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Exercise "Snacks" for Longevity
The Highlander helps strength athletes and enthusiasts live stronger for longer. Join fellow Highlanders on our journey:
One of the hardest parts about building longevity into a strength training practice is managing the additional fatigue from that training. Everything you add interferes with something else you’re doing. Somethings interfere a lot. Some a little.
Highlanders can’t optimize all aspects of longevity in the pursuit to high level strength, but you don’t want to completely neglect too much either.
This is where exercise snacks can help.
Dr. Andy Galpin recently discussed the research on super short bouts of exercise (even 1 minute or less) to improve cardio fitness and VO2 max.
I’ve found exercise snacks to be particularly useful to keep some minimum dose of certain kinds of exercise in my training without introducing excessive additional fatigue that interferes with my core power, strength, or hypertrophy training. The exercise modalities I hit via snacks are:
Sprint as hard as you can for 30-60 seconds. I like to do this on an air bike or a rower. Track how many calories you burn or distance you cover. Try to beat your prior calorie total. You can do this for more or less time, but the 60 second limit keeps it a true snack.
A larger snack variant is to do sprints as a reverse tabata or partial tabata. Sprint 10 seconds all out, rest 20. Do it for 2-4 minutes.
Aim for a buffer of a day or two from other core leg training when doing sprint snacks.
Pick an exercise, bodyweight ones work well, and go for max reps. Pull-ups, pushups, dips, and squats are all good options. Beat your total from last time, and program the exercise selection around your core training. For example, do pull-ups sufficiently far away from other back training, a couple days or so.
Rep max snacks are great when you’re traveling and don’t have full gym access.
Dead hangs for time are another great option that are more easily worked into programming. Just don’t do them around grip centric exercises like deadlifts or carries.
Strength sports like Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman demand refined technique for optimum performance. Five minute exercise snacks are a great way to add some strength technique work.
Doing a little extra lighter power work seems best for me. Cleans, snatches, axle cleans, even throws are all good options. Just do a few sets for a few minutes. Keep it explosive with good technique.
I’ve tried doing this with strongman exercises, but they are far more fatiguing than power exercises and will interfere with other training if you get too heavy.
If you’re trying to figure out how to add a little fitness variation into your training without too much extra fatigue, try some exercise snacks. Stay stronger for longer.