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Sprinting For The Significantly Overweight

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  • Sprinting For The Significantly Overweight



    I am 5' 9" and weigh 255 pounds. I have just finished reading the Primal Blueprint, and have spent quite a bit of time searching around the site for someone who has addressed this issue well. I have yet to find it.


    I feel that I am way too out of shape to think about sprinting right now. I found the Novice Sprint Workouts page referred to in the book, however, to this novice, sprinting (or even running really fast for a person of my size) seems unwise and unrealistic.


    I feel I have a good handle on what I need to do diet-wise, and I am comfortable with the ideas surrounding strength routines and moving around a lot at a slow pace. However, I am not comfortable with the sprinting recommendations I've found.


    I've thought about just doing intervals on a stationary bike and an elliptical until my weight and fitness levels begin to improve. My fear in the recommendations I've found on the site are that I'm going to end up with some sort of serious joint or muscle injury.


    Thoughts? Advice?


    Thanks in advance.


  • #2
    1



    At your weight, you're still fine doing intervals on a bike, rower, elliptical, stair climber, whatever. I have an indoor rower and that's what I do all my high intensity intervals on.


    I will add that I think it's better on a machine that uses both arms and legs (elliptical, rower) than just legs.


    The important thing is the exertion, not the fact that you're running on your feet.

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    • #3
      1



      You can probably still do sprints, just don't overdo it. I'm only an inch taller than you (about 5'10"), but didn't really get into doing sprints til I was about 230 and still only do them 1-2 times a week (even though I haven't done them in over a week now). I think you could still do a little bit, even if it's not so much measured by distance than by time.

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      • #4
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        I'm a dive in with both feet kind of guy, so I have to be careful. Going out and sprinting right now with my weakened connective tissues is probably not the way to go.


        Probably the most useful perspective in Mark's book (beyond the nutrition stuff) is the one about letting go, relaxing, and not going all anal-retentive on my workouts and training. I can squeeze the fun out of all of this real easily if I'm not careful.


        The perfectionist/Type-A in me wants to log-book and chart this all out to a T.

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        • #5
          1



          I highly recommend Ross Enamaits materials and website for exercise routines and advice.


          http://primalworkouts.wordpress.com/

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          • #6
            1



            If you are comfortable doing what you are doing, keep doing it. Especially if it is working for you.


            That said, I weighed 320 lbs (5'11") when I started doing interval sprints and I did (and still do) them over uneven, varied terrain on a rutted dirt path, up and down hills, over straightaways and around bends. At the time I was just getting back into working out after a hiatus of several years. I was well out of shape.


            But as I said in another thread, I'm my own best lab rat. I wanted real joint strength and that's how I went out and got it (or one way).


            I am still 5'11" but I'm down to about 295 lbs and my weekly sprints are still a favorite part of my workout. I thought I'd hate running and I did worry that I might hurt myself. Now I'm having too much fun with it to worry about it.

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            • #7
              1



              Don't confuse high intensity as being a sprint. "Sprinting" means pushing yourself to a high level of intensity for a brief period of time. For you this may mean walking briskly or walking up hill. For others it may be a jog and for some it's a 10 second 100 meter dash. Just PUSH yourself in an activity several times per week.

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              • #8
                1



                I have to chime in on this one...I think you're really wise to be concerned about jumping right into sprints. I was once a phenomenal athlete; ripped, strong, agile, etc. and thought that I could jump right back in even after getting up over 200lbs over the course of six years. I figured that since I knew how to exercise and had been educated in exercise physiology that I knew my limits. Sadly, I ripped my knee to shreds just playing, playing!!! I underestimated the risk of having a weakened core and supportive muscles, particularly hamstrings and quads. I hyperextended my knee and suffered multiple meniscus tears, a torn popliteal tendon, and a torn LCL. It's been 15 months of recovery and it still hurts everyday and holds me back at times. My comeback to fitness was significantly stymied by this injury and I regret not being more cautious.


                You don't need to put sprints off for long, but I feel that you could really benefit from concentrating on first strengthening your core, hamstrings and quads, etc. before moving on to sprints...maybe in just a few weeks. The one thing I appreciate most about the PB is the advice to tap into your common sense. If your intuition says this is a bad idea, it probably is. Grok would never take an unnecessary risk that could result in disabling himself.

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                • #9
                  1



                  I agree with PMAC. Start walking on level ground if you have to, then find a hill and start walking up it. As you progress find a steeper hill and/or walk faster. Then add in a slow jog up it (walk back down).

                  At this point start to run sprints on level ground; run slowly at first and add speed/distance as you go. Listen to your body, slow and steady improvement without getting injured is the way to progress the fastest.


                  bruce b.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    Thanks for all the feedback, guys. This is good stuff.


                    @ Graeme: I own Never Gymless by Ross. I've been contemplating how much I should try to meld Mark's philosophies with Ross's. While there are a lot of places where Mark and Ross would surely agree, Ross's stuff feels a lot more regimented and "gym-y" (and therefore, not so Primal). But let it be said that Ross is the man.

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                    • #11
                      1



                      I second the suggestion to use a rower if you have access to one. I'm in very good shape and a hard 2 minutes on the rower leaves me feeling spent. You need to learn proper form though and make sure you use your legs and use powerful strokes. You can probably find some videos online to help with form. If you don't feel it in your legs, then you aren't rowing correctly.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        These bad knees can't handle running at all anymore. Quick hiking is about it, most of the time with a knee wrap. But cycling (on road & stationary) sprints are low-impact enough to handle.

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                        • #13
                          1



                          I "third" PMAC I have an incline trainer, the things they use on "biggest loser" for a cardio HIIT I set the speed at a moderately fast walk and then play with the incline 20 to 38% 15 minutes later I am a freakin' puddle and winded but I didn't run a bit. Find a hill, a good steep hill and walk it. Up though, not down, up takes stress off your joints, down increases stress on them.

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                          • #14
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                            Thank you SO much! I'm 5'5" and 316 lb (was 333 lb) and have been looking for the issue to be addressed somewhere too!

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                            • #15
                              1



                              I'm 5'11 and was 310 Lbs the last time I checked. I now completely ignore the scale so I have no clue (Started at 325Lbs). It was mentioned above that sprinting isn't necessarily running but giving 100% effort. I do jump rope training twice a week for my "sprints". 30 seconds on 30 seconds off for 10 minutes and working my way up to 20 minutes. Some times I don't make 30 seconds, sometimes I rest up to 1 minute. That's how i know I'm giving 100% effort.


                              It seems counterintuitive, but jumping rope is low impact, a hell of a lot less impact than running. But it works you out harder, works your whole body especially your core, strengthens everything to help your back, etc. It also works your coordination and balance. When you first start you will be more likely to stop from missing a step than from exhaustion, but keep at it for that 10 minutes, you'll see your footwork improve within a week.


                              Remember this is 100% effort. Jumping rope moderately for 10 minutes is like running for 30 minutes. So best believe that you will sweat doing sprints.


                              Another thing you can do is a tabata jump rope routine. The same thing but 100% effort for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and do this for just 4 minutes. Just listen to your body.


                              I said I last weighed in at 310Lbs. Don't think that was a long time ago. That was Friday, July 31st 2009. You can do it. Just listen to what everyone above says. Slow and steady. Listen to your body, start easy and build up the strength. In fact you can start jumping rope at low or moderate intensity for the first week in order to improve your strength AND your foot coordination. Then work up to a heavy sprint.


                              Good luck.

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