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A Fresh Look at Cardiovascular Training
26/03/2011 - "A Fresh Look at Cardiovascular Training" by Olly

All to often, cardiovascular training is tacked onto a program with little thought. Pedaling on a bike, walking / running or stepping away on a cross-trainer are often viewed as simple tasks which need little instruction. Although there is a range of ‘Preset Programs’ on exercise machines – Hill Program – Alpine Pass – Weight loss etc, there are other more interesting ways to vary the cardiovascular section in your program. 


Maintaining an elevated heart rate for 30 minutes a day, 5-7x a week is the generic advice given for each of us to maintain a healthy cardiovascular fitness. Lets look at a couple of ways to shake up your cardiovascular program... Looking at those blinking lights on the display screen of your bike / x trainer or treadmill for extended periods can be enough to drive anyone crazy…


30-minute Gym Circuit


To ensure the success of this type of workout; moving between the exercises quickly is important. It is ok to substitute an exercise or swap the order of any of the exercises providing that they are large total body movements. The important factor is that you keep moving. Below is an example of a 30-minute gym circuit.


Bike 3 minutes (build up intensity)


Superset 1:  2 min Medicine ball squat and press / 2 min Step up + bicep curl / 2 min Rower ergo 2 rounds


Superset 2:  2 min Single arm clean / 2 min Hopping ‘around the world’ / 2 min Stationary Bike 2 Rounds


X trainer 3 minutes (as fast / hard as you can maintain)


30-minute Outdoor Circuit


Choose a hill, field which you can walk up / or around in about 3 minutes.


Superset 1:  Walk / run ~3 minute (around the park or up the hill) * When you get to the end, complete 10 press ups and 10 sit-ups. 2 Rounds


Superset 2:  Walk / run ~3 minute (around the park or up the hill) * When you get to the end, complete 10 Squats and 10 Bench tricep Dips. 2 Rounds


Superset 3:  Walk / run ~3 minute (around the park or up the hill) * When you get to the end, complete 10 step-ups and 10 Star jumps. 2 Rounds


      *(use a park bench / seat for the step ups / tricep dips)


For continued improvement it is important to adapt your program as you improve. Increases in time, the speed at which you move and / or the resistance provided all promote improved cardiovascular fitness.  There are is range of methods to slowly extend these factors which provide an extra challenge; variation in your program; and which, allow you to set and achieve small ‘bite size’ goals which can help you maintain your motivation over time.


Ask your instructor for advice on how to ‘shake up’ the cardiovascular fitness aspect of your program for improved results.

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