Despite healthy amounts of daily physical work I was a wiry kid, unlike my brother Yaro who would crank out 1000 push ups a day on the weekends (10 sets of 100) and/or 200 pull-ups, 20 at a pop. When I was 11, my dad had a solution. He took the handle of an old splitting mall, drilled holes in each end and suspended by ropes from the ceiling. That was our pull-up bar. To get stronger he suggested I do 2-3 sets of 12 each night before I went to bed and chase it down with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a tall glass of whole milk.
I never did achieve levels of freakish strength like my brother, but I realized that compared to the endurance athletes I did have some innate strength and balance. A mantra I have used many times before big races is “my strength is my strength.” Having that foundation of strength has been an asset throughout my multi-sport career, but also something that needs to be nurtured and addressed from time to time. The past few years especially I have noticed a paradox near the end of a long season. Just as endurance performance is peaking, absolute strength is often at a seasonal low. This becomes pretty obvious my first few times back in the weight room. I’m not sure if I am just becoming more aware of it now, or if the prospect of my 40th birthday approaching has me hypersensitive. Regardless, after a long season of racing for 10 straight months, I must confess, I feel weak. Coaches can debate the importance of strength training throughout the competitive season, but most agree that a solid 16 weeks of strength training during the off-season is important. The extent of strength maintenance beyond that may depend on several factors such as age, body type, mechanics, and athletic background. In 2018 I will hit the big 4-0 and along with my pledge to begin manscaping, I also plan to continue strength training throughout the 2018 season. Your strength is your strength. Look for more tips in the coming months on exercise selection and periodization of a strength training program. Josiah Middaugh is the 2016 XTERRA Pan America Champion and the 2015 XTERRA World Champion. He has a masters degree in kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years (NSCA-CSCS). His brother Yaro also has a masters degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for more than a decade. Read past training articles at http://www.xterraplanet.com/training/middaugh-coaching-corner and learn more about their coaching programs at http://middaughcoaching.com.
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