Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A test

Krav Maga tonight had a fitness test: pushups to failure then squats to failure. I made 44 pushups and 105 squats. Thought I did OK - my form was good and I could have done more squats.

To me a pushup is chest to floor (or close to it / elbows at 90 degrees) and full extension of the arms at the top. Squats are as below.

14 comments:

Bris said...

Maximum rep squats should never be performed under any circumstance. It can cause rhabdomyolsis which is a catastrophic breakdown of muscle tissue. Rhabdomyolysis is potentially fatal.

Greg H said...

@Bris

only in untrained athletes, the risk of rhabdo is much reduced once a person has had exposure these kind of workouts (crossfit in particular)

it also seems like some people are more predisposed to it than others, which would be noticed early on.


If you do a workout and notice your pee is a brown colour, then this is a warning sign that you should get yourself checked out.

And unless you're doing more than a few hundred squats I doubt it would cause any ill effects. 105 Squats is nothing

Bris said...

Not true. All athletes are vulnerable to rhabdomyolysis from repeated high intensity exercise. Squats are particularly dangerous because they involve so much musculature.

Doing exercise of this type is pointless because it doesn't confer any benefits and simply causes extensive and painful muscle damage.

Exercise science theory and experiments show that the most effective way to increase strength is low repetitions, high weights and infrequent training (once every 7-14 days).

Twenty minutes a week resistance training done properly often works far better than two hours a day.

99% of gym myths are just that - total myths. The right genetics make people muscular not "secret" training methods.

I'm an exercise scientist btw.

Greg H said...

I guess people shouldn't row either, as it's not high weight and infrequent training?

I think you actually need to go out, research and try some high rep workouts.

doing 105 squats is no more dangerous than sprinting 400m (probably less so).


I've been doing high intensity workouts for over a year with no ill effects. A typical workout might include doing anything from 5 reps to 300 reps of a given exercise. The most I've experienced is some DOMS pain, which is no worse than I might get doing a typical body building routine that you suggest.

I'd also say that max reps of unweighted squats are a lot safer than doing low reps at near maximal loads.

Max reps are determined by the individual, as such are self scaling, an untrained athlete might only be able to manage 30 or 40. This is different to prescribing them a fixed number, e.g. telling them to do 300 squats or GHD sit-ups.

It has been shown that by slowly acclimatising an athlete to high intensity exercise, the danger can be dramatically reduced. This can also confer benefits to real life situations, for example being crushed in a car accident, which is one of the major causes of rhabdomyolosis.

Any exercise can be dangerous, but the risks far outweigh the benefits, and by being fit an active this also has further protective abilities.

Rannoch Donald said...

Man oh man. Pleeeeaaase. Some times you just have to call it. This is a fitness test for guys doing Krav Maga, an Isreali method of self defense. It is so much more mental than physical. Come on, show me the research that says max body weight squats are killers.

Once in a while, walk up to the edge and take a look over.

And tell me, at what point did anyone suggest any of this is secret? Squats? Push up? The stuff of legend?

You are an exercise scientist?

I am not...btw.

Bris said...

"I guess people shouldn't row either, as it's not high weight and infrequent training?"

Rowers get their strength by heavy resistance (eg 1RM squat) training not by rowing. They row to perfect their technique and and increase their cardirespiratory fitness.

Doing 105 squats is nothing like sprinting 100m.

Bris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg H said...

so what you are saying is that if i perform 1RM squats, then I can do high rep unweighted squats?

do you want to try giving some convincing arguments bris, or are you just trolling/spreading misinformation?

Chris said...

Bris

I am really not sure what your problem is but I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick on a few issues. What sort of exercise scientist are you?

This was a test not a regular way of training, just a test to see what we could do.

The squats were unweighted - air squats - as in the video. They have not taken me months to recover from. My legs feel worked today....but nothing special.

Rhabdomyolysis is potentially fatal? Yes it is....but are you seriously telling me that doing 105 squats will kill me? It was a test, a bit of fun.

You've removed a comment which showed your ignorance of what Krav Maga is, ignorance that could have been remedied quickly by a google search.

You said Rowers get their strength by heavy resistance (eg 1RM squat) training not by rowing. Evidence please. Yes in theory maybe but even high intenisty people would not necessarily advocate 1RM squats as a staple of training

Don't get me wrong, I like and believe the High Intensity approach of e.g. McGuff and Little - I've interviewed them both on this blog. You are right that twenty minutes a week - or less - resistance training done properly often works far better than two hours a day. Yes genetics is really important too. However, Little and McGuff also do other things. Little does martial arts. McGuff does BMX racing. There is more to life than your resistance training. This was a test as part of something fun.

Clamence said...

Bris is really off base in claiming "maximum rep squats should never be performed under any circumstance".

Search around on google scholar for "squats rhabdomyolysis". Almost all the relevant literature has another compounding factor besides maximal squats, the presence of an external authority requiring the individual to exceed their work capacity.

Prisoner forced to do excessive squat thrusts after loosing dominos game, 12 year old boy force to do squats by teacher for 'bad behavior', collegiate football player trained by strength coach.

The lesson here is not that maximal bodyweight squats for reps are dangerous, rather that ignoring the warning signs your body gives you to cease exercise can be dangerous, causing among other things rhabdomyolysis.

Further more, the following is misleading "Exercise science theory and experiments show that the most effective way to increase strength is low repetitions, high weights and infrequent training (once every 7-14 days)."

First, 40-60% of the 1 rep max accelerated as much as possible through the range of motion is very effective at increasing maximal strength, particularly power production. Louie simmons utilizes this protocol on his dynamic day in the west side system. Furthermore the Bulgarian olympic lifters of the 90's trained with high weights and low reps every day, and were very dominant in internation competition.

"Rowers get their strength by heavy resistance (eg 1RM squat) training not by rowing. They row to perfect their technique and and increase their cardirespiratory fitness." Whatever, this is just ignorance. 1RM squat strength does not correlate with rowing strength.

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Who would have thought this delightful video and simple test could spark such controversy! When I did crew, we did leg presses, squat leaps, clean and jerks and stadium sprints for strength. Worked our asses off but never saw rhabdo. People should always be careful not to push too hard, but this seems silly. Bris said he was a food scientist on Stephan's blog, so I am not so convinced of meaninful commentary from that source.

Cynthia

mc said...

Chris, way to go on your push ups and squats. were your legs fried at the end?

if not, i personally prefer hindu squats. have you tried those as an alternative finisher?

in the vid,

the only thing that freaks me out is the form that folks have to use just to break parallel.

makes me believe in the functional movement screen all over again.

likewise the head position - easy fix; rarely done


for a few notes on what i mean about effects of head position and the effect that may have on muscular performance :)

This is my only beef with cross fit - the sludge or whatever they call it - about sloppy reps. it's in the manifesto that slop or sludge is ok. they say in nature that's the way it goes. I say piffle. the most elegant athletes have beautiful form. Is Federer sloppy? or what about this ?

mc

Greg H said...

going slightly OT..

Crossfit does try to re-enforce good form, and virtuosity before intensity.

They do say however that in order to reach maximum levels of intensity, some breakdown in form is inevitable. The trick is to try and find the line between intensity and form.

The analogy they use is with the wall ball, if you are missing the target constantly and the ball is all over the place, then you need to slow down and improve form. If you are hitting each one precisely, then you could probably go a bit faster. If you are hitting most of them, and having a few stray to either side, and are going as fast as possible then you have the right balance.

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the only thing that freaks me out is the form that folks have to use just to break parallel.