intervals

Here is the second part to Will Turner’s last blog post that got some good feedback from facebook followers…enjoy!

In my last blog post, Misconceptions of Conditioning, I went over some of physiological benefits of aerobic training.  The idea of this post is to take the information from the last post and give out specific protocols that can be used to maximally develop an athlete’s aerobic system.  The examples that I am going to give are protocols that I’ve learned from B at Quinnipiac, Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamaison, and my other internships as well at my own personal strength and conditioning experiences.

Cardiac Output Method:  To utilize this method, you need to do any type of low intensity movement for 30-90 minutes.

  • This can include anything such as sport specific movements like bag work for a fighter or shooting drills for a basketball player, or even just shuffling, skipping, crawling; basically, any type of movement.
  • Bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills can all be used for cardiac output, all which is necessary is that the athlete’s heart rate is in the 130-150 range and maintained for at least 30 minutes.
  • Jogging on a track or anywhere really is very effective, try to minimize the amount of hills
  • Lastly, any type of body weight movements such as squats, jumping rope, jumping jacks, etc for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remember, this method is used to increase cardiac output by eccentric hypertrophy, allowing a greater stroke volume.
  • Time can be increased by about five minutes from week to week in order to keep progressing

Cardiac Power Intervals: This method is used to increase the oxygen delivery rate and cardiac strength

  • 60-120 seconds per rep, high velocity per rep with max heart rate
  • Again, sport specific movements can be used, this may just be sprints for most sports, but for something like fighting, you can use max effort sparring for 60-120 seconds
  • Sprints from 400-700 meters around a track is very effective, with rest consisting of 2-5 minutes with heart rate recovering to 120 bpm.  4-12 reps per session.
  • Moderate resistance bike sprints or airdyne sprints for time (about 60 seconds) or distance (0.5-1 miles).  Bike sprint reps can go from 4-12 reps and airdynes can go from 2-6 reps.  Again, the lower end of the reps will be towards the beginning phases and increase in latter phases.
  • Hill or stadium sprints for 60-120 seconds can be very effective and will also help increase muscular power-endurance.  60-120 seconds per rep with 2 minutes between each rep.  4-12 reps per session.

Tempo Method: used for slow twitch muscle fiber hypertrophy.  This is important because slow twitch muscle fibers have greater oxidative capacities compared to fast twitch fibers.

  • Tempo training is unlike the first two because it uses weight training.  Compound (core), multijoint exercises such as squat, bench press, deadlift, pull-ups, etc.  Each rep should take about 4-5 seconds utilizing the tempo on one or more of the three phases of movement (eccentric, isometric, concentric).  Each set should be 8-10 reps with 30-40 seconds between each set.  If doing multiple exercises, take 6-8 minutes active rest between exercises.
  • Circuit training can also be utilized in this method.  30 seconds of work paired with 30-60 seconds of rest between each exercise.  Compound and assistance exercises can be utilized; it is recommended to alternate upper and lower body exercises to avoid local muscular fatigue.

High Intensity Continuous Training: HICT increases the oxidative abilities of fast twitch muscle fibers.  This method utilizes high intensity with low speed.

  • Bike or elliptical hill climbs for 10-20 minutes.  This can be done by starting at moderate intensity and increasing intensity every 1-2 minutes for 3-5 minutes and starting over again.  Intensity or time can be increased from week to week for progression.
  • Heavy (and I mean heavy) sled dragging for 10-20 minutes continuous.  Keep the sled moving the entire time.  Athlete can move, forward, backward, left, right, crossover, etc.

Threshold Training:

  • This is very hard to measure because you will need some equipment or at least a heart rate monitor that most people do that have.  First, you need to do type of VO2 max test to figure out what the athletes anaerobic threshold is.
  • Once an anaerobic threshold is found, you can use any type of running, bike, elliptical, sport specific drill.  It is just important that you keep your heart rate with 10 beats +/- of ANT  the entire rep.  Reps should go for 3-10 minutes per rep with 1-5 minutes rest between each rep.

I hope this blog helps to clear up information from the last post, and that it will help you to create an aerobic conditioning program for yourself, your clients, or your teams.  Remember that it is very important to have a great cardiac output and stroke volume as a base to build on.  Then you can start increasing aerobic cardiac power and ananerobic capacity/power.  Now go run!

We have a guest blog post from one of my current interns, Will Turner.  He’s been delving into the topic of conditioning and specifically aerobic training and wanted to write this post…enjoy!

“Why should I ever run a mile when I will never run that long in my sport?” “Every play is at full speed in my sport, I shouldn’t be running slow for conditioning.” “Running long distances is going to make me slower, weaker, and less powerful.”

Ever hear any of those quotes from a coach or even find yourself saying it?  Conditioning may be one of the most unappreciated and underdeveloped aspects of training when it comes to all sports – especially the intermittent power sports.  There are much more aspects to conditioning for intermittent sport than just working the alactic energy system.  In fact, working the aerobic system is the most important energy system when it comes to conditioning for any sport; sadly, it is also the most understood system.

Since graduating from Springfield College in May and interning at Quinnipiac University under Brijesh, my thinking of conditioning has been revolutionized.  Daily talks with B, while reading Ultimate MMA Conditioning Joel Jamieson have given me knowledge about conditioning that I never had before, stuff that I didn’t learn in the classroom.  Although Jamieson’s book is specifically written for MMA conditioning, there are principles that can be taken away from it for almost any sport.

One large principle that I learned over the past couple of months is that conditioning is just like anything else in the athletic world where everybody is different.  One single approach will not work for every single athlete; each athlete has different genetics and that will lead to different energy system developments over a lifetime.  Genetics play a huge role in conditioning just as they do in strength training; you can only go so far with the genes that you were given.  So, the first mistake that people make is taking the general approach and using a conditioning program that is not designed for their needs.

Another huge mistake that people make, myself included, is trying to squeeze all of their conditioning into the month or weeks before an event.  This approach will not be successful because great conditioning is a long process that needs qualities to be built on top of each other for optimal success.

Conditioning is a measure of how well you are able to meet energy productions for the demand of your sport; it is very sport specific.  A football player who can go 100% every play is just as well conditioned as a runner that can run a sub 5-minute mile.

The two components of conditioning include: energy production and energy utilization.  Energy production is the sum of rate of energy production (power), duration of energy (production), and total potential of energy production (biological power).  Energy utilization is the total of central governing power (power regulation), efficiency of energy expenditure (skill/technique), and neuromuscular contractility (mechanical).  Basically, energy production is the sum of how fast you can create energy and how long you can maintain that production for (power+capactity).  Energy utilization is how efficiently you can use that energy with technique, as well as how much your brain regulates muscle contractility (to fatigue).

Now, I’ll get into what is really important: the aerobic system.  The aerobic system is the only one that can break down fats as well as sugars for energy, which is an advantage for it, right off the bat.  The most important functions of the aerobic system are refueling the anaerobic system and clearing out the byproducts from the anaerobic systems and restock the mechanisms of the systems.  The former is the part that most athletes do not realize.  Even when you are primarily using the lactic and alactic systems, the aerobic system is the one that is doing the refueling.  An important thing to know for the aerobic system, especially for training, is the anaerobic threshold.  The anaerobic threshold, usually measured by heart rate, is the point at which the aerobic system cannot keep up with the energy demands placed upon it, so the anaerobic systems are the primary energy producers.

There are three ways to increase the production of the aerobic system: 1) increase O2 supply to working muscles, 2) increase how much oxygen the muscles themselves can you, 3) increase the supply raw materials your body uses to produce energy aerobically.  The following methods will all help to build the aerobic system in one or more of those ways:

  1. Cardiac output Method- This method is a pretty standard method that most people know about and use.  It is pretty simple in that all you need to do is keep your heart rate between 130-150 for at least 30 minutes.  This method is going to increase eccentric cardiac hypertrophy, which will allow the left ventricle to hold more blood and in turn, increase the amount of cardiac output to the peripheral systems.
  2. Cardiac Power Intervals- This method is designed to improve oxygen supply at higher intensities and improve the power-endurance of the cardiac fibers.  In order to do this, you need to go as hard as you can for 60-120 seconds; you want max heart rate on each rep.  For rest intervals, you want to look for you HR to get back around 120 or 2-5 minutes between reps.  Physiologically, this method increases mitochondrial density, while increasing the contractile strength of the cardiac fibers.
  3. Tempo Method- This is a method that I have been using a lot since at Quinnipiac, and I have found it very successful for muscular endurance.  This method utilizes long tempos for exercises, lasting 4-5 seconds per rep for 8-10 reps.  The tempo method stimulates larger slow twitch muscle fiber hypertrophy and also increasing mitochondrial density.
  4. High Intensity Continuous Training- this method is something that I have never heard of before but intrigued me very much when I first heard of it.  This method is designed for high intensity for very high volume.  This method increases the aerobic capacity of your fast twitch muscle fibers.
  5. Threshold Training- This is the last of the aerobic methods that I am going to go over.  This method is designed to further push back your anaerobic threshold.  This is also designed to raise your power output at your anaerobic threshold, which in turn, delays the point at which anaerobic energy processes take prominence.

As with any type of training, it is important to build your conditioning on top of the blocks that came before it.  When starting a conditioning program, it is very important that you correlate your conditioning along with your strength and sport training.  So, just like strength training periodization, conditioning needs to start with a general approach and then move to a specific approach.  When far away from the season, it is important to build your potential for energy production (general conditioning).  To do this, you want to increase your cardiac output and do minimal lactate work.  As you get closer to your competitive season, you add more and more specific conditioning.  Meaning that you need to develop your body’s ability to use its energy in the most effective way for you sport.

It is always important to remember, you must have a great aerobic base for great conditioning.  Do not just work the anaerobic lactate systems that you think are being utilized most in competition.

 

Will Turner – Born and raises in Milford, CT.  Graduated from Springfield College in May 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science with a Sport Performance concentration.  Played four years of varsity football at Springfield.  Has completed two summer internships at Competitive Edge Sports Performance in Milford, CT as well as an internship with the Springfield Falcons Hockey Club of the AHL.  Currently interning with Brijesh Patel at Quinnipiac University working with men’s and women’s hockey and basketball.  He is going to intern with the New York Jets during the 2012 training camp in Cortland, NY.  Future plans are to eventually at a graduate assistant strength and conditioning position while working towards a Master’s degree. 

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