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How can I improve my cardio for sports performance?

Many athletes and sports performance professionals still use the old school sprint till you drop approach for conditioning with standard timed recovery sessions. This one size fits all approach lacks the principles of specificity needed to have a successful conditioning program. To have a complete and successful cardio program an athlete or performance professional must have an assessment and baseline, create a program with specific goals and use heart rate and recovery times to measure progress.

In order to utilize cardio training to improve your sports performance, you will have to incorporate training that is similar to the specifics of the sport you are playing. The body will adapt to whatever demand you place on it. With that being said, if you are involved in a sport that requires short bursts of intense effort, you will need to model your cardio training similar to those demands. These types of training programs make use of high intensity intervals followed by moderately intense recovery periods. If your sport demands moderate intensity for prolonged periods of time, your cardio program should mimic this. However, even if you are in an endurance sport, you will still want to make use of advanced stage training with the intention of increasing your recovery rate and fitness levels. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.