T Nation

Training for Heart Health?


Maybe a noob question, but it seems like training for fat loss and/or size has taken priority over training for health purposes, so I don't read much with that.

I am interested in maximizing my cardiovascular health and bringing down my pulse rate (my resting pulse is about 80 bpm, despite a very good bloodwork profile, low blood pressure, and 10% bodyfat).

I'm not overly interested in lowering my bodyfat, but I have neglected my cardiovascular fitness for awhile and feel winded doing even very minimally strenuous exercise.

I was thinking about throwing in maybe 20 minutes of steady low intensity jogging/ellipticaling three times per week. However, I'm just picking that out of the air, I'm not sure what an optimal cardio training regimen would be.

Also, ideally, I'd prefer not to hurt my recovery capacity too much, either.


I think 20 minutes 3 times a week is a good starting point. See how it goes and make changes as neccessary.


Do you have a heart rate monitor? Nice tool for your objective. I have a Polar F11 and it trends heart health data within the watch or you can upload to a website. Base your improvements on your own heart rate and don't necessarily use "normal" resting values for fit people. You may have what Covert Bailey used to call a "Kawasaki heart", one that is smaller and beats a lot but still gets the job done.


I'm in the same boat as the OP...I know a fair amount about strength training but comparatively little about cardiovascular training.

I believe the following are true, but maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in...

1.) To increase aerobic capacity, you want to shoot for 60-85% of your Max heart rate, which can be very crudely estimated by subtracting your age from 220.

2.) 20 minutes, 3-4 times a week seems to be the absolute bare minimum that a trained individual can see any cardiovascular results from. I recall reading that a lot of the angiogenic growth factors are released at or around the 20 minute mark (VEGF, etc).

3.) Either shorter, high intensity exercise sessions or longer, lower intensity sessions will reduce resting heart rate.

I aim for 30 minutes of cardio after every strength workout. I often use a cross-training setting on the machine, which is about 1 minute of very high intensity followed by 90 seconds of lower intensity.


Do you not think having a lower body fat would benefit your heart? (assuming you're not already lean)


This is a BODYBUILDING forum.


that stuck out for me as well. if you are chunky, you need (and will want to) drop your weight for greater efficiency.

hard to give advice without knowing some basics: what is your starting point? have you ever trained CV before?


Um...I said in the OP that my bodyfat is approx 10%.

I wrestled for eight years, but have been out of the competitive circuit for about 4-5 years.


Low intensity SSC will not raise cardiovascular health. You need to be at least medium-high intensity to maximize cardiovascular benefits. The low-intensity stuff is intended for fat-burning, while it will give you some CV benefits, it will be minimal and will taper out as you become more fit.

Like one of the above posters mentioned, your heart rate needs to be up around 70-85% (I think 60% is a little too low) of your max to achieve maximum CV fitness.


Work on boosting your VO2 Max


my resting HR is 57. 127/56 BP. 15-17%body fat

For cardio i lift heavy weights 5-6times a week and 2-3X per week i set a treadmill up to an incline of 10.5%, 5mph and jog until i feel good. typically only lasts for 10-13mins or a solid mile, whichever comes last.


i used to be into aerobic conditioning, up to marathon level training. i recall that the longer i ran the lower my resting HR became. to get the most from aerobic conditioning, i think we need to consider moderate intensity events that last beyond 25 minutes.