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Ross Edgley looks like he could be carved out of marble. But though he appears to have come out of some ancient Greek storybook, he is up to date with the latest in fitness technology and research.
In fact, after completing the world’s longest sea swim (1,780 miles around Great Britain) as well as various kinds of marathons (from a rope climbing one to one where he ran with a car behind him) as well as authoring a number of books, he still takes time out of his busy schedule to share fitness advice and insights with his followers.
Which brings us to his latest Instagram post. In it, Edgley shares some insights into anaerobic conditioning. Anaerobic conditioning, for those who don’t know, is any activity that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen. Translated into plain English, that means HIIT type exercises. Ones of short length and high intensity, which cause your oxygen demand to surpass your oxygen supply.
Edgley calls this shark speed – a fitting name given the exercise he shows off. Behind a boat, next to a friend on a paddleboard (who races him), he swims remarkably fast for about 5 seconds (before the video stops). He captions the video with an explainer, talking about how this is a throwback video from 2019.
At this point in his training, he says he was in a “periodised macrocycle” – the point where the intensity of training increases, but the volume of training slightly decreases after you have built a solid aerobic base (or “gas tank”) during the base mesocycle (a particular training block within a season).
“Therefore, your heart, lungs, cardiorespiratory and body as a whole is good when training at low intensity for long periods of time (remember Zone 2 training at 60% – 70% of your maximum heart rate),” Edgley wrote.
He continued: “But now during the Build Mesocycle the goal should be to condition the body to work more efficiently at high intensities (adding ‘jet engine afterburners’ where you operate above your anaerobic threshold and train in Zone 4 (80% – 90% of your maximum heart rate)and if possible Zone 5 (90% – 100% of your maximum heart rate).”
“This holistic approach to training the body’s cardiorespiratory system through the year is based on research from the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance who found, ‘high-intensity resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce beneficial gains in performance.’”
Edgley added: “The reason they stated, ‘competitive phase’ is because they understood how each Mesocycle must work in synergy to (jointly) improve your body’s ability to use both the aerobic energy system (at low intensity) and anaerobic energy system (at high intensity) to provide enough energy to continue to operate whatever the pace of the hike, run or cycle.”
“This is why high intensity interval training is mainly introduced in the Build Mesocycle, only after a successful Base Mesocycle has been completed.”
Got it? Good. Megalithic gains (hopefully) await…