Monday, December 24, 2007

Take the Quad Challenge!

I recently read The Ultimate Hiking Skills Manual. This little book is well-written and filled with good tips about hiking in the mountains. The first chapter starts with a fun quadriceps strength test to assess your mountain running and hiking readiness. As you all know, your quads supply the strength needed to power uphill and bomb downhill.
So, similar to the Rogue Valley Runner's Park Street Challenge, here's a challenge that you can do from [the comfort of] your home or office -- just post a comment with your results.
1. Stand with your back against a wall. Shuffle your feet away from the wall and lower your body until your knee joints are at a 90-degree angle. Keep your feet facing forward, directly underneath the knees. Keep your head against the wall and let your hands hang to your sides (don't cheat by putting your hands on your legs). See Sean and Rocky's demonstration above and below.
2. Once you are in position, start your stopwatch. Stay in this position for as long as you can. When you can't handle the quad burn anymore and you fall down on the floor with your legs still shaking wildly from the pain, stop your stopwatch and see how well you did. Note: It's amazing to see what happens to your quads over the course of a few minutes.
3. See how well you did and post a comment below with your time and other comments. Repeat this as many times as you want.
  • Less than 15 seconds: Shocking, don't plan on any speedy ascents unless they are on a train.
  • 45 Seconds: Could do better, some more hill work needed.
  • 1 Minute and 15 Seconds: Okay, do three sets of 20 squats a day to build up your quads.
  • 1 Minute and 45 Seconds: Good, ready for some of the classic routes.
  • 2 Minutes and 15 Seconds: Impressive, you sailed through the pain barrier with flying colors.
  • 2 Minutes and 45 Seconds: Top notch, your quads testify that you're used to pushing yourself through the limits.

The Results (so far...):
  • Vicky: 1:15
  • Rocky: 2:21
  • Sean: 4:00
  • Peter: 5:45
  • You: ? -- Leave a comment below with your time!

Warning: Don't do this if you have knee problems.

Tip: Playing some music (or doing this during a conference call, provided you are on mute so others don't hear you collapse at the end) can help and won't be considered cheating.

Have fun!


Scott Dunlap said...

I got 4:10, but I couldn't get up off the floor for about 10 minutes. That's a tough one!

This is a great exercise to slip in at work or home too. Thanks for the post!


Scott Dunlap said...

Dude, you've been tagged!


Gretchen said...

My coach in high school used to make me do those, I HATED them!! Maybe I'll try one later and get back to you...

Michael Kanning said...

"Note: It's amazing to see what happens to your quads over the course of a few minutes." I don't know if amazing is quite the right word, (more like "inexorably excruciating") but I got 2:18, although I made the mistake of wearing socks on a wood floor. I'll try it again later. Thanks for the challenge!


Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

I'm looking forward to trying this later. Will get back to you for sure!

Peter Lubbers said...

Good point Michael, I forgot to mention that it really helps to have grippy shoes on a non-slip surface!

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

2:16....I've got work to do before the spring season starts!


Anonymous said...

That was fun...NOT!!!
2:52...maybe could have hit three, but it just wasn't worth it. My legs were shaking 30 seconds in!
Chris B

Catherine said...

Finally remembered about this little test and tried it. Only got 1:38 but I have plenty of excuses. 1: did 10 mile run yesterday, on pavement, with a long 4 mile downhill stretch. 2: did the test after my strength/weight workout. 3: I didn't re-read your directions and I did it with a big exercise ball between my back and the wall. Give me some more time and I'm sure I can come up with some more excuses for my poor result :) Will have to try it again as I get stronger (hopefully). Hope the off-season is treating you well Peter.

Peter Lubbers said...

The one thing I noticed with this excercise is that you quickly get better at it, sometimes adding a minute at a time.

The off-season is officially over (it was fun while it lasted). Training for the big Rim Run in August has begun. I ran a nice 30 miler with 8K elevation in the sierras yesterday.

Norma Bastidas said...

2:13 and it doens't matter if I have fresh legs or not! I have try first thing in the morning before my run, latter in the day and it makes no difference, I can't go past that time

Jean Pommier said...

Great post and exercise, Peter. I actually learned this one in a ski lesson, reportedly from Killy who was famous for his quads, a must in downhill (skiing).

When tapering before WS, I did series of 4x4' + 2' rest, once or twice a day. With a headset and a good book (otherwise, looking at the watch kills me). Brutal but great tune-up for the canyons.

Well, time for you to do it, before your TRT record!

Good luck,

Farther Faster

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