5 WAYS TO FIRE UP YOUR CARDIO
Here are 5 ways to fire up your cardio workouts.
- GO THE DISTANCE
We all know that some training days can feel like a million bucks, while others can feel like a slog. Instead of timing your intervals, go by how much distance you cover. This will accommodate for daily fluctuations in energy levels and will give you something different to focus on.
- DO THE TIME
Timing your intervals is one of the most common methods of interval training. The “Tabata Protocol” has exploded since its inception in 1996. This form of high-intensity interval training is only 4 minutes long and is broken up into 20- and 10-second intervals. Basically, hammer as much as possible for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat until the 4 minutes is up. There’s one stipulation, though: the hard is meant to be at 170% max VO2, basically meaning 100x harder than all-out. This is obviously extraordinarily intense and is quite difficult even for the fittest beast out there. Here’s a protocol to help you get to beast mode in 6-weeks.
- GO TO THE BEAT
It wouldn’t be a “cardio article” without mentioning your heart rate. Your heart rate responds to the intensity of exercise and has been shown to be related to your subjective perception of how intense or “hard” an exercise bout is. The higher your perception of difficulty, the higher your heart rate. Duh!
Many professional athletes use heart rate monitoring in specific workouts to focus on different physiological acclimations—what’s referred to as Energy System Development. Just sets of 5 reps have a different effect on the body compared to sets of 12, running at 90% max heart rate (MHR) has different physiological effects compared to running at 65% MHR.
- RUN UNSTRUCTURED
Fartlek (färtlik) is a Swedish term that translates to speedplay or unstructured interval training. This is a common method of training for elite runners and triathletes. Essentially, this type of training incorporates fast and slow efforts, similar to interval training, but differs in that its unstructured and there is no stopping until you’ve completed the total running time.
- CLIMB A HILL
Hill repeats are crazy cardio-boosters that can improve strength and explosive power. The high-knee lift, pumping arms and powerful toe-off, can spark new levels of aerobic power and some crazy fat loss. Hills are a bit easier on the body compared to sprinting on a flat surface. They force a forefoot landing and require a constant fight.