MOVE: Repetitions for Time and a note on Special Circumstances

In previous MOVE workouts, I’ve introduced the concepts of Tabata Intervals and AMRAP, both of which are essential to the framework of Free to Move training.  Today, I want to briefly touch upon one of the most basic concepts for workout structure:  Repetitions for Time.

It’s as simple as it sounds:  you are given a set amount of sets, reps, and weights, and you complete the work as quickly as you can.  This is how almost all workouts you are already familiar with are structured – whether it’s “Bench Press 80% of Max 3-3-3-3-3 (5 sets of 3 reps)”, or running a 5k, you have a pre-determined amount of work to do, and your goal is to get it done, no matter how long it takes.

However, as always, programming is rarely so simple, especially when dealing with a broad population base with different needs, fitness backgrounds, and health concerns.  (#onesizedoesnotfitall) FreeFit is a program designed to be modifiable to fit your individual needs and goals.  With that in mind, here are a couple of considerations that I’d like to go over.

  1. 20 minutes or less – You might have heard me talk about this before, but in general I believe that no workout should take longer than 20 minutes of work time (work time = excluding warm-up and cool-down.)  This is in order to minimize your time spent working out, while maximizing your results as well as your free-time.  If a workout takes you longer than 30 minutes, you should stop, re-assess, and probably scale the workout next time. You can scale a workout by changing the number of reps/sets/weight, or the type of movement.  For example: if a workout calls for 100 push-ups, you could just do 50, or you could do 100 push-ups from your knees, etc.
  2. Focus on Form – Whenever a stopwatch is involved, people tend to lose their heads a little bit.  Thinking about their time usually means they are not concentrating on maintaining proper form.  Their backs cave-in during squats, they don’t go to full extension during pull-ups, etc.  By doing this, not only are you cheating yourself out of the full work [force x distance] (#physicsrules) that a given movement provides, you are drilling bad form over and over again, setting up motor pathways that will be hard to re-train later.  Trust me, it’s WAY better to start off slow and do it right than to push it too hard, too fast, only to injure yourself later on.
  3. Special Circumstances – For some people, even the most basic of movements and workouts are intimidating.  You may have a lot of health concerns, or never have worked out in your life, or any number of other things.  Don’t let that stop you, because you CAN improve your health and fitness, but please DO seek out the advice of a medical professional before starting on any kind of workout program. If you decide to start, and I hope you do, my advice would be to go slow.  Think tortoise-like.  In this case, the 20 min or less rule might not apply as well, because it’s likely that you are unable to sustain 20 minutes of continuous movement.  And that’s perfectly okay. Take as many breaks as needed, and start only with scaled movements that you are comfortable with.  This might mean that a single workout could take closer to an hour – with maybe 10-15 minutes of work and 45 minutes of rest.  It’s a start, and an important step.  If you are in this position, although it will cost you extra time, the future benefits will be EVEN GREATER when you do start to regain health, mobility, and fitness.  Keep assessing what is works for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and listen to what your body is telling you. Remember, any progress is good progress.

With that, let’s get to today’s workout!

MOVE:  The Bodyweight 4

For time:  75 pull-ups, 75 push-ups, 75 sit-ups, 75 squats (air)

Break it up however you want, just try to get as many GOOD reps in as you can.  If you feel your form really start to suffer, stop.

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Post time and thoughts to comments.

Good luck, and stay healthy everybody.