How do we keep the benefits after a fitness challenge?

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What happens after the challenge?

 

Lockdown has been great for giving ourselves physical and mental challenges. It has been really good fun monitoring and recording our results. So many WALX Coast and Country Members have achieved some fantastic results.

 

The latest one has been the February Squat Challenge. We started on the 1st February with 10 squats, we then added 10 per day with a goal of 280 squats on the 28th February. It has been a physical and mental battle as well as great fun.

 

I was asked an excellent question the other day…….

 

‘How do we maintain the strength we have got from doing all these squats?’

 

After any challenge it would be a shame to let the benefits drift away but at the same time, we do not want to be doing 10 more squats everyday for the rest of our lives.

 

The truth is with this particular challenge we have now got to the point where if we keep adding to the number the returns will start to diminish. Our bodies adapt to the demands put upon it. At the start there would have been possible strength gains but as we progressed this became more of an endurance challenge (as well as mental). Our endurance muscle fibres will have improved in performance.

 

So, to answer the question……

 

We can now drop the repetition rate right down to a realistic number we can adhere to. Ideally, we need to train our legs x3 per week. This could be squats or lunges, possibly walking up steep hills. The resistance needs to be greater than what we have been doing as the repetition range is going down.

 

An example would be between 15 and 30 repetitions of the squat but hold a heavy weight. Or make them single leg which doubles the resistance.

 

You could do the regular position with the squat but slow the rate right down (super slow). Alternatively make them power squats and add a jump on the upward phase.

 

You could do a variety of the above.

 

Do these exercises a minimum of 3 times per week. You can do more but have at least one day off.

 

As your body gets used to the exercise progress it again; make it a little harder.

 

You can apply this theory to all exercises. It is called ‘overload’. Doing the same exercises for weeks on end will have a plateau affect and the benefits will diminish (rule of diminishing returns).

 

Stay strong!

 

Denise

 

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