After a couple of weeks talking about weight training this week’s post will discuss cardio training and the different options. I won't be giving a comparison of the training methods at that stage, but will give an introduction into the different types of cardio.
So first of all what do the terms LISS, HIIT or METCON mean?
LISS training stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio. This method of training is perhaps the most common cardio training seen in the gym. LISS is where you perform the same type of exercise, at roughly the same intensity or speed over an extended period of time, typically 15mins+. An example of this would be a 5k run on the treadmill, we are unable to sprint at top speed for 5k so we set a speed that we can steadily complete the distance.
HIIT training stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The basis of HIIT training is that we work at near maximal effort for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest where we can recover and repeat. For example, on the exercise bike we would work very hard or ‘sprint’ for 15 seconds at a high level (gear), followed by 1-2 minutes of cycling at a very slow pace and low gear and then repeat the 15 seconds, followed by the slower 1-2minutes and so on, for approximately 10 -15mins. Now this example is very general and might seem easy, but believe me it isn’t and HIIT training should be designed for an individual taking into account current fitness levels- So my recommendation would be to speak to a member of staff before jumping straight in with HIIT.
METCON training stands for Metabolic Conditioning. METCON is a method of training where repeated use of resistance or weight exercises achieve a cardio effect. Circuit classes would be a good example of METCON training. The aim of METCON is to improve strength and cardio at the same time. We could do this by selecting four exercises, setting a rep range for each and see how many rounds we can complete in an allotted time. For example, squats x 8 reps, bent over row x 8 reps, shoulder press x 8 reps, kettlebell swing x 8 reps, this would be one round and we see how many times we can complete the round in 10 minutes. Again this is an advanced form of cardio and I would recommend speaking to a member of staff to design and go through it with you before start!
All forms are great methods of cardio, each with their own benefits. If you would like to know more, speak to one of the fitness team who will be happy to go through the types with you!
Written by Tom Smith, fitness instructor and strength & conditioning coach