Exercises for the extreme endurance athlete

I always start like this, but it is actually very necessary to include into all of my articles, to make readers understand where I am coming from: I am a personal trainer running coach, a bike guide, a trail runner and a bike messenger. I have been self educating and putting into practice my knowledge, of course like everybody, on myself, on my family and friends, but have the chance to observe the effects of quality training and nutrition on my athletes too.

Check out my strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/dorogilevente
Every single year I up the ante, and in the last 5 years I am training over 1000 hours every single year. I have some injuries sometimes, but never overuse problems. Unfortunately mountaineering can be dangerous. Broken rib from a bad fall, running downhill. Twisting my left ankle at least 15times this year. Banging my knee and smashing my feet when mountain-biking… 

The last couple of weeks wasn’t that hectic, but still got in 134h of training in 28 days. It is measured by Strava, so it is only moving time, not counting for instance pauses on bike rides or non-moving recovery sets in-between track intervals.

Keeping healthy is important. Being mobile, strong, resistant, functional is also extremely important. There is not one single exercise routine, what can cut for me personally. Why ? First of all I am cycling a lot. Due to the nature of cycling, my recovery is through the rough, but also the catabolic means of that much of endurance activity is just enormous.  Detraining, of one single aspect of fitness is blazing fast. As an example, if I went through a high impact plyometric set and got sore as F, if I didn’t do at least one in the following 10 days, I will get the same soreness again and again. The same true to pull-ups, pushups anything. Hear me ? I mean I go over kettlebell routines, hard running tech drills, nordic ski walking exercise sessions, mobility, flexibility and other functional strength training programs, but if for 10days I disregard one single aspect of fitness, let it be head stand or 16kg KB swings, it goes down despite of  the constant training.

So for me personally, the goal is to go through on particular exercise routine every single day, what mobilizes my body through all joints, on all planes, with all kind of speeds, bodyweight or/and loaded. A zumba, beach body workout can be great to get your hips moving, improve your coordination and reaction to rhythm and to have fun. A straight up mobility session is also fantastic, including foam rolling, Pavel type of warrior stretching, indian clubs, animal movements. Explosive weight lifting, ballistic movements, plyometrics, body building mid rep range, joint and tendon strengthening high rep range.
Don’t let the zumba word write you off. I intentionally included it ! Humans have a reaction to sounds and music. There are people who suppressed this dopamine and endocannabinoid system stimulation facet of life and they are missing out on the whole. Getting into the correct rhythm of a rap music, dance music, waltz, tektonik, maybe learning some breakdance moves, is a great part of life. Did you know that Anthony Hannibal Hopkins is a composer ?

The thing is, that it is not always possible to do everything. There is time, there is place and space, there is the aspect of work too. I have to ride 8h + days as a bike messenger. Even if I did my whole day of cycling on the electric bike, that is still an enormous workout, as I have to play a lot with battery life. On the flats, I pedal 30 to 35km/h with a 23kg bike and zero assistance, wearing often a charged pack of 5 to 10kg. On the steep up-hills I rarely use the 2nd level Tour mode, to keep the battery going. The range for my bike is like 80 to 100km, what no sportsman really reaches, cause they are all the time using the electric assistance. I get out 140 – 160km from my bike ! My legs are shattered at least a couple of times a week.

How do I train ?

I do my best to have a general workout what keeps me up and stimulated every 3rd or 4th day. It includes jumps, lifts, mobility, yoga, pilates, dance, everything. 20 to 30 minutes. I prefer it outside as you can not only use your body but external tools too. Like skipping a stone for 15 ricochet. Choosing your stone is also a skill, but repeating a perfect throw, with left and right hand is mind strengthening. You can get a leaf, throw it from the top and as it wiggles down, try catching it on the bottom, before hits the ground. Be creative, your surrounding is a playground !

Then every 5 to 10days I do a natural high rep set of 75 reps or often more. Natural ? Moves that are not like bench press, ab crunches, curls or squats. For instance 3 x 150 very deep forward and backward lunges, while progressing around a running track. Doing a straight legged Jefferson curl down, hand-walking forward to a pushup and following up with feet walking up to the hands and Jefferson curl back up.
I find a stable platform with the max height that I can still naturally step up to, with no hand help. I do slow and balanced step up, raise the non-working knee on the top, then while balancing, lowering down to the starting position.
I might do some elementary school drills mixed as we tend to forget how strong they are and how fatiguing they are. Dwarf walks for 30 steps, 15 bunny hops, 15 frog hops, 15 kangaroo hops, 30 dwarf walk steps backward. Thoughtful Turkish get ups with low weight. High rep low weight shoulder mobility and strength. Being down in an ass to grass squat, heels down or for beginners, heels slightly up. Pick up a medicine ball with one hand, then find a way to press it overhead, while still being down in the squat. Honestly, it is hard.
These workouts are not conclusive. I do not prepare to them as a workout. I warm up, go for my run, walk or ride, arrive home, do the reps.

Do you see the trend ? There is nothing what cuts it ! You must do all, all the time. Shock the system time to time. Maintenance is not stagnation ! You don’t have to be stronger, faster, better all the time. You have to just be strong, fast and good all the time ! Then when you have to step out towards one particular aspect of fitness, the time it will take will be radically shorter ! I am runner, but if had to get back to volleyball, martial arts, olympic-lifting, roller skating, parkour… I am ready to learn ! I don’t have to prepare to be learning ! I don’t need pre-schooling ! This is my goal !
You heard about the cyclist who has a back ache before every single triathlon season ? The boxer, who complains about his neck after each 1month of recovery pause ?

Workout snacks are also my daily habits. Clean the house, lift or do something every 5 to 10 minutes. I leave the kettlebell in the middle of the room while strolling around the house. Every time I pass I do something. That might one single very concentrated perfect rep or 10 swings for instance. I keep it simple though in this case. I am not going through snatches or ground to top, clean and jerks. Deadlifts, squats, swings, Turkish get ups, goblets, shoulder circles or figure 8s.

I am self-developing and also learning a lot. All the time:



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