It’s about time

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer

True confessions: I honestly have never set foot in a Men’s Locker Room — I promise!  However, what I have been told is that after a hard workout, guys like to swap stories while getting out of gym clothes and donning professional attire for the day ahead. No, not “weekend conquest” stories, but tales from the gym floor.  Usually the topic revolves around how much someone bench-pressed, or curled, or deadlifted, or squatted.

Perhaps I ought not single out the one gender, since plenty of women engage in such banter as well.  However, for many athletic and competitive men, nothing screams “Look how fit and strong I am!” quite as loudly as hitting (and then bragging about) a new Personal Best in terms of the weight lifted. If you are among the many individuals who have been lifting regularly for some time now, and have hit many Personal Best records, it may be time to shake up your fitness routine.  Yes, my friends, it’s about time

Strength will always come in handy, regardless of the endeavors we choose to pursue in life.  However, while agility and flexibility also come into play, one of the most efficient ways to boost one’s level of conditioning is through the practice of timed drills.  Rather than training in the traditional weightlifting mode, 3 sets of 8 repetitions per exercise and 3 exercises per body part, drills are based on simpler exercises that utilize only one’s body weight.  Here, the Personal Best is in regard to the number of repetitions completed in a fixed amount of time, without compromising on proper form.

Most drills are based upon the 30-second interval.  Here is an example of a conditioning workout utilizing timed drills:

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  • Complete as many push-ups as you can in 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds
  • Complete as many sit-up or crunches as you can in 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds
  • Complete as many squats as you can in 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds
  • Complete as many dumbbell bicep curls as you can in 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds
  • Complete as many overhead triceps extensions as you can in 30 seconds; rest 30 seconds

You may be thinking, “It doesn’t sound so bad! After all, it only adds up to 5 minutes!” Fair enough, I can see your point…for Round One. The real challenge begins to build as you attempt to complete three or four rounds of the sequence outlined above, without compromising form or taking a longer rest.  You will know when your body is incapable of pushing any harder or longer.  Keep track of the number of completed Rounds each week, and as your strength and conditioning increase, so will the time intervals. While the rest interval remains the same, the “working” time is lengthened to 45 seconds, gradually increasing by 15 seconds each time you feel you have reached a plateau. 

After a while, it is advisable to change the exercises being performed, so that you can effectively tap into other muscles.  Soon you may observe that the bragging rights in the locker room are now being measured in terms of conditioning and increases in “work intervals”, and not just strength.  Don’t you agree?  It’s about time!