'Cardio is Dead' Conditioning for the Real World
Those of you who have been in the military or even a lot of law enforcement agencies/academies are no doubt familiar with the fixation on Long Slow Distance (LSD) physical training. This has also manifested itself into most forms of physical training prevalent at gyms around the country, some amount steady running on the track or treadmill to 'burn fat and get in shape.' As with so many things in the military there is the prevailing mantra of training; “This is just what we’ve always done.” This is used to justify going on long runs, running in ‘boots and utes,’ static rifle ranges and a host of other outdated training methods; let’s talk for a minute why that type of training is borderline worthless.
If we look at sports, combative sports/fighting and modern combat; we can easily see that with the exception of actual competitive distance runners and a very few other examples; every other scenario in life is represented primarily by periods of consistent movement such as walking or moderate/slow running, mixed with short bursts of extremely high intensity/speed/effort.
Take MMA or Boxing for example: the fighters circle each other while they change angles and attempt to get their footwork and distance figured out for an attack, then they dart in throwing quick strikes and defending while they slip back outside of distance and continue the process over and over. Knowing this, we need to train ourselves in a way that reflects not only the reality of our situation but also avoids the unnecessary pounding and damaging effects on the body that LSD training brings: enter the Tempo Interval.
The Tempo Interval is a type of foundational, general training that should be a part of your preparation a couple times a week in place of that LSD ‘cardio,’ here’s what it looks like:
40-60sec of slower, steady movement such as walking/jogging
10-12sec of higher intensity work at 70-80% of maximal speed/effort
Repeat 15-30 times
Perform 1-2 times per week either in place of LSD ‘Cardio’ or after very high intensity training to aid recovery
A couple of my personal preferred methods for Tempo Intervals in my own Combative Training
*Sprint/Walk/Jog Tempo (done outside) *Sprint/Walk Tempo (done inside)
Walk ½ Block 200m Indoor Track
Jog ½ Block Sprint Straightaways-50m
Sprint 1 Block @75-80% Brisk Walk Curves-50m
Repeat for 15-20mins or ~2-2.5miles Repeat for ~ 1600-2000m
*Boxing/Fight Tempo (solo) *Wrestling/BJJ Tempo (w/ partner)
Shadow Boxing/movement drills - 50sec Shadow shots/movement/circling – 50sec
Max Effort Heavy Bag Striking – 10sec Max Effort Pummeling/Handfighting/Pushing (sumo) – 10sec
Repeat 15-20mins Repeat 15-20mins
(Bag can be hanging or on the ground)
Credit to Joel Jamieson and Charlie Francis as the original Tempo guys