Wednesday, February 3, 2016

December Steel Challenge

by Justin Daerr

A few years ago, an idea came up on our forum to put together a “Steel Challenge.” The idea was basic enough: track the amount of weight you lift for one month. And while adding up the amount of heavy stuff we picked up and put down may or may not have been the best measurement of work, it was certainly the simplest and easiest tracking method.

Initially I did not partake as I was racing Challenge Wanaka in January, but I did get a kick out of watching Kevin Purcell and Scott Molina go back and forth on our forum, one upping each other every day! They may have been enduro-dudes in the past, but their strength numbers were very respectable by any subjective measure.

Over the last two years, I started partaking in the challenge (for reasons I covered in this podcast) and have come to enjoy this time. The reason we choose to do this challenge in December has to do with a few things:

  1. Key races are many months away.
  2. December is dark and cold and the days are short for many of us.
  3. We all do a little better with a friendly competition.
  4. There is a lot of pressure to stop moving around the holidays.

The fourth point is the point that sticks out to me the most. The month of December often contains lots of parties, travel, family and friends. All great. But it also leads to many folks moving much less than they are accustomed to moving. As such, the Steel Challenge can be a great impetus to do a few extra sessions here and there that might not have happened otherwise. And the beauty of strength training is that 20 to 30 minute bouts can have real effects on your overall strength and progression.

If you do partake in the challenge, some things to consider:

  • Consult a physician for any health concerns you may have.
  • Have a professional look at your technique for any major or new movements you do in the gym.
  • If you have never tracked total lbs/kgs, don’t set any particular goals. Just work out as you normally would and make note of the totals as you complete sessions.
  • Lifting weights can be quite tiring, even in moderate amounts. Take that into consideration with your SBR training.

Please join us this year in the joy of picking things up and putting them down!

...just no half-reps.


Justin Daerr is a professional triathlete and co-owner of Endurance Corner. You can follow him on Twitter @justindaerr.
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