The current lockdown measures still allow us to get outside once per day to do some form of exercise. The majority of us will likely use this time to go running, or at the very least, walking. It’s, therefore, a prime time to improve your cardio, something that can often get overshadowed by our usual daily work routines.
We turned to the experts to find out exactly what could be achievable in two weeks or more if we commit to regular exercise. Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic was happy to answer our questions, and started by telling us, “A good measure to understand if your cardio training is getting better could be that you start training harder and at a greater intensity.”
“If your times improve (ie you can get one more burpee in within the minute or your run time improves) or maybe the task you are doing gets easier, then it means it’s time to adapt your workout or routine to make it a bit harder.”
“Say you want to improve your 10km run by 1 minute, this is potentially doable in two weeks.”
“You would do this by practising hill sprints, going for some long runs and even getting in the weights room to strengthen your legs, butt and core to help you get stronger.”
“Make sure you take some rest days though as you won’t be going faster if you are too tired to move.”
But before you start thinking that cardio training will deplete any muscle gains you made in the gym before they were shut down, let us take you back to an article we published at the beginning on last year.
In it, we focused on Ross Edgeley – who is perhaps one of the most physically fit people we’ve ever come across – who says that cardio training, combined with strength training, can actually elicit greater muscle gains than strength training alone.
It’s a common conception that cardio is for fat loss and shredding, whereas strength training piles on the muscular pounds. Ross says ‘pish’ to all this, and claims cardio training can complement any resistance training you do (if you’re doing resistance training at home, this could come in the form of resistance band workouts to using your sofa as a multi-station piece of equipment).
Ross says of this match made in fitness heaven, “Performing any form of cardiovascular training dramatically improves your capillary density. Capillaries are the small blood vessels that network through the muscles and by increasing their density you also increase your own ability to supply the working muscles with blood, oxygen and nutrients during training.”
“This is one of the most overlooked aspects of strength training as power-based athletes arguably place too much emphasis on shifting iron than looking after their capillaries.”
So if you’ve been potentially put off of dusting off your training sneakers, believing that you’re better off curling a set of dining room chairs than facing the great outdoors, have a rethink and start off with a light jog. You could even follow Conor McGregor‘s lead by adding in some stair sprints too.