Wednesday, June 18, 2008


When I'm doing a doubles routine a skip a lot of the more aerobic-oriented workouts in X because I'm generally getting heaps of this type of training on my bike. Yesterday my legs weren't recovered from the race so I opted for Kenpo instead of Plyo. It felt better than it ever has. My kicks (which suck due to lack of flexibility) were stronger and had a lot more snap than usual. It also seemed to really help loosen up my leg muscles. So even though it was a random substitution it ended up being the perfect workout.

The X doesn't have any traditional cardio work. Each of the cardio-oriented workouts focus on performing something. There is no idle bopping around. This throws a lot of people who've been taught by the media to think that cardio training is nothing but low-level movement. In fact, "cardio" isn't a type of training at all. We just use those titles because people are taught that they "need cardio".

You need to train your cardiovascular system. It's vital. But you never need to do a "cardio" workout because every type of exercise trains it in one way or another. In fact, the most effect training for this system--if you had to just choose one way--would be doing anaerobic training sets in an interval format, which is what we call circuit training. That is because is puts the most stress on your heart during the actual sets, which then beats fast in order to recover for the next one. This is why the "cardio" workouts in X always have some sort of human performance element. They are meant to stress different muscles and connective tissues in different ways. They are not meant to give you low-level aerobic training.

What we're generally taught to be "cardio" training is actually low-level aerobic training, or more intense interval training that targets your lactate threshold. Both have a place in an exercise program but neither is as time efficient as circuit training.

In relation to X, traditional aerobics are what we'd call a aerobic workout and would mainly be used for either recovery or foundation work. It trains your aerobic system to function well but does very little musclular breakdown. Xers should have done this type of training during their foundation, when they were building up the fitness to tackle X.

Higher level interval training, similar to what Chalene does in Turbo Jam, causes more breakdown and trains your VO2 max and lactate threshold. While highly effective this style training leads quickly towards a plateau if not interspersed with other things targeting different energy systems. Chalene mixes variations in to keep this from occuring but, at some point, you need to create more breakdown using resistance to keep your results curve going up. This is why she's created ChaLEAN, which is weight training program.

The X cardio workouts would be catagorized as the above but vary in intensity so much that some are more like circuit training. Plyo, for sure, creates very high level breakdown but even Kenpo and Cardio X will max your heart rate during segments. Essentially, there are no easy workouts in X (except X Stretch), which is why you should recover between rounds doing something else, like long easy bike rides or dusting off those old Richard Simmons tapes.


Our Juicy Life said...

Steve - I'm starting my phase 2 - yesterday's biceps and back was brutal, but I'm not doing some pull ups without the help of a chair. I feel so much stronger after my recovery week (needed that). Still doing 1 long (60 mile) ride each week, with pretty big hills (all over PV) and 1 day of intervals. I LOVE Kenpo....could be my favorite. Great job on the race with Beata!

Our Juicy Life said...

need to read my post before I publish....What I wanted to say was "I'm now doing some pull ups without the help of a chair"

Steve Edwards said...

Cool. I'm loving the weight training workouts right now. My quandry is that all the things I want to do this summer are on my bike. Maybe I'll just ride crits where I can use this muscle to push people out of the way.

What city and you guys living in next year?