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Thread: Super low LISS?

  1. #1
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    Default Super low LISS?

    Jordan,

    I'm interested in your opinion on the following and whether it would negatively impact strength gains or maintaining strength.

    My employer has made a number of 'treadmill desks' available to us. Basically, a treadmill below a standing-height desk, the idea being you walk on the treadmill at some speed so low that it does not interfere with your desk work, but provides some ongoing activity during the day.

    I tried one and am somewhat surprised to find that I like it--if I use it at 1 mile per hour or so, I forget about it after the first few minutes, but I end up feeling a lot better, back-wise and generally, than if I sat all day long. According to the display, it burns about 120 calories per hour, so I'd have to adjust my diet based on that and my weight goals.

    Obviously this is not a replacement for conditioning by prowler, rower, etc. But is it a negative for strength like LISS jogging/running? So far it does not seem to have a negative effect on me (I just add more milk to make up the calories since I want to maintain my current weight). There's no eccentric loading to speak of, so that shouldn't be a factor. In fact the intensity is so low, it doesn't really feel like a workout. I'd guess it wouldn't be much different than having a job that kept you on your feet all day. Maybe the lack of eccentric loading and bias towards fat metabolism (if similar to other LISS) would make this a useful addition during a cutting phase?

    I'm thinking it should be called MISS (micro-intensity steady state) so folks can start heated internet arguments about whether to use the HIIT or MISS training program. Haha. Sorry. Thanks for your opinion.

  2. #2
    Jordan Feigenbaum is offline Starting Strength Coach
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    I don't foresee this being a big deal at all once you get used to it and I think this is analogous to "mail-man GPP", i.e. the mailman walks 20,000 steps a day but can still train heavy after work because he's gotten used to that volume of LISS, if you will. A person who just started at the post office gets wrecked from day 1's 20K steps and because he's not used to it, he needs to modify his training accordingly to allow a bit of transient performance drop off.

    Perhaps the most poignant issue I could raise with this style of "cardio" is with it's effectiveness to do anything useful at all. How can we expect a modality, frequency, and intensity of exercise that does not perturb our homeostasis much- as evidenced by fatigue, transient performance loss, etc.- to cause a beneficial adaptation? In other words, because the thing is so easy, I don't know how much utility it has with respect to caloric expenditure, cardiovascular conditioning, etc. I highly doubt that your "net" caloric expenditure has changed over a 24-48hr period due to this type of exercise simply because the body is readily adaptive and there needs to be some critical threshold of "stimulation" that needs to be crossed to drive any and all adaptations.

    On the other hand, I think the benefits of this type of intervention is more realistically applied to orthopedic benefits. Anything that gets you up out of the chair, into a better posture, pumps blood through the muscles, and moves the limbs, sinew, and soft tissue structures through their normal anatomical range of motion can only benefit the person doing it, in my opinion.
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    Thanks Jordan.

    They did give us a brochure with a blurb on it touting research by one James Levine at Mayo, so I looked him up on medline. Lotta ink spilled over the topic. Most are not open access, but I did find a science article he wrote relating to low intensity activity. Sorry, it's hosted on some company's website, not trying to promote whatever crap they're selling:

    http://www.gruvetechnologies.com/Rol...etofatgain.pdf

    The Science article is interesting. On the other hand, one of the recent medline abstracts is pretty revealing:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417995

    Basically exactly what you said, it doesn't do much for adaptation. But your opinion is helpful to me. Mainly, I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to interfere with lifting like regular LISS. I suppose I'll keep doing it as long as my back likes it better than sitting all day.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

    On the other hand, I think the benefits of this type of intervention is more realistically applied to orthopedic benefits. Anything that gets you up out of the chair, into a better posture, pumps blood through the muscles, and moves the limbs, sinew, and soft tissue structures through their normal anatomical range of motion can only benefit the person doing it, in my opinion.
    For desk-bound worker, simply raising the worksurface(s) to standing height is probably enough. Probably dramatic, actually.

  5. #5
    Jordan Feigenbaum is offline Starting Strength Coach
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    Quote Originally Posted by IlioTiberius View Post
    Basically exactly what you said, it doesn't do much for adaptation. But your opinion is helpful to me. Mainly, I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to interfere with lifting like regular LISS. I suppose I'll keep doing it as long as my back likes it better than sitting all day.
    I don't think it'll interfere.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Murphy View Post
    For desk-bound worker, simply raising the worksurface(s) to standing height is probably enough. Probably dramatic, actually.
    Maybe it is, but the movement coupled with not standing has the potential for greater benefits obviously.
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  6. #6
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    I work full time at a standing desk. I'm a middle-aged male computer programmer.

    Cost: 12" of concrete blocks under my existing desk ($5), and an adjustable-height keyboard tray ($200).
    I originally bought a used high-rise ergo office chair ($200) to sit at when my legs got tired. But I ended up sitting all day instead. When the chair broke I replaced it with an uncomfortable kitchen stool ($40) which finally forced me to actually stand.

    Seriously, don't pay $1000 for a brand-new ergo office chair or motorized adjustable-height desk, it's counter-productive. Your alternative to standing should be uncomfortable. Discomfort is your goal here.

    Adaption: took about a week once I lost the comfy chair, with plenty of tiredness and even pain until then. It had little impact on training even during the adaption period. I still get some foot pain, fidgeting helps.

    Benefits: posture feels better, I can eat a little more w/o gaining fat, and it's easier to stay awake in the afternoon. It's really not that dramatic if you are already exercising regularly. Probably a game-changer for a completely sedentary person though.

    And the epidemiological data is clear: people who admit to sitting a lot on surveys are less healthy than people who claim to stand a lot on surveys. I now claim to stand a lot, so I should live longer.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    I don't think it'll interfere.




    Maybe it is, but the movement coupled with not standing has the potential for greater benefits obviously.
    Sure, stand-up desks are huge trend in the industry; stand-up (or seated*) exercise machine desks/chairs much less so. Take a walk while you're on your conference calls. * I saw one dude who had built a recumbent bike into his workstation. Seattle is odd.

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