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Your Cardio System… Demystified! Part I

November 22nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted in Cardio

Did you know that your body has different systems for expending energy when you’re training or on the ice? In the next couple of posts we are going to break them down so that you can maximize your training efforts.

The first energy system that your body uses is called the “Aerobic” system. Now the word “aerobic system” might conjure up images of spandex and leg warmers but the aerobic system plays a vital role in your performance. “Aerobic” come from the Greek word “aero” (air) and “bios” meaning “life”. To use the analogy of the short story titled “The Tortoise and the Hare”, the aerobic system is the hare. It is the body’s source for providing energy for lower intensity exercises while also helping your body recover from the stress it’s been under. A brisk walk or bike ride is an example of the aerobic system being put to work.

The aerobic system is also known as the “oxygen system” and is expressed by your VO2 maximum volume (“VO2 max” for short). By building a strong aerobic foundation, you are going to train harder for longer periods of time. I guarantee you that every player I know would like to improve their overall aerobic conditioning. Wouldn’t you? Let’s figure out what your VO2 max is by using a VO2 max calculator. Our friends at www.shapesense.com have one here(http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/VO2max-calculator.aspx).

Now we have the baseline for what your VO2 max is, let’s work on improving it. To do so, you want to find an activity that will get you heart rate up to 75%-85% of your maximum heart rate for 30 – 60 minutes. Many players choose swimming, rowing, biking, running, and/or stair climbs. The choice is yours as long as it fits the criteria above. Building up your aerobic strength it the first layer of the foundation you want to build. Without being aerobically fit, you’re not going to maximize the rest of your energy systems which will translate on the ice.

Many players think that aerobic conditioning is something that is only done BEFORE games but that is not true. Many famous NHL’ers use aerobic conditioning after a game or strenuous workout to alleviate the lactic acid that builds in their muscles. It’s pretty common to find professionals on a stationary bike in the locker room after the game. If their doing it, shouldn’t you?