Tag Archives: power to the people

The Beauty of Barefoot

Remember growing up barefoot.  The brilliance of running, jumping and playing sans shoes.  Hardly a care in the world was envisioned as a barefooted child. There was always something grounding to it.  You felt more alive.  Truth is there is something to that.  There is good evidence that going barefoot allows you to be grounded to the Earth which then allows free electron transmission from the Earth to your body.  These electrons act as a very powerful antioxidant which could reduce inflammation in the body.  As we know, inflammation is the base cause of many chronic disease.  There is actually a documentary called Grounded that you can watch for a short time on YouTube covering a lot of this information. On the flipside a well respected Doctor that I work with recently stated that skin is not a very good conductor and he thinks that it is highly unlikely.  Of course as a Paramedic it is clear that the skin is capable of conducting electricity as shown through the example of defibrillation of a patient.  Beyond this I tend to side with nature and the simple fact that our long lost ancestors did not wear shoes and we are not born with shoes.

Beyond these aspects it has been shown that running barefoot or with barefoot/minimalist shoes is a great way to prevent injury.  Injuries are prevented by the natural changes in your running style that allow your body to use your lower extremities as the shock absorbers that they are.  With the current running shoe fad the heel of the foot strikers first while running.  This is caused by the shock absorber in the shoe eliminating the pain that you would otherwise have with this type of rhythmic event.  However, running this way causes the body to have a shock from the heel to the hip joint.  After years of this people begin to notice pain the the knees and hip joint from the constant rhythmic pounding.  On the other hand, when you run barefoot your toes touch the ground first and your heel touches down much lighter.  This creates a spring like motion that reduces the impact of the running.  Therefore your joints remain safer.  You also run with a smoother quicker motion that is more under your body instead of in front of your body when you run barefoot.  This quick video demonstrates many of these points.

Beyond all of this there is also information that is available that shows that barefoot or minimalist lifting is good for the body as well.  Two of these reasons are given in “Power to the People” by Pavel Tsatsouline.  Loads of other fitness resources and equipment such as kettlebells can be found at dragondoor.com.  Dragon Door is a fantastic resource.

1. Padded shoes can displace the center of gravity of the lifter leading to unnatural body mechanics.

2. There are reflexes that the body has based upon pressure the body senses.

Because of these issues I have chosen to lift barefoot outside these days.  I also perform all of my kettlebell exercises barefoot as well.  If it is too cold I will wear wear Chuck Taylors which many regard as the best all around shoes for weight training due to their minimalist design and thin soles.  Say nay to the naysayers and refuse those that would force your feet into a struggled tight existence.  Free your feet as nature intended and enjoy the world as we were meant to.  It just makes sense if you were to think about it.

As with every change you want to start out lighter and with less intensity for your body to be able to compensate for the changes.  These techniques should allow the body to compensate for any aspects of poor mechanics.  Your body will become stronger in the areas that you are weak which will then allow you to perform heavier more intense exercise without injury due to that misbalance.  Always remember to lift intelligently and within your limits.  It is important to remain healthy while you are becoming stronger.  That should certainly not scare you off of attempting heavier weights though.  Form is the key to remaining healthy. Challenge yourself within the limits of proper form.  

On a side note I just ran across StrongFirst: The School of Strength and I have become quite intrigued.  It looks as though Pavel Tsatsouline is the Chairman of StrongFirst.  I must look into it more.

Enjoy training one and all.  Lets get stronger.

Updated workout and reasonings

I have determined that I should change my workout slightly over the summer. I am going to mix my favorite parts of Enter the Kettlebell and Power to the People together. My intentions are to create a routine that will allow continued advancement in strength, small gains in size (I do not want to be a russian bear) and approach my workouts with a same but different approach. To do this I will start by dropping my weight on the dead lift down a bit in order to continue practicing my form.

I will use a three day a week routine where I will perform the following:

1. getups for 5 minutes (great core strength builder)

2. kettlebell clean and military press (sets of 5)

3. Dead lift (sets of 5)

4. cardio 5 days a week
I will determine the length of the cardio by using 6 sided dice. Two dice rolled for swings ad snatches and three dice rolled or sprints and the steady state run. (swings/snatches/sprints/steady state upwards of 3 mile run max)

I will perform these using a heavy, light, medium style routine that would resemble the Enter the Kettlebell Russian Kettlebell Challenge routine that I have performed previously with great success. I will modify it however because of time constraints. I will not perform the ladders that are described in Enter the Kettlebell.

On all days I will perform 5 minutes of getups and variable cardio.

On the heavy days (Monday) I will perform as many sets of 5 reps of clean and military press starting with my heavy kettlebell and working down as needed. I will lift as heavy as possible but will not start a set with a kettlebell that I will not be able to finish that set with. I currently own an 62, 53 and 44 pound kettlebells. My girlfriend has a 22 pound kettlebell and a 15 pound kettlebell that I am able to supplement my kettlebells with as well. If you are performing military press with free weights then you are able to use the power to the people style of progressive loading with more precision than you are able to with kettlebells.

I will also perform 5 sets of 5 reps of dead lift. This will start with the typical Power to the People sets. 1 starting set, 1 set that is 10% less than the first. Then as many sets that are possible with good form at 10% less than the second set. Therefore if we are using 100 pounds as the initial set then it will look like this. 100, 90, 80, 80, 80…and so on.

Light days (Wednesday) will be similar but with less sets. It will be clean and military press for two sets only this time. I will also complete dead lift for two sets of 5. Similar to the heavy days first two sets, with additional weight added due to the cycling of the weights.

The medium day (Friday) will also be similar to the first day. Here I will use less sets than the heavy day, but more sets than the light day. I will perform three sets of kettlebell clean and military press. Starting heavy and working down as needed. I will also perform three sets of the dead lift in similar fashion as to the heavy day.

workout example:

All days – 5 min. getups to start. variable cardio (mix of swings, snatches, sprints and steady state upwards of 3 mile) to finish

Heavy Day:

Kettlebell clean and press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set to ?: 44 pounds (5 reps)

complete as many sets with 30-90 sec rest between sets while completing all five reps with good form

Dead lift:

1st set: 100 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 90 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set to ?: 80 pounds (5 reps)

complete as many sets with 30-90 sec rest between sets while completing all five reps with good form

Light Day:

Kettlebell Clean and Press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

Dead lift:

1st set: 102.5 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 92.5 pounds (5 reps)

Medium Day:

Kettlebell Clean and Press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

Dead Lift:

1st set: 105 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 95 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set: 85 pounds (5 reps)

The next week you would continue to add weight to the dead lift as above. Once you reach a point where you are unable to perform 5 reps at the heaviest weight then you would drop the weight down and work your way back up to a new max. The presses are a little different in that kettlebells make large jumps in weight. As stated above you may use typical free weights to more precisely approximate the Power to the People style of progressive resistance.

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/cycling-your-workout-the-key-to-continued-improvement/

My goal is to be able to dead lift 400 pounds and to be able to strictly military press the kettlebell closest to half of my body weight by the end of 2013. I feel as though both of these goals are very attainable.

The reasoning behind the design of this workout is that I wish to gain strength while gaining a small amount of size only. I have proven that you can gain strength without gaining size by performing two heavy sets of 5. The flip side is gaining size. This is done by placing the body under a heavy load as much as possible. Typical workouts to gain size are a simple but heavy 5 sets of 5 reps. This workout will allow me to both cycle my workouts by weight, as well as cycle them by workout density. I will go from working very heavy with many sets to working only a couple of sets.

Power to the People style workout charts

This is simply a look into my workouts. These are the charts for the last 14 weeks. I have been performing the bent press and the dead lift for two sets of 5. I have also been performing the getup for 1 set of 5 and I have been doing sprints/snatches and swings for cardio. Hopefully this glimpse into my fitness world is helpful for you. I have done this while going to school full time and working full time. I have had weeks where I have simply not done certain exercises. The Get Up Seems to be the most likely to dismissed. Between school and work I have had about a 70 plus hour work week and I have somehow managed to maintain a healthy social life with my beautiful girlfriend. Towards the end of the semester I was particularly tired and mostly focussed on building strength.

Over the last few months I have successfully increased my dead lift from a 200 pound starting weight with a shaky 245 max a few weeks later to a max of 315 x 2. I have done this through cycling my workouts as discussed in other portions of my blog. I am now taking a week off to rest and to go to New Orleans. I used the Power to the People method from Pavel Tsatsouline. Over the last few months I have not gained a single pound with this strength. I still weigh approximately 163-165 on any given day. Therefore I have proven that you can gain strength without gaining size. I have also determined that I am going to change the bent press to a different pressing movement. I am going to use the kettlebell clean and military press. I was never able to get fully comfortable with the bent press. I’m certainly no Arthur Saxon.

SaxonBentPress

Here I am attaching my workouts in a pdf friendly file. I use an iPhone app named Full Fitness to track my workouts.

Note: the weights listed are per side. I use a 45 pound Olympic bar. Therefore if it states 100 pounds that is actually 100 per side plus 45 pounds equaling 245. It’s easier for me to track weights this way.

FullFitness_10-May-13.pdf

Real Strength for Real People

Bent press, dead lifts, getups, kettlebell swings/snatches and sprints. That is my workout. Two sets of 5. High intensity cardio. 45 minutes 3 days a week will create real strength for real people while staying lean. Bent press and deadlift for strength and power. Getups, swings and snatches are great for building tension and muscular endurance. With these exercises you will develop lean, wiry and solid muscular development without excessive muscle mass. Lets break it down.

Why do I only perform 2 sets of 5 reps of the bent press and dead lift?

I do this in order to build strength without causing an excessive amount of muscle growth. By performing only two sets of 5, at a heavy weight, you will train for strength. When you lift heavy you create more strength in your muscle fibers in order to assist with the lifting of heavy things. This is important for your daily activities. While you do this you will learn how to build tension in your muscles and how to contract your muscles more effectively. You will also learn irradiation. Irradiation is the phenomenon of the body acting synergistically. If you contract all of your muscles including those that are not directly involved in the lifting action of the the object you will actually increase your overall strength. Therefore if you are performing a side press on the right side and you squeeze all of your muscles including your hand on your left side you will actually lift that item easier.

If you perform more sets at a lighter weight you will experience muscle growth, however you will not have the same strength to go along with it. High sets increase the fluid in the cells of the muscle instead of actually increasing the amount of strength that you have. Therefore if your goal is to build strength and tone without an excessive amount of size then lifting heavy is the answer for you. It is a great formula for both men and women who want a strong toned body. You will not get bulky with this program. Lifting heavy is great for fat loss as well.

If you would like to build size then you should lift as heavy as possible and a lot. The more time under pressure the more benefit you will reap. Pavel Tsatsouline (Power to the People) suggests starting at 80% of your 5 rep max and keep doing sets of 5 with short breaks (30-90 sec) in between. Keep doing these until you have exhausted yourself and you are unable to continue on with good form. Each individual will be different, it might take anywhere from 5-20 sets. Just keep going until you are unable to complete the 5 reps in good form. This also requires eating a lot as well. In a stressful environment for a long period of time the body will shed much of the excess muscle. Therefore I choose to train for strength instead of bulk. It is also healthier to maintain the body at a strong lean weight instead of a bulky mass. You can actually lift heavy with two sets of 5 for a few months and then lift for bulk for a few months as well in order to help cycle the workouts further. However it is up to you to choose.

Another key to successfully training for a lifetime is the use of cycling. Cycling your workout is when you start with a weight that you could easily perform 10 times and you work your way up consistently with that weight performing sets of 5. The first set of 5 is at that weight, the second set would be a weight that is approx. 10 percent less than your first set. You increase the weight of your workout regularly until you are unable to perform 2 sets of 5. With my dead lift I add 2.5 pounds to each side of the bar every workout, with my bent press I add 2.5 pounds to each side every week. When you find your max you will often times you will only do 4 for the first set then maybe on your next workout you can only do two. This is ok. Remember to never lift to failure, if you don’t feel as though you an complete the rep then don’t try it, and then on your next workout choose a weight that is lighter and easier to perform and work your way back up again. Start out low and end high. Every-time you cycle through your weight will get heavier and heavier. As an example we will take the dead lift. My first workout was at 200 pounds, I added 2.5 pounds per side every workout until I got up to 245 pounds. This was my max at that time. After that I dropped the weight down to 215. I cycled through this workout until I hit 270, which was my new max. I then dropped the weight down 245 as my starting point. I am currently in this cycle as of now. As you can see, my new low weight is my old max weight so there has been a steady increase in my overall strength. Even when you are lifting the lighter weights it is imperative that you always lift it as though it was the heaviest one that you could. This allows you to practice your form and also to increase the tension in your muscles.

I perform the getup for 5 reps/side one time. This usually takes several minutes to do and allows me the opportunity to place myself under the weight for a good amount of time.

Why do I perform mostly high intensity cardio as the basis of my cardiovascular workout?

High intensity cardio is the most efficient form of cardiovascular training you can perform. In terms of fat loss it works substantially better than steady state moderate intensity cardio such as jogging. Not only do you lose more fat in a quicker amount of time you also maintain a higher metabolism longer due to the intense workout. When you perform distance style steady state running your body actually stores fat in order to utilize it as energy throughout the run or other endurance event. When you perform high intensity cardio your body is working beyond the aerobic capacity of the body and therefore expends the energy that it has including the fat of your body. One simple way to note this is by looking at olympic athletes. The long distance runners are always skinny but with minimal muscular development and the sprinters are always thin with very good muscular development. This is because long distance running is counterproductive to muscular development. So, the question is, would you rather look like a marathon runner or a sprinter?

How did I choose the exercises?

The exercises that I have chosen are essentially a combination of Pavel Tsoutline Power to the People as well as his kettlebell training philosophy from Enter the Kettlebell. I chose them in order to function as a big push and a big pull. The bent press uses the entire body to push a weight up to the sky. Not only does this work every muscle in the body, primarily the pushing ones, it also trains the body to work together. The same can be said for the dead lift which allows the entire anterior chain to be used primarily in a big pull. Furthermore, the heavier the weight you are using the more tension you will generally produce in your muscles, the dead lift allows for very heavy weights, therefore it also assists in developing strength through training the body to tense your muscles. The getup is a big push as well and the swing is a great cardio exercise that works the posterior chain very well.

I also chose these exercises for their usefulness in every day life. Everyone must lift things to place them on shelves (bent press) and everyone must pick things up off of the ground (dead lift). The getup trains getting up off of the ground or out of bed (a daily function) and the swing and snatch assists with incredible cardio and great hip flexion. These exercises are designed to give you the most bang for your buck for sure. Does that mean that these are the only exercises that you need to perform? No, not necessarily. You are welcome to perform the side press, or maybe work towards a one arm push up or one arm pull-up. Maybe you want to do one leg squats (pistols) or the bench press. They are all great exercises, just ensure you are using tension.

I don’t believe in isolating muscles. The world doesn’t isolate muscles so why would I train that way. Isolating muscles is only good if your goal is to build a body builders beach body. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to build purposeful strength and it is my opinion that someone who is purposefully strong looks good.

Kettlebell Swings/Snatches and Sprinting

I chose swings and snatches because it is a fantastic cardio workout while working your entire body. I am not interested in training for long distance endurance sports. The heart already beats all day everyday. I am interested in training the heart to be able to function superbly under extreme duress that is unexpected. The swings and snatches do this quite well. They are not the only thing though and If you do not have a kettlebell then you are welcome to perform a set of sprints. Go out and run as hard as you can (look into barefoot running techniques) for 20 seconds and then take the rest of the minute or so off. Do this ten times and you just had yourself a great cardio workout. You’ll be surprised how effective it is.

I am generally opposed to running because it is simply not an effective fat burner compared to other cardio activities as most people perform it as an exercise. There is a great discrepancy between what people believe to be running. When I think of running I think of my time in the Marine Corps where you ran 3 miles as fast as you could and you moved on with your day. There was no lolly gagging along at a slow pace. I was taught how to run by a Marine Corps scout-sniper who believed several things. One was that group runs only trained the slowest person, therefore he made it his goal to drop everyone off of the run and then go back and pick them back up. This kept the Marines motivated and ensured that everyone got a good cardio workout. As we waited for the other to catch up we were performing exercises, usually a fantastically funny sounding a looking exercise called Monkey Fuckers. It’s brutal on the thighs and your lungs as you try not to laugh at what you were doing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22PMO2SvLZk We really did have a damn good time. He also believed that singing cadence was a waste of time. Essentially he believed that if you were able to sing cadence then you were not running fast enough. This is a much different pace of running that what most people do. Most people tend to go out and jog at a slow pace and this is completely ineffective no matter what your local personal trainer tells you is the “fat burning zone.”

I do however believe that there is a primal instinct in us as far as running goes, and I believe that we should exercise that instinct through sprinting. Therefore it is my intention to structure my cardio training as follows. Monday will be a sprint day. I will sprint for 12 minutes total, 6-8 sprints or so of approximately 20-30 seconds. I will then rest and jog back to the start point. This will allow me to actively rest for a minute or so. I will increase the time of the sprints as needed or decrease the rest time. On wednesday I am performing 6 minutes of snatches. All out as hard as I can. Snatches are a beautiful training monster that will send your heart rate flying through the roof. Then on Friday I will perform 9 minutes of swings. They will be done at a high intensity but will generally be a easier than the snatches. This will allow three different forms of cardio throughout the week, as well as some variety in the training. The variety will be both in the type of activity as well as the intensity of it. I will increase the training time and intensity on a regular basis. If you are unable to perform swings/snatches or sprints that is ok. The key is to choose an activity that increases your heart rate and gets you working hard. This may be as simple as walking fast, walking up stairs or jumping rope.

So that has become my answer for for real people that want real strength in a condensed amount of time. Work hard, work effectively, work quickly and move on with your day. If you lift heavy, cycle your workout and perform high intensity cardio you will improve your overall health dramatically and improve your life. In just 45 minutes or less 3 times a week you can quickly transform yourself. Your body will respond to the work that is placed upon it. You will also be able to improve your strength and health without feeling sore or fatigued. There is no need to walk around all day with dead legs because you just squatted 40 times with a moderately heavy weight. There is no use in working out to improve your strength just to become so tired that you can’t do anything else that week. I’m interested in being strong and having a life. Not being strong and sleeping all week.

This method of training allows you to steadily improve your fitness while being able to achieve specific goals. It is important to note that there are many training methods that are effective to a certain point. There are group fitness adventures that will wear you out completely. Nearly all training will provide a base level of fitness at first. However, the question becomes are you able to continue on for a lifetime of improvement? This is where many group fitness plans fail. They fail because their training goal is to make their client tired. This is not an effective training goal. Becoming tired is simply a function of repetition. The question should not be how tired am I, but rather: Have I improved my strength? Have I improved my cardiovascular fitness? The next question is how do you determine this?

With this program you can track your strength easily, you will watch yourself progress through heavier and heavier weights. You can also track your cardiovascular fitness by the amount and intensity of swings/sprints or snatches. You may also purchase a heart rate monitor to track it further as well as taking your resting heart rate. I hope that this information finds you well.

I will have more to come in another post, but until then enjoy your training and enjoy getting fitter.

Two great resources that you should own are “Power to the People” by Pavel Tsatsouline and “The Purposeful Primitive” by Marty Gallagher. They can both be found on Dragondoor.com

Cycling your workout: the key to continued improvement

This is the key that I have continued to miss throughout my time in the gym. It was always understood by me that if you wanted to get bigger and stronger then you had to lift heavy and you had to keep increasing the weight. I was never really told that I would plateau. Therefore when it happened it was an unexpected occurrence, and if it did happen then the answer was always to eat more, maybe rest a bit and keep on going. Therefore after about two months I would plateau and I would keep trying to go heavier without any success and this would then lead to over training and becoming generally worn down and ill. I have had times where I have gained 20 pounds in two months only to get sick and to lose it all. The reality of the situation is that if I had known then what I know now then I would have cycled my workout and been able to continue on with great improvement.

What is cycling your workout?

Cycling your workout is when you start your workout progression with a weight that you could perform easily and you continue to increase that weight until it gets to a point where you are no longer able to perform it any longer. At this point instead of becoming frustrated you simply drop that weight down to a lighter weight (but heavier than your previous starting weight) and work your way back up. This time you will find your new max to be heavier than your previous max. Through this cycling you are able to increase your weight over and over again without overtraining.

As an example we will take my current dead lift workout. When I began this workout I started with a weight of 200 pounds. I have added 2.5 pounds to each side every workout. I perform this 3 times a week, however you could do it upwards of 5 times a week. I continued to improve until I reached a weight of 245 pounds. At this time I had reached my max weight and was only able to perform 4 reps. I then dropped my weight down to 215 and continued to increase my weight in the same manner. This cycle brought me up to a max of 270. A very good increase. I was only able to perform 2 or 3 reps at this weight so I started over. I dropped the weight back down to 245 (my first max) and I have been increasing that weight steadily. I am currently in this cycle and have every reason to believe that I will sail right past my previous max. I’m currently at 280 and have every expectation that I will continue to increase.

I am doing this with my bent press as well except that I am adding 2.5 pounds to each side once a week instead of every workout. You can also do this with your cardio, in fact it is suggested. WIth the cardio you can cycle the time of the workout and the intensity of your workout by tracking your heart rate.

Two great books for more information on this are Power to the People by Pavel Tsatsouline and The Purposeful Primitive by Marty Gallagher. Power to the People is a great book to get you started and will get you very far and the Purposeful Primitive is a fantastic in depth book with loads of information that will suffice for years of training progressions and success.

I hope that this information helps you out and that you are able to continue to progress in your fitness. I know that it has helped me out tremendously with my current fitness goals.

Introductory Guide to Great Health and Longevity Part 3 (Training Philosophy)

Training Phiosophy

My goal now is to be fitter next year than I am now, and to do that without injury, feeling worn down or getting bored. It should be yours as well. I want to increase my strength and conditioning in a patterned, structured way. I want to train effectively and intelligently and I want to enjoy it. Also, I want to be able to enjoy my time between workouts without pain or complete exhaustion.

In order to do this I have switched almost completely over to kettlebell training. I follow the advice of a trainer named Pavel Tsoutline. His method is that of low rep ladders for slow strength and high rep ballistic movements for cardio and endurance training. This allows you to do as much work as possible while being as fresh as possible. The intention with kettlebells is to build strength and endurance without building an unreasonable amount of size. They will allow you to become stronger while maintaining functionality.

If you would like to use barbells he has a plan for you as well. Two sets of 5. As heavy as you can go while leaving one or two in the hole (i.e.…never going to failure). You must also use some form of cycling. Cycling is when you start out at at weight you can perform fairly easily and increase that weight. You continue to increase this weight until you are unable to perform 2 sets of 5 with a given weight. At this point, instead of getting stuck on a plateau, you drop the weight down to a lighter weight (but heavier than the original starting point). Then you work your way up once again, this time surpassing your previous plateau and continue training. This will allow you to build strength without injuring yourself or overtraining.

I am more interested in training for lifetime fitness and functional strength instead of looks. Here is a great part of an interview with Pavel Tsoutline.

How do you train soldiers differently than civilians? For example, how would the training of a soldier compare to the training of an athlete?

Pavel: Let us use strength as an example. An athlete can afford to be strong due to large muscles but a soldier or a Marine cannot. In wartime and even during exercises muscle rapidly melts away, thanks to malnutrition, sleep deprivation, and stress. A military man must gain strength by retraining his nervous system to contract his, even shrunken, muscles harder.

The above style of neural strength training is ideally done when the trainee is totally fresh. But a soldier must exert himself when he is exhausted. Therefore at least some of the strength practice must be conducted in a state of fatigue, sometimes extreme fatigue. In the Spetsnaz it is an SOP to initiate a new guy by putting him through all sorts of hell and then have him fight a few fresh and experienced guys hand to hand. Applied to neural strength training, you could hump ninety pounds of gear on uneven terrain or go for an ocean swim, and then do your pullups and kettlebell snatches.

To sum with an analogy, an athlete is like a racecar that performs like a clock on a perfect track, with top grade fuel and oil, etc. Pull it out of its ideal environment and you have got a problem. A soldier is a Hummer that will perform under most adverse conditions.

The above is from Girevik Magazine. http://www.powerathletesmag.com/archives/Girevik/First/interview.html

I would much prefer to be the Hummer with a social life than a racecar without one. In fact I just recently ran all over Enchanted Rock (Texas) with a light pack on with my girlfriend and dog at the tail end of a bout of illness without much difficulty. I am very pleased with the efficiency of my workouts. Ill continue to train with kettlebells and will probably add in free weights when I get a chance down the line.