example of cardiovascular endurance
Low impact cardiovascular training is excellent for burning calories and improving circulation, but high-impact cardio will do more than just that. It’s also an important step in bulking up your calves and making them pop because of all the fast-twitch muscle fibers.
High-impact exercises such as sprints, running stairs or uphill, jogging on a steep incline, or treadmill hill climbing will increase your heart rate into the optimum fat burning zone while forcing you to recruit large numbers of muscle fibers along the way. Just make sure you have a good pair of running shoes to avoid tendonitis or other problems resulting from running in worn-out shoes.
*Form Tip: Running with proper form activates smaller muscles which will force you to put more effort into each stride. Having bad form means you’ll achieve less “pop” and could lead to injury, so make sure you stand up straight, don’t round your shoulders, or walk with a slouched back. Try not to waste energy by over-striding either – step far enough forward on each stride so your next step lands mid-foot rather than the front of your foot.
*Form Tip: Calf muscles are among some of the largest and strongest in our body because they’re constantly being used, but it won’t be until you start sprinting that those calves will become larger and more defined. That’s why it’s important to have strong ankles, as ankle injuries may sideline you from participating in high-impact exercise for several weeks.
*Form Tip: If you’re not properly conditioned to sprint, then start off with a 10-minute jog at a comfortable pace, 3 times per week. Progress by increasing the number of minutes or miles that you run each session until you can jog for 20-30 minutes with only 30 seconds rest between each interval. Once that’s achieved, try running stairs or using an elliptical machine set at a high resistance/ incline to continue building your cardiovascular endurance.*
High-intensity weight training is another way to increase fast-twitch muscle fibers and promote muscle growth in your calves. By constantly overloading the muscles through various drills such as calf raises, leg presses or squats, etc., means most of the energy comes from the glycolytic pathway, which uses glycogen as its only fuel source. This mechanism allows you to lift more weight or complete more reps than your body would normally be capable of using the oxidative pathway alone.
*Form Tip: When performing calf raises, for instance, make sure you place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Make sure not to round your back throughout the movement and keep it straight by sticking out your chest. *
High-intensity training means pushing yourself to the max levels of effort during each set – this is NOT something that should be attempted by beginners, however, if you’re already an experienced trainee then feel free to increase either resistance, reps, or speed of whatever movements you’re allowing yourself to do.
Anything that gets your heart pumping and body sweating are great for bulking up calf muscles.
*Form Tip: Make sure you choose the correct weight or resistance to lift during each set as this will help prevent injury and ensure the intended muscle is being worked on. *
High-intensity cardio along with high-intensity weights can increase not only those fast-twitch muscle fibers but also your resting metabolism, blood circulation, and lean tissue mass – which ultimately results in burning more calories at rest than what our bodies would burn if we were sedentary throughout the day. This means cutting down on junk food and increasing activity go hand in hand for making those calves bigger and leaner.
You can make a list of 10 cardiovascular endurance exercises on a piece of paper. Here are a few examples: running, biking, fielding grounders, doing abdominal crunches.
If you were to perform one of these exercises for 20 minutes, your body would produce a certain level of lactate. However, if you were to perform the same exercise as hard and fast as possible for 5 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds, your lactate level would be much higher than normal. Why is this?
The short answer is because it has been shown that intense intermittent exercise results in a much greater production of lactate than continuous aerobic exercise performed at the same relative workload (Wilmore & Costill, 2004). This explains why players who train using interval training see such marked improvement in their conditioning levels compared to those who train exclusively with aerobics.
The mechanism behind this phenomenon is not fully understood yet but it has been shown that when a greater degree of lactate transporters is present, the body can clear lactate more quickly resulting in a lower level of lactate in the body.
The research on this has been going on for some time now but it seems to have hit a real critical mass in the last few years with an ever-increasing number of studies being done. Below are some examples:
A study was conducted by researchers at Arizona State University (Svedenhag & Seger, 2000) where they measured blood lactate levels of subjects performing interval training consisting of ten 30 second running sprints separated by 2 minute rest periods. The results showed that “blood lactate accumulation” was almost 5 times higher than during submaximal treadmill running, and more than twice as high as during the first 10 minutes of treadmill running at 75% VO2max.
This conclusion was similar to another study conducted by Australian researchers (Bangsbo et al., 1993) where subjects performed 5 sets of 6-second sprints with 12-second rest periods. The results showed that lactate levels reached almost 14 mmol/l after the short-term, high-intensity interval training compared to around 5 mmol/l from a control group at a moderate intensity where the duration of exercise was 60 minutes per session.
Researchers in Norway have been examining these principles very closely for years now and have offered some interesting perspectives on the matter. One particularly good piece of work is a study they did compare continuously versus intermittent training on a cycle ergometer at the same relative workload. The study concluded that “The intermittent exercise elicited a 15% greater VO(2)peak as well as a 20% higher lactate removal during exercise, with no difference in heart rate and blood pressure between groups” (Helgerud et al., 2001).
In another Norwegian study, researchers compared the effect of 4 weeks of either continuous or interval training. They found that “[Interval] training lowered the blood pressure responses to submaximal dynamic knee extension/flexion tasks to an extent comparable to changes observed after endurance training.” (Helgerud et al., 1998a) This would imply that intense sprinting-type activity may help prevent hypertension quite effectively.