The Cardiac Output Method

by Jason Brown

Improve your resting heart rate, recover faster, and live longer. It's incredibly easy to do, but most lifters avoid it.

To reap the benefits of your hard lifting sessions you actually need to have an efficient aerobic system. And contrary to popular belief, slow cardio will not rob you of your gains when done correctly.

That’s where the “cardiac output method” comes in. When done consistently, you’ll notice improvements in your resting heart rate and consequently your recovery between workouts will be faster. But the benefits go even further than that.

It helps improve oxygen supply by increasing how effectively the heart can deliver oxygen, and it develops the peripheral vascular network. It stimulates eccentric cardiac hypertrophy through volume overload of cardiac fibers thus causing them to stretch. This leads to an increase in left ventricular cavity volume.

Research has also shown that life expectancy is directly related to aerobic fitness and may help protect against premature death due to cardiovascular disease. So, it might even extend your years.

Training the aerobic system involves two kinds of adaptations: cardiovascular and skeletal muscle. These adaptations include increasing the functional capacity of the heart, increasing the size of the vascular network, and increasing the number of mitochondria and function of mitochondria.

How To Do It

You can do this easily one or two times a week. Do a minimum of 30 minutes of slow cardio – typically between 130-150 BPM if you’re wearing a heart rate monitor. This is a “conversational” pace.

You can do all of the work on one piece of equipment like a treadmill or air bike, or you can mix and match to keep it interesting.

Sample Sessions:

  • Break it up: 10 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the rower, and 10 minutes on the treadmill.
  • Do it all at once: A light jog or walk for 30 minutes of low-intensity/steady-state work.