Underground Training Tactics For Enhancing Endurance – Part 1

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Articles, Fitness, Workout & Exercises

Welcome to Part 1 of Chapter 3 in Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance Health & Life.

We ended the last section of Part 1 by discovering the two best ways to build endurance: polarized training with lots of hours (using the 80/20 approach) or HIIT training with relatively fewer hours (using the “Ancestral Athlete” approach).

But regardless of which of those two endurance training methods you choose, there are a variety of little-known, “underground” tactics you can implement to enhance your training effectiveness and efficiency – endurance training strategies that tend to fly under the radar, but can give you lots of bang for your buck if you implement them into your program. These tactics come in especially handy if:

A) time management is important to you; 

B) you want to figure out ways to strengthen your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and nervous system without significant damage to your joints, health, or metabolism.

Later, in Part 3, I'll show you additional tactics you can use to significantly speed recovery – but in this chapter, we're going to focus specifically on training strategies for enhancing endurance.

So let's jump right in, and as usual, leave your questions, comments, edits and feedback below the post.

By the way, if you didn't grab your “Become Superhuman” digital guide yet, I'm actually now including  as part of your digital order the full 213 page manual along with 14 CD's in hard copy format mailed straight to your doorstep. Best of both worlds. All you pay is shipping and handling, and the guide complements quite nicely the information you're about to learn. Enjoy!


roadrunner-Overspeed Training

Overspeed training is, exactly as it sounds, the practice of training your limbs to turnover at a higher speed – a speed over what feels comfortable or natural. Just envision The Road Runner from the old Looney Tunes cartoons.

Before jumping into the how-to's of overspeed training, it's important to understand that by spinning your legs extremely fast on a bicycle, or running at an insanely high turnover, or swimming windmill-style, you're not necessarily replicating what you plan on doing in a race.

For example, in the case of cycling, research has shown that lower cycling cadences, such as 60rpm, can actually result in significantly better efficiency and economy compared to cadence of 80rpm or 100rpm (2). And the folks over at SwimSmooth have a fantastic stroke rate chart which shows that many swimmers will actually do just fine with a relatively low stroke count.

But here's why overspeed training works: it is an effective method to recruit new muscle tissue, specifically by engaging more muscle motor units than if you'd trained at lower speeds. This is called a “neural adaptation“, and you can consider it a form of training for your nervous system (3). Through overspeed training, not only does your brain literally learn how to fire faster and control your muscles more efficiently at higher speeds, but you also develop more powerful and quick muscle fiber contractions, which comes in handy for hard surges during a race or tough workout.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need fancy equipment for overspeed training.

While there are certainly devices on the market such as anti-gravity treadmills, which use differential air pressure to reduce your body weight down to as low as 20%, or extremely fast treadmill belts that are combined with a harness which literally hangs you from the ceiling while you're running, you don't need these fancy tools. These devices certainly do allow for “extreme” assisted overspeed training in an underweighted or low gravity environment, but you don't actually need to go out and spend the price of a small automobile on a new treadmill.

Instead, here are some effective overspeed workouts you can easily do with equipment you probably already have, or at least relatively inexpensive training gear.

-Downhill overspeed running. Use a dry, non-bumpy grass area that allows you to sprint about 40-50 feet down a slope and then sprint another 40-50 feet once you reached the flat (to allow for the continuation of the overspeed effect without the assistance of gravity). Research indicates a downhill grade of about 5.0% is ideal, but don't feel like you need to go to the golf course with surveying equipment to find the best slope (3). Just run down a relatively steep hill that isn't so steep you fall over on your face. If you really want to get fancy with overspeed running, you can grab a partner (or a pole) and an overspeed bungee for your repeats.

-Overspeed cycling efforts. A downhill slope or an indoor trainer works best for these efforts, although you can get them done on the flats in a low gear, such as your small chainring. After a good warm-up, simply choose the lowest possible resistance that allows you to spin at an extremely fast rate without bouncing in the saddle. Spin at the fastest possible cadence (preferably higher than 120RPM) for a maximum of 30 seconds, and then give yourself full recovery before beginning the next set.

-Assisted swimming. For this workout, you will need swim stretch cords. In a pinch, I've just used a good set of fins to allow me to swim faster, but you'll get better results with less muscular and cardiovascular fatigue by using stretch cords. With the stretch cords attached to your waist, you simply swim as far away from the wall as possible, then turn and let the cords pull you back at a much faster pace than you'd be able to swim unassisted. If you do this correctly, you're going to find your stroke turnover rate is incredibly difficult to maintain. You can insert this kind of overspeed training at the beginning or the end of one of your weekly swim sets.

You should know that overspeed running can create significant eccentric muscular damage, caused your brain attempting to “slow you down” just slightly with each step. The ensuing soreness caused by this protective deceleration can be pretty uncomfortable the day or two after an overspeed workout. To minimize this soreness, introduce overspeed training into your program only after you've gotten a solid 6-8 weeks of weight training and plyometric training under your belt (you'll learn more about both in the next chapter). Although swimming and cycling overspeed training doesn't cause significant muscle tissue damage, your neuromuscular system does need plenty of time to recover and regenerate, so even for these exercise methods, I don't recommend overspeed sessions more than once per week.



Drag Suit

A drag suit for underspeed swim sets.

-Underspeed Training

Of course, on the complete opposite spectrum of overspeed training is underspeed training. You have a pretty good idea of what underspeed training involves if you've ever engaged in a long grinding bike ride up a hill, trekked up a stair mill at a gym, or done a resisted swim training session dragging a parachute behind you or wearing one of those ultra-sexy drag suits.

Compared to overspeed training, underspeed is better suited for building strength and force production capability. Similar to overspeed training, underspeed can also assist in development of efficient movement patterns and muscle fiber recruitment (but without quite as potent a neuromuscular”brain-training” effect as moving your limbs extremely fast). In a podcast interview I did with Ironman triathlon champion Chris McCormack, I was actually surprised to hear about the amount of underspeed “grinding” sessions he actually performs on the bike – sessions which he recommends specifically due to their ability to stave off fatigue late in a long race.

Underspeed training sessions also come in quite handy early in a race season, when strength building and development of proper movement patterns is more crucial than heavy use of intervals and overspeed efforts. Sample underspeed workouts include:

-Steep 60-70rpm hill climbs for 5-15 minutes on a bike

-Running steep hills slowly

-Climbing a stairmill (with an optional weight vest or set of dumbbells)

-Performing a series of intervals in the pool dragging a parachute behind you or using a drag suit.

Weight training could technically also be considered a form of underspeed training, but will be discussed more fully in the strength section of the next chapter.



ems abs-EMS

You've no doubt seen it before: the cheesy As-Seen-On-TV ad for the special electrodes you attach to your abs to magically and effortlessly get a six pack.

Known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), electrical stimulation (EMS) or electromyostimulation devices, these contraptions elicit a muscle contraction using electrical impulses that directly stimulate your motor neurons (as opposed to a “TENS” unit, which is good for managing pain and a common low back pain treatment, but only stimulates surface nerve endings, not motor neurons) (9).

The first few times you use an EMS device, it feels as though an outside invader has somehow taken control of your muscles and caused them to contract without the control of your brain. These contractions can be quick and rapid, quick with longer pauses between contractions, or even contractions that are held for seconds and sometimes minutes at a time.

The reason EMS feels strange is because it reproduces your body’s natural process of voluntary muscular contractions. Normally, your body fires muscles by sending electrical impulses from your brain through your central nervous system (CNS) to your muscles. But EMS allows you to engage in deep, intense and complete muscular contractions without actually taxing your CNS (or your joints and tendons).

In other words, your body doesn’t know the difference between a voluntary contraction or an electrically induced one, it only recognizes that there's a stimulus.

To use EMS, you place pads on your skin at each end of the skeletal muscle to be stimulated. An EMS device usually has four channels with lead wires, and each wire is connected to two pads. Very small amounts of current run from one pad to the next and complete a circuit – using your muscle tissue as a conduit. The current runs at specific frequencies (Hz) and pulse durations (microseconds), and the motor neurons within this circuit are stimulated. The muscle fibers innervated by the motor neurons then contract.

And voila – you start twitching.

The muscle fibers that you're able to stimulate with EMS are completely dependent on the type of frequency you use. Basically, there are three ranges of frequencies that stimulate three different muscle fiber types. A slow twitch muscle fiber will contract at one set of frequencies, an intermediate fast twitch muscle fiber will contract at a different set of frequencies, and a fast twitch muscle fiber will contract at the highest frequencies.

I personally own and use a Compex Sport Elite device, and although for several years I only used it for recovery, I now perform strength and explosive strength training electrical sessions for my quads and hamstrings (while at the same time practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing). Interestingly, I’ve been able to get myself into a dripping wet full body sweat with these sessions, and when performed prior to a bike ride or run, found it much easier to produce both higher cadences and speeds. Multiple clinical studies back this up, and websites such as Hammer Nutrition* have entire content libraries devoted to research and proper use of EMS for endurance sports (*you get a 15% discount code on anything from Hammer when you use my referral number “80244”.)(1).

And while an EMS device certainly isn't going to burn significant calories or fat to give you an amazing six-pack, it can indeed result in a significant boost in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness. For more tips on how to implement EMS into a training season, visit that Hammer website I just referenced, or read my blog post “How To Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation to Enhance Performance, Build Power and VO2 Max“.

Finally, if you want to upgrade to a very expensive (and relatively teeth-grittingly intense) form of electrical muscle stimulation that can leave your muscles in a state of maximum contraction for literally minutes at a time, but also give you faster results than any other EMS device out there, then look into the “ARPWave” and EVOAthlete program operated by Jay Schroeder in Arizona.

Jay uses an electrical stimulation device called the ARPwave, which possesses characteristics not found in any conventional therapeutic neuromuscular electrical stimulator (specifically something called interferential, microcurrent, galvanic, Russian stim, iontophoresis). This specific wave is supposedly more harmonious with the body and significantly reduces skin and fatty tissue impedance, which allows much deeper penetration of the direct current without the side effects of nasty stuff like skin burning.

Think of this like electrostimulation on steroids.

By combining movement patterns with use the ARPwave, Jay is able to achieve extremely fast injury healing time, and as you’ll learn later in this post, if you can combine this type of electrostimulation training with heavy lifting or a type of training called “extreme isometrics” you can get extremely significant performance results in a very short period of time



Altitude training mask-Hypoxia, Resisted & Restricted Breathing

Pick up a straw. Breathe in and out through the straw. That's resisted breathing. Consider it to be weight training for your lungs.

Now go for a swim. Experience what happens when you breathe every 5 or 7 strokes instead of every 1 or 2 strokes. That's restricted breathing, which sends a clear message to your body that oxygen molecules are few and far between.

Finally, go climb a mountain or crawl into an altitude tent. That's hypoxic training, in which the air is truly thinner and you're actually pulling less oxygen into your body.

Resisted breathing enhances your endurance by strengthening your inspiratory and expiratory muscles, which increases your ventilatory capacity (your lung size). Hypoxic training not only strengthens those same respiratory muscles, but also results in:

-improvements in oxygen uptake, transport and utilization.

-production of neuroendocrine hormones that can have an anabolic training effect.

-improvements in immune system strength.

-increased activities of antioxidant enzymes in the brain, liver, heart and other organs (assuming you don't overdo it, in which case you actually get suppression of normal antioxidant processes).

-as you'd probably guess, increased production of red blood cells, resulting in an increased oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

Finally, restricted breathing actually gives you a bit of the benefits of both resisted and hypoxic training (8).

Before I give you some practical recommendations to implement resisted breathing, restricted breathing and hypoxic training, let’s get something straight: many resisted breathing devices are marketed as hypoxic training devices, but are not simulating altitude at all and do not result in any hypoxic adaptations.

Take, for example, altitude training masks, which seem to have become rather popular of late.

Most of these masks, which look like a Swat team gas mask or the Batman villain Bane, cannot (despite some manufacturer claims) actually change the atmospheric pressure that you’re training in. They must be designed as Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) devices to accomplish this, and most are not. Fact is, when you're charging down the treadmill sporting your scary-looking altitude training mask, you're still breathing air that is approximately 21% oxygen, with the same partial pressure of oxygen as whatever altitude you happen to be at. Most masks are simply restricting your breathing by covering up your mouth and nose. These masks can certainly be effective for improving ventilatory capacity, but don't result in the same physiological adaptations as true hypoxic training (5).

In contrast, true altitude training would require driving your car to the top of a high mountain, getting out, and going for a run; sleeping in an altitude training tent from a company such as Hypoxico; using Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT) sessions to expose the body to periods of hypoxia (9-14% oxygen) inhaled through a mask; or moving to live and train in a place like Colorado.

It is in these true altitude situations that your body doesn't get as much oxygen, makes more hemoglobin to shuttle oxygen to your muscles, and experiences many of the other favorable hormonal and immune system adaptations to hypoxia. Of course, simulating altitude or training at true altitude can be a logistical nightmare that turns into a time-suck if you don't actually live up in the mountains or have a spouse or significant who finds an altitude tent a romantic bedtime setting. Probably the most practical and implementable method currently on the market is the type of true altitude mask I mentioned earlier, which you can find in a home model through Hypoxico.

So from a practical perspective, most of us are limited to resisted breathing or restricted breathing – both of which can have significant training benefits with relatively less stress than altitude training. Here are some practical ways you can utilize these methods:

-Swim Restricted Breathing Sets: Instead of breathing every 1 or 2 strokes, breathe every 3, 5, or 7 strokes. Another favorite method of mine is to finish a swim workout by swimming 10×25 “no breather” sets, from one end of the pool to the other without breathing (9).

-Swim Resisted Breathing Sets: Get a front-mounted Swim Snorkel, and then add a CardioCap to restrict the amount of air you get through the snorkel opening. You can wear this during both long interval sets and short sprints.

-Wearing an “altitude training mask” (really a “resisted breathing device”) during an interval run or cycling session (12).

-Keep a Powerlung resisted breathing device in your car or at home and use it frequently throughout the week.

When combined with proper breathing patterns throughout your work day and a habitual deep diaphragmatic breathing pattern, these type of methods can be extremely efficient at improving your ventilatory capacity and efficiency of oxygen utilization (11).



wim hof-Cold Thermogenesis

I first discovered cold thermogenesis (CT) through Ray Cronise, a NASA Materials Engineer who appeared on my podcast along with Tim Ferriss in the episode “How To Manipulate Your Body’s Temperature To Burn More Fat“.

Later, after experimenting extensively and successfully myself with CT, I interviewed neurosurgeon Jack Kruse, who specializes in the use of CT for weight loss, hormone stabilization, and performance, in the podcast episode “How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps“.

In short, there are a multitude of performance benefits derived from frequent exposure to cold temperature, cold water immersion, cold showers, cold-hot contrast showers, or use of body cooling gear such as the Cool Fat Burner vest or 110% Compression Gear, including:

BAT Activation

Brown adipose tissue, or BAT, is primarily found around your collar bones, sternum, neck, and upper back. It is a unique kind of fat that can generate heat by burning the regular white fat (adipose tissue) found on a your stomach, butt, hips, and legs (42).

In most cases, you’d need to exercise or engage in caloric restriction to first burn glucose (blood sugar) and then move on to glycogen (stored liver and muscle sugar) before finally beginning to utilize fat as fuel source. But BAT can immediately and directly burn white fat to generate heat (14).

Although BAT is found in all mammals, babies or individuals exposed to frequent bouts of cold temperature (22) tend to have higher levels of brown fat to generate heat and help to keep them warm (16). And while exercise (13) and fasting (21) can also both increase BAT, they don’t hold a candle to CT.

To get your BAT churning away storage fat, you can use something like the Cool Fat Burner vest while you're at the office or home to keep your primary BAT areas on your collarbones and upper back activated.

Enhanced Immune System

CT has been proven to enhance the immune system, primarily by increase levels of immune system cells that help fight disease and infection (33).

Specifically, CT – likely due to it’s ability to stimulate norepinephrine release – can induce leukocytosis and granulocytosis, an increase in natural killer cell count and activity, and a rise in circulating levels of interleukin-6, all of which can significantly improve your immune system integrity (15).

Increased Cell Longevity

mTOR is a protein found in humans. Perhaps you’ve heard that worms, fruit flies and mice(31) live longer when exposed to caloric restriction, or that regular fasting periods may help to extend lifespan, and it is hypothesized that this is caused by downregulation of this mTOR pathway (21). Inhibition of the mTOR pathway can also bring about cell autophagy, which is basically how your body cleans out metabolic “junk” within the cells – and this is the method via which cells may live longer and healthier lives.

CT has an effect on cellular longevity by similar mTOR pathways as caloric restriction and intermittent fasting (32). Basically, you can think of it as a combination of simultaneously increasing your cell’s hardiness and health.

Endothelial Nitric Oxide Upregulation

Endothelial nitric oxide is found in the lining of blood vessels. Nitric oxide aids in tissue recovery and regeneration (40), enhances blood flow, dissolves plaques, and dilates blood vessels – resulting in enhanced cardiovascular efficiency and blood delivery to tissue, which is very convenient for enhancing endurance performance.

An inadequate endothelial nitric oxide system and subsequent poor blood flow can rob the muscles and the brain of blood, oxygen and nutrients (33). So both physical and mental function can be enhanced when nitric oxide is upregulated. Poor blood flow to the digestive tract is one cause of leaky gut and poor gut function, and high levels of nitric oxide can also enhance gut function.

Two activities can significantly elevate endothelial nitric oxide: exercise(30) and CT.

Higher Metabolism & Lower Blood Sugar

CT can cause your blood glucose to be burned rapidly as fuel to assist in heating the body or stored in muscles to enhance recovery or performance – before that blood sugar can potentially be converted to fat via the liver(37). So while I’m not trying to give you an excuse to cheat on your diet and then use CT, it can also come in handy should you slip up and eat too much ice cream (or too many sweet potatoes)(32).

When the metabolism of human BAT is studied using a combination of positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computed tomography (CT), glucose uptake has been observed to increase 12-fold in BAT by exposure to cold temperatures (28), along with a significant increase in metabolism and energy expenditure.

In addition, cold thermogenesis results in adinopectin activation (22). Adinopectin is a hormone released during cold exposure that breaks down fat and shuttles glucose into muscles (which can lower blood sugar). This not only has an anabolic, muscle repair effect, but can also enhance recovery. Interestingly, low adiponectin levels have been associated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (35).

This all means that cold thermogenesis can not only help keep you at a lean racing weight, but also improve your cardiovascular efficiency, your immune system strength, your health and longevity, and assist you with metabolic efficiency, thus enhancing your potential for higher amounts of fat utilization during endurance workouts or races.

Read to start shivering? Here are some practical methods you can use to begin implementing cold thermogenesis:

-Keep your home relatively cool (60-65 degrees)(28)

-While working at your computer or watching television, wear a Cool Fat Burner vest or compression gear that combines pressure and ice.

-Take a cold shower every morning for 5 minutes, or alternate 20 seconds of cold water with 10 seconds of hot water

-Once or twice per week, do 5-20 minutes of full body immersion in an ice bath, lake, or river.

-When possible, swim in cold water. When the boiler at my local YMCA broke last year and I was stuck swimming in about 55 degree water for 2 weeks, I could eat nearly anything in sight for those couple weeks and was still losing fat at an unparalleled pace.

We'll return to a discussion of cold thermogenesis and icing in the recovery chapter of this book.



heat acclimation sauna-Heat

In the same way that cold thermogenesis can cause positive cardiovascular adaptations, heat exposure can not only result in enhanced blood flow distribution, but also better ability to tolerate extremes of heat during workouts and races (44).

Gradual exposure to repetitive exercise and non-exercise heat stress produces several beneficial physiological adaptations, including improved heat transfer from core to skin, more efficient cardiovascular function, decreased heart rate during hot exercise, decreased skin and body temperature during hot exercise, increased blood volume and less electrolyte loss via kidney filtration (43).

There's two methods you can use to implement heat in your training: passive and active heat training.

Because it is relatively less uncomfortable, I am personally a bigger fan of passive heat training. Passive heat training involves sitting or standing in dry heat saunas or steam rooms to simulate heat, and induces the same cardiovascular and sweat changes as active heat training, but without the recovery implications or discomfort that accompanies active exercise in the heat – like setting up your bike trainer or treadmill inside a sauna.

So should you use a dry sauna or a wet steam room for this type of passive heat acclimation? Sweat evaporation and cooling efficiency appears to occur most favorably with hot-wet conditions like a steam room, but both a sauna or a steam room will achieve favorable results, so you can choose either.

Positive adaptations can occur with as few as 10 days of passive heat training. If you're doing passive heat training for race preparation, then for optimum results you should begin 4-8 weeks prior to your event. Begin with 10-15 minutes of passive heat training, and gradually work up to 45-50 minute sessions every 1-3 days.

In contrast to passive heat training, active heat training is crucial for experiencing the physiological and psychological responses to hot weather racing, and although more uncomfortable, results in faster results than passive heat training. Active heat training, as the name implies, involves exercising in hot conditions.

This can be accomplished via treadmill or cycling sessions in a dry heat sauna, or in a small room with a heater or humidifier under the bike or treadmill. You can use a steady-state exercise protocol or interval training. If you begin to get too hot to exercise comfortably, you’ll still get results if you stop exercising (or remove the heat) allow your body to cool, and then progress back into the exercise when you are ready (the fancy name for this start-stop method is “controlled hyperthermia”).

During active heat training, the elevation of both core and skin temperature is necessary for complete heat adaptation, but wearing too many extra layers of clothing during these sessions could actually be detrimental. Clothing is semi-permeable to water, so the climate developed under your clothing can create a wator vapor pressure that prevents sweat evaporation and rapidly elevates your discomfort and dehydration. So avoid the temptation to wear a few layers of cotton shirts or jogging pants during your heat acclimation sessions, despite what Rocky Balboa does.

One recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physics put elite rowers through a protocol of rowing at five days of heat exposure, at 90 minutes per day. The rowers were in a room at 104 degrees and 60% humidity, and their rowing wasn't too hard – but hard enough to overheat them slightly.  The result was a significant 1.5% increase in 2,000m rowing performance. This was attributed to a variety of reasons, including higher blood volume (which is actually hard to do the more “elite” of an athlete you are, so impressive in this study, in which plasma volume increased by 4.5%) and an enhanced ability to mentally handle slight dehydration. Ultimately, it tells us that heat stress, like cold stress, is beneficial.

If you're using active heat training to prepare for a race, the benefits of active heat training require 45 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in the heat for 7-10 consecutive days, or four to five times a week for two to three weeks. So you adapt more quickly compared to passive heat training, but of course, it's far less comfortable.

Here are some practical ways to implement passive and active heat training:

-Combine short workouts with sauna or steam room exposure. For example, every week I do an injury prevention protocol that involves side raises, front raises, leg raises and planks. It's a 30 minute routine, and I simply do it in the sauna.

-For passive heat training, make yourself more productive by bringing a waterproof .mp3 players or some old books or magazines you don't mind destroying with moisture and heat. You might as well learn something while you're sweating.

-If you're exercising indoors on a treadmill or bike trainer, always get more bang for your buck by keeping the temperature elevated, or bringing a heater or humidifier nearby. But as mentioned earlier, don't wear too many layers of clothing.

-During these sessions, you can use a product called “Sweet Sweat“, which is a topical combination of  oils, waxes and natural blood flow enhancers,  to increase circulation, sweating, and skin temperature and accelerate heat training results.

Finally, you can lose the positive benefits of heat training in as few as 7 days, so if you're using heat specifically to acclimate for a race, continue to engage in either active or passive heat training until just 4-6 days before your event, at which point you should begin staying out of the sun and the heat.



So that about wraps up Part 1.

I kept Part 2 separate at the risk of this being a skyscraper blog post. But I will release Part 2 in the next few days, you'll get more underground training tactics including isometric training, super slow training, use of music, sound & frequencies, greasing the groove, and even the use of gear such as compression gear and mouthpieces.

You may find it ironic that many these underground training tactics for enhancing endurance seem to fly in the face of simulating an ancient “hunter-gatherer” ancestral athlete approach. But similar to the use of nutrition supplementation, there is a fine line between living ancestrally, and neglecting to take advantage of better living through science.

For example, while I've seen plenty of evidence that pounding the pavement for hours each weekend can damage your body, deplete your hormones and cause a metabolic milieu, I haven't seen the same kind of evidence for things like cold thermogenesis or overspeed training, so I'm willing to accept these training methods as being compatible with the thrust of this book: the ideal combination of health and performance.

Do you have questions, edits, comments or feedback? Leave them below!

Finally, I am looking to take on true fitness and nutrition geek to help out a bit with research for this book project. If you are game, you'll of course be named in the finished book, and work hand-in-hand with me over the next few months. E-mail me if you're interested.


Links To Previous Chapters of “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life”

Part 1 – Introduction

-Part 1 – Preface: Are Endurance Sports Unhealthy?

-Part 1 – Chapter 1: How I Went From Overtraining And Eating Bags Of 39 Cent Hamburgers To Detoxing My Body And Doing Sub-10 Hour Ironman Triathlons With Less Than 10 Hours Of Training Per Week.

-Part 1 – Chapter 2: A Tale Of Two Triathletes – Can Endurance Exercise Make You Age Faster?

Part 2 – Training

-Part 2 – Chapter 1: Everything You Need To Know About How Heart Rate Zones Work

-Part 2 – Chapter 2: The Two Best Ways To Build Endurance As Fast As Possible (Without Destroying Your Body) – Part 1

-Part 2 – Chapter 2: The Two Best Ways To Build Endurance As Fast As Possible (Without Destroying Your Body) – Part 2

-Part 2 – Chapter 3: Underground Training Tactics For Enhancing Endurance – Part 1

Also…for those of you who like to look ahead, the rest of Part 2 is going to include:

Underground Training Tactics For Enhancing Endurance – Part 2

-Addressing The Notoriously Neglected Endurance Training Skills: Strength, Speed, Power, Balance and Mobility



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Heat Training Research
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Ask Ben a Podcast Question

23 thoughts on “Underground Training Tactics For Enhancing Endurance – Part 1

  1. steph says:

    Hi Ben,

    If you don’t have access to steam room/ sauna, how hot does the Heat exposure have to be to get the beneficial physiological improvements?

    1. It depends, I'm not sure how you're going to be exposing yourself to heat… The temperature inside a typical infrared sauna is about 100-140°F, dry saunas range between 140-180°F, and steam rooms 110-114°F.

  2. Mike Solly says:

    This photo of Bane so good!

  3. seancauffiel says:

    1. What is an optimal temperature for cold thermogenesis? I do 10 minutes, 3 times a week in a 17C (62F) bath, but it doesn't feel cold anymore. Should I increase my time?

    2. What is the optimal way to warm back up? I have to bike home from the pool after the cold bath. Is it harmful to exercise too soon after cold bath?

    3. Is it equally beneficial to stand waist deep in cold water, or should I be in up to my neck to get the most out of it?

    Thanks, man.

    1. You need to read this because I answer a ton of these questions here: http://www.t-nation.com/training/cold-temps-for-a…

      And my favorite way to warmup afterwards (if it's really, really cold) is 1) distract myself by working while I shiver (e.g. replying to blog comments or emails!); 2) 100 jumping jacks; 3) if it gets really bad, a warm magnesium bath salts soak, but that's rare.

  4. Ann says:

    You are missing "other" after "significant" in the part about sleeping in an altitude tent. Very informative stuff!

  5. Adam says:

    Hey Ben, is periodization still relevant when following this type of protocol? Thanks for the great information! -Adam

    1. Yes, absolutely, Adam.

  6. Chris Hughes says:

    When do you do the cold shower are you warming up afterwards with a warm shower or does that defeat the purpose?

    1. I just jump right in Chris. Makes you tough. ;)

  7. Jan says:

    "anything in site" -> anything in sight
    "cause a metabolic milieu": missing an adjective? Milieu = setting / environment.

  8. Greg says:

    Hey Ben. Do you think using CT at times when your immune system is low could be detremental?. That shock to core body temperature should perhaps be avoided?

    1. If you're sick, then ANYTHING that produces a mild to moderate stress on your body, including exercise, may inhibit speed of healing. But "immune system low" is painting with a pretty broad brush, so tough to say. If you have a fever and the sniffles I wouldn't be hopping in a cold bath or lake…

  9. Chris Hughes says:

    Just purchased one of your custom plans last week. Excited to get training with all this cool info.

    1. Haha, you are about to jump into the deep end of the pool Chris. I'm putting finishing touches on your plan tomorrow.

  10. feerlessfood says:

    "B) you want to figure out ways to strength your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and nervous system without significant damage to your joints, health, or metabolism"


    "Known as an also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)" **Double here

    Sorry man, I'm was an English major. Cool stuff though

    1. Fixed, Chuck. Thanks dude!

      1. feerlessfood says:

        No problem- keep the info coming!–Chuck [email protected]@Amerigroup.com Www.ChuckFeerless.com

  11. lucas says:

    another great chapter
    learning and slowly adding to my routine.

  12. Eric says:

    Love these new posts, Ben. A lot of interesting information here. Will the book go into more depth on each of these methods and put them all together in a possible training plan? If so, really looking forward to it.

    1. Yes, Eric. Anyone who buys the book when it comes out in October is going to get access to very detailed training plans that put all this together…

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