What’s the cardio hype?
Lets break down all the confusing messages out there!
This article is about cardiovascular training and some info about firefighters who need quality programing using both cardio and anaerobic training. With the release of The 21 Day Steel Mace Challenge (21SMC) which you can purchase on the website or members get for FREE , the need for cardio health is a good topic here. Anyone who is NOT a First Responder can equally benefit from this discussion so read on!
What’s the benefits of cardio?
What’s the cardio hype? You see it all over the news, internet, and the firehouse. You hear it from your colleagues, doctors, and fellow gym-goers. And , it permeates the line of treadmills at the large health clubs in your town. What is it? It’s the mere mention of cardiovascular exercise. It’s the notion that cardiovascular exercise in the form of aerobic training such as running, stepping, walking, swimming, and such is the best way to promote your health. Is this true? See the table below for the benefits you can derive from a properly designed cardiovascular program.
|Adaptive Physiologic Response
|Reduction in blood pressure
|Decreased resting heart rate
|Increased HDL- cholesterol (good cholesterol)
|Increased heart volume
|Decreased total cholesterol
|Increased resting & maximum stroke volume
|Decreased body fat stores
|Increased maximum cardiac output
|Increased aerobic work capacity
|Increased maximum oxygen consumption
|Decreased clinical symptoms of depression,anxiety,and tension
|Increased capillary density & bloodflow to active muscles
|Reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion
|Increased total blood volume
|Increased heart function
|Increased maximal ventilation
|Possible reduction in mortality in post myocardial infarction patiens
|Increased lung diffusion capacity
|Increased mobilization & utilization of fat
Adopted from the National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Training Certification Manual (1999)
Firefighters can use quality programming to deliver top level fitness.
Cardiovascular exercise conditions your heart, lungs, and circulatory system as well as your aerobic energy supply system. Its helps you spare glucose by training your body to become more efficient at burning body fat. However, we know from studying human performance that training adaptations are specific. This means that if you want cardiovascular/health benefits you should implement cardiovascular training into your program.
Be aware that research shows that you can derive health benefits from a combination of strength training and cardiovascular training. Sticking to my point about training specificity and looking at the demands of an emergency scene, many times your work consists of highly intense efforts that last a few moments or until your air cylinder runs out.
Work in an intense, stressful atmosphere while performing intense functional tasks dictates that your work will not last long anyway.
So what’s the hype about cardiovascular exercise? It is necessary to implement for your health and for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, but if you take a performance based approach tactical(firefighter) / athletic conditioning, you’ll see that anaerobic conditioning can give you more bang for your buck. Anaerobic conditioning trains your quick-energy supply systems as well as your strength and power which is more related to many 1st responders tasks. Furthermore, this type of training will help make a 1st responder more hardy, durable, and resilient and create a less injury prone person .
Cardio is important but so is building strength and muscle.
While you can find me going for a jog or out all day on long bike rides or even spinning out on the firehouse recombinant bike, cardiovascular conditioning isn’t the dominant training modality in the TACTICAL ATHLETIC CONDITIONING (TAC) program. Research has shown that anaerobic conditioning can have some small positive effect on aerobic conditioning because some of the energy supply is derived from the aerobic system. However small it is, anaerobic conditioning still mimics the tasks performed on the fireground to the battle ground to the crime scene more so than cardiovascular conditioning does. But, cardiovascular exercise does have a place in the TAC program.
Find what works best for you!
Remember there is no “one size fits all” program. You don’t have to be married to one specific program. For long term results , you must change your program to keep your body and mind fresh. A good rule of thumb is to use a 2:1 ratio of training days/goals. For example, if you want to predominantly train your anaerobic capacity, you can do two days of anaerobic/strength/power training for every single day of cardiovascular exercise. If you feel your health is in question or submaximal endurance is a factor, then you can do two cardiovascular days for every single anaerobic/strength/power day.
Cardiovascular exercise is for EVERYONE!
In closing, it doesn’t matter what your career is or if you are older , younger or male or female, there is no question about if cardio is the right choice. The human body is designed to move and to breath heavy and sweat. The results from this type of training are nothing but outstandingly beneficial . For those of you that are already making good headway in this type of training, carry on! For those of you that seem to struggle to find a consistent training program, don’t give up but instead reframe it. Try with short walks first. Experiment with different times of day. Include a friend or family member, or if you find that a certain friend is always letting you down and not showing then fire them and go solo! Do what needs to be done and instead of finding excuses find solutions.
You can always reach out to me with any questions on how to get started with or stay consistent with your fitness programs. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.
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