Power Stroke

Get fit for summer's hottest sport—in less time than you'd think

Jul 1, 2004
Outside Magazine

YOU'VE GOT THE THREE P's: playboat, PFD, and paddle. But what about arms that can muscle you out of a Class IV hydraulic? Hmmm. Outfitting yourself is easy, but don't forget the engine that drives the whole shebang: you. We can whip you into the kind of shape needed for paddling (or climbing or surfing or, heck, softball) in three weeks—and do it over your lunch hour.

Leading our crash course is Greg Glassman, the Santa Cruz, California–based creator of CrossFit, an intense but mercifully brief regimen that uses circuit training to build muscular endurance. For more than a decade, his program of combining power lifts (such as cleans) and bursts of high-intensity cardio drills (like sprints) has been making already fit Los Angeles Police Department officers and Secret Service agents even fitter, and improving the preseason conditioning of athletes like two-time Olympic skier Eva Twardokens and alpinist Mark Twight.

CrossFit works by developing stamina. "This is your body's ability to use energy at a local level for extended periods," says Glassman. That makes it perfect for navigating whitewater, where quick, powerful reactions will help you handle funky waves and unexpected rocks. You'll build stamina by teaching your body to cope with non-oxygen-burning exercise, while simultaneously taxing the cardiovascular system via endurance drills. Variety is also crucial. "Regimens of constant variation executed at nonstop high intensity develop superior fitness," says Glassman. "That's the basic truth."

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Get tips. Get stories. Get fit.

Looking for the best in fitness? We got you covered.

Thank you!