Cardio isn’t covered too frequently on here, yet that doesn’t mean it’s not important or in fact trained by this strength loving lifter.
When it comes to conditioning here is what happens:
– Sparring (stand up, grappling etc)
– Kettlebell work
– Walking briskly
From a personal perspective, I tend to keep the rest periods down and just crack out some decent volume in a short period of time with the kettlebells (high density/work capacity).
This may sound like HIIT, it’s not.
Many think they do HIIT and they don’t, just putting that out there.
These days I have to admit I don’t track heart rate, I go on a feeling of fatigue, power in movements and keep my breathing regulated, rest is taken when needed and kept to the minimum amount required before I can go again.
Is this optimal?
Not especially, however, the aim is to build an overall level of work that can be repeated and progression comes in the form of heavier kettlebells or harder sparring rounds.
As for the walking, well when you can cover 6miles (my average walk) in 45min on average you know your pace is good – yet I really do walk that fast, it’s a slow jog to most people (blowing my own trumpet here).
For most people, though there is a far more optimal way of adding in some conditioning that takes them away from the monotony of running or classic CV kit in the gym.
– Loaded Carries
– Agility Ladder Drills
– Movement Patterns
^^ You can do these individually or combine them.
All you need to it set a block of time 10-30min and two HRR targets.
For most people, these tend to be the sweet spot:
Minimum THRR – 120bpm
Maximum THRR – 170-175bpm
You pick your poison and start moving, once you hit the higher target you sustain it as long as you can, don’t go above, simply sustain that number (this teaches you how to regulate/control your body), when you feel fatigued and the rate drops a few beats you rest.
Some active recovery (corrective drills like foam rolling etc) will be done until you end up near the minimum target, that means you’re recovered-ish, so you no go again.
Repeating this for 10-30min is quite the challenge.
Now some of you will probably be thinking “My HR is way higher than 170 and I hold that for ages” – this is more than likely the case however the chances are is that you’re then ticking over.
Once the body hits a certain point it decides to become very efficient in what it’s doing, hence why playing with the HR can yield a more favourable result because you’re forcing it to become not only adaptive but also responsive.
This is a very inefficient way of training and that’s exactly why it works.
We make the most progress in working inefficiently because our body has to adapt to survive and become better.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for working efficiently, and that is crucial if you play a sport, however, if your goal if overall fitness, fat loss and conditioning then the former is what you need.
Try the above with a sandbag weight half of what you do and do the following:
– Pick it up and throw it over your shoulder 10 times (5R/5L)
– Now carry it 20-50m
– Follow the HRR targets
– Repeat for 10-30min
– Slowly embrace the crippling expanse of the void
Conditioning comes in many forms.
The above is but one example, the biggest thing to remember is this – find something that works.