How To Maintain Your Aerobic Capacity!

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by chess9, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    So, are we getting a bit old and frumpy and down in the dumpy? Are you running for a few less dropshots in your matches, maybe huffing and puffing a bit more each year? Do you watch 60 year olds play and fall asleep? :) (How can they be THAT slow?)

    Can we slow the SLOWING? The short answer is yes you can cut it in half, and possibly more, but you must be willing and ABLE to train hard.

    http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0697.htm

    Here's the short version of the article:

    Here, then, are the take-home lessons of the studies on VO2max and ageing:

    "1. Maintain training. If you are a veteran athlete who wants to preserve VO2max, it is important for you to maintain the quantity and quality of your training as you get older. If possible, you should also seek ways to gradually and carefully increase the average intensity of your training sessions, since a couple of key studies have shown that master athletes who are able to do this may maintain VO2max completely and even improve performances. If you are a veteran whose training has been rather low on the intensity scale, such an improvement in quality may reward you with some PBs.

    2. More muscle less fat. To preserve VO2max, maintain or increase your muscularity and avoid getting fat. Muscle tissue has a high demand for oxygen, while fat tissue is dead weight which drags relative VO2max down and hurts performances. Sport-specific strength training is the best way to optimise your muscularity, while a sensible diet which is moderate in fat content, adequate in protein and carbohydrate and not over-rich in total calories will help keep you slim.

    3. Vary training. To hold on to VO2max, add special modes of training to your overall programme. Grinding away at your chosen sport (cycling, swimming, running, rowing, etc) is a good way to increase the risk of injury in veterans. Therefore, alternate your usual workouts with other kinds of sessions, which can help improve your performance while keeping injury at bay. For example, endurance runners might consider non-impact proprioceptive training to improve balance and running economy; running-specific strength training to upgrade economy and bolster basic foot speed; and high-quality bicycle training to enhance leg muscle power and lactate threshold. Such supplementary sessions would be very likely to improve running power and endurance capacity and thus hike average oxygen consumption during workouts, stimulating VO2max to stay at stellar levels.

    4. Work on lactate threshold. To maintain high-level performance, work on other factors besides VO2max in your training. For example, lactate threshold has been found to be much more responsive to training in older athletes than VO2max, perhaps because lactate threshold is more dependent on muscle function than on cardiovascular attributes per se. Thus, veterans who lose some VO2max might be able to preserve - or even improve - performance by making major improvements in their lactate-threshold development.

    5. Use key workouts. To support VO2max and lift lactate threshold simultaneously, use key workouts such as fartlek sessions. While the thought of fartlek work conjures up images of Finnish skiers gliding through forests and Kenyans running with amazing speed along the highlands of western Kenya, fartlek-type efforts are perfect for veteran athletes. Whether you are biking, swimming, rowing, running, speed-walking or engaging in some other form of endurance activity, a very nice fartlek workout would involve warming up thoroughly and then alternating 2-5-minute bouts of working at
    90-100% of max capacity with 1-4-minute intervals of easier (recovery) movement until significant fatigue develops.

    The bottom line? You can't keep the ageing process at bay forever, but if you train smart and stay away from injury, you should be able to hold your VO2max decline to less than 0.5% per year as you move into your fifth decade of life - and beyond."


    By way of example, this morning my VO2max, per my Polar watch (a rough guestimate, but close for ME) was 52. The Elite category for my age is about 44 and up. Several of my fast age group buddies have numbers in the high 50's. This has been done with continued training, including some of the above stuff recommended by Owen Anderson.

    I hope a few of you find this helpful...and not too depressing. :)

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
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  2. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    Thanks. I've always thought a lot of that, but it is nice to see and reaffirming.
     
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  3. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Thanks for this helpful article, Robert.
     
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  4. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Hope it helps guys.

    -Robert
     
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  5. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    chess9, i enjoy your posts and you are very knowledgeable on training(among many other topics) but would you comment on recovery conditioning where you do 30-40 sec high intensity exercice(i like to do footwork drills this way or shadow stroke) with 20-30 sec recovery. 10 -15 minutes of that 1-2 times a week has me even more fatigued than a 5-6 mile run. the fartleks and 200m repeats i think are great for overall conditioning esp for distance runners tri athletes etc but since tennis is short spurts done at high intensity repeated over and over until the match is done dont you think you also need to condition your body specifically for this? your comments are appreciated
     
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  6. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    In answering this question, I assume you also play singles tennis at least 2-3 days per week. Given that assumption you are probably overdoing the footwork drills. I would only do 6 of them at a time, but I would do two sets of them per week, with a two to three day rest interval. (The rest interval can be tricky with you playing singles, but you get the idea.) ALTERNATIVELY, I would do one day of foot drills, and one day of some other aerobic activity, like biking, that incorporates the somewhat longer fartlek strategy. Since tennis involves an endurance component, we all need some endurance work, IMHO. I think it can be as short as a 20 minute run or 40 minute bike ride, but something. One of the things I see in my matches is 30 and 40 year old guys losing to ME (age 65) because they are fading after one to two hours faster than Greg Norman on the back nine at Royal Birkdale on Sunday. :) You must ask yourself, can I still hit very hard and run hard after two hours on the court? If you can't then endurance is YOUR limiter. Know your limiters. For most older guys, endurance and speed are limiters, but their endurance is usually much much worse.

    200 meter runs are great intermediate distance training runs, IMHO. Do 6 x 200 on about 1:30 (under 40 seconds for the 200, rest :50, repeat). But, it's running and if you are playing a lot of tennis, some cross-training may ease recovery and actually improve your tennis more.

    For me, biking is now my preferred approach. I bike two hours every day I play, and I play six days per week, and sometimes seven days. Most of those bike rides are easy 18 mph rides, but a couple of times per week, depending on how I'm feeling, I will hammer out 6-8 serious intervals on the way back home from tennis. Doing intervals when tired is not a good idea for most folks, however. I've adapted to that approach over years of training. One should always try to be fresh when doing intervals because the idea is to push up against one's lactate threshhold and that can only be done when fresh.

    This gets me to the final issue. Rest. If you are like many of us, with hectic lives, rest is an afterthought, but quality rest is as important as quality eating. After those two are in place, then effective training can occur. If either is missing, then training effectiveness drops rapidly. A lot of guys are out doing intervals, but are wasting their time because the day before they did a 20 mile run or played a very hard 3 setter.

    Good luck!

    -Robert
     
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  7. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    thanks robert(chess9). i am 55 and in very good shape cardio wise. i need a little more work with resistance training. i appreciate your comments very much . you know what you are talking about AND practice what you preach!keep up with the advice.
     
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