Cardio thread

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SaviorSelf
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Cardio thread

#1

Post by SaviorSelf » Mon Jul 01, 2024 12:11 pm

There's plenty of lifting threads. Curious if anyone can help me out here. Welcome to any kinds of advice/suggestions/criticism

Gist is this:
  • My goal with cardio is health/longevity
  • I struggle to get and maintain a high BPM due to local muscle fatigue. Around 150 BPM or so seems be a wall of sorts
  • I can however maintain up to 140 or so BPM no problem

Things I've tried:
  • Jogging/running. This would work, but I get shin splints very easily. I've tried various things and it's been a problem since I was a kid. I think there's something just physiologically wrong with my shins and I give up here
  • Fast walking, on an incline - I can do this, but my heart rate won't go above 150 or so
  • Jump roping - also shin splints. Running gives my shin splints on the front, these give them on the inner sides and it is awful
  • Stair climber - no shin splints, but my glutes tire out before I get a good cardio workout. I've really put some effort into these and was able to go longer (best was 45 mins or so), but as I got better my heart rate wasn't going up as much
  • Jacobs ladder - my Crunch has this. Essentially a ladder at an angle you climb forever. Like a stair climber but it brings your arms into it. This doesn't have a heart rate monitor on it so I don't know actually know my BPM on it. I can't last long on it, most I did was 5 minutes, but I could feel my lungs burning so I think it works. Other times my quads just give out too fast before I feel like I get cardio benefits
Other things:
  • A couple years ago or so I bought a fitbit watch (broken now, don't buy one) to measure my heart rate. I was surprised that my resting heart rate was in the 50s despite hardly ever doing cardio at that time. After a while of doing some cardio exercise, I think I got some overnight readings in the high 40s. Is it possible I have a hard time getting my BPM up because my cardiovascular system is already in good shape? Really doubt it but idk
  • Does a long cardio workout at say 140 BPM work just as good as a short one at a high BPM?

JimRiley
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Re: Cardio thread

#2

Post by JimRiley » Mon Jul 01, 2024 10:10 pm

There's a great deal of individual variation in heart rate during cardio, as well as variation within an individual at different life stages. Not getting your heart rate above 150 isn't necessarily an issue, especially if it feels like you're working hard at that level.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (https://health.gov/sites/default/files/ ... ummary.pdf) say: "For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week." If you've got the 150-300 minutes a week, I don't think moderate intensity has to be all that hard. There's definitely a benefit to just putting in the time, as adherents of "zone 2" training (nominally 60-70% of maximum heart rate, which should feel quite easy) will gladly tell you.

You didn't mention having tried cycling as a modality, and doing it outdoors, especially on roadways, isn't for everyone, but you might enjoy stationary cycling in a gym. It has minimal potential for injuries like shin splints, it's simple to go faster or slower without fussing with the machine, and if you like data the bikes often supply lots of it.

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perman
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Re: Cardio thread

#3

Post by perman » Tue Jul 02, 2024 12:04 pm

Whenever you follow a protocol and improve at it, something in your body is improving. While it's logical to try to target certain systems with cardio, to begin with I think being able to complete the prescriptions and it isn't too hard, those are probably better bench marks than things like heart rate and/or RPE.

If you do something like a 4x4 (4 minutes on, 3-4 minutes of, times 4) at a steady state while on, if you're pretty gassed at the end of it you did it right no matter what your heart rate is at the end.

Also, I think many people in the cardio community believe in various models of polarized training following a rough 80/20 rule, meaning about 80% of the model should be zone 2 like Jim Riley described (although the percentages probably don't matter that much if you don't have insane volumes or struggle with recovery). If you do something like 2-5 sessions of zone 2 per your hard sessions (typically intervals), that's probably good.

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aurelius
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Re: Cardio thread

#4

Post by aurelius » Wed Jul 03, 2024 9:52 am

For your goals, I'd focus on low impact steady state cardio. My recommendation is walking. Buy a weight vest (about 10% of your bodyweight) and walk at a normal pace. Add in some incline treadmill (weighted incline) once walking is easy. Pick a pace you can maintain for 20-30 minutes. Ways to continue progression as you adapt:

--increase incline
--increase pace
--increase weight

I'd add more cardio sessions versus lengthening cardio sessions. Just my preference because I get bored then something about the body converting to catabolism around the 35 minute mark (?). I don't know if the underlined is real science.

Regarding the "appropriate level of exertion": Rule of Thumb I was told by 'them' one should minimally exert themselves enough that it would be difficult to have a sustained conversation and impossible to sing. And you should sweat.

My primary activity is hiking in the mountains of Colorado. To stay in hiking shape I do conditioning twice per week with a 25 pound weight vest. 20-25 minutes of weighted incline. Then do 5-7 minutes of weighted stairs. I push hard on the stairs and get a good sweat/burn going. Then do 5 minutes of cooldown on a stationary back.

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Re: Cardio thread

#5

Post by Philbert » Thu Jul 04, 2024 9:07 pm

No disagreement with advice so far
Running is great cardio if you want to be good at running for some other reason, or enjoy doing it. Otherwise, the risk/benefit ration is not that great. With your history especially I agree, give it up.
Stair climber, ladder, incline treadmill, brisk walk with a weight vest, rowing machine, actual rowing, ski machine, actual cross country skiing, kayak paddling, stationary bike, actual bike are all options. Since you are training for health and not sport performance you can do one thing till you get a little tired of it and then switch.
Have you done a graded heart rate protocol to find your max heart rate? If your are going to train with a heart rate measurement goal you should be using a percentage of your own max, not an age based formula. There is fairly wide variation in max and resting heart rates. More practically, if over time you can do the same workout in less time with the same heart rate, or in the same time with a lower heart rate, then what you are doing is working.

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Re: Cardio thread

#6

Post by hector » Sun Jul 07, 2024 3:02 pm

If you want to try running again there are lots of exercises to strengthen your shin muscles and make shin splints go away. I’m super heavy and can run without pain. (Albeit slowly.)

SaviorSelf
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Re: Cardio thread

#7

Post by SaviorSelf » Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:38 am

Thanks for the responses everyone

- I haven't tried weighted vests or thought about trying them, but makes sense to try

- I haven't done a graded heart rate protocol. I think I've done something similar though on the stair climber (slow stair climbing with increasingly more difficult bursts of speed)

- I've tried stretching my shins and foam rolling them, but never directly strengthening them. Maybe there's some way I can "shin curl" a dumbbell or something

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Re: Cardio thread

#8

Post by platypus » Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:43 am

I have a sister who's a distance runner, and was always getting shinsplints and stress fractures. She ended up fixing it, after many years, by doing these things:
1. Running on soft ground instead of pavement.
2. Cutting her distance way down, from 30+ miles a week to more like 15.
3. Better nutrition, from the typical runner diet of bread, bread, and more bread to something that included animal protein. She also started lifting and gained maybe 15lbs of badly needed bodyweight.

She still heel strikes instead of running on the balls of her feet, but she's pain free.

...

But I also don't think you particularly need to run for cardio: my suggestion is burpees or kettlebell swings. You could even do 13 down, an old Johnny Pain workout: 13 burpees, 13 swings, 12 burpees, 12 swings, etc. all the way down to 1.

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aurelius
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Re: Cardio thread

#9

Post by aurelius » Mon Jul 15, 2024 6:59 am

platypus wrote: Mon Jul 15, 2024 4:43 amI have a sister who's a distance runner, and was always getting shinsplints and stress fractures. She ended up fixing it, after many years, by doing these things:
Stopped distance running.
Fixed.

*tongue-in-cheek. post is in jest.

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