What is the best way to increase your cardio? Being a former college basketball player, I’ve had to experiment a lot with various training regimens. I’ve been on countless training programs to increase my strength, flexibility, and cardio. The last part of the three I just mentioned is the area I’d like to hone in on. Cardio plays an important part in our health and well-being. It is often overlooked behind strength training. However, cardio can be a better measure of our overall health especially as we get older.
How do we increase our cardio and what is the most effective method to do so? Many of you may think that could just mean run as far as you can as often as you can. And you’d obviously be wrong. There is a method that will help you reach your cardio goals quicker and with the same amount of effort.
High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a method used by a wide variety of disciplines to increase maximum cardio including sports, military training, endurance training, and so no. As the name implies, HIIT requires high intensity spurts of training followed by a short down time. This cycle is repeated a number of times depending on your cardio goals.
Many former athletes who are reading this may feel they have never done HIIT before and don’t want to try something new. But I can assure you if you played any sport, you most likely have done HIIT in some fashion. Basketball players do sprints or suicides. That is a form of HIIT. All out sprints followed up by a short rest period, then another set of all out sprints. That’s HIIT. This can be seen across practically every sport in one way or another. Quick periods of all out intensity followed up by a short rest, then repeat.
Why is HIIT better than plain cardio? When it comes to cardio, there are more effective ways that to run, bike, swim, or row at one speed for a long period of time. In fact, this way is boring! And it doesn’t work as well as HIIT. HIIT works practically twice as well and in half the time. Depending what you like to do for your cardio, there is a way you can incorporate HIIT tactics into any cardio exercise. For runners, instead of running one speed for 5 miles, try running 1 mile using HIIT. Do an all-out sprint for 100 yards, then rest with a slow walk for 50 yards. Then another set of sprinting, then resting. To add on to this even more, try running hills if you can. Sprinting up hills, then jogging down slowly is a great form of HIIT and in my opinion is the best way to increase endurance and strength.
HIIT is a new craze in the fitness community and is getting a lot of buzz. However, don’t let the millennials have you fooled on just another new thing they like to tell others they’re doing. Actually, HIIT has been around since the Stone Age (almost). Whether it’s biking, running, swimming, rowing, ect. There is no limit to what area of cardio HIIT can be applied to. HIIT will help you increase your cardio better than traditional cardio with a fraction of the time. Why? Because it focuses on high intensity rather than pacing. Unless you’re training for a long distance race, HIIT is the way to go to increase your cardio levels. It will also save you time and agony not having to run all those miles to feel like you did a respectable workout.
What are some of the ways you like to incorporate HIIT into your cardio training?