Why Cardio Gets a Bad Wrap
What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word ‘cardio’?
What I think of is running. Not sure why but it is, even though I know there are so many other tools that can improve cardiovascular endurance other than running.
What do you think of? I bet some of you are in the same boat as me and think of running, or biking, or spinning, or a step aerobics class. Regardless of what method you think of, something else I’m sure of is that you think of sessions being long and very time consuming.
But if you are a frequent reader of my blog or newsletter, you know my position on ‘cardio’ and know that there are alternative methods of training cardiovascular endurance but may not have explained why these methods work better than traditional running or the common training methods.
First of all, training in long bouts to increase cardiovascular endurance is unnecessary (with the exception of ultra long distance sporting events). Short bouts higher in intensity with periodic breaks creates an interval effect enough to cause a reaction in the body for improvement in cardiovascular endurance. One thing to keep in mind is that when the body adapts to a stress you place upon it, most of the time, provided the stress is supportive for growth and improvement, will overcompensate to the stress. That means if you are training in an interval format, the body will adapt to take on the stress of interval training, which is much higher stress, than a cardiovascular endurance training session will provide. This effect alone opens doors to many more options in your cardiovascular training.
Secondly, and perhaps more important, is the negative stress placed on the body during long bouts of cardiovascular training. Cardio, is nothing more than very high repetition strength training, and the amount of repetitions performed during just one bout is tremendous. High repetitions performed for a very long time without much rest (multiple days) can produce overuse injuries and impact injuries much sooner than if you changed up the training stress (upper body cardio, lower repetition cardio training).
Here are some examples of cardiovascular training that can cut the reps down without compromising the results:
Kettlebell Swings (actually burns twice the amount of calories than running). All of these can be performed in interval format or for reps or time (shorter time periods).
Burpees or other bodyweight training
Movements like this instead of the ultra high repetition and wear on your joints and body will promote longevity in your training and reduced negative stress, which will reduce the likelihood of injury without compromising your results (your results will actually be enhanced). Regardless of your choice of cardiovascular training, be sure to use variety and mix things up often to avoid overuse and boredom. Also employ shorter high intensity bouts alternated with recovery bouts to enhance the results, save your body, and keep things interesting.
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