Cardiorespiratory training: Aerobic-efficiency training

You’ve been exercising habitually for weeks, performing moderate exercise for 60 minutes five times per week.  You feel good and want to move on to the next phase – aerobic efficiency training.  This phase concentrates on increasing the time of cardiorespiratory exercise and adds intervals.  This training improves aerobic efficiency, fitness, and health.spinning-771470_960_720

Aerobic efficiency training includes increased duration of sessions, increased frequency, and the introduction of interval training (increased intensity).  The warm-up, cool-down, recovery intervals, and steady-state cardiorespiratory exercise are done at a level where you can talk but is starting to feel uncomfortable when you do (RPE=3-4 or moderate to somewhat hard).  Intervals are added and they are performed at RPE=5 or hard.  Intervals start short, usually around 60 seconds, with a 180 second recovery interval (1:3 ratio).  This progresses to a ratio of 1:2 and eventually 1:1.  This increase should occur over several weeks, but depends on your goals and fitness level.  The exercise load should increase no more than 10% each week.

Many people do not progress beyond the aerobic-efficiency phase.  They may train at this phase for years.  As fitness levels increase, steady state exercise can progress to a RPE of 5, up from RPE of 3-4.  Below is a sample aerobic efficiency training plan.

phase 2 table

Once you are able to perform 50% of your cardiorespiratory training at this higher intensity, and reach seven or more hours of training per week, you can progress to the anaerobic-endurance training phase.

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