Cardiovascular training is important for genuine health and athletic endeavors.
Cardiovascular training, mainly aerobic, is a topic that hasn’t gotten it’s due respect in the last few years, especially with the rise of work capacity style workouts. Most of these work capacity style training sessions are resistance based, using training tools like dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.
Multi-method cardiovascular training was born out of necessity for me. Maybe someone else was utilizing a tactic similar to this before me, and if so, give credit to that person. I am sure I didn’t invent it. However, I will certainly take credit for perfecting it:)
The background behind it…
For 3 years I trained in a studio apartment with limited equipment. At first, I thought it was just going to be a temporary situation, but it soon evolved into a challenge of sorts.
Could I maintain my current fitness levels using nothing but a jump rope, 4 kettlebells, a suspension trainer, an Schwinn Airdyne and some resistance bands?
That was the question.
It wasn’t difficult to set up my program at first. I had plenty of room for improving using my kettlebells and progressional exercises on the suspension trainer. However, as the weeks and months passed by, I began to adapt to my training regimen.
Adaptation is inevitable. I love the concept of adaptation. You know why? It means you stuck to the program long enough to reach the point where your body became strong enough, powerful enough, stabile or mobile enough to render your program… easy. You essentially have become really efficient at the performing the physical tasks in your daily program.
***Just don’t continue performing those same training sessions for too long or you’ll be sorely disappointed by the results.
Sorry I sidetracked for second there…
So multi-method cardio was born out of necessity. In between my higher intensity work capacity days, I needed a day where I could engage in some form of aerobic-style activity. Easy right? I could have just hopped on the Airdyne and pedaled mindlessly for 30-40 minutes.
The problem is that I don’t have the attention span for that. I get bored, just like many of you probably do. The Airdyne solution would have worked just fine, but it is boring as shit!
So, I decided to choose lower impact training methods sectioned off in designated time increments to accumulate that 30 minutes of aerobic activity.
I primarily used my jump rope, a 53lb (24kg) kettlebell and the Schwinn Airydyne. I also had my Polar HeartRate Monitor on at all times.
I would use each training tool for 10 minutes, grab a swig of water, then move on to the next immediately. Ironically, I never experienced that same level of insane boredom that I did when only using one method.
I love that. Training effect without insufferable boredom.
I am effectively accomplishing the same thing I set out to do had I only rode the bike for 30-40, but now I am developing skills using other tools.
Staying in the 10 minute range duration-wise also helped me avoid over-use injuries. I am convinced of this. I love jumping rope and swinging kettlebells, but you cannot do it every single day. You’ll eventually develop chronic over-use type symptoms or worse yet, injury. Your body needs a break at some point. (If you’re a person who is back in the fitness saddle for the 2013 and experiencing hip pain or back pain from all of the working out you’ve done, it is for a reason my friends!)
One important point of MMC (multi-method cardio) is anyone can do this at home, which is the other part that I thought kicked ass. I listen to MY music in MY own environment. I could watch my television while I jumped rope and rode bike without giving any thought to what channel or movie was showing. Completely personalized. Fantastic.
Here is exactly what one of my multi-method cardio session…
Sample Multi-Method Cardio:
Jump rope- 10 minutes
Kettlebell Swing- 10 minutes
Bike- 10 minutes
Depending on your training level, you can adjust the session a bit:
- Beginner: 6 minutes each
- Intermediate: 8 minutes each
- Advanced 10 minutes or longer each
My heart rate for a MMC workout usually hovered around 145-155bpm, occasionally rising higher than 155bpm but never lower than 145bpm. This type of training is intended to be an aerobic segue between more intense training sessions. It worked great. Soreness from my higher intensity training sessions dissipated quickly with the increase in blood flow
Simple? Absolutely. Why complicate fitness? That only leads to confusion and lack of action in my experience.
Always remember that you have to be able to justify your training habits. I can easily justify this type of aerobic conditioning, and I think that many of you can also in 2013 and beyond.
At the end of the day, give it a try. Self-experiment and find your groove…
(Part II coming soon…)