You’ve probably heard someone say that the “lunges and squats” method is the most effective cardio for athletes. The first part of that statement is totally true. But is “most effective” the best way to do cardio? Does that mean that there are no problems with cardio that you don’t need to avoid? Or perhaps the question needs to be widened…are there any cardio problems that you shouldn’t have, if you are really going to be a “pole vaulter” as Dr Joe puts it?
In this article, I hope to set out to answer these two questions and in the process of doing so I will show why Dr. Joe’s statement has nothing to do with the answer to the second question, and much to the contrary, is simply based on a misreading of the literature.
“Most cardio is NOT the best”
Dr. Joe is talking about the “ideal” amount of bodyweight (or total weight) of an athlete. A “totally optimal” level of bodyweight means that an athlete should have as little as 25% bodyfat. For example, if a male is 185 lbs with a 70″ waist and 35″ inseam (the typical figure for females in the same weight range) he should have a bodyweight of between 250 and 300 lbs. That would be an ideal level of bodyweight if all it took would be 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio per day and some decent food and exercise. But the majority of athletes will fall into the 50/50 range.
This means that an athlete should do at least about 20 hours of cardio per week and preferably 30 hours in order to be at or just above the 25/70 bodyfat guideline. But of course, most people will do better for a slightly higher effort of cardio. The ideal level of bodyweight requires us to consider the fact that many people need much more cardio than this but rarely do. So, for a male athlete, I would suggest going from 15 to 16 hours of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise per week, preferably from the beginning of the workout to the end. (And of course, this is only an ideal goal to get you as close to the “ideal” as possible so don’t get caught up in looking down on anyone who doesn’t do as much as this, though if you do, don’t complain about it!) For an athlete with a large body, who has more muscle but does not produce excess bodyfat from muscle
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