If you’re a serious lifter, you might have heard a thing or two about treadmill training. At the gym, you’ll notice the serious weight lifters hanging out in the weight room, taking long rests between sets. Their goal is, obviously, to lose weight and stay fit, so you may wonder why any of them would venture over to the cardio area to use a treadmill.
It may make sense that Olympic sized lifters wouldn’t need to do cardiovascular work, because their main concern is maximum weight lifting capacity. This misconception is 100% wrong. All athletes need to get their heart rates and blood pressure up, that included even weight lifters. While lifting weights will certainly get the heart pumping, training for that initial lift is where cardio work comes in.
You’ve all seen those serious lifters, doing 5 or 10 reps with their weights and then walking away, chest heaving, gasping for breath. What this shows you is that cardio capacity, or the lack thereof, can greatly limit a lifter’s training, not just muscle strength. In fact, a number of things come into play when you’re considering the outcomes of one’s training; cardiovascular capacity, form, and overall health. If you’re a serious lifter, or aspire to be one, then you should eliminate anything and everything that might stand in the way of your success. This includes cardio.
The most important thing to understand is that your heart is, of course, a muscle itself. Because it’s a muscle, it will respond to training the same way any muscle will. Short, powerful bursts of energy and efforts will eventually make your heart both stronger and larger. More moderate bursts of energy for longer periods of time will make your heart more efficient. The former is better tolerated by a heart belonging to someone who is highly trained with cardio work; hence the serious lifters will be seen on the treadmill at the gym.
This is all probably common sense to any athlete – cardio capacity increases strength, and strength only works to better increase cardio capacity. This is why proper cardio training is a vital part of any workout. If you notice that you’re getting winded during a heavy lifting session, start using an elliptical or treadmill three times a week. Sprint intervals during treadmill training are typically more effective than the slower fat burning sessions other athletes do, because shorter, faster intervals require a greater need for oxygen, the same thing that heavy lifts necessitate.
All in all, your treadmill training session need only be done in 30 second intervals, which is then followed by 2 minutes of brisk walking or jogging. Use the 2 minute break to catch your breath and psyche yourself up for your next go round. After a couple of weeks, you will start to notice a difference. You will feel less tired while doing your heavy lifts, both during and afterward. You’ll be less likely to lose your breath, and more likely to lift heavier weights for a greater amount of time. Do this for a month, and you’ll never wonder again just what the importance of treadmill training is for your weight lifting abilities.