Aerobic Capacity



Aerobic Capacity training or Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) training is in my opinion the most underutilised element in group fitness classes. Aerobic base or capacity can be thought of as your underlying level of fitness, building an aerobic base refers to improving the body’s ability to take in and effectively and efficiently utilise oxygen. Current trends in the industry make you believe that if you’re not about to pass out due to exhaustion post workout then you’re wasting your time. This could not be further from the truth.

Don’t get me wrong High Intensity Training is awesome and essential however if you only complete high intensity workouts you are doing yourself a great disservice. High intensity training particularly interval training has been marketed as the magic training method, mainly due to the elevation in metabolic rate observed post training. While metabolic rates are elevated you need to have and continue to develop a base level of fitness or aerobic capacity to maximise your high intensity training.

The benefits to building an aerobic base are numerous and include:

·         Enhanced cardiovascular health

·         Improves the efficiency of the heart, lungs and blood vessels

·         Lowered resting heart rate

·         Increased ability to recover both during workouts and between workouts bouts

Aerobic training will also improve your ability to train at high intensity, as your aerobic capacity increases you will be able to train at increasingly higher intensities for the same metabolic cost. For these reasons it is essential that LISS training is included in every group training program.

Aerobic training or “cardio” has been given a bit of a beating in terms of its benefits, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although 30 – 45 minutes of continuous work rowing or running is effective at developing aerobic capacity, it is unreasonable and impractical to think this will be suitable for group training.

At ACTV programming a steady state workout is a great opportunity to develop movement skill and work on weaknesses without the pressure of completed reps against a clock. Including a mixture of monostructural training (run, bike, swim, row, skip etc.), single leg work, core, body weight strength and gymnastic movements has been effective. Here is an example of a possible session:

40 Minute AMRAP

·         500m Row

·         1 Leg Box Squat x 12 L/R

·         Push Up x 12

·         500m Assault Bike

·         Single Leg Deadlift x 12 L/R

·         Hanging Strict Knees to Chest x 6

·         500m Run

·         Ring Row x 12

·         Dead Bug x 12 L/R


 If you have access to a heartrate monitor wear it, for these workouts stay primarily in zone 2 or 3. Over time you should see improvement in the speed and volume you can complete whilst staying at similar heart rates.

Matt Pow