Slimdoggy Fitness Tip: Negative Splits – Turning a Negative into a Positive
We often hear of the expression, “two negatives don’t make a positive” or its cousin, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. In fitness, I am happy to say, there is a way to make a negative into a positive. The technique, called “negative split’, is often used by runners but the concept applies to all types of fitness including canine fitness.
Negative Split Defined
In running parlance, a negative split is when you run faster during the second part of a race then you did the first part. It means that you finished strong and gave a full effort. In other sports, phrases with similar meanings include “last one, best one”, “championship rounds”, and “we own the fourth quarter”. Every one of these sayings is meant to provide the athlete inspiration to finish strong and give their 100% effort.
Benefits of Negative Splits
No matter what your sport or fitness activity, training with a negative split mentality is a great way to workout and offers many benefits:
- Maximum results in minimal time. The added intensity at the end of the exercise session makes the workout more effective and eliminates the need for long, slow workouts.
- If you are a walker, runner, or swimmer, using negative splits will make you faster and will burn more calories.
- If you like to strength train, going all out through the end of your workout will enhance strength and muscle gains and increase calorie burn.
When it comes to your dog, these same benefits apply. Your dog will get fitter, stronger, and burn more calories when you train them to finish strong. Of course, most dogs will expect that you lead by example, so if you want to start using negative splits with your dog, be prepared to do so yourself.
Examples of Negative Splits
There are many ways to implement negative splits into your training, no matter what type of exercise you do. Here are three practical examples:
Walking/Running/Swimming: as mentioned, running negative splits is a common technique to build speed and endurance and it can apply to walking and swimming as well. Try mapping an out and back route for you and your dog and time your segments. Keep an eye on the watch as you get close to the end so you can pick up the pace if necessary. Start with modest goals; even shaving a second or two off your time is progress. Your dog might even start to ‘learn’ this behavior and start to speed up towards the end of the workout. Both Slimdoggy Jack and Maggie are now conditioned to speed up at the turnaround point. It is really awesome and we all get a better workout because of it!
Strength Training: when lifting weights or performing any kind of strength training (e.g. body weight training, Pilates, core work with your dog), try to make your last set of each exercise your best set. This means going to failure or near failure when possible. In Pilates, our last exercise in a complex is often done to failure and our body is trembling as we attempt to hold form. It is hard, but it is effective.
Make it so for your dog as well. Get a K9FitVest and do some hill work or core work with your pet. Make the last set the hardest by going faster up the hill or holding the core contraction the longest at the end.
Yoga: try and hold your postures for the full amount of time if not longer. Practice being the last one out of a posture and keeping the proper form throughout each pose. Same for ‘doga’ or any type of stretching or mobility work you do with your dog. Hold the postures and make the last set the best set for maximum benefit.
As always, both you and your dog should get checked out by your doctor/vet to make sure there is no medical reason that would preclude you from vigorous exercise. Once you are cleared, try to incorporate negative splits into you and your dog’s exercise routines and watch as you become faster, stronger, and more fit.
Don’t forget K9Kamp – have you been working on your hide & seek challenge? How’s it going?
Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!