Head into any gym and you have people throwing around terms which can make an inexperienced persons head spin.
It’s easy to get lost in the varieties that the gym offers and easy to lose your way towards attaining your goal. No need to worry as we have the complete guide to help you become accustomed to your ventures into the fitness room. Broken down into several parts this will be one stop resource for everything fitness related.
What is cardiovascular training?
Cardiovascular training is any form of exercise which involves the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and respiratory system) to be challenged. Whilst to a degree all exercise does this – even resistance training, its more concerned with those types of exercises which challenge and cause adaptation to the systems mentioned above rather than those which are primarily and adaptation at the muscular and nervous system level like resistance training.
Typically cardiovascular exercise challenges the aerobic (slowest most consistent energy production) and anaerobic (intermediate) energy systems rather than the alacatic system (fastest most limited energy source) which again shows the difference between resistance and cardiovascular training.
From a practical standpoint cardiovascular training is any submaximal exercise done for long periods of time such as running, cycling, swimming, rowing etc.
What is intensity in cardiovascular training?
Unlike resistance training which uses a percentage of one repetition max, in cardiovascular training a percentage of either max heart rate or V02 max is used (v02 max being maximal capacity to take up and use oxygen within the aerobic system).
The lower the percentage of this the easier the work is and the greater the percentage that aerobic metabolism is used. The higher the percentage the more demanding the work and the more there is a greater reliance on anaerobic metabolism.
The percentage that you work at will depend upon your goal and your fitness levels. See the matrix below for the goal dependent intensity suggestions but those of you with lower fitness levels should always spend time performing lower intensity work in order to build a base.
What volume/time should cardiovascular exercise take?
Unlike resistance training which has sets and reps typically cardiovascular training is done for a block of time or done for a set distance. The amount of time completed will again be dependent upon your fitness levels, goals but most importantly the intensity you are working at.
As the intensity levels increase you will only be able to maintain this work rate for a shorter period of time as you move from aerobic metabolism towards anaerobic metabolism.
Again those who are new to or untrained should start off with smaller volumes and build up to avoid overuse injuries as whilst the effort is low the total mechanical workload is high for cardiovascular training.
What is LISS cardiovascular training?
LISS stands for Low Intensity steady state cardiovascular training. This type of training is submaximal as described above and allows you to continuously work at a set pace for the desired amount of time or distance you have laid out in your training plan.
What is HIIT cardiovascular training?
HIIT stands for High Intensity interval training. This type of training is higher in intensity and works the anaerobic system more.
This type of training cannot be maintained for long and as such it is divided into bocks of effort termed intervals. The intervals of work are alternated with periods of rest in order to allow an overall amount of high intensity workload to be completed throughout the workout.
Cardiovascular training offer many benefits in addition to training the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Cardiovascular training can improve recovery and also is a perfect way to burn off additional calories for those looking at losing weight or altering body composition.
Both LISS & HIIT cardiovascular training can be beneficial so we advise including both in your training schedule.