A Letter to Students – Band Camp, Part 2

Interval Training for Marching Band Camp

Dear students,

Band camp is coming up and I hope you are all very excited to get started. I know that I am really looking forward to getting to know you all and working with you all. I have heard great things about the students and the program here at school and am ready to jump in and take us to the next level!

So, take a step outside…pretty hot eh? Yea it’s hot and that is to be expected for summertime. Yes it’s beautiful; the beach, the mountains, the trees, the sky…and the humidity , heat, and sun oh my! Whatever apprehensions you may have about battling the heat and physical work that band camp will surely provide can be put aside. Fear not, for you have my word that I will not make you run or spring or drop and give me (or anybody) 20. Rather than getting you into shape at camp I have put together a program to get you all into shape before camp. It’d be great if you did this every day for 2 weeks prior to camp…but let’s be realistic (phew, right?!). Even if you do this routine once or twice before camp it will make a huge HUGE difference in your ability to be awesome during band camp. And that is our goal after all isn’t it? To look and sound awesome! Yes it is!

You’re all very smart and therefore require a more intellectual approach to condition your bodies. Here is what we recommend for your work out:
Interval running –

30 seconds at a medium pace
30 seconds at your fastest pace (with a sense of acceleration)
30 seconds at a very easy job (not walking)
Repeat ad naseum. 

And here is why this workout is superior for our activity (bonus for those of you who know what ad naseum means).

First of all, this constant variation in the speed and intensity of the work out on your body keeps your brain engaged. If you set out to run 2 miles and do it all at a medium or nonchalant pace your brain (in an effort to protect your body and maximize energy storage) will recognize that you are not pushing to the extreme and will therefore only use energy from easy access storage centers like sugars or light fats. When you keep changing the intensity of demands on your body your brain doesn’t know what is coming next and therefore will try to stay on its toes (not literally) the whole time. This causes your body to access your bigger energy deposits (larger fat deposit sites) and will result in deeper conditioning. Furthermore, when you are in the easy job interval your body will still be taking energy from its deepest sources. So in a sense you are getting more bang for your buck. Another benefit is that your air intake will be used to saturate your blood stream with oxygen to supply to your muscles. Since your pace is constantly shifting your muscles will need more or less air during each different interval. This will cause your heart (which is a pumping muscle) to acquire greater control of its function as there will be times when all the oxygen is not enough (fastest pace) and your heart will need to pump furiously contrasting to times when the oxygen intake is too much (slowest pace) and your body will need to learn to handle this surplus. What does that sound like?? Breath control! Which is obviously one of the most important aspects of playing a wind instrument. Another point is that the activity you do while marching often fluctuates from big steps sizes to small and tempo variations. This type of work out will prepare you best for all of that.
If you can get that down then you’ll really be ready to amaze yourself when that first basics block starts in band camp. Whatever you do, don’t give in to your weaker side and down shift to a walk on the easy jog interval! Stay mentally strong…you’ll need it!…

And those of you who hold heavy instruments should really consider doing sets of arm circles. You can remember how heavy those baritones (and yes even trumpets) can get!! Nobody likes getting yelled at to keep those horns up.

Thanks for reading and informing yourselves!
More to come…See ya soon!

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