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On Cardio

About a million years ago I promised a post about the value of cardio training.

Otherwise known as Aerobic training.

Or, dare I say it?


Now, before you get your chalk covered lifting briefs in a knot, I don’t mean prancing about in lycra a la Richard Simmons

He's not my cup of tea, but he gets people moving!

He’s not my cup of tea, but he gets people moving!

Jane Fonda

One for the dads.....

One for the dads…..

and Mr Motivator

STOP! Hammer time!

STOP! Hammer time!

No, we’re not talking about those over choreographed nonsense workouts that have little rhyme or reason to them.

(as per the Simmons meme though, if it gets folks who don’t usually move, to move, then I’m AAAALLLL for it!)

What I’m talking about is training the Aerobic pathways of the body.

Improving our cardio vascular efficiency.

Getting oxygen from the air, into the blood, transported to the mitochondria and then bringing the CO2 back and out into the air. I’m talking about constant production of ATP, the messenger that causes muscles to contract.

The Aerobic pathway is pretty much limitless, as long as there is fuel available, the aerobic system will keep our muscles pumping all day every day.

Ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Not only that, it refuels our other, shorter lived but more powerful energy systems.

If you want to generate maximum power once, that’s all good. But if you want to repeat that, you need to recover.

And it’s your aerobic efficiency that will do this for you.

So for Combat Athletes, for Kettlebell Sports athletes for any strength athletes looking to recover faster, aerobic training should be a no-brainer.

Except it’s usually touted as “boring” As “dull” as “it’ll make you weak” or “you’ll loose all your gains bro!”

Or other such bullshit.

So lets talk about what cardio vascular training really is:

Any activity where the heart rate remains in the region of 130-150 BPM for an extended period of time.

Any activity.

Note the word “extended” though.

So most weight room activities don’t count as they’re short lived, yes, even that 20 rep set of squats is short lived, and I guarantee you’re heart rate is waaay over 150. Or you’re cheating.

But lighter squats are good. Especially of they’re done with no break in motion, no pause top or bottom.

My personal choices for cardio are: Running (I actually enjoy the feeling of fluidity while I run, it’s far from boring) Bodyweight Exercises Mace swinging Kettlebell Lifting

All of which can be performed for extended sets at a low enough intensity to keep the heart rate between 130 – 150.

If I run, it’s a nice steady flowing trot.

If I’m in the gym, I may do a 20+ minute set of kettlebell snatch

Or a circuit with sets that last 5-6 minutes combining the Mace, the Kettlebell and Bodyweight movements.

or I’ll use a more typical circuit, maybe 45s on, 15off for anything up to an hour with 10, 20 maybe more exercises. All of it aiming to keep the heart rate going, and the breathing steady.

There’s a million ways to work into that Aerobic pathway. And if you spend some time developing this, then all your more intense training will become easier as you are more efficient and able to recover faster.

Right now, much of my training is centred around this Aerobic method. And I’m feeling much more energised as a result.

As a footnote, most of my aerobic work is done purely using nasal breathing, that’s something I’ll talk about another day. But my diaphragm and sinuses haven’t felt this good in years!

Which might come in handy in November when I take on the Mile Swing Challenge again for Mental Health:

Kettlebell Poster 2016 extra 2

If you haven’t sponsored me already, here’s the donation page:

Plus we’ve just redesigned our Mind Over Metal T-shirts, which w profit share with the Mental Health group, we’ll release pre-order details in the next day or so

The new sample Mind Over metal T-Shirt barely had time for the print to dry in before Maria nicked it and wore it training!

The new sample Mind Over metal T-Shirt barely had time for the print to dry in before Maria nicked it and wore it training!

And we’re looking for other kettlebell swingers to join us in either walking the mile themselves or as part of a relay team, up to 4 people per team.

Until then, strap o your heart rate monitor and get your cardio on!


Dave Hedges

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