Friday, March 20, 2009

12 Weeks - What's the Best

In Part 1 I give an overall look at cardiovascualr training. Now let's look at.....

What’s the Best?

I am often asked what the “best” type of cardiovascular equipment is that someone can use. My usual response is simply, “the one that is safe for you to do and one that you enjoy”. It makes little sense to me to use, for example, the elliptical machine if it is contraindicating to your body or you don’t enjoy it. The former being a recipe for disaster as it may lead to injury and the latter will only give you more reason for not doing CV work. The same question arises as well with regards to steady state training versus interval training – but I will get to that a bit later. So, as with many aspects of life, finding what fits you physically and emotionally is a “trial and error” process that you will need to experience on your own. Some straightforward and simple options a person can choose from usually involve major involvement from the lower extremities. The legs are much more capable of withstanding a larger volume of work than that of the upper body and therefore, most cardiovascular type exercises are better suited if they include the lower body as a primary mover. This is not to say that boxing, rope climbing and other movements aren’t effective, you just won’t find yourself doing as much work or time. A good place to start might be biking, running, swimming, walking, elliptical machine, rowing, jumping rope, the “stepper”, etc. Personally, I recommend activities that can be done outside because the benefits of being in fresh air and the sun go beyond improving the heart and lungs. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with just one exercise each time you train or even within the same workout. There’s no problem going for a run and finishing up with some rope jumping or rope climbing work, as an example. The options are endless if you spend some time figuring out what works for you and what you enjoy.
Ok, so I could spend a lot of time explaining the many different applications, protocols and approaches that one can do to improve their cardiovascular health, but I can tell you that a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic type cardiovascular training will help you “cover all your bases”. Improving both of these capacities will give a well-rounded level of fitness, help improve performance and allow for more functionality in life. Right now, I am going to give you a 12 week program that will help you exceed your expectations of cardiovascular health and possibly give you a goal at maybe doing something above and beyond with your results. First, I want to address the following components which I feel should be focused on to help you achieve peak, physical condition.

Next time, "Components of Physical Fitness"