Monday, July 15, 2013

Unleashing Your Inner Aerobic Monster:

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  1. Hey Evan:

    What are the best ways to test Aerobic capacity? Is 60 min row an option? Do you have to take the HR into account when doing it?

  2. Sean,
    60 min Row for meters is an option, and is actually one of the tests we use/ have standardized norms for. Take note though that you want to record your meters ever 10 minutes as well as you've average pace since that will help give you some insight as well.
    HR shouldn't be taken into account as its doesn't have much application in the sport of fitness and is effected by so many factors that don't necessarily have to do with the effort the an athlete in putting out.

    Also note that an aerobic test can range anywhere from 10-60+ minutes (relative to the athlete and sport). Obviously having a test with standardized norms is important too, but you must also make sure the test is valid.

    For example take these two tests:
    1) 10 Minute Airdyne for max cals

    2) 10 Minute AMRAP: 15 KBS, 15 Burpee

    both are 10 minutes long, and if they are both hitting the aerobic system for a given athlete they still have different implications. Neither is technically right or wrong but they give different insights in different situations.
    Im starting to go down the rabbit hole here though...
    I hope that response helped, and as always feels free to ask more questions any time.

  3. HI, Evan, Loving the blog posts.
    (I thought I posted a comment but it looks like it vanished.)

    You mentioned in your comment to Sean that he should take down meters every 10 minutes. What does this reveal?

    If heartrate isn't significant, how do you test whether you are on track with increasing your aerobic capacity, and how do you judge how hard to exert yourself? I rowed for four years in college and heart rate was everything, so this is surprising to me.

    For someone like myself who does xfit 3-5 times a week but is looking to increase her aerobic capacity, is there a basic complementary program you would recommend? I.e. rowing 20 minutes 3x a week, every week hitting a lower split, or increasing distance, etc. I'm not sure where to start, and most people would tell me I don't need to do anything but the metcons.

  4. Thanks for the feedback!

    To start, the purpose of taking down meters every ten minutes is to see how well you could pace yourself, sustain your pace, where you drop off/speed up etc. 60 Minutes is a long time and you can learn a lot about an athlete just by seeing how they physically & mentally do on this workout.

    Next, ill throw something in about why HR isn't so significant.
    To start you should note that your HR can be influenced by sleep, hydration, what modality your using (swim, bike, run etc), and that your HR may spike due to muscular fatigue rather than taxing your aerobic system (learned this from OPT).

    In regards to tracking aerobic capacity you do that via physical testing, like the 60m row for meters, 10 minute Airdyne for cals etc (many others). Take note though that you need standardized numbers for the test, and it needs to be well designed.

    In reagards to increasing your capacity, just rowing 20 minutes a week won't do a ton. It will give you a small initial increase but you need a progression that fits within your training program. Since I don't know you (your training history, goals, stats etc) I can't really say what would work for you since the prescription is based on the client (and since I don't know how the training program your on now works).
    That being said you can check out the sample training program I wrote on our Exclusive coaching page and see how I programmed for that client to increase aerobic capacity and you can check out OPT's blog to see how he does things as well.

    1. I disagree with your heart rate statement in this context.

      Heart rate is very predictable relative to power in single modality bouts. In a test/retest scenario -- such as a long duration row -- heart rate would provide valuable insight to adaptations of the cardiovascular system. Lower heart rate at matched power (or how about greater power)? Excellent! Inferences can be drawn from that.

      The key, thought, is to control potential confounding variables such as sleep, stress, nutrition, and environment to increase the reliability of results. Obviously the same testing protocol must be used, too.

      In the case of heart rate related to multiple modality bouts I tend to agree with you. Multiple modality sessions should not be compared apples-to-apples with one another. The linear relationship of heart rate to power may not exist depending on the prescription. And guess what? Heart rate is going to near-maximal for most people in sport fitness regardless of the circumstances. Its usefulness in that context is diminished.

    2. Matt,

      I agree with your first statement, but the issue is still the confounding variables. For anyone who does not live in the full-time athlete bubble its just not reasonable to expect those variables to be consistent. The fact that muscular fatigue can effect HR also causes another variable. IE- Did HR drop because improved Strength-Endurance or because approved aerobic capacity. In that instance you only know the change in HR, not the cause.
      On the other hand I do think there is some merit in some cases, but as an overall tool I just don't really think its that useful in our sport.

      Though this is all my opinion formulated off the info I've seen/collected, so I'm not saying your wrong. I honestly do appreciate the feedback and love the dialect we can get into about this as it allows us to think critically.


  5. Great article.. A question though.. Wouldn't building a great aerobic base (2-3 months?) without strength training lead to muscle loss? Thanks in advance and greetings from Greece! Chris

  6. Chris,
    While building an aerobic base we still program strength training. However, It must be programed intelligently so they dont interfere with one another which is what we were trying to express in the article.

    We go into more detail on that specific topic in our article on concurrent training optimization which ill link in this comment.

    If you have another questions feel free to ask.

  7. chuẩn là những thứ mình đang tìm kiếm, rất cảm ơn bạn về nội dung bài viết vừa rồi
    Một vài ý kiến tham khảo thêm: đồ tập aerobic