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Improve your aerobic fitness out of season


Conditioning isn’t just about running. While you want to build your endurance, you want to do it in the way that most benefits your specific sport, so that you can be efficient with your energy and movement on the court.

Benefits of aerobic fitness

  • Improve blood pH balance, which can improve systemic trigger points.
  • Decreased heart rate while resting, which will improve exertion for activities of daily living.
  • Increase the ability and production of energy stores to draw from your body’s aerobic energy stores, which will improve energy production for daily activities and training.
  • Improve specific cardiovascular function.

Improve your aerobic base

Improving your aerobic base will reduce the contribution of anaerobic energy to the majority of tasks, which will improve your ability to recover from daily strength training sessions and improve the quality of sport-specific workouts.

Plus, there are obvious benefits to having a lower resting heart rate during activities. A higher heart rate is an indicator of physiological intensity. If your heart rate stays near a specific number (say 160 and above) for two minutes or more, this indicates how much your energy stores (think ATP and PCr stores) are drawing from the initial energy stores of your anaerobic and alactic energy systems.

Before improving your aerobic fitness, try to determine if your physical condition is up to par. It is also useful if you can identify what your specific task requires. If you can determine whether you need aerobic energy stores for football or lacrosse, for example, compared to an anaerobic sport such as powerlifting (although an argument could be made to develop an aerobic base for this also), then improving your aerobic energy use has a stronger rationale.

READ MORE: Why you need an aerobic base

How to determine your aerobic fitness level

1. Resting heart rate

Take your resting heart rate by simply lying down or sitting down, but use the same position for each measurement.

If it is above 60 beats per minute after a few minutes of calm rest, it may be time to improve your level of aerobic fitness.

2. Modified Cooper test – 6 minute run / distance test

Perform any movement, measure the distance traveled and track your heart rate.

3. Heart rate recovery

Perform any movement and measure how quickly your heart rate drops below 130 bpm.

Joël Jamieson, author of Ultimate MMA training, sub-categorizes information in a very easy-to-digest way to improve aerobic capacity. In terms of improving test parameters, the use of aerobic-focused protocols also has several advantages. Watch the video player above to learn from strength and conditioning trainer Mike Boyle how to improve your heart rate before, during, and after exercise by improving your breathing technique.

Development of the aerobic energy system

Cardiac flow

When using CO, do 1 to 3 workouts per week for 30 to 90 minutes per session. Maintain a heart rate of 130-150 bpm.

Cardiac output may involve traditional “steady state” aerobic work, but the idea is to use these improvements in physiological qualities and move on to the next phase of energy system development.

High intensity continuing education

When using HICT, do 10 to 20 minutes of continuous training, with a heart rate below your anaerobic threshold.

Tempo intervals

When using Tis, do 8-10 intervals, with 60 seconds of rest between fights.

RELATED: Heart rate training: everything you need to know

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