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Viking Warrior Conditioning Study

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  • Viking Warrior Conditioning Study

    Being somewhat of a fitness nut (due in no large part to my current trade in the US Army) I am always keen to study aspects of fitness and apply them to my training. I recently completed a book by Kenneth Jay, a Danish fitness trainer known as Viking Warrior Conditioning: The Scientific Approach to Forging a Heart of Elastic Steel: An Application of the Theory Behind Proper VO2 Max Training.

    In the introduction he mentions a study conducted sometime before 2009 (the year the book was published). The study entailed sports scientists, exercise physiologists, engineers, and historians from universities across Europe determining the level of conditioning that ancient warriors possessed, namely the ability to cover great distances on foot under load of heavy armor, sail/row ancient warships, etc. In it the strength and endurance of the average man of those times was said to be difficult to match in this day and age.

    I'm curious if anyone has heard of the aforementioned study? If so I'd actually be interested to read through the results.
    "Conquer Yourself." -Vladimir Salnikov, 1500m Olympic Swimming Champion, 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

  • #2
    I believe VO2 Max training is a good thing.

    I do not doubt that VO2 Max training with the author's preferred work to rest ratios of 15/15 or 36/36 will produce great results. But how do we know that is the ultimate? It was not too long ago the Tabata 20/10 ratio for eight minutes was being touted as the latest and greatest interval protocol.

    I do not doubt that VO2 Max training with the author's preferred method of kettlebells will produce great results. But how do we know that is the ultimate method and not hill sprints or burpees? Or hill sprints or burpees with a weight vest?

    It seems to me the common theme is that you need to somehow get yourself really winded, rest a short time, and then somehow get yourself really winded again and again and again. Who knows what the ideal method, work/rest ratio and total time is? Maybe they will vary from person to person?

    I have not heard of the study you mentioned but I have heard the Romans drilled with a practice shield and gladius that weighed twice what real ones did. Not having stop watches to time their intervals, I'm betting they just drilled until they couldn't breath, took a short break to huff and puff, and then did it again...and again...and again...with a Centurion standing by to beat their ass if that's what it took.
    Last edited by KRJ; 09 Dec 12, 19:09.
    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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    • #3
      I recently completed the MI40 workout, which is entirely weight training and before that, P90X and P90X2 and Insanity and Insanity: Asylum. I find that this has greatly improved my Kendo practice. The weapon and armor feel much lighter for me now although overheating is still my biggest issue wearing the full getup. I've yet to try something with kettlebells.

      I did see a program which focused on karate training in Okinawa and they used kettlebells. It supposedly gave them great endurance and explosive power.

      When I took Aikido we would do 300-500 suburi/practice cuts with a wooden sword, twice the weight of a real weapon.

      I read something else that the "infantryman" throughout the ages generally has to lug 70-80lbs of stuff over long distances, be it armor, weapons or other gear so I would think that over time, the infantryman is in about the same condition then as he is today.
      TTFN

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      • #4
        I do not doubt that VO2 Max training with the author's preferred method of kettlebells will produce great results. But how do we know that is the ultimate method and not hill sprints or burpees? Or hill sprints or burpees with a weight vest?
        True, and I don't think that the book is the end all/be all of a way to improve one's VO2 Max but it's a way to go about it.

        I have not heard of the study you mentioned but I have heard the Romans drilled with a practice shield and gladius that weighed twice what real ones did. Not having stop watches to time their intervals, I'm betting they just drilled until they couldn't breath, took a short break to huff and puff, and then did it again...and again...and again...with a Centurion standing by to beat their ass if that's what it took.
        I'm familiar with that piece of information as well.

        I was just curious if anyone here who had heard of that study. If it ostensibly involved multiple universities throughout Europe I figure a history forum was a good place to ask if anyone had ever heard of it.

        I read something else that the "infantryman" throughout the ages generally has to lug 70-80lbs of stuff over long distances, be it armor, weapons or other gear so I would think that over time, the infantryman is in about the same condition then as he is today.
        That I definitely would agree on.
        "Conquer Yourself." -Vladimir Salnikov, 1500m Olympic Swimming Champion, 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

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        • #5
          My personal view is that you build strength, and live endurance.

          I do static contraction training and by also changing my diet (probably bigger part) I went from 275 peak down to 186 low I've gone back up to ~200-205 in the past month but I've gotten a lot skinnier from before.

          For endurance, etc. actually living these things and doing the tasks conditions your brain to accept the load, and work more obligingly.

          I don't see the point for example, of marching 20 miles everyday but somehow having a lifestyle where I do that is better. It's like warriors who train in the martial arts everyday, living in that society they are probably the strongest.

          Psychology is such a big part of warfare, you'd be stupid (lol) to ignore that.

          Also, you can have all the cardio strength you want, doesn't mean anything if you don't have anaerobic strength which is why the static contraction training is so good. You end up getting a healthy amount of cardio strength, and endurance from strength training, not the other way around though.

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          • #6
            As for the Vikings...they didn't usually live past the age of 35-40 years and then got a big funeral in a burning boat.
            ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
            IN MARE IN COELO

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
              As for the Vikings...they didn't usually live past the age of 35-40 years and then got a big funeral in a burning boat.
              The fallacy of life expectancy statistics; anecdotal evidence as well as the fact that many tribes of hunter-gatherers have 50% or more living to 65 or beyond shows that life expectancy in societies without a lot of organized medicine is skewed down by a high infant mortality and childhood death rate.

              You live to be an adult, you'll live long. Has been true, and still is. The vikings def. living longer than most men in the jungle, Idk about every tribe but there was some euro guy who lived in new guinea for awhile and one woman said her 1st husband was killed by her 2nd, her 2nd by the 1st brother, 3rd by some next guy.

              Lol, what you get when you mix our natural state, with our un-natural socially created fenced-in relationship fabric(slavery).

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              • #8
                Mug guzzling and wench chasing is a good workout .
                SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GunzRX View Post
                  My personal view is that you build strength, and live endurance.
                  To put it another way, I've heard some strength and conditioning coaches advocate using supplemental training to build general strength and using sport practice to build specific endurance.

                  For example, a triathlete should not do high repetition training for local muscular endurance in the gym. He should do heavy strength training in the gym and let his swimming, biking and running add the endurance.

                  Boxers have been among the last to adopt strength training because traditional trainers associate it with body building and slowness. So trainers have long wanted fighters to do long runs in the morning and some high repetition calisthenics as a finisher after boxing training. But Juan Manuel Marquez used a strength and conditioning coach to prepare for his last fight with Pacquiao and he still looked quick and was definitely hitting harder than ever before - as proven by Pacquiao lying on the canvas.
                  Last edited by KRJ; 10 Dec 12, 17:19.
                  "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                    Mug guzzling and wench chasing is a good workout .
                    Sport specific endurance?
                    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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