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Tales from the Texan!

Cardio confusion! Aerobic work

Travis Burkybile


Cardio. Does it have to always be “Hardio”? For some people it is what they live for. For others it is a dirty word and they get irritated just thinking about it. What’s the answer? Here are the facts. In this post we are going to focus on the aerobic energy system.

You need a base level of aerobic fitness. You don’t have to train for hours per week to do this. You should do it first before starting other forms of conditioning and revisit it periodically.

It doesn’t always have to end like this.  

It doesn’t always have to end like this.  

Your aerobic base is restorative to the balance of your nervous system. Very intense intervals, heavy weight training, and any chronic stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, and deplete brain signaling neurotransmitters. Too much of this type of work will leave you unable to recover feeling tired, irritable, sore, and unable to rest. Doing a little aerobic work will provide balance.

You perform better with higher intensity training when you have a decent aerobic base. Your body develops more capillaries (yes you can grow new tiny blood vessels) This is how nutrients get the so called last mile to the target tissue. Without aerobic capacity, you will fail to maximize your potential in other areas of conditioning. One of the best all time sprint coaches referred to capillary density as beneficial by “Heating the neuron” allowing explosive athletes to conduct signals faster. Not just for endurance folks. Just differing in how much and what modes are prescribed.

Your heart doesn’t care what kind of movement you choose. No really. It isn’t only cardio if you are on a fancy elliptical machine. You can use medicine balls, barbells, circuits, biking, whatever you want. You can go faster or slower to bring the heart rate to the desired range. You can use low impact choices instead of pavement pounding your joints to dust. You think running is a good choice for a +300lb offensive lineman? Nope. How about alternating a 50% of a max back squat with 50% bench press for 20 minutes? Strength aerobics! The better you move the more options you have available!

Do your cardio!