Friday, June 6, 2014

Can The Power of 10 Make Make You a Better Runner?

The Power of 10 is a best selling book and also a popular fitness Program originated by Adam Zickerman.
The program consists of  high-intensity, slow motion, resistance training workouts  that provide an entire week’s worth of exercise in 20 minutes-- performed once or twice a week. 

The book contains illustrations and in-depth descriptions of the exercises to perform, and many testimonial-- including from a handful of celebrities from disciples of the program.
     A few of these testimonials caught my interest-- specifically those who claimed they either lost weight on 2 sessions per week,  or from those claiming to be runners who claimed they were able to increase their fitness by not running-- by replacing their daily runs with 2 deep muscle weight workouts of 20 minutes duration a week. These strength workouts did not include running or any cardio exercise.
     It sounded too good to be true, so I decided to investigate and try the program myself. To be as George Sheehan once said "An experiment of one."
First the good parts of the program. The weight lifting advice seems sound-- lift weights slowly, ten seconds up and ten seconds back. Progression, working a balance of muscles until they are fatigued, all in a safe environment.
     The Power of 10 program lets the muscles repair with rest before repeating the process in the next workout. This seems to be weight lifting 101, and the program provides plenty of illustrations of the correct way to perform the exercises.
Many of the exercises in the program I would not have thought to do on my own and they could provide runners who are most likely to neglect weight work with a good strength base.
Some reviewers have quibbled with the diet advice in the book, or its reliance on new found muscle burning fat, but much of the dietary information is common sense:
Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full. Eat things you enjoy but within reason. Eat with awareness of what your are eating. Stay hydrated.  Nutrition 101.

For all of it's good points, I think the Power of 10 program strains credibility when it makes the case, mainly through testimonials, that the program can increase it's participants overall fitness, and actually help them improve in cardiovascular activities such as  running without actually running.
While a tired, over-trained runner may benefit from the rest from running and the activation of new muscles built into the Power of 10 program in the short term, you only get better at an activity by doing that activity. Running 101.
In conclusion, any runner who followed the Power of 10 workout for a few months in lieu of running, who then hopped into a race with expectations of performing well, would quickly agree that anything that sounds too easy and too good to be true once again is just that.

For more information on the Power of 10 program

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