Steady-state cardio for endurance

The continuation of the anaerobic pathway is the breakdown of the by-product pyruvate in the presence of oxygen (aerobic glycolysis).

Instead of the pyruvate being converted to performance-limiting lactic acid, it is oxidised to yield more energy that can be used to fuel more activity.

This process has a much higher energy-yield and takes longer to complete, while it also requires an adequate supply of oxygen to be delivered to the muscle.

The first 3-5 minutes of steady-state condition can sometimes feel hard, as the body takes a little while to work out how much oxygen needs to be delivered to the working muscles, and increases the breathing and heart rate to supply it.

As people improve their fitness, the heart and lungs become more efficient at oxygen uptake and delivery to the cells.

This leads to improvements in steady-state training that tend to be noticed either by the same output feeling easier (ie. a 5km in 30 minutes feels easier) or the output can be increased (ie. the same effort now gets you a 5km run in 27 minutes).

Steady-state cardio tends to form a small component of the training sessions people do in the gym, because of the capacity to do steady-state conditioning outside of the gm.

The primary exceptions were some steady state rowing - which also has some resistance component to it - and incline hill walking on the treadmill, which we do right at the intersection of steady-state and metabolic conditioning (approximately zero fun).

Aside from that, steady-state training such as walking, running, swimming and cycling could be completed outside of the training session at the client's accord.

I used to hate the sight of personal trainers having their clients on the cardio machines during their sessions because it’s hard to add value to their training session while using that kind of equipment.

But now I have seen the value in using these machine with clients during training sessions if we have a purpose and relatively short timeframe, as not to detract from other training that will more greatly benefit from coaching.

We tend to stick to 8-12 minutes and work towards a target distance, speed, or output when using these machines for steady-state cardio.

Tom Fitzgerald