The Goal: Functional Strength With Less Wear and Tear
This is a great goal for everyone, but it’s especially important as we age and recovery times lengthen. The older I get the hard it becomes to maintain my ability to perform certain martial/wrestling strength movements without staying sore and crippled half the time. So I’m experimenting with what I’m calling “MBF” which stands for “Martial Base Fitness.”
Which Got Me Thinking
I watched a few of Pavel’s Strongfirst videos (this is not an endorsement and I haven’t read his books) and they reminded me that I have had success in the past with something very similar to his “greasing the groove” philosophy. I always called it “greasing the gears.” So I came up with this new program.
The idea (as I intro’d in Training Involution #124) is that frequent low-rep, low-intensity sets will get you stronger and keep you healthier than infrequent, high-intensity sets. Or as my son once told me, “Just because you’re not doing white-out calisthenics doesn’t mean you aren’t training.”
- 3×5 sets 2 days/week at 95% load = 3 x 5 x 2 x .95 = 28.5 reps
- 3×5 sets 5 days/week at 76% load = 3 x 5 x 5 x .75 = 57 reps
- Double the reps means you get functionally stronger with less risk
Four or five days a week I’m rolling 4 dice to arrive at a list of 4 exercises (see photo right). Then I set a timer for 8 minutes and do low-intensity sets of no more than 6 reps each until the timer beeps.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s on the dice:
|Dice 1 – Upper Body||Dice 2 – Lower Body||Dice 3 – Core||Dice 4 – Whole Body|
|Handstand Push-ups||Jump Squats||Crunch’n’punches||Bear Walks²|
|Sit-out Push-ups||Duckunders||Forward Bridge¹||Get-ups|
|Hop/Clap Push-ups||Mountain Climbers||Pikes w/ Triangles||Sit-outs|
Today I did 4 sets of Ankle Picks, Forward Bridge¹, Sit-outs, and Push-ups (only 3 sets of Push-ups because the timer beeped).
I will post results in a couple of months
If you are doing anything similar and/or if you have relevant past experience, please comment below.
¹ When I do Bridges, I do them one of two ways: either with weight or with rocking — gently! — forward and back 6 times, left and right 6 times. I never rock with added weight when doing MBFD because they would violate the low-intensity focus of this routine.
² When I do Bear Walks, I do 6 laps of the CF Temple space, approximately 18 feet per lap, about 100′ total.