- low, moderate and intense training
Someone's performance skills are determined by many different factors, e.g. someone's technical, tactical, psychological and physical abilities. The physical performance skill is particularly depending on heart/vessel system and the muscle's build in combination with the nerve system, which is primarily determined by genetic factors. But you can highly affect your physical skills by training.
The performance skills also depend on gender, age and other factors like surroundings and nutrition. This article describes the different forms of aerobic training. You also get examples of different training principles and ideas to improve the aerobic factors.
What does "aerobic training" mean?
Every time you move, the body uses energy. The body can procure this energy in two different ways:
Without oxygen (anaerobic) - when there is not enough oxygen, waste products will pile up in the muscles
With oxygen (aerobic) - this means that the exercise is performed under circumstances where there is enough oxygen in the muscles. When you wish to improve your endurance fitness, you should train your aerobic system and move your lactate threshold.
Purpose of aerobic training
Aerobic training can be divided into three overlapping training intensity areas: low, moderate and high intensity training. The overall purpose of aerobic training is to:
- improve the oxygen transport in your circulation
- improve the muscle's ability to use the available oxygen
- improve the ability to recuperate after hard exercise
Low intensity training
This form of training is also called restitution training, as the purpose is to achieve a faster restitution after hard exercise. The average heart rate should be 60-70% of the maximum heart rate (HRmax), which is why we talk about light intensity physical activity like jogging. You should just make sure that your exercise pattern is the same as in your primary sport.
Restitution training is suitable the day after a hard training session or race/competition. The idea behind low intensity training is that the muscles recuperate better and that possible soreness wears off faster. You can read more about muscle soreness in the article "DOMS - muscle soreness".
Moderate intensity training
This form of training is also known as endurance training, as the purpose is to improve your muscles' ability to work for a longer time (that is the aerobic capacity) as well as to increase the body's ability to recuperate after hard training.
Endurance training can be done continuously or in intervals at 70-80% HRmax. If you choose interval training, the exercise time should be at least 3 minutes with short breaks. It is, however, most common to exercise continuously as the intensity is relatively low.
High intensity training
This form of training could also be called "fitness" training, as the goal is to improve your body's ability to work at a high intensity for a long period of time, as well as to improve the body's ability to recuperate after intense exercise.
High intensity training could be done continuously or at intervals at 90% HRmax. Most athletes choose interval training, because you gain a greater total of intense work. Several research projects have shown that this is the most optimal way to improve the maximum oxygen uptake. High intensity in the training is the most substantial factor for an improved fitness, but you do not need to train until exhaustion.
Research shows that in very well trained athletes the fitness can be improved by exercising at a high intensity and thus a shorter period of time. Research also shows that the greatest effect in relation to fitness is achieved by training at 90-100% HRmax intensity four times a week, 35-45 minutes per session. Moreover, it has been shown that untrained and moderately trained athletes can achieve improvements in fitness at a lower intensity during a longer period of time. The disadvantage of this method is precisely the large amount of time that most people do not have.
To achieve the greatest effect of aerobic training, it is important to control the intensity to ensure that you do the right training. The more experience you have with the aerobic training forms, the easier it is to control the intensity. Fortunately you can use a heart rate monitor, which makes it a lot easier. Due to the large amount of training in endurance sports, it is very important to have variation in training. By switching between different forms of training you avoid one-sided strains and thus injuries. Moreover it is motivating to vary training. And remember: the largest part of your training should be sport-specific.