• Who Should Do Steady State Cardio

      From Charles Poliquin

      Improve your athletic performance and lose fat by doing interval training instead of steady-state aerobic training. A primary error that athletes make is to do the wrong mode of conditioning for their sport. The same goes for recreational trainees who want to get leaner and feel better—the wrong mode of conditioning will keep you fat, weak, and slow.

      A couple of new reviews answer the question posed in the title—only endurance athletes should do steady-state aerobics!—and provide guidance for avoiding training errors. Researchers analyzed all the previous studies that reviewed the effect of concurrent strength and aerobic training on strength, power, hypertrophy, and body fat and found the following:

      • Body fat percentage decreased the most in both endurance and strength athletes when concurrent strength and near maximal interval sprints were performed.

      • Repeated sprint intervals can maintain muscle mass, while increasing the metabolic rate after training. This increase corresponds to the training intensity, and leads to increased activity of an enzyme that enhances the rate of fat burning.

      • Steady-state aerobic exercise leads to a very significant decrease in power output that corresponds to the length of the exercise. The lower the intensity of the aerobic exercise, the greater the loss of power.

      • Strength and muscle mass are also compromised by steady-state aerobic exercise, and the effect is greatest when aerobic training is performed more than three times a week for longer than 20 minutes.

      • Whereas endurance exercises compromise anaerobic performance and body composition, anaerobic training modes such as sprint intervals and weight lifting will benefit endurance athletes if programed properly. To improve endurance performance, do a strength-type resistance training program with loads of 80 percent of the 1RM or heavier. This will train the type IIA muscle fibers so they increase the rate of force development and get faster.

      A second review noted that although steady-state aerobic training can produce various beneficial energy system adaptations, those same benefits can be gotten from high-intensity sprint training. Sprint training yields better or equal adaptations as steady-state aerobics in the following areas: maximal aerobic capacity, time to fatigue, and the muscle buffering capacity (the ability to remove waste products). Peak power, energy source use (substrate utilization), and stroke volume are also greater from sprints.

      Steady-state aerobic training is discouraged because it can elevate cortisol, leading to an inflammatory stress response that promotes muscle loss and fat storage. It also induces muscle protein breakdown, and can directly inhibit the effectiveness of anabolic hormones like insulin-like growth factor and testosterone. Finally, slow-twitch Type I muscle fibers increase due to steady-state training, leading to decreased power.

      Take away the understanding that everyone will benefit from anaerobic sprint and weight training. Only endurance athletes should do steady-state aerobic training. Anaerobic training is the only kind that should be done by strength and power athletes because, as Charles Pfeiffer writes in the review cited below, “the consequences of aerobic exercise are too detrimental to be considered an effective training modality for anaerobic athletes; let alone a necessary one.”

      Anaerobic training is far preferable for achieving body composition changes in the general public. Power and functional ability are also maximized with anaerobic training and it is ideal for older individuals who need to maintain bone and muscle as they age.

      Murach, K., Bagley, J., Pfeiffer, C. Is Long Duration Aerobic Exercise Necessary For Anaerobic Athletes. Strength and Conditioning Journal. April 2013. 35(2), 44-46.

      Wilson, J., Marin, P., et al. Concurrent Training: a Meta-Analysis Examining Interference of Aerobic and Resistance Exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. 26(8), 2293-2307.

      Source: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/...mposition.aspx
      Comments 9 Comments
      1. enhanced's Avatar
        enhanced -
        Wow, I knew HIIT was good, but I didn't know it was that much better. I guess this mornings 3 mile jog was my last. Back to HIIT for me.
      1. enhanced's Avatar
        enhanced -
        Regarding HIIT, can somebody give me some advice on it. Right now, I normally do the 1 min jog, 1 min sprint on a treadmill. I usually do that for about 30 min every few days a week. Would it be more beneficial to get outside & do the jog/sprint combo on the road, or could I also just do sprints w/ about a minute or so of rest in between each sprint. Say about 100 yards? Would I have to do about 15-20 100 yard sprints for it to be more beneficial than the sprint/jog combo?
      1. jswain34's Avatar
        jswain34 -
        Go to your local track. Get a nice dynamic stretch in, maybe like a .5 mile warmup. If you are already in pretty good condition and can handle it.

        1 sprint around the track (400 meters).
        Rest 4 minutes
        1 sprint 300 meters
        Rest 1.5 minutes
        1 sprint 300 meters
        Rest 3 minutes
        1 spring 200 meters
        Rest 1 minute
        1 sprint 200 meters
        Rest 1 minute
        1 sprint 200 meters
        Rest 2 minutes
        Then 4 100 meter sprints with 45s-1 minute rest between each
        Then finish with another lap or 2 around the track as a cool down.
      1. mountainman33's Avatar
        mountainman33 -
        Another good one that has really helped me lean out and maintain mass has been explosive Burpees. Start in a standing position, squat down quickly then drive your legs out and put your hands into push up position. Do a full push up, bring both knees up to your chest quickly, from there jump as high as you can. As soon as you land go right back to your next rep, and go for 20 reps. Do each rep as fast and as explosive as you can. 1 min. rest in between sets, and drop 1 rep every set until you hit 10 reps. Finish out your 10 rep set and your done. I was in pretty good cardio shape when I started doing these and they kicked my a$$ the first few times. Awesome fat burner in a short period of time. Plus, you don't need nice weather or a track to do them. Any time, any where.
      1. enhanced's Avatar
        enhanced -
        Thanks fellas!
      1. enhanced's Avatar
        enhanced -
        Just did around 10 120 sprints here in my subdivision. Street light to street light. Pretty decent head wind too. Damn, I'm outta shape!!!
      1. jerrysiii's Avatar
        jerrysiii -
        I like 30 seconds of all out work followed by 90 seconds of reset. I also only do 7 sets, so my HIIT short. This is difficult on the treadmill because of the time it take the machine to speed up and slow down.

        Your idea of sprinting outside is better in that you can go immediately to all out effort (after you warm up of course). For inside, an exercise bike works well and my favorite is the C2 rower.

        I also recommend going really easy on the 90 second rest period. Slow down to a brisk walk instead of jogging.
      1. TheMovement's Avatar
        TheMovement -
        Hardest thing for some treadmill fanatics to understand but a great write up, specificity is everything!
      1. Invycktus's Avatar
        Invycktus -
        And why am I reading this only now! Will spread the word!
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