Add in some intervals

In the gym, load or resistance is altered by adjusting the weights we use for different exercises.

Since we aren’t using weights on our runs, walks or bike rides, we don’t have the variable of weight to manipulate.

Fortunately, we can use things such as hills to increase the load, particularly the use of a section of a hill to do repeat intervals.

Since I spoke about incorporating hill intervals a month or so ago, I won’t cover that again.

Instead, I want to highlight a perfect example of where this interval training should be implemented.

There was an article about how to get better at paddling for surfing that debated the two typical training methods - weights and ‘just surfing’ - and the author was at a loss to see why neither seemed to work.

Lifting weights can make you stronger or more muscular, but that won’t necessarily time in the gym carries over into improved paddling.

Exercise selection, sets and reps must all be specific to the activity - there’s more to it than just doing dumbbell rows and chin ups.

Likewise, ‘just surfing’ is super-specific to paddling, but the ratio of paddling:surfing:sitting around is often insufficient to produce the desired training effect.

Plus, when a surfer is out in the water they want to surf.

A third option needs to be included, to complement the other two - paddling training.

A surfer should spend time in the water working on their paddling, doing intervals of varying the sets, reps and rest, to produce the training effect they are seeking (ie. paddle strength and endurance).

A 400m runner doesn’t get better at their event by just trying to run 400m faster, instead, they focus on different elements - weights to get stronger, intervals to better tolerate fatigue, etc.

The surfer should do the same - put in some hard intervals with short rest periods in between to force the body to adapt.

Anyone who has trained in the gym with me will know about the concept of accumulating fatigue.

If you are doing 4 sets of hill walks with 90 seconds rest, the fourth set is going to be harder than the second set because of the accumulation of fatigue across the session.

Tom Fitzgerald