In part one of Ninja Endurance called, How to Train for the Endurance of a Ninja, we discussed strength endurance and I provided a sample workout to help you build yours. Here in part 2, I ‘d like to delve a little deeper into the whys of endurance training and how specifically high intensity interval training is an excellent choice for it.
What is Endurance?
Endurance is defined as being able to keep going without fatigue setting in, or being able to push oneself through fatigue. Essentially, it is the ability to resist or bear fatigue. What is fatigue? Fatigue is weariness or exhaustion from exertion, or the temporary loss of power to respond. An equally critical corollary to the definition of endurance, especially for the warrior, is that your level of endurance also determines how quickly you are able to recover between bouts of activity. Combat, like life, does not happen at one constant rate of speed. It is multi-faceted in nature. There will be periods of brutally intense activity followed by lulls in the action, again followed by another flurry of activity. Being able to use those lulls in action to recover is a critical ability for the warrior.
Steady state cardio, Long Slow Distance (LSD) training simply will not cut it. Running on a treadmill may be appropriate for a hamster in a cage, but human beings require more. Long distance running can be beneficial for mental toughness and/or active recovery, but it should not be the primary focus of a warrior’s endurance training. So then how should we train to maximize our ability to endure?
Warriors Need to HIIT!
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to train for endurance. It will enhance all 3 energy systems in the body (2 anaerobic and 1 aerobic – see here for an overview), as well as prime the nervous system to recover automatically during lulls in activity. Simply put, HIIT alternates periods of high intensity exercise with periods of rest and recovery. It can be performed with almost any exercise and can be utilized both with and without equipment. The variety and adaptability of this style of training is second to none in results.
How else does improving your endurance through this type of conditioning aid your martial arts training? I’m glad you asked! If the benefits discussed above weren’t enough, consider that having a high level of conditioning also aids in learning new skills. How’s that possible? To put it simply, when the central nervous system (CNS) is fatigued, the body cannot effectively process new skills, especially technically advanced skills. So, in essence your lack of a general level of fitness and conditioning will actually impede your learning process as you will tire more readily and not have the ability to recover quickly enough during training. Want to train more, at a higher level, for a longer period of time? Want to get more out of your training time both at home and in the dojo? Want to build new skills and enhance your technical arsenal? Get yourself in shape!
There are several sample conditioning workouts here on the Warrior Fitness site. Here are a few examples:
Stay tuned for more Warrior Fitness style conditioing workouts to help you get and stay in fighting shape!