The Grizzly Bear Workout — when you first hear the name it conjures up images of shaggy haired mountain men and plaid shirts. At least it does for me.
But when you hear the premise behind this workout you’ll find it makes a lot of sense. To give you an idea of what I mean, here is an old song that we used to sing at camp (don’t worry, I’m not actually going to sing it).
The other day I met a bear.
A great big bear a way out there.
He looked at me. I looked at him.
He sized up me. I sized up him.
He said to me “Why don’t you run?
I see you ain’t got any gun!”
And so I ran away from there.
And right behind me was that bear.
Ahead of me, there was a tree.
A big, tall tree! O glory be!
The nearest branch was ten feet up.
I’d have to jump and trust my luck.
And so I jumped into the air.
But missed that branch a way up there.
But don’t you fret. Now don’t you frown.
I caught that branch On the way back down.
This is the end, there ain’t no more
Unless I meet, that bear once more!
(Cute YouTube video you’ll like the extra verse they’ve added 8=)
This song tells a story of pure panic. How would you react if we were being chased by a grizzly bear? By now you may be getting a hint of what this is all about — no you don’t have to jump into trees!
The basic idea is that we need to do bursts of running, cycling or another aerobic activity 100% all out. Imagine that the grizzly is coming for you. How fast would you run? This is the mindset that you need for a burst of your chosen activity (30 seconds to a minute) followed by a few minutes of cool down. Then, lather, rinse, repeat (well, you can skip later and rinse). Voila — the Grizzly Bear Workout.
How do you know if you’ve done enough repetitions? When you’re heart rate doesn’t recover during the cool down phase you are done. This will be 2 or 3 times for most of us. It may only be once if you’re just beginning.
How it Works
This workout is designed to maximize the effort that your cardiovascular system undergoes with short, intense bursts of activity. These push the entire system to the maximum in a very short period of time. With these bursts of activity (which mimic the activity found in most sports and childhood games) our heart, lungs, etc. are trained to handle higher stress activities and become stronger.
This is different than typical cardio workouts which stress longer periods of moderate activity. There is increasing evidence to show that this actually weakens the cardiovascular system by training it to be more efficient. The reserve capacity of the heart and lungs is reduced in favour of this efficiency.
How Often You Do This
This workout is to be done in conjunction with the Grunt n’ Growl workout that we learned about earlier. The idea behind these workouts is that you need to give your body time to rest and heal. You should never do a Grizzly Bear on the same day as a Grunt ‘n Growl.
Ultimately, you should do 2 or 3 of each of these workouts during a week (maximum of 6 workouts in 7 days) but your body will tell you when it’s ready for more.
If you want to find out more about these workouts you can check the following resouces:
Grizzly Bear image by Steve Hillebrand from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library