CARDIO CONDITIONING FOR THE MODERN BODYBUILDER
'CARDIO' is a swear word to most bodybuilders! Lets face it, none of us like spending endless hours sweating it out on the treadmill, stationary bike or even worse … the stair mill!
There are literally hundreds of ways to perform your cardio. Most people, especially us as bodybuilders, want to maintain a healthy level of cardiovascular health, but it comes
secondary to achieving our desired look. This is all well and good, as we are judged solely on the way we look, not on our levels of conditioning or performance as in many other sports. This is not to say we cannot learn new, more sports specific methods and apply them to our own training.
Over the past couple of years I have tried many different methods of conditioning, just to escape the monotony of regular (low intensity) cardio and have always prided myself on being pretty much self sufficient in my training. I enjoy learning and experimenting with new methods to test my limits and always make the necessary improvements, even more than this. I'm good at motivating myself to get the 'job' done and push past the pain! As much as I enjoy training with a partner, I do not 'NEED' one!
Nobody knows you better than 'you'! If you're telling yourself that you can't carry on when you know you can, then thats just weak. Explore your potential, push your limits, become the master of your own destiny, do not leave it up to your training partner to finish your reps and produce a good workout.
I have learned where my limitations are, both physically and mentally. I refer to this as 'the voices', when the pain sets in and the body says 'stop', the voices say; 'keep pushing!'
In previous offseasons I have stuck with low intensity cardio 3x a week, fasted upon waking. More recently I have switched things up and used the 'TABATA' protocol a lot more, with fantastic results!
TABATA is a type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) developed for Olympic Speed Skaters in Japan. Its basically a four minute arse kicking which improves both aerobic (long duration) and anaerobic (short burst) conditioning. Each four minute session involves eight cycles of 30 seconds, the first 20 seconds are a flat out / max effort pace, as fast as you can, followed by a 10 second rest, when I have finished the first 4 minutes I take a minute or 2 to rest, then go again, I will generally do 12 minutes altogether … then it's time to eat!
Its very simple, and although traditionally performed on the stationary bike, it can easily be transferred to a treadmill or other C.V equipment. There are many variations online, when you understand the principle of the method and are honest with yourself about giving it everything in the gym, get creative, see what else you can apply it to!
Conditioning can be as simple or as complicated as you like, challenge yourself honestly, if your intention is to improve then you will! Try the TABATA methods I have suggested, it may just be the kick you need, don't be afraid to get a little NASTY with your cardio, I guarantee you'll like it!
If you need that extra push then try pre-workout Warrior Rage.