Reading about fitness is no fun if you have to reference a term every 15 seconds – we try to make sure that in BuiltLean articles, we define “fitness jargon” and give you a good knowledge base of descriptors and terminology.
To further facilitate your fitness research, we’ve developed a list of 15 key cardio training terms that are commonly used. Whether you’re a casual reader or fitness student, we hope that compiling all of these definitions in one place will make it easier to reference in case you find yourself forgetting what THR stands for, or just what Fartlek Training is.
15 Key Cardio Training Terms You Should Know:
1. Energy Systems
There are 3 energy systems that power our exercise activity (1) phosphagen, (2) glycolitic 1, and (3) aerobic. The phosphagen system is engaged during exercise bouts of less than 10 seconds, the glycolitic system predominates in exercise bouts of less than 2 minutes, and the aerobic system predominates for longer duration exercise, typically 5 minutes or more 2
2. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is an activity that requires energy production with oxygen and is the 3rd energy system. If you’re doing aerobic exercise (think: walking, light jogging, biking, swimming) then you’re sending oxygen, through your breath, to your muscles giving them the energy to sustain your exercise. You’re conditioning your heart and lungs by enabling your heart to use your oxygen more efficiently.
3. Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic Exercise is an activity that requires energy production without oxygen and comprise the first two energy systems (phosphagen and glycolitic). If you’re doing anaerobic exercise (think: sprinting, weight training), because you are training at your maximum level of exertion, you’re not sending enough oxygen to your muscles to sufficiently sustain the effort. For this reason, your body builds up lactic acid. Typically, anaerobic exercise is performed in shorter duration because you cannot continue to produce energy without oxygen indefinitely. You are still, however, conditioning your heart and lungs with interval training.
4. Max Heart Rate (HRmax)– The highest heart rate you can safely reach through physical exertion. To make use of this number, you need to be able to find it. The most accurate way of measuring HRmax is via a cardiac stress test. The quick and easy way to estimate your HRmax is to take 220-age. The estimated max heart rate for a 30-year-old individual is 1(220-30) or 190. Once you know your HRmax, you can calculate target heart rate and other fitness numbers.
5. Target Heart Rate – The optimal heart rate at which an athlete should perform a particular sport activity, determined by a formula that bases training intensity zones on heart rates as percentages of max heart rate. For example, if your max heart rate is 190 and your Target Heart Rate Zone is 85%, your target heart rate would be 162. The target heart range zone that is most appropriate for you depends on your fitness goals and the goal of the specific cardio workout. Target heart rates can range from 50% to 95% of max heart rate.
6. Cool Down – This is the phase of an exercise routine in which you to slow down, recover, and reduce your heart rate. A cool down will help you get oxygen to the muscles as well as get rid of waste products such as lactic acid. Depending on the intensity and duration of the workout a cool down can last anywhere from 2-15 minutes. (unknown)
7. VO2 Max – This is a measure of cardiovascular health & fitness: its name is derived from V (volume) and O2 (oxygen). It is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport & use oxygen during incremental exercise, reflecting the physical fitness of the individual. You can increase this by training, but it is genetic to some extent. To measure VO2 max you must perform physical effort that lasts long enough and is intense enough to fully tax the aerobic energy system.
8. Aerobic Capacity – This is the highest amount of oxygen consumed during maximal exercise (especially in activities that incorporate large muscle groups), meaning, is the maximum amount of oxygen a body can use in an exercise session.
9. Hitting the Wall (aka Bonking) – This is a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy.
10. Glycogen – This is a polysaccharide (form in which most natural carbohydrates occur) that serves as a form of energy storage: glycogen is stored so it can be broken down into glucose for fuel. It is made and stored primarily in the cells of the liver and the muscles in humans.
11. Cross Training – A method of training that aims to combine exercises that work various parts of the body as often one particular activity works certain muscle groups, but not others.
12. High Intensity Interval Training – This is a method of training that involves a series of low to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. Interval training has gathered steam in the last few years because of its post-exercise caloric burn benefits, the time-friendly manner it takes to complete, and its effective fat burning components. A typical treadmill interval training would look like this: 12-16 Sprints at 30 seconds,(Speed between 9 & 10) followed by 1 minute rest periods in between each sprint rep.
13. Fartlek Training – This is a type of training method that blends continuous training with interval training. This system taxes both the aerobic and anaerobic systems because of its varying intensities and continuous work output. It differs from traditional Interval training in that is unstructured and sprint and rest times can vary throughout the entirety of 30-45 minute session.
14. Tabata Training – This is a type of interval training that follows a specific format: 20 seconds of a very high intensity exercise (e.g., sprints) with 10 seconds of rest where you repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
15. Steady State Cardio – This is simply a cardio workout that is a continuous, steady effort, as opposed to an interval cardio workout where you vary your energy output. Any cardiovascular/aerobic activity sustained for an extended time has potential to increase endurance – it can help people burn calories and ultimately lose weight. An example would be a 45 minute steady state bike ride.
We hope this list of terms helps you out while reading other articles, whether on BuiltLean or elsewhere, and makes it easier to navigate all of the news and research out there in the fitness world!
- The glycolitic system is also commonly known as the anaerobic form of energy utilization. ↩
- As far as the usage, each are not necessarily employed based on a time frame, instead each is relevant based on exertion and how quickly energy is consumed (i.e. when the body is consuming ATP quicker than it can be replenished by cellular respiration). ↩