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So You Want to Improve Your Conditioning?


Coach Andy gives some insight into what endurance training should feel like and how to approach it.

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So you want to improve your conditioning?

Doing a deep dive on Endurance Training you quickly find that there are a lot of different systems, classifications and styles of conditioning.

You run into terms like VO2max, Anaerobic Threshold, O2 saturation, fatigue index, M.A.S. etc.

It sounds complicated.

With all of this running through your head, you may ask yourself "Where do I get started?"

The answer is simple:

The Cardiac Output Method (or plain vanilla low-intensity aerobic activity).

  • 20-90min sessions of some kind of high turnover/low impact/cyclical activity. Your heart rate must stay somewhere between 130-150bpm.  
  • Running, swimming, rowing, riding, or skipping are movements that work well.
  • This method lends its self well to circuits (Row, then Bike, then Run, repeat), and you can measure progress by increasing pace/power/distance at similar heart rates.

The Cardiac Output method often gets tossed aside because it doesn't "feel" overly challenging. Its usually just a bit faster than a conversational pace.

But there's a big return on investment.

Cardiac Output is exceptionally effective at building a strong aerobic base.  

It does this by causing an adaptation in the heart to increase the internal diameter of its left ventricle and allowing it to pump a higher volume of blood with each stroke. 

This results in a lower resting heart rate, lower working heart rates, lowered blood pressure, and it helps increase work capacity.

There are a lot of wins there.

If your resting heart rate is above 60 beats per minute, the general recommendation is 1-3 Cardiac Output sessions a week to widen your aerobic base.

If your resting heart rate is below 60 beats per minute, Cardiac Output work still has value. But your sessions can be less frequent, and you can start to layer in higher output conditioning methods into your programming.

 

 

---- How to find your Resting Heart Rate without an HR monitor:

  • At the wrist, lightly press the index and middle fingers of one hand on the opposite wrist, just below the base of the thumb.
  • At the neck, lightly press the side of the neck, just below your jawbone.
  • Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply by four. That's your heart rate.

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If you want to learn more about endurance training or perhaps dive down the rabbit hole and give a 6-week program a try, contact andy@madlab.ca