Now that you have prepared the structure of your program, it is time start designing effective exercise sessions that can be implemented into your program. This piece will cover how to use the structural elements provided in Part 2 to design cardiovascular training sessions.
Achieving optimal results from a cardiovascular training program requires adequately stressing the cardiovascular system. This means that training sessions in this program should systematically progress through various stages of training and intensities.
Remember, each training session should begin with a warm-up phase and end with a cool-down phase to prepare the body for physical activity and prevent injury. The conditioning phase of cardiovascular sessions are structured around 5 exercise elements: Frequency, Intensity, Time/Duration, Type/Mode and Progression.
1. Frequency – # of training sessions or activity in a given day, week and/or month
2. Intensity – cardiovascular adaptations in the body are directly related to the intensity of the training sessions. Common methods for prescribing intensity include:
Target Heart Rate Zone (THR): The “target” heart rate zone is between 65-85% of your maximum predicted heart rate (MHR) or highest heart rate an individual can achieve without severe problems through exercise stress.
calculating maximum heart rate (MHR): 220 – age = MHR
MHR Example: A 55-year-old would have the following MHR: 220 – 55 years = 165 beats/min (bpm)
calculating target heart rate zone (THR) at 65-85%: MHR x THR% = THR zone
165 x 65% (or .65) = 107 bpm
165 x 85% (or .85) = 140 bpm
Target Heart Rate Zone is 107 – 140 bpm.
Stage Training: 3-stage programming system that moves through different heart rate training zones
Interval Training: performing intense bursts of exercises at 100% effort with intervals of followed by short recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.
Example – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): work/rest ratio should be 2:1
*Information and formatting examples will be provided in Part 6.
The rate and degree of improvements during an exercise program vary for each individual because everyone has their own genetic limits. Different cardiovascular training programs place different demands on the body’s systems that ultimately affect your improvements and goals. Aerobic conditioning improvements occur at a rate of about:
The greatest of these improvements will typically be seen in the first 6-8 weeks of the program. To push for continual improvements, make sure that each session provides a different challenge that stresses the cardiovascular system by adjusting the elements that were just covered.
The next part of the series will show you how to design resistance training sessions using these same exercises elements.
Up Next – Part 4: Designing Resistance Training Sessions