During a recent visit to Mark Bell’s Supertraining gym OPEX Fitness Founder, James FitzGerald shared his thoughts on how strength athletes can train their aerobic system to improve their core lifts. In this video, James address common misconceptions about cardio training, its benefits, and how to progress aerobic training over time. You can watch the video for yourself here.
A common reason why the aerobic system is often neglected is because strength athletes are afraid that training it will kill their strength and size. This is a misconception, properly prescribed aerobic training will not do this. Decreased strength and size only occurs when the aerobic training is overly intense or poorly prescribed.
Strength athletes (and most clients) will see these benefits when aerobic training is added into their program:
Increased blood flow – By increasing blood flow between tough lifting sessions you speed up the client’s recovery process.
Improved recovery – Aerobic training will also improve a client’s potential during lifting sessions. The more developed the aerobic system is the quicker they can recover from lifts between sessions and between sets.
Other benefits – May increase functional activity between sessions, may increase mobility, may increase their ability to burn fuel.
In the video, James lays out a sample progression for a client that has no background in aerobic training. Before beginning the progression James wants coaches and clients alike to keep in mind that “the main reason you are doing this work is to improve your recovery and central nervous system, not to become an endurance athlete”.
“Begin the progression with doing more than you are now,” says James. He recommends starting with 5 – 10 minutes of cardio. “You should go at a pace that you could maintain for hours on end, you’re going too fast if you cannot hold that pace for the entire time frame”. After a week in the 5 – 10 minute range James recommends adding in 5 minutes each week until the client is capable of doing aerobic work for 30 minutes 7 days a week.
The progression James laid out in this video is specifically for strength athletes. James acknowledges that every client is unique and needs an individual training plan for whatever they are trying to progress. And thus James has created his coaching methodology, The OPEX System of Coaching. Get an introduction to James’ system of coaching and learn how he individualizes every client’s programs in The Free Coach’s Toolkit.