Advanced Heart Rate Training for muscular conditioning


I gave a workshop to some trainers today.  I showed them the following training technique, and thought some of my blog followers might find it challenging and rewarding to try.  Some of my current and recent clients have gone through differing versions of it, and they should feel free to give their honest appraisal if they are paying attention to all my blog posts.  You know who you are, out there…

So when reading this, remember that wherever I write client, that would refer to YOU.  Feel free to ask questions, and if any trainers want to use it I just ask that you credit me and refer those clients to my blog.

Enjoy.

 

Advanced Heart Rate Training for MusculoSkeletal Conditioning

  1. What is it?
    A. Results Oriented Training

    1. Get a heart rate monitor: Stop guessing if the client is working out hard
    2. Get the de-conditioned client in shape first, then add athletics/athletic movements
    3. Build the client up slowly

    B. Determining where to start

    1. Discover true resting heart rate and exercise zones using Karvonen formula (220 – age – RHR x 60% & 85%, adding RHR back in to both ranges)
    2. Don’t forget about Rate of Perceived Exertion, especially with beginners
    3. The truth about max heart rate: (it’s not really age predicted; get a stress test to determine your true max heart rate)
    4. It is helpful if you do strength assessments beforehand to determine starting points in major exercises
  2. How to begin
    A. Have the client wear a heart rate monitor for the entire session

    1. Warm up the client to get them to 60% THRZ
    2. Focus on major muscle groups and compound (multi-joint) movements. Set up a Circuit of weight lifting activities, always alternating lower and upper muscle groups, or opposing muscle groups, one after the other (4 or more exercises strung together; the more activities, the greater the overall intensity becomes).  Don’t add too many exercises to the circuit as the time between body parts is resting the muscle(s), and too much rest is counter productive
  1. Monitoring heart rate, push the client through the circuit until their heart rate (or perceived exertion) hits or just exceeds 85% of max, allow recovery until 60% THRZ is approached (do not allow the client to fall below 60%)
  2. For the de-conditioned individual, rate of perceived exertion might take initial precedence, as their tolerance to intensity might be lower
  3. For the conditioned client, you can eventually push well above 85% THRZ, and you can manipulate their low-end to higher percentages as their tolerance improves. Continue to ask how they feel; perceived exertion is never ignored

B. Never sacrifice form for speed. We are not training competitive athletes, and this is not an athletic or recreational event

  1. Our clients are mostly out of shape and/or middle-aged
  2. Allow water breaks as needed
  3. If doing multiple circuits start more complex movements and add less complex movements to subsequent circuits as fatigue sets in
  4. Don’t be afraid to improvise and modify on the go if the client is having trouble with a movement or the club gets busy and equipment becomes un-available (know your movement exercises and the closest equivalents if you have to modify)

III. Conclusion

  1. Keep it simple. Train what you really know. Don’t pretend to be an expert. Brain surgeons don’t perform heart surgery, orthopedic surgeons don’t perform brain surgery, and I don’t teach boxing (because I’m not a boxer). Stay within your knowledge base and make your clients work.
  2. This protocol will radically improve cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity.
  3. It will promote extreme weight loss (if diet is under control)
  4. It will promote intense muscular conditioning, developing lean muscular physiques
  1. This routine follows the GAS principle (general adaptation syndrome). It improves general overall fitness (muscular conditioning, aerobic and cardiovascular capacity) but does not improve specific activities like running or cycling (SAID principle: specific adaptation to imposed demands).
  2. This program is an exercise protocol, not an athletic event or recreational activity. Know the difference. 

    a.  It is meant to improve the body’s ability to tolerate those activities. Tennis players strength and cardio train. Football players strength and cardio train. Baseball players and hockey players and soccer players and basketball players and olympic gymnasts all strength and cardio train. 

    b.  If you want to train like an athlete, you can’t cherry pick. Weight and cardio training will reduce your risk of getting an injury from athletic training. And don’t complain when you get hurt while doing athletic training, even if you do the prerequisite and requisite strength and cardio training. Athletic training is a very high risk activity.

Here is a sample routine to follow:

Squats/Pull Ups or Bent over dumbbell rows/walking lunges or jump lunges/ push ups

4-6 sets, 10-20 reps each exercise, done in sequence with no or minimal rest time between exercises, except as indicated by a heart rate monitor and staying within 60-85% TMHR (theoretical max heart rate).  If the high target zone is exceeded, allow rest to occur without allowing HR to drop below 60% (resume at 65%).  Pick up the circuit where you left off, and continue until the next rest is required.

By Scott Salbo, AHRT systems
Physio-Active Response Training (PART

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2 thoughts on “Advanced Heart Rate Training for muscular conditioning

  1. I have a question regarding how to find one’s maximum heart rate. Getting a stress test is expensive if the doctor doesn’t think you have a problem that requires one. I’ve been in enough classes to know that I consistently collapse at 170 beats. Can I assume that’s my maximum or is there something a stress test does that an exercise class with a heart rate monitor cannot do?

    1. It’s probably safe to assume 170 is pretty close to your max. In a stress test they increase your intensity much more gradually, allowing your energy systems to keep pace. Your actual max might be a few beats higher, but not enough, I’d wager, to make a statistical difference.. Go with 170.

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