The American College of Sports Medicine and other medical institutions link cardiovascular fitness with a reduced incidence of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular exercise is also associated with lower body weight and of course improved sports performance. In other words regular cardio means, you’ll look better, be healthier and feel spectacular.
Despite the fact that cardio is the nucleus around which most people build their workouts, cardio is mostly something a lot of us just “turn up to and do” with little in the way of planning. It’s a real shame because, if you are going to take the time to turn up and work out, surely you want to get the best benefits possible?
In that spirit, rather than just “doing cardio”, there are a number of recognized types of cardio training you can do to break through that weight loss plateau and take your fitness levels to higher heights than you ever thought possible.
These are the 4 types of cardio training techniques:
- Long slow distance exercise
- Moderate intensity exercise
- Tempo runs/ training
- Interval training
Many of these training methods hail from running, which means the terminology used is often running-based. But don’t let that put you off. If a training technique uses the term “running”, it’s merely for illustrative purposes and you can just as easily cycle, swim, row or even jump rope your way through them. So long as you adhere to the principles of each method, you will get the results that each method is designed to deliver.
12 WEEK CARDIO WORKOUT PLAN
If you want to bust through a weight loss plateau or get more fit, you need to follow a plan that is progressive and works toward a fitness “peak”. On reaching the end of your training block, take an easy week and then start back at a slightly lower point and build up all over again. Confused? Don’t be – there is a program to follow below! Adjust the times to suit your individual fitness level but adhere to the five steps forward, two steps back principle…
|Workout 1||Workout 2||Workout 3||Workout 4|
|Week 1||FCR 15 mins||Fartlek 20 mins||Intervals 4 x 400 meters||LSD 30 mins|
|Week 2||FCR 17 mins||Fartlek 22 mins||Intervals 5 x 400 meters||LSD 32 mins|
|Week 3||FCR 19 mins||Fartlek 24 mins||Intervals 6 x 400 meters||LSD 34 mins|
|Week 4||FCR 21 mins||Fartlek 26 mins||Intervals 4 x 600 meters||LSD 36 mins|
|Week 5||FCR 23 mins||Fartlek 28 mins||Intervals 5 x 600 meters||LSD 38 mins|
|Week 6 *||FCR 19 mins||Fartlek 24 mins||Intervals 6 x 400 meters||LSD 34 mins|
|Week 7||FCR 21 mins||Fartlek 26 mins||Intervals 4 x 600 meters||LSD 36 mins|
|Week 8||FCR 23 mins||Fartlek 28 mins||Intervals 5 x 600 meters||LSD 38 mins|
|Week 9||FRC 25 mins||Fartlek 30 mins||Intervals 6 x 600 meters||LSD 40 mins|
|Week 10||FCR 27 mins||Fartlek 32 mins||Intervals 4 x 800 meters||LSD 42 mins|
|Week 11||FCR 29 mins||Fartlek 34 mins||Intervals 5 x 600 meters||LSD 44 mins|
|Week 12*||FCR 25 mins||Fartlek 30 mins||Intervals 6 x 600 meters||LSD 40 mins|
* Easy week before building back up again.
Cardio training can be a whole lot more involving than simply heading out for a jog around the same route you always use or turning up to some arbitrary exercise class at a local fitness centre. By using a variety of variety of cardio training modalities and methods, keeping your heart and lungs in great shape need never be boring and your fitness levels will climb and climb!
- Myers, Jonathan. “Exercise and cardiovascular health.” Circulation 107.1 (2003): e2-e5.
- Garber C. et al. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 43:7 (2011). doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb
- Benson, Roy, and Declan Connolly. Heart Rate Training. Human Kinetics, 2011.