Aerobics And Static Contraction Training

Get lean and stay lean! By combining aerobics with strength training you can transform your body in the shortest possible time, then keep it lean and muscular year round without starving yourself on a low calorie diet.

Aerobic training and strength training are the yin and yang of the exercise world. They are two fundamentally different concepts that meet in a "harmony of opposites".

To be clear, when talking about "aerobics" I'm referring to low intensity, long duration exercise that is intended to expend calories and burn fat. I'm not referring to the term "cardio" which, properly used, should refer to strengthening the heart muscle. Many people use "cardio" and "aerobics" interchangeably but they really shouldn't.

Aerobic training is low intensity. Strength training is high intensity. Combining the two into an effective, efficient training regimen can be greatly simplified by using rational training principles.

The Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake people make when trying to combine aerobic training with strength training is that they employ a progressive overload methodology to their aerobic training. For example, they start out walking a few days per week, then they increase the intensity to jogging, then they mix intervals of jogging with running. Then they run hills, and so on.

That method increases intensity to the point where the body needs extended recovery time. Which means more days off without training... which means fewer calories burned and less fat loss. The key to effective aerobic training that burns of maximum fat is long term consistency.

Pop Quiz

Which burns more calories?

    a) Running 1 mile
    b) Jogging 1 mile
    c) Walking 1 mile

It's a trick question. They all burn exactly the same number of calories. And in that little fact lays some truly great news! If you go for a walk seven days a week you will burn more calories than going for a run six days a week. (Technically a runner will get an extra benefit because his metabolism will continue to operate faster after running... but there is another piece of information that trumps that!)

Build Muscle and Burn Fat 24/7!

Muscle is called "active tissue" because it requires a lot of energy to maintain itself. In fact, every pound of new muscle you add to your body will burn about 60 calories per day. That can really add up. Look at the chart below:

The Fat Burning Effect of Muscle

LBS. Of New Muscle
LBS. Of Fat Burned Per Month
LBS. Of Fat Burned Per Year
1
0.5
6
3
1.5
19
5
2.6
31
10
5.1
62
12
6.2
74
15
7.7
93
20
10.3
123

By adding just 10 pounds of muscle to your body, it will burn off 62 pounds (!!) of fat over the next year. (If you keep your calorie intake constant.) And it will keep burning those extra calories year after year! Than means when you've lost the fat you can eat more (a lot more) and not gain back the fat. Also, with less fat and more muscle your body will have the lean, toned, fit look that everyone wants!

So by combining aerobics with strength training you can transform your body in the shortest possible time then keep it lean and muscular year round without starving yourself on a low calorie diet.

Opposite Principles

The important characteristics of a sustainable aerobic training program are:

    a. Low intensity muscular output
    b. No progression of intensity from workout to workout
    c. Fixed frequency

The important characteristics of a sustainable strength training program are:

    a. High intensity muscular output
    b. Progressive intensity from workout to workout
    c. Variable frequency (to allow for full recovery as intensity increases)

So combining a high intensity strength training system such as Static Contraction Training (SCT) with a regular aerobic program might look like this for the first two months:

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon

SCT

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

SCT

SCT

SCT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues

WALK

SCT

WALK

WALK

SCT

WALK

WALK

WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed

WALK

WALK

WALK

SCT

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs

SCT

WALK

SCT

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat

WALK

SCT

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

WALK

Notice how the days off between the SCT workouts increase? That's because each workout (if properly engineered) involves lifting heavier weights and creates extra demands on your body's recovery system.

Yet you can fill in all the other days with low intensity, longer duration aerobic training. So every day you are doing something to burn fat and keep it off long term!

This combined aerobic/strength training program will transform your body the maximum amount in the shortest possible time.

Have a great workout!

BONUS Q & A

Q. When I exercise my chest I get fatigued in my arms, and don't really feel a burn in my chest area the way I do when I work out other parts of my body. What's wrong?

A. The principal function of the chest muscles is to draw the arms horizontally from your sides to in front of your chest. If you reach your arms out beside you so your body forms a "T" shape then move your arms forward until your hands touch, you will be using your chest muscles.

There are many exercise machines that mimic this action, such as the "pec deck" but I find their full range of motion to be very dangerous and far more apt to cause injury than partial range exercises that not only target the same muscles but also permit using much heavier weights safely. That's why I recommend the wide grip bench press in the strongest range of motion only. Use a power rack or smith machine to set the bar within 3 inches of your full reach. To get the most out of this exercise focus on using your chest muscle to move the bar rather than bending your elbows (which uses the triceps). This will feel similar to a shrugging motion but using chest muscles rather than trapezius muscles. Try this next time you do the bench press and you'll be amazed at how it makes your chest burn.

Train Smart!