Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Some experience with Hillfit

I launched Hillfit on the world about 5 months ago now in the middle of January.  It is a short ebook aimed at hikers/hillwalkers with the idea that getting a little stronger, through simple safe exercise will bring a host of benefits:  walks will be easier, safer and more fun.

I've had some good feedback from the readers of the book and it has been interesting to see the recent discussions around alternatives to the squat for safely strengthening the lower body.

Dave Riley has been posting his thoughts on his training, inspired by Hillfit:

How much weight do you lift when performing HillFit?

I reckon the weight issue is subjective in context as you have a few variables you can play around with: (1) the angle of your movements (2) the pace you do the movements and (3) then you can consider what weight to add if any. For the pelvic lift I lay a dumbbell on each thigh and rest my upper back on a bench — a fantastic experience esp if done really really slowly.

The same knapsack (mine currently weighs in with a 13 kgm sandbag) is used for both squat and pull up. The push up plank offers so many tweaks I dont need the extra weight. But even with all that the slower I go the harder all the exercises get.

How slow is 'slow'?

Since I used to do and teach Tai Chi you get a handle on ‘slow’ and while I started off counting I now rely on the slow controlled breaths. With the dumbbells it is easy to cross over with the same principles in mind.

I recommend as a guide the very practical Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness. Many options offered in its pages. It also discusses weight increments.

Nonetheless, since I have been lifting kettlebells for years the HillFit perspective undermines the practice of KB swinging but I now do no-swing routines ever so slowly like clean and jerks, bow ties, etc. You can do things with the bells you can’t do so well with dumbbells — and weight is formatted by other variables because KB cause you to adapt your body while the bells are lifted through space. A great example of a slow KB lift -- at least for the very adventurous -- is the Turkish Getup.

The Toolbox

So that’s a set of dumbbells, 3 single kettlebells at different weights (but two would do), a strong towel (which I reinforced with rope) an old knapsack…and a bag of sand.

An exercise bench is also real handy.

Music and Time

And the best thing is that I know HillFit will take me under 5 minutes to complete, and my weights routine – divided into 8 sections, each of approx 90 seconds followed by 10 sec rests — will take 16 minutes. And when I’m doing it all I have to do is listen to the music — my current fav is Javanese Gamelan — sequenced into 90 sec plus 10 secs x 8. ( I edited a song to my needs using a audio edit program like Audacity).

Mp3 players are essentials I reckon. A great discovery. As essential as a dumbbell.

I mention these details because I have done so many routines over the years, had a personal trainer for two years and followed many mixes in the past — but I love this blend. At two day intervals with alternating routines it doesn’t get boring. And the set time sequences stop me from trying to be macho enough to injure myself or foster ill health upon my good person...

I’d like to box more but I am tardy. I do other stuff mainly because I like this other stuff…but the low tech supplement I think I get the most from — and which I treat as part of serious exercise — is stair running.

Show  me a stair case and I’m up it like a rat up a drainpipe.

1 comment:

Ondřej said...

I love the book Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness.
Combined with Body by Science principles (TUL for example) and Drew Baye books and advices on proper form's unbeatable as a home gym training. adjustable bench + pair of adjustable don't need more to train safely, progressively and briefly.