you fit in training given the flurry of preparations and the fact that you’ll be trapped in the house for days on end?

I advocate a minimum effective dose strategy when facing time constraints or the inability to get to a box, boathouse, or gym.  It’s better to get in a few short, intense workouts than wait for an opportunity to do a longer one that may not come, or to sit around moping, stressing, and getting fat.  In many ways it’s the same strategy that I follow when traveling.

Here are some of my favorites:

1.  Tabata row on the C2:  8 reps of (20 seconds on / 10 seconds off).  Do about 1500m warmup, including 3 power 10s.  4 blazing minutes of work, trying for >100 meters per interval, then a few minutes of cooldown.  This can be done in 15 minutes end-to-end, gives you about 120 strokes of absolute max power, and hurts like Hades.  It builds specific power, it gets you close to max heart rate, and I find that my heart rate remains elevated for a very long time after the work is done.  I like to feel not-quite-fully-warmed up when starting, and to start with an already-elevated heart rate.  This helps me take an aggressive attitude to the workout and increases the adaptive stress on my body.

2.  Focused squats or deadlifts, up to 95% or 1RM.  The goal here is to push the limit with high weight / low reps, but at a weight in which you still have 100% confidence and control.  I use a short version of this workout “in season” just to maintain max strength, and it’s a very time-efficient workout.  The goal is NEVER to set a new 1RM, but rather to approach close enough to 1RM to maintain your current max strength level without pushing the envelope and risking injury.

  • 2 sets of 10 reps at 50% – stretch and do some air squats in between as your hips loosen up.
  • 2 sets of 3-5 reps at 70% – stretch in between as you start to load up.  At this point you should feel warm and flexible.
  • 1 set of 2 reps at 80%.
  • Then repeat sets of 1-2 reps, adding 10 lbs. per set, until you reach 95%, then stop.  If at any time you feel too tired to maintain a 100% controlled motion, stop early.
  • I sometimes follow this up with several sets of aggressive air squats or plyometrics, to end the workout grooving in power vs. pure strenth.

3.  Any of a selection of many bodyweight WODs built up over the years.  Most of these can be done in your basement or garage in the dark, even with no equipment available, and still provide a challenge.

PRRA Hurricane Prep

Passaic River Rowing Association prepares for Hurricane Sandy – docks out, boats tied down.

Stay safe and good luck!

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