Break Through Your Cardio Comfort Zone
Cardiovascular exercise, also called cardiorespiratory exercise is an essential part of every exercise program because it not only helps you lose or maintain weight, it also helps you build endurance so you can remain active for a longer period of time. Now let’s say you’ve been doing the same routine for a while and have noticed that what used to break you into sweat and have you looking forward to those last few minutes is not as challenging as it used to be. Why? Your muscles have gotten stronger and learned to work more efficiently. This is a great thing, but it can also work against you if you are looking to make gains in your strength and endurance, not just maintain where you are. Your body is telling you it’s time to create a new level of challenge for your muscles…mix things up…keep them guessing. Whether you are looking to improve your running time, break through a training plateau or just want sexier legs and better stamina these exercises are sure to get the job done. Let’s shake things up and get out of auto-pilot.
Wake Up Your Stamina
Explosive strength based cardio interval training is a fantastic way to boost endurance. Adding short bursts of movement combined with resistance training will increase your heart rate and push your muscles to a new level of challenge, improving endurance capacity. With consistent endurance training, muscle fibers can develop and improve their ability to cope with and adapt to the stress of exercise. This type of training also shows substantial gains in strength and neuromuscular function which are important for moving your body over a longer period of time at a higher than normal impact. Think improved running, cycling, hiking or swim time, even better stamina on the golf course.
You should always begin with a 5-8 minute warm-up to safely prepare your body for the workout. Dynamic movements increase blood flow and heart rate allowing for a smooth transition into your endurance boosting routine. Try some mild cardio type exercises such as walking, marching, jogging in place and jumping jacks. Move right into the following routine using your Total Gym for three rounds reducing the amount of rest each round. For best results perform three times per week with a rest day in between for three weeks. Now it’s time to finish up with a nice stretch focusing on the muscles that you just worked. Spend 25-30 seconds on each muscle and focus on breathing slowly. Steady deep breaths bring oxygen to the muscles and allow the heart rate to come down gradually.
Stretching can also reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and prepare your muscles for the next workout.
Keeping the muscle in motion can also provide some relief so if you are sore the next day, don’t let that deter you from working out. Go for a walk or a swim. Keep it simple, but keep moving.
Measure Your Success
There are plenty of great resources for assessing and measuring improvements in your endurance. MyZone is a new fitness monitoring tool that allows you to watch your progress in real time on your phone, and the tried and true talk test are all effective tools. Keep a journal handy to measure progress after each round over the next three weeks. There’s nothing like progress to keep you encouraged and motivated.
The key is to stay consistent, have fun and never underestimate your strength.