Lift Heavy. Go Farther.

There has been a lot of debate on whether to lift a lighter weight for a higher rep count, or lift heavier weight with less reps, and which is better for building strength and endurance. I’m going to tell you right now that I can’t tell you, with your individual body type and needs, which method will work best for you. But I do know there have been a lot of studies showing that lifting heavier weight for less reps works for building muscle. Not to say the alternative doesn’t, but today we are talking about lifting heavy.

Exos, a human-performance company that works with some of the world’s top athletes, has taken the atypical approach and has adopted this heavier weight, less rep form of training.

“Runners and cyclists often prepare just by doing more of their sport, and many of these athletes are lacking strength and power,” says Stefan Underwood, a performance specialist at Exos. “But if you increase those measures, you can push more watts on the bike, or run at a faster pace. And added strength helps cut down injuries.”

The plan is working: According to the company, the triathletes, runners and cyclists in their study are performing better than ever under the program. Underwood also emphasizes that contrary to popular belief, this type of training will not bulk you up. “Your strength gains will largely come from neuromuscular increases,” he says.

“Lifting weights is not about getting bigger — this is about becoming better at generating force in a coordinated effort.”

Underwood prescribes the following strength program to endurance athletes; twice a week, complete the full cycle four times, using a weight that’s heavy enough to make the last few reps difficult but not so heavy that you sacrifice form.

And by the way, if you are here reading this and feel that your are not an “athlete,” then get that out of your head. If you are willing to put in the work, the results will come. People are Backcountry Athletes at their own levels and that is what it is all about. Now, lets get back to the plan!

Stability Lift: 

Attach a resistance band to a post or doorknob. With your back to the post, kneel on one knee and hold the band in both hands at your hip. Press the band forward and in front of your chest, making sure to maintain a solid, upright position. To increase difficulty, put more tension on the band. Do ten to twelve reps. Repeat on the other side.

Romanian Deadlift:

Holding dumbbells in each hand at your waist, lower the weights to your knee while keeping your chest up, allowing one leg to extend behind you. Do six to eight reps and repeat on the other side.

Lateral Lunge:

Holding a barbell across your upper back, take a large controlled step to the side, allowing your weight-bearing leg to bend to the 90 degrees while keeping your chest up. Do six to eight reps. Repeat on the other side.

Leg Curls:

Start by kneeling, with a partner holding down your calves. Then slowly lower your torso to the ground. To increase difficulty, hold a weight in your hands. Do eight to ten reps.

Split Squat:

With one foot resting on the bench behind you, and holding a dumbbell in each hand, lower your body until your back knee touches the ground. Then lift back up again. Do six to eight reps. Repeat on the other side.

Isolated Bench Press: 

While lying on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand, one by your head and the other straight up. Lift the weight up to meet your other hand. If this is too difficult you can remove the weight in the stationary hand that is being held straight up. The idea is to isolate each side of your chest here. Do six to eight reps and repeat on the other side.


As always, if you found this interesting or helpful let us know by liking, commenting or join our tribe and subscribing in the box at the bottom of the page. We thrive off of your input, if there is anything you would like to see discussed feel free to say so in the comments below!

Lift heavy, be #BakcountryStrong





*If you feel you are not in a condition to perform these exercises then do not do so. These exercises are provided by Exos and not Backcountry Fitness & Nutrition. We are not responsible for any injury caused by performing these activities.


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