Cardio TrainingPlanning your Training

How to get started in cardio training

By June 26, 2017 May 23rd, 2019 No Comments


So you make the brave move, sign up and step into the gym but what next? There’s cardio machines all around the place but where to start?

In this blog we’ll lay out a simple, 6 week cardio fitness program to help get you underway. But first a disclaimer, this program is designed with the assumption that you have undergone an initial fitness screening to determine if there are any potential risk factors for partaking in aerobic exercise.

The cardio workout routine is in the table below but first here are a few pointers:

  • The cardio workouts can be completed on any machine (e.g. rowing machine, treadmill, cross trainer, bike, arm crank etc.)
  • If it is an interval session (e.g. 2 x 10 min) you can complete each interval on a different cardio machine.
  • Keep a record of the settings you use on each cardio machine and how far you go. That way you can track your improvements and it will help motivate you to keep going.
  • Plan to have a rest day between sessions. The number of sessions per week increases from 2 to 4 sessions per week over the 6 weeks.
  • Take 2 minutes rest between bouts if the cardio workout plan schedules multiple efforts in a session (e.g. 2 x 8 min).
  • Each cardio workout is colour coded as light (green), medium (orange) or hard intensity (red). To determine what aerobic intensity to exercise in each of these zones please see the table at the end of this article.

The Cardio Training Program

Week Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4
1 2 x 8 min 1 x 15 min
2 2 x 10 min 1 x 18 min
3 2 x 10 min 1 x 20 min 3 x 8 min
4 2 x 12 min 1 x 25 min 3 x 8 min
5 2 x 14 min 1 x 25 min 3 x 6 min
6 2 x 16 min 2 x 5 min 1 x 30 min 3 x 6 min

Cardio Training Intensities.

Predict your maximum heart rate = 220 – age

Light 40 to <55% of predicted maximum heart rate An aerobic activity that does not cause a noticeable change in breathing rate.
Moderate 55 to <70% of predicted maximum heart rate An aerobic activity that is able to be conducted whilst maintaining a conversation uninterrupted.
Heavy 70 to <90% of predicted maximum heart rate An aerobic activity in which a conversation generally cannot be maintained.

by Dr Laurence Houghton (Sports Science)