Karelin Inspired Training

If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time, you know that I am big believer in getting outside to exercise. Most people would be well served to get more fresh air in their lives. Unfortunately, during the winter months, many people falsely assume that outdoor activities must be put on hold. The only time they spend outdoors is when they are rushing to stockpile bread and milk before a storm arrives.

Personally, I am a big fan of outdoor exercise in the winter. A brief sampling of some recent training can be seen below.

When I’m outside in the cold, I opt for fast paced movements. My primary goals are conditioning and strength endurance. I work at a fast rate with minimal rest between exercises and sets. Such an approach allows me to continue training without my body temperature falling.

Why Bother?

Whenever I post an outdoor video, there’s always a smart ass in the crowd who wonders why I don’t perform the same workout indoors. My response to such comments is always the same. I have yet to find a snow filled hill that I can run inside. Running in the snow has long been one of my favorite conditioners. The snow not only provides resistance, but it also cushions each step. Therefore, regardless of how fast you run, there is minimal impact with each stride.

As for my snow running inspiration, it started with the legendary wrestler Alexander Karelin. I first saw him win an Olympic gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. I then saw footage of him running through high snow drifts in Russia. Rocky Balboa was a fictional character, but Alexander Karelin was real. He was an absolute beast and I wanted to imitate his style. Snow running soon became a favorite activity of mine.

You can actually see a brief glimpse of Karelin running through the snow in the video below:

Once I began running in the snow, I quickly realized that there were other options available. It wasn’t convenient to run in the snow and then change clothes to finish training indoors. It seemed more logical to finish my session where I started. With that in mind, I began to supplement my snow running with a variety of calisthenics. I have maintained that approach for many years now and continue to enjoy the physical and mental challenge. Training in the cold requires physical and mental toughness, as well as intelligence. Mother Nature demands respect and that needs to be considered whenever venturing into the cold.

As for necessity, it is obviously possible to get in shape without ever seeing or touching the snow. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone heads out into the next blizzard. It is an option however for those who are interested. It is always nice to have exercise options that don’t involve commercial equipment or facilities. Snow running won’t cost anything, but will always provide a challenge.

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“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action.” – Vince Lombardi

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6 comments:

  1. Hi Sir,
    I am no fan of mugging, but this article I am gonna memorize word-by-word. You have put forth so many inter-linked concepts into light that it will be worth the memory space of brain ! Now I realize what wonders writing down summary/ documenting pointers can do. I am sure many among the workout community must have realized these pointers at some point in there training, but unless one also contemplates upon the work performed, progress is bound to remain just a word. Some of the gems in this writeup:

    1. Most people would be well served to get more fresh air in their lives.
    2. When I’m outside in the cold, I opt for fast paced movements. My primary goals are conditioning and strength endurance. I work at a fast rate with minimal rest between exercises and sets. Such an approach allows me to continue training without my body temperature falling.
    3.provides resistance, ..cushions each step… regardless of how fast you run, there is minimal impact with each stride.
    4.Training in the cold requires physical and mental toughness, as well as intelligence. Mother Nature demands respect and that needs to be considered whenever venturing into the cold.
    5.Vince Lombardi’s Quote

    Thanks

  2. Running in snow (including hills) I’ve found to be such a great workout that I wish I could figure out an indoor substitute. I just try to steer clear of roads for safety.

  3. Hi Ross,
    just want to drop a line and say thanks for all the good articles and also for your “promotion” on hill sprints and winter outdoor exercising! Every year I did regular winter outdoor training my health was excellent and when I spent “winter time” in a gym I would always catch something! You’re a big inspiration, thanks again!

    Cheers!

  4. Great post. There’s 3 inches of snow outside right now and I was going to just do something in my living room. Now I have to put on some winter clothes and go outside!

    The cold weather makes it harder to breathe during working out but that probably helps build lunge capacity. Even if it doesn’t, I’m headed outside.

    Thanks for the inspiration Ross!

  5. Even if you’re not ready for a full-blown workout outside, just slap on some snowshoes and truck around the closest state forest with the dog or your kids. It’s a phenomenal workout. Just being outside in the winter will make you feel alive again. And best of all…no mosquitos!

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