Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pomodoro Workout

So you know, a pomodoro workout is a workout that you do as a break between pomodoros. Pretty short breaks, like less than five minutes. And a lot of them, I do five 45-minute pomodoros in an afternoon—i.e., study for forty-five minutes then jump rope for less than five minutes, just once or twice a week. I don't have a giant fitness goal for this, I just have to digest the information I stuffed myself with before I can stuff myself with more information. But I also just learned that shorter, more frequent plyometric sessions separated by a few hours of recovery have been shown to be more effective in increasing bone strength than longer single sessions. So, I'm doing it right!

I liked what this guy had to say about getting started:

When first jumping rope, it is important that you become proficient with the rope before using it as a conditioning tool. If you have never jumped rope before, you can expect some initial frustration. You must first view your rope sessions as skill workouts. You need to develop skill with the rope, and then add it to your conditioning arsenal. If you try to use the rope for conditioning before developing skill with the rope, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration.

Start with frequent, yet short jump rope sessions. For example, start with 20-second intervals on the rope. Just try to skip for 20 seconds without tripping on the rope. Keep the intervals brief, and stop before fatigue mounts. View these sessions as skill based workouts. You are learning a new skill (rope skipping). The body is much more capable of learning when it is fresh, not fatigued.

Perform these skill emphasis sessions regularly. Frequent practice is recommended. Eventually, you will move past 20 seconds, and begin working with 1, 2, and 3-minute rounds. Many boxers will skip rope for several rounds during each training session. 30 to 60 seconds of rest will separate each round.

He has good advice for picking out a jumprope and adjusting it to the proper length, too. A jumprope is a really simple thing that's been made complicated, keep it simple.

I started with three sets of 20 skips without tripping, nice and easy. I do running in place skips, because that's how you move your feet when you skate. I mastered that pretty quickly and then strung all three sets together, so 60 skips without tripping at a pace of about ten skips per ten seconds. NB: I count two foot contacts, one right and one left, as one skip.

Sets Skips Tempo Sessions
3 20 10 skips/10 seconds 5
1 60 10 skips/6 seconds 5
1 100 10 skips/6 seconds 5
2 100 10 skips/6 seconds 2.5

Where I've been for a few weeks is speeding up the pace to ten skips per six seconds, so 100 skips in a minute. I'm working on two goals, 1) not tripping, which I can do about 40% of the time, and 2) not slowing down, which I can't do at all. And my speed doesn't gradually decline, I can pretty reliably do 70 quick skips and then I hit the wall and visibly slow down. When I do finish without tripping, it is in sad slo-mo.

That's okay, I'm so much better than when I started! It's really rewarding, the feedback is built right in. And for such a small footprint workout, I feel like it's already improving my foot speed and agility on skates. I wonder how I'll be when 100 skips ain't no thang...