High intensity endurance weight training may be the right mix of physical activity that provides the best of cardio and weight training in half the time for baseline fit adults.
For years we have been told mixing cardio training with weight training is a must to ensure we are effectively working our cardiovascular system.
For the last 12 months I have been involved in high intensity endurance weight training as I prepare to attempt 2 to 3 new world records. High intensity endurance weight training is a form of what some call “burn out sets”. This consists of doing one specific exercise for relatively high rep counts, sets of 12 to 15, for long periods with very short rest periods of less than one minute. Another form is doing a specific exercise for extremely high rep counts in short bursts of 15 to 25 reps, or doing a series of 3 to 4 exercises in succession in sets of 3 to 6 with no rest period other than walking to the next station.
The results of this training were recently observed during a segment I participated in on the Discovery Channel April 18, 2012: http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/#clip661528
During this segment we measured and contrasted the effects of traditional weight training to high intensity endurance weight training.
In short, during high intensity training I maintained a constant heart rate of 162 to 185 beats per minute (bpm). This rate stayed steady for a 25 minute period. While I did not engage in any type of cardio activity, my heart rate maintained a higher rate than had I been running or doing some other forms of cardio activity.
As a side note, during the more traditional weight training of doing a specific exercise in sets of 3 to 5 with a three minute break, my heart rate was steady around 120 bpm and only experienced short 3 to 5 second spikes to 155 bpm and only during the time I was lifting.
The lesson learned here is high intensity endurance weight training can provide the same, if not higher, consistent heart rate as traditional cardio exercises. While more scientific research needs to be done in this area, it would seem that we can shorten traditional cardio / weight training programs and possibly increase the cardio vascular – muscular value and results, with high intensity endurance weight training.
This training is not recommended for everyone and definitely takes time of build up to. It requires a slow and deliberate ramping up process. This training is intense and is similar to a stress test on steroids.
So be prepared if you venture into this area.