When we get into talking about conditioning, many coaches and athletes nowadays are in favor of higher intensity training, or anaerobic condition, and are getting away from aerobic conditioning. If you don’t know the differences between aerobic and anaerobic, here are the definitions for the two:
Aerobic means in the presence of, or with, oxygen. Example: Going for a 3 mile run @ 70-75% effort. You are continuously moving, but able to hold a conversation and not gasping for air at all.
Anaerobic means the absence of, or without, oxygen. Example: Sprinting 100 meters @ Max Effort. You are performing at an intensity that will cause you to be out of breath at the end of the sprint, but you will only be able to sustain this output for a few moments.
Fitness fads and trends nowadays are all about how hard you are able to go in the gym and sprawled out on the floor after. Yeah, that is cool and it makes you feel like you work hard. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for this, but not every single workout that you are conducting needs to follow this fad.
For example, we will use a workout like 2 x 500 meter Row / Rest 10 mins btw efforts. You get 1:38 secs on your 1st set, then get 1:50 on the next, and after you're done, you realize that you couldn't recover fast enough for the 2nd 500 meter row. This right here is a huge RED flag that your aerobic endurance is not where it should be. By having a good aerobic base, that 10 mins should've been more than enough time to get back to 98%+ fully recovered to be able to maintain within +/- 4-6 secs of the 1st 500 Meter Row.
Train Up Your Aerobic System
Understand that training your aerobic system is a huge piece to performing your job and creating longevity to your life. It has a lot of benefits:
- Increases Mental Clarity
- Strengthens the Heart
- Increase Fat Lost
- Improves Recovery
- Oxygen Production / Consumption
- Lowers Stress
- Prevents Diseases
- Improves Heart Efficiency
As a Tactical Athlete we must rely on the aerobic system. Think about the first thing you do to get into the military. You have to take some kind of fitness test, which may include a 3 mile run or a 2 mile run, some kind of max effort of: Pull Ups / Push Ups / Sit Ups.
You are probably thinking, how does that work? Well increasing your aerobic system, you now are able to not only improve the run, but you're also able to improve strength, due to the ability to do more work. Yes that is right, you will be able to improve strength. With the increased aerobic system, we are able to increase red blood cells and increase oxygen in the blood, which will now be able to keep improving strength at the same time.
Yes, science is awesome.
But don’t neglect the Anaerobic System?
Don’t get me wrong, we will need to make sure we are training the anaerobic system, and there is a time and place for it, but many Tactical Athletes don’t have the conditioning to sustain the proper anaerobic system they need to perform their job.
Let’s look at it like this, we are in a firefight with the enemy and you are having to sprint from cover to cover, having to get rounds down range, but your heart rate is too high. Your heart rate is so high that you aren’t able to provide cover for your teammates. Now you are useless and putting your teammates at risk.
We don’t want to be that guy. Having a good aerobic system will help flush the byproducts in the body, help get the heart rate down faster, and be able to get into rest / recovery faster, as it has been shown that having a good aerobic system will help prompt recovery a lot faster.
Moving Beyond HIT Mode
At the end of the day, let’s not get stuck into the high intensity training mode for every workout you are doing. I am not saying it is bad, but with doing these high intensity workouts all the time you are always spiking your CNS into the fight or flight mode. This will take a toll on you after a while, so putting in aerobic system work will help with avoiding the following:
- Lack of Sex Drive
- Higher Risk of Injury
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Loss of Muscle
- Higher Risk of Diseases
At the end of the day, the goal is have a systematic approach to your training; that will help optimize your full potential, not just as a Tactical Athlete, but as a “HUMAN” being. In my next blog we will breakdown the thinking behind the strength and stamina programs we offer through SOFlete.