Cardiac Output Training on a Heavy Bag
Cardiac output training / LISS (low intensity steady state cardio) has become less popular over the years as HIIT (high intensity interval training) has become all the rave. HIIT is cool, I like HIIT, but realistically your body can’t handle and comfortably recover from more than 3 sessions a week. Preferably you should be shooting for 2. If you’re programming a 5-6 day a week program include Cardiac output training for 2 of those days (with HIIT or some sort of strength / power training being another 2 and a mobility day being the other 1/2 days.)
Now, rather than give you a specific heart rate to train in (go browse for cardiac output ranges and you’ll get anywhere from 50%-75% of max heart rate recommendations with variations to said heart rate also coming into play whether you’re sitting or standing) I’ll just go over the general concept. You should be able to talk while performing and you should be shooting for 30-ish minutes of continuous effort.
Cardiac Output on a Heavy Bag
Typically people will go jump on rowing machines / treadmills / exercise bikes for cardiac output training. Think Peloton. But being that I like to punch and kick objects to relieve stress I figured why not run this routine on a bag?
You’ll want a heart rate monitor that allows you to watch your HR while you’re training (the app that it connects to on your phone should let you see real time what your heart rate is doing.) Something like the Polar H9 #ad will work. Get your heart rate into the appropriate range for you and your current fitness level (we’ll guestimate 130 – 150 BPM, maybe up into the 160 range) and go to town on the bag.
Normally you’d set a specific number of minutes (2-5) with rest inbetween rounds to recover. But this isn’t HIIT boxing and we’re not doing this to train for a fight, we’re training to improve fitness. Use this as an opportunity to move through the motions efficiently with a few strikes here and there keeping as consistent of a heart rate as possible. Think about sticking points in your technique as you breathe out on punches making sure your hands return to your face.
If you’re throwing kicks make sure you’re pivoting on your planted foot, and turning over the hip and shoulder. At least with Muay Thai. Speed masks inefficient and ineffective movements. This is 30 minutes of continuous / focused movement. You don’t want to slow down your strikes, but you want to make sure they’re clean. You’re not throwing 100 kicks as fast as you can. You’re not doing power drills. You’re learning how to control your body and your heart rate.
As you become more comfortable with this, the speed will naturally improve as you learn how to control your energy expenditure and maintain a consistent heart rate. The more you train your cardiac output, the more your baseline conditioning will improve. You’ll get less excited, you’ll learn how to slow yourself down when you become excited, and you’ll be more efficient with your training.
LISS doesn’t have to be boring, you can mix it up with your particular sport or hobby. You don’t just have to boringly jog around a track or stare at the same wall while rowing. Have fun with it.