High heart rate strength training (HHRST)
Danny O'Dell explains what high-heart-rate strength training is all about and provides an example six-week training programme.
You may be asking yourself "what is this high heart rate strength training all about"? The short answer is combination cardio at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate (HRmax) and strength training at 70-80% one repetition max (RM). This type of training is the foundation of general physical preparation for all who strive to be the best at their sport.
Key to abbreviations
To perform this demanding type of exercise regimen, you must already be in excellent condition as it is not appropriate for the inexperienced to do. Excellent condition by my definition is as follows:
You also need to determine and record your
Once you have fulfilled the above criteria, then the program can begin with an introduction into the training regimen. This "starter routine" will be performed for the first two weeks to make sure you are up to the stress and the activity pace. It is recommended you consult with your doctor before performing any new exercise routine or program. Pay very close attention as to how you feel, as it is easy for you to become faint unless you are in excellent condition. If you feel queasy or light-headed, then lie down so that your feet are above your heart and slowly consume some fluid, e.g. water or a high glycaemic drink.
Introduction to the 6-week High Heart Rate Strength Training program
Warm-up before exercising, a rope-skipping routine provides an excellent general warm-up. Once the general warm-up is completed and before beginning a specific exercise, perform several mimicking movements of the exercise before adding external weight.
Week one and two Do the following exercises two to three times per session for two weeks, two times a week. Keep track of your heart rate throughout the session. After each rope-skipping episode begin the next set of exercises when your pulse reaches 70% HRmax. Do not let it drop below the 70% HRmax.
Note: Warm-up your shoulders and arms with the shoulder series of moves as described here before moving on to the push-ups:
Note: Warm-up your lower body with a set of 15-25 good mornings and one set of 15-25 bodyweight only squats before beginning with the weighted squats that follow.
Warm-up the chest and upper arms with an additional series of shoulder warm-ups but this time do only ten each of the series before beginning the bench press and barbell rows.
The cooldown provides your body with the opportunity to return to a near-normal state. The static stretches make use of the muscle's warmth and lower viscosity of the tissues. There are six rules of stretching as recommended by the stretching authority Brad Walker of Australia. The stretching rules are:
The cooldown routine
Do static stretches of your choice for the following areas until your heart rate is once again normal, i.e. your regular pulse rate while out of bed in your daily routine.
There is a myriad of stretches that are equally effective at the end of your HHRST session, pick out the ones you enjoy doing during this relaxing point of the exercise session.
Weeks three and four
The warm-up protocol will remain the same as in weeks one and two. The intensity of the strength exercises rises to 50% 1RM with the heart rate staying at 70% HRmax. In these next two weeks, the strength movements will be packaged together in pairs before moving onto the cardio portion.
Do this schedule three times a week for three rotations each time.
Cool down and let your body return to near normal again. As you cooldown perform static stretches for the following areas:
Weeks five and six
The intensity of the strength exercises rises to 70% 1RM with the heart rate moving to 80% HRmax. In these next two weeks, the strength movements will be separated before moving onto the cardio portion.
Do this schedule twice a week for three rotations.
Cool down with static stretches for these areas:
Once you have completed the six weeks training schedule, it is time to take a few days of active rest and let your body fully recover. Find an activity you thoroughly enjoy and have fun as your neuromuscular systems recuperate. After this self-imposed break is over, it will be time to get back into the gym.
Once back into the HHRST mode start at 70% HRmax and strength for the first week of just two sessions. The following week make sure to raise the intensity to 75% cardio and strength for the three times you will work out.
Alternate the intensity levels between the twice a week and three times a week session. At the same time, you are alternating, you will also be raising and lowering the percentages each week until you are working out at between 80% and 85% in both categories.
Appendix A - Maximum heart rate (HRmax)
The most common method to determine your HRmax is to subtract your age from 220. However, this can be off as much as 10% of the actual figure. Once you have determined your HRmax multiply this answer by 60-80% and you will have your exercise target heart range. The Karvonen formula is a better option to use:
The most precise target heart rate formula is the one devised by Tanaka:
The Tanaka formula is especially good for the older person. This formula has a correlation of 0.81 and a standard error of about 6.0% indicating a good degree of accuracy and reliability.
Appendix B - Borg scale 0-10
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About the Author
Danny O`Dell is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning coach from the USA. He is the author of several training manuals including The Ultimate Bench Press Manual, Wilderness Basics, Strength training Secrets, Composite training and Power up your Driving Muscles. Danny has published articles in national and international magazines describing the benefits of living a healthy fitness lifestyle.