High or Low

The coaches and I have been having good discussions about high intensity training. Specifically, whether or not high intensity training is the best solution to improve health for the average person. In this context, high intensity means training with heart rate percentages near your maximum.

What we keep coming back to, is that many people need more low intensity training before cranking it up. I think high intensity training is great and that intervals are an invaluable tool, but are we missing the boat if we’re loading up on high heart rate work without spending time in lower heart rate zones?

As a coach, I get it, telling someone to do a 45 minute Airbike cruise at a low intensity is a hard sell. Now, if you’ve been on an Airbike, you know it’s not usually a low intensity affair - but a lot of the time you spend in the gym is. From your warm up, to strength exercises and sometimes during the accessory movements. When we program a workout or training session for you, we try to ramp up the intensity as you go, trying to cover a variety of work at a wide range of heart rates.

That time in the gym may not be enough though, especially if long term health is your goal. I urge you to walk more, go on leisurely bike rides, and maybe come in for an extra day and hop on the rowing machine for 30 minutes. The high intensity training is sexy, it leaves you gasping for air, sweaty and feeling accomplished. Those are all great things, and let me be clear, I don’t think that’s bad. However, do you get any exercise that doesn’t leave you huffing and puffing and laying on the floor? If you don’t, it might be time to add in something long, slow and easy once or twice a week.

Justin Miner

@portsmouthcoach

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