Many weightlifters I know regard aerobic training as something to be avoided at all costs. However, the proper type and amount of aerobic training can be critical for a long and productive lifting career. Aerobic training produces very specific conditioning benefits that cannot be obtained through resistance training.
The key to successfully integrating aerobic training into a weightlifters training program is to find the right type of aerobic training, and then use it to supplement the weight training.
The unique and highly appealing benefits of aerobic training include:
- Major positive impact on brain health
- Slowing the aging process
- Corrective effects on depression, anxiety and addiction
- Corrective effect on hypertension, diabetes.
- Promotes some fat loss
- Develop a balanced “athletic” physical appearance
- Develop better endurance for doing long weight workouts
For any weightlifter, the goal is to do enough aerobic training to get the benefits without impacting the energy you want to devote to weight training.
I have a somewhat unique perspective on this issue since I competed in powerlifting for 25 years, and prior to that, competed in foot racing for 22 years. I know what it takes to excel at both running and powerlifting, and how too much running can sap your strength. I have also seen many lifters who can’t walk up two flights of stairs without getting completely gassed.
The key to successfully integrating aerobics and weight training is to find the kind of aerobic training that works best for you. It is possible to do aerobic training by running, cycling, rowing, dancing, swimming, or using a piece of gym equipment designed specifically for aerobics. Lots of options.
Where you train will impact the options available to you. Some gyms have a huge variety of options, including swimming pools, dance classes, and multiple aerobic machines. Other gyms have fewer options. In my case, I train at home and since I live on a National Park site, my preferred option is to go running through this scenic and delightful area.
The cool thing is that any of the options will give you the conditioning benefits you desire, if they are something you will do regularly. It is NOT necessary to train for running a marathon or competing in a bike race. A little bit of aerobic training, done regularly, goes a very long way.
When I say that it is essential to do aerobic training “regularly”, I don’t mean three times a decade (without fail), I mean two or three times per week.
Many weightlifters have limited experience with aerobic style training. I try to make the design of a program that works for you as simple as possible.
To help the many lifters who want the conditioning benefit of aerobic training, and have limited ideas on how to go about it, I wrote a short book called Aerobic Training for Weightlifters available from Amazon in both print and electronic versions.