Racing in 2020 is not canceled. Racing in 2020 has merely evolved.
Although we cannot meet each other at the starting line, Spartans across the globe are coming together to try their hand at the Spartan Virtual Race. The beauty of the Spartan Virtual Race is that this race can be done anywhere. As long as you have room to run and room to perform your bodyweight exercises, you can now run a Spartan.
As we glance over the exercises involved in the Spartan Virtual Race, we notice commonalities across the board. We are overloading our push-ups and our planks, and we are squatting over and over again. But how do we successfully train for a virtual race without putting our body in jeopardy? How do we prevent overuse injuries from the repetitive motion patterns? The answer is simple: We must build up our strength and stability within the exercises.
Because our body is designed to lift itself, most bodyweight exercises are only effective at higher repetitions or at slower speeds. The Spartan Virtual Race already has the higher repetitions covered. Today, we are building up our strength with time under tension (TUT).
What Is Time Under Tension?
Time under tension is simple. You slow down the tempo or the speed in which you are performing a movement to increase your body’s strength and stability throughout the entirety of the range of motion. This will increase your mobility by allowing gravity to increase its pull on the loaded joints. Rather than exploding out of your squat or your push-up, you will be taking 2-4 seconds to lower yourself into the motion, 2 seconds to hold the amortization in the motion, and a final 2-4 seconds to return to the starting position.
By performing these base motions at a slower speed, your virtual race exercises will become much more consistent, and your body will have the endurance to sustain more repetitions of similar motions throughout the entire race experience.
For today’s workout, pull out a metronome or a timer. By having a device that keeps your speed consistent, you will keep your training honest, especially when the time under tension starts to burn.
If this is your first time working time under tension, start with a 2-2-2 tempo. This means that you will take 2 seconds to lower into the motion, 2 seconds to hold in the exercise, and 2 seconds to return to your starting position. For those who find the base motions to be fairly simple, aim for a 4-2-4 tempo.
Pro Tip: With time under tension workouts, make sure to synchronize your breath with the motion. Doing this will increase your body’s stability. It will also train your breathing to maximize your strength efforts, but will encourage better breathing mechanics for the cardio portion of the race.
Perform 3 Rounds of 10 Repetition with either 2-2-2 of 4-2-4 Tempo
2. Air Squats
3. Prone Arm Circles
4. Bridge With Leg Lift
5. Walk Out
8. Leg Lowering