Understanding “La Triade” from the Methode Lafay

I recently explained that cross training was important or even crucial if you want to keep going without being injured. Many folks (especially in the ultra community lift weights). I always found that weight lifting was boring and had too many constraints: you have to go to the gym, be prepared, wait for the machine to be free, etc. In addition, being in a closed room with sun is depressing.

Year ago, a French guy developed a training method that rely completely on your body weight. What you need is a bar and two chairs, nothing else. You can even train on a playground, as long as you do not disturb the kids! So far, I did not see any disadvantages: no gym fee, easy, no need to wait for a machine and I can practice even when traveling! The French weight lifting community attacked the creator of the method, arguing that this was not efficient and useless but after a while, people that tried the method posted the results, which was quote astonishing (see below)!

Example of the evolution after 15 months of Lafay method
Example of the evolution after 15 months of Lafay method

The method proposed a plan to grow your muscles without using any machines, painful exercise and dedicate hours to your training. The core idea is to promote steady evolution of your fitness level by increasing the intensity of the activity and let the muscles heal, rest and grow. This is also where the method is disruptive: while many method recommend to spend hours at the gym facing big dudes, the Lafay Method has a contrarian approach.

As the Lafay method is not very time consuming, it can be a really good approach for cross training, especially after a short run. It will then help you to maintain your upper body in better shape and develop the core muscles of your body. On the long run, it will definitively help you: you will feel less sore and probably run faster.

Describing the complete method would not be fair because the book is a published material protected by copyright. On the other hand, it does not exist in English (but there is a petition for that!), so, I take the freedom to introduce one of the core exercise that would help every runner (and even non runners). This is a set of exercises (3) called La Triade:

  • series of dip (not for the chips!) – you can do that even with two chairs (see the video)
  • series of push ups with a 40cm space between hands
  • series of push ups with feet elevated and a space between hands of 60 to 80 cm (basically, twice the distance between your shoulders)

The video below show how to realize these exercises. Combined with some abs here and there, I guarantee that incorporating these exercises will improve your fitness level significantly and makes you a better runner! Unfortunately, the complete method is not available right now and is limited to non-english language. On the other hand, it can be a good opportunity to learn French!

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Understanding “La Triade” from the Methode Lafay

CTOTW #2: Cross your train or hope to drop

Cross-training or not cross-training? The question has been around for a while in the running community. If you want to last and continue to run for long without injury, there is no debate: cross-train. Running requires not only the support from your legs but from your whole body. Other muscles will support your efforts, either running, lifting big stuff or having fun with friends when skying during winter. By training other parts of your body, you will not only strengthen your other muscles but also improve your cardio ability, improve your breathing and no longer look at a guy with strong legs and thin body.

 

Well, do not overtrain!
Well, do not overtrain!

 

The nature of this additional activity will impact your performance, the development of your strength and the impact on your running abilities. So, chose carefully and select something that will

  • exercise other muscle groups than your legs (arms, abs, chest)
  • develop your cardio vascular capacity (improve your breathing capacity)

Some ideas about potential activities? Swimming an hour, riding your bicycle, using an elliptical (that uses both arms and legs) or lifting weights are good activities that will complement a good training plan. As for running, start slowly and increase the intensity and duration every week or two weeks. The goal is not to set new records but to exercise other parts of your body. As for running, these activities are not expensive (you can find a pool in many gyms or university and you can even use body-weight training – I personally use the Lafay method, I will develop that later)

 

skippingworkout

 

One key is to find the right balance between all these activities. A common rule is to run three to four times a week and cross-train two to three times a week with the following rules in mind:

  • Alternate the cross-training with running: it will then let enough time for each muscle group to recover. Using the muscles break them, they are growing when sleeping and resting.
  • Do not have two activities the same day: you will be at risk of over-training, potential injury and do not let the muscles to heal and recover
  • Keep at least a rest day (you can still go for a nice walk to exercise!)
  • Take your time and do not push too much: it would then has a side-effect on your running training program (not enough juice in the tank to run).

What I am doing? I run about 10 miles every day and cross-train every two days during 20 to 30 minutes by using body-weight training or swimming at a medium intensity. Push-ups, abs (everything from the Lafay method) all positions that could train your body using your own weight (it just adapt the workout activity with your weight – the heavier you are the harder!). For sure, my muscles are not exceptionally big and I do not look as s body builder but is this not the goal. On the other hand, it provides enough support for running every day 10 miles and be able to keep running more than 80 miles a week injury-free. Again, this is a matter of setting goals and objectives and, in that context, cross-training seems to work, hope it could help you as well!

CTOTW #2: Cross your train or hope to drop