Increasing Cardio "Density" for Conditioning

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    Increasing Cardio "Density" for Conditioning


    I was wondering what the response would be to increasing intensity of cardio sessions, but not duration, as it pertains to conditioning in a competitive bodybuilder. If you're familiar with the concept of density in the weight room you'll know it means doing more work in the same period of time, and for me that has been an effective tool.

    So for example, say I'm starting my cardio doing a 20 minute session on the track and I get 2.5 miles. The next session I shoot for 2.75. Then 3. With a solid nutrition program in place and adequate rest, would this jeopardize muscle (with or without chem assistance) and how would it compare to standard LISS or HIIT training (both of which I currently use.)? I spoke with a trainer advocating this as contest prep cardio, but had my reservations so I thought I'd see what AM had to say.
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    i say its a great idea. but why do cardio? if you are doing cardio for your cardiovascular system then keep doing it. if you want to do more conditioning then make it specific to benefit your lifting to benefit your bodybuilding. and yes, there will be some crossover benefit.

    here are some notes i have on calorie burning and exercise that may help you decide what you want to do:


    • Explosive lifting burns more calories than slow lifting. Squats – explosive movement burns 12% more than slow squats
      • Eu J Appli Physol 99: 257, 2007



    • HIIT builds fitness faster. 30 min @ 60% vs 10x4 @ 90% w/ 2 min rest. Aerobic capacity increased by 13%, fat burning capacity up by 36%, and key aerobic enzymes increased by 25%
      • Journal Applied Physilogy, 102: 1439-1447, 2007



    • High intensity weight training boosts blood sugar control.
      • Strength training increases fat metabolism by stimulating beta-adrenic receptors – cell structures that make adrenaline and increase metabolism and fat use.
      • Improves blood sugar metabolism
      • Univ. of Montana, led by Andy Miller showed that high intensity/low volume weight training promoted better blood sugar regulation than low intensity/high volume work.

    • Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 21: 330-335, 2007
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    How are you going to maintain intensity? Intensity on the track is how fast are you running, how fast are you accelerating. Sure, you might be able to increase volume, but how will that impact your speed, and how will a reduction in intensity effect your overall adaptation?

    Something to think about...
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    Interesting things to think about.

    After some thought I think I'll experiment with this on the stair-master or some other machine. I do have access to a lot of different cardio equipment at my gym, and with the stair-master I could adjust the intensity directly and keep the duration at 20 minutes. Ideally, I would be increasing volume and speed with each session (until I plateau and start grinding) but I'd like to look into it.

    Give me 6 months and I'll let you know what I find out.
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    so far my fav cardio and conditioning movements/exercises are prowler work and KB swings.

    on swings i do 10 reps a minute for 10 minutes. when i can complete the entire 100 reps i move up 10lbs for next time. prowlers i usually do whatever everyone else is doing.

    i find those things i want to skip not because they are the boring hamster wheels that you usually see at most gyms but because they are hard.
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    I like kettle ball work, but I don't use it as much as I know I should. I'll experiment a little.

    I don't have access to a prowler, but I'm pretty tight with the owner of my gym so I'll drop a suggestion and see if he could add it to the armory.

    Thanks for the input, guys.
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    i like them for all the non eccentric work they give me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    How are you going to maintain intensity? Intensity on the track is how fast are you running, how fast are you accelerating. Sure, you might be able to increase volume, but how will that impact your speed, and how will a reduction in intensity effect your overall adaptation?

    Something to think about...
    I think he is referring to increasing distance in the same amount of time, which would increase training density
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