Monday, July 30, 2012

Cardiovascular Conditioning for Taekwondo Beginners

What is the best form of cardiovascular fitness for a Taekwondo athlete? Is it a long distance run? Short sprints up a hill? Swimming? To find the answer we have to know a little something about how energy systems and how the body adapts to exercise.
The core of your cardiovascular fitness and health is the performance of you heart, lungs and your vascular system (veins, arteries and capillaries). If you are just beginning to exercise, then chances are these will be the weak links in the chain, and thus the limiting factor in your cardiovascular performance.

To increase the performance of these links efficiently we tend to use long steady state cardio. Going for a run, swim, walk, bike ride etc., will all meet this need and exercising anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes is generally enough volume to improve as a beginner.
What you need to pay attention to is your pace. Since you are trying to build up the performance of your heart and lungs, you need to pay attention their limits. The mistake most beginners make when starting out is exercising at a pace that feels good for their legs (in the case of running) but they quickly get “gassed”. A good tip for finding your pace, is exercise so that you are able to talk but not be able to carry on a conversation. Once you find this pace, try to maintain it for the time you set out to exercise for.
For Beginners:
  • Pick an exercise such as walking, running, bike riding or swimming
  • Pick a time to exercise for, from 20-60 minutes
  • Maintain a steady pace for this time, pay attention to your breathing (should be able to talk but not converse/sing)
  • Record your distance covered, laps, etc.
  • Next time try and increase your distance in the same time, or run the same pace for a longer time
Once you're comfortable with your cardiovascular performance and you want to improve your performance in your sparring matches, read the next part: Cardiovascular Conditioning for Taekwondo Athletes

Alex is a Kukkiwon certified 4th dan and has been training in martial arts for 12 years and instructing for 7. He is also a certified Personal Trainer and constantly works to blend his passion for physiology and fitness into his martial arts instruction; and his passion for martial arts into his fitness instruction.
For more info, check out his Melbourne, Australia based club and business.
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