One of the most under-utilized training techniques in martial artists, with the possible exception of professional fighters, is high intensity interval training (HIIT). It requires no expensive equipment, delivers substantial results and usually only requires one four minute workout three times a week.
How To Improve Endurance with HIIT Training
High intensity interval training is easy, but there are a few different methodologies out there for how to go about it. The most popular, also known as Tabata intervals after one of the Japanese researchers responsible for studying the technique, involves 20 seconds of intense work, such as sprinting, followed by 10 seconds of active rest, such as walking, repeated eight times for a total of four minutes of total exercise.
It sounds a lot easier than it is, and if you have trouble completing the full workout you can change the ratio of work to rest from 2:1 to 1:1 or something more manageable while slowly working your way back to the 20 second / 10 second system. The HIIT workout should be done around 3 to 4 times per week depending on your fitness level and goals, and is best done at the end of a workout after any technique and strength training - it's an exhausting workout and would degrade your MMA training if done prior to your MMA training.
Any exercise can be done in Tabata intervals, although it needs to be done with as high of an intensity as you can. Sprints are by far the most popular, with periods of walking in-between. If you live in the city and don't want to be seen sprinting down the sidewalks, cycling, doing body weight exercises in the park or any other intense aerobic exercise will work just as well.
Increase Endurance Through HIIT Training - The Benefits
- Increased Human Growth Hormone Levels - As mentioned in this article by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, lactic acid acts as the primary trigger for the release of human growth hormone (HGH). Intense exercise creates an excessive amount of lactic acid in the body, which then translates to a surge of HGH. If you're trying to lose weight and build muscle (common goals for martial artists) than you want as much HGH as you can get.
- Better Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health - It's been shown that HIIT provides benefits equaling or exceeding those of long slow cardio training. That means more time with family, more time to squeeze in technique training or meditation or anything else. You get all the benefits of hours of roadwork without the time investment.
- Higher Metabolism - High intensity interval training raises your resting metabolic rate (RMR) over the course of at least the rest of the day, and studies are suggesting even longer. A higher RMR means that, even though the duration of the actual exercise is shorter than something like a five mile run, you actually burn more calories overall with the HIIT than you do with the long cardio.
- Aerobic and Anaerobic Development - Due to the intensity involved and the previously mentioned increased release of HGH, athletes who utilize HIIT show gains in both aerobic and anaerobic areas. That means that the high intensity interval training not only provides endurance benefits, but strength benefits as well. Another example of more benefit for less time.
- Increased VO2 Max - VO2 max is essentially a measure of the maximum oxygen consumption of your body and is a direct indicator of how efficient your body is running. The higher VO2 max an individual possesses the higher the physical output he or she will be able to produce for a longer period of time. For a martial artist, that translates to being able to deliver harder strikes for a longer time without becoming fatigued.
- Improved Insulin Response - High intensity interval training also substantially improves insulin action in people who do it regularly. This had lead to it being suggested as an easy preventative or even cure for type-2 diabetes.
As with any change in your exercise routines, you should consult with your doctor before stating any new workout. High intensity interval training is, well, intense - if you have heart trouble it could do more harm than good if you don't start slow.
One method used to increase endurance quickly in MMA training is to pick an aerobic exercise like running on a treadmill and alternate very high intensity intervals in a 2:1 ratio. For instance, if you decide to run on a tread mill - start at an incline of 1% and run as fast as you can for 1 minute, then rest of 30 seconds. Work your way up with this 1 on 30 seconds off routine until you reach 10% incline then work your way back down. If you can make it to 10 and back without stopping you are a cardio freak! Nothing can help increase your endurance more than this grueling HIIT 2:1 training. Good luck! You're gonna need it!
How To Increase Endurance with Intelligent Supplementation
Intelligent supplementation is a key to achieving your highest endurance potential, but not all supplements are created equal. CardioForce has been designed specifically for the cardiovascular endurance demands placed on endurance athletes and incorporates a two-fold strategy to improve endurance:
1. Short Term Supplements for Immediate Endurance Improvement
Increase Endurance with Cordyceps Sinensis
The best known medicinal action of Cordyceps is for the increase of physical stamina. The Chinese national games in 1993 brought this mushroom to the attention of the worlds' sports authorities. A group of nine women athletes who had been taking Cordyceps shattered NINE WORLDS RECORDS! The record for the 10 km run was beaten by an unprecedented 42 SECONDS. Not too bad in a world where records are usually broken by a few hundredths of a second!
The number of stories of amazing increases in sports performance are many. There has even been talk of banning it from sporting events as an unfair advantage to those who can get it!
Increase Endurance with Eleuthero
Eleutherococcus Senticosus, otherwise known as Siberian Ginseng, is an adaptogen which has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides which can fit into hormone receptors. Supporters of E. senticosus in the scientific and medical communities claim it possesses a variety of medicinal properties, such as:
* increased endurance
* memory improvement
* radiological and chemical protection
Eleuthero when taken regularly, enhances immune function, decreases cortisol levels and inflammatory response, and promotes improved cognitive and physical performance. Many studies have shown that eleuthero increases endurance performance and time before failure in intense periods of strenuous physical activity. Eleuthero has been used by many world-class athletes to improve athletic performance.
Increase Endurance with Beta Alanine
In human physiology Beta Alanine is the only naturally occuring beta amino acid. Beta Alanine is a constituent of both L-Carnosine and D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5). Owing to the fact that Beta Alanine is a precursor in the synthesis of L-Carnosine, clinical studies have demonstrated that Beta Alanine supplementation can significantly increase L-Carnosine blood levels, reduce symptoms of fatigue during and following strenuous exercise, and increase total muscular work performance during high intensity physical activity. Clinical studies have also demonstrated that Beta Alanine when taken in two or more divided doses of between 500 milligrams to 1 gram per dose can significantly increase intramuscular L-Carnosine content in amounts ranging from 18% to more than 200% in some individuals.
Carnosine plays a critical role in the muscular failure process because it acts as a buffering agent that cushions muscle tissue from acidity, thus delaying muscular failure. Beta Alanine effectively boosts intramuscular carnosine levels, which is responsible in fighting/buffering fatigue-causing Hydrogen Ions, allowing for extreme muscular strength, power and endurance. Increasing intramuscular carnosine levels can improve the buffering capacity of a muscle by as much as 20%. As such, Beta Alanine supplementation can dramatically delay fatigue and failure, and improve muscular working capacity and performance.
Increase Endurance with Citrulline Malate
Citrulline is an amino acid that is an important intermediate in the urea cycle, functioning along with Arginine and Ornithine to rid the body of ammonia, a byproduct of strenuous cardiovascular and physical activity. Because Citrulline is a precursor of Arginine, it provides a readily available source material for Arginine production, which in turn, can be used for the production of Nitric Oxide (NO). NO plays a fundamental role in vascular function and blood flow. Citrulline therefore, not only supports detoxification pathways, but also supports NO production and increased endurance. If you are looking for a how to improve endurance supplement Citrulline is one of the most powerful supplements known to man for this purpose.
2. Increase Endurance for the Long Term and Short Term with Adaptogens
Adaptogens were discovered, initially researched, and first widely utilized in the former Soviet Union having been studied and scrutinized over the past 45 years by more than 1,200 scientists and 3,000 efficacy studies, involving over 500,000 people worldwide.
Soldiers, chess players, astronauts, Olympic athletes, baseball, football, hockey, soccer, karate, martial artists, track athletes and millions of everyday people have been taking adaptogens for decades, with significant, positive health results evidenced by a dramatic broad spectrum of benefits including greater endurance, faster and better recovery from illness and disease.
As a result, the valuable properties of adaptogens have been confirmed through extensive research, which continues both today in Russia and in the international scientific community.
Adaptogenic plants help adapt to extraordinary challenges and increase endurance
The group of plants, which were classified by Soviet scientist's as "adaptogens," include Ginseng, Eleuthercoccus, Cordyceps Sinensis, Schizandra chinensis, Rhodiola rosea, etc. CardioForce contains three of the most well documented and effective adaptogens used by world class athletes: Rhodiola Rosea, Cordyseps Sinensis, and Eleuthercoccus. These three herbs have been found to work in a syngergistic fashion with each other to boost the cardiovascual endurance of athletes. A large number of research studies on adaptogens were made by Dr. Brekhman and the international scientific community. They demonstrated that adaptogens put the organism into a state of non-specific resistance in order to better cope with a variety of unfavorable factors and adapt to extraordinary challenges. Protective properties of adaptogens stimulate some body processes which prepare the organism to endure damaging influences; consequently ensuring a more rapid restoration of homeostasis and increased endurance.