After finishing six weeks ofChris Highcock’s Hillfit earlier this year, I designed another fitness program using dumbbells and high intensity interval running on a treadmill.
I’ve preached about the benefits of baseline and periodic fitness measurements. Here are mine, before and after roughly six weeks of my fitness experiment #3:
- weight: no change (170 lb or 77.3 kg)
- maximum consecutive push-ups: 34 before, 32 after
- maximum consecutive pull-ups: no change (8)
- maximum consecutive sit-ups: 37 before, 35 after
- time for one-mile walk/run: 8 minutes and 35 seconds before, up to 8 minutes and 54 seconds after (*)
- vertical jump (highest point above ground I can jump and touch): 279.5 cm before, to 276 cm after
- toe touch (wearing shoes, stand and lock knees, bend over at waist to touch toes: no change (22 cm)
I worked out twice weekly for a total of 70 minutes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercise at least twice a week; or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity plus muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week.
I was a bit fitter after completing Hillfit a couple months ago.
Or I just had a bad day when I tested this time. Nevertheless, I prefer my current program to Hillfit. (Click for report on my six-week Hillfit experience.)
For strength and endurance gains, perhaps I should incorporate some Hillfit features into my current plan.
I don’t feel like I’m getting much out of Romanian deadlifts. Drop ’em? Do they add anything to squats? Try Hillfit-style wall squats while hold dumbbells?
How does my fitness compare to other 57-year-old men? I’m not sure. One of these days I’ll see how I stack up against U.S. Army fitness standards, which involve a timed two-mile run.
Is my current level of fitness good enough? Again, not sure.
My highest dumbbell weights are 40 lb (18 kg). I’m already using those for squats, deadlifts, and one-arm rows. For future strength gains, I’d have to do those exercise for longer, or more days per week, or buy some 50-lb weights. A pair of 50-lb dumbbells will cost $50 (used) or $100 (new).
I’ll put together yet another fitness program within the next few months.
I don’t like to exercise, but I want the health benefits. My general goal is to maximize health benefits while minimizing exercise time.
Next time I do the mile run on the treadmill, start at 7.5 mph and increase to 8 mph as much as tolerated.
(*) About 10 days after this I ran a mile in 8 minutes and 30 seconds on a high school track.
Most everything I read in the physiology journals says that for strength gains, you have to lift heavy. I heartily endorse the failure at 90 seconds approach using contolled somewhat slow movements.
I don’t think you are pushing yourself hard enough on the big muscle movements. My 115-pound wife can leg press 500 pounds after one year of training. At age 71, so can I. While squats are much harder, I don’t think your 80 pounds is really enough.
Keep up the HIIT sprints. You would have to at least triple your time commitment to get the same VO2max using any other technique.
You’re right about 80 lb not being heavy enough. I’m just hesitant to fork over the $100 for a pair of 50-lb dumbbells at this point. I worry about hurting my back, too.
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