Training Methods for the Cardiovascular System

At Aztec Fitness and Wellness, we use the FOUR PHASE Cardio respiratory Training Protocol developed by the American Council on Exercise. Each phase represents the proper progression for an individual to develop the right results at the right time.

Phase One: Aerobic Base Training

  • Baseline aerobic fitness to improve health at a steady-state
  • Serves as a foundation for training for cardio respiratory fitness in phase 2
  • Develop a stable aerobic base headed towards improvements in health, endurance, energy, mood and caloric expenditure
  • Depended on goals, volume and initial fitness level
  • Uses talk test
  • Below the First ventilatory Threshold (VT1)
  • Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of 3-4

Goal: increase duration and frequency to 3-5 days a week for 20-30 minutes at an RPE of 3-4

Results: improvements in health, endurance, energy expenditure, decrease in stress and improved function during activities of daily living

Phase Two: Aerobic-Efficiency Training

  • Progress program by increasing duration, frequency and introduce intervals
  • At or just above VT1, or an RPE of 5.

Goal: improve aerobic endurance by raising the intensity of exercise performed at VT1 and improve the client’s ability to utilize fat as a fuel source.

Add variety

Phase Three: Anaerobic-Endurance Training

  • Focus is on designing training programs that help improve performance in endurance events or to train fitness enthusiast for higher levels of cardio respiratory fitness.
  • Higher intensity intervals that load the system enough to develop anaerobic endurance
  • Balance training time spent below VT1, between VT1 and VT2 and at or above VT2
  • Helps the ability of working muscles to produce force for an extended period
  • World class athletes in multiple sports spend approx 70-80% of time at or below VT1, less than 10% between VT1 and VT2 and approx 10-20% above VT2
    • Zone 1(at or below VT1): 70-80% of training time
      • Focus on developing a solid base of exercise below VT1 (RPE 3-4)
      • Examples: recovery workouts, warm/cool down, long distance
      • Zone 2(between VT1 & VT2): less than 10% of training time
        • Aerobic intervals at or just above VT1 (RPE of 5)
        • Aerobic Efficiency: one or two sessions per week
        • Zone 3 (at or above VT2): 10-20% of time
          • Anaerobic intervals at or above VT2 (RPE 6-7)
          • One or two sessions a week
  • Recovery is crucial for the subsequent workouts

Phase Four: Anaerobic-power Training

  • Designed to develop peak power and aerobic capacity
  • Intervals well above VT2 (RPE >9)
  • Overload fast glycolytic system and challenge phosphagen system
  • Short duration, high intensity