Healthy Tahoe: Strength training for a healthy heart

Kyler Crouse

Can a short, four-minute workout be as effective as 30 minutes of cardio? While it may sound too good to be true, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, it’s not.

Kyler Crouse

Researchers tested traditional treadmill cardio against a fast-paced bodyweight workout and while improvements in cardiovascular fitness were produced by both, whole-body resistance training presented an added benefit of improved muscle endurance. Meaning, fast-paced bodyweight training can improve cardiovascular fitness as well as running on a treadmill, and provide improvements in muscle endurance.

The training method, Peripheral Heart Action Training, is similar to circuit training. It keeps you moving from one exercise to another with minimal to no rest between exercises, while you focus on alternating non-completing exercises.

For example, start a strength circuit with a squat followed by an overhead press, then move immediately into a plank. The heart must push the blood from the lower body, to the upper body and finally into the core. This systematic exercise selection increases the demands on your cardiovascular system, while also challenging more muscle groups than traditional cardiovascular exercise.

This style of strength training is the preferred method for most of our clients at Barton Performance, as most enjoy the bodyweight workout more, and intend to continue the training program longer, than treadmill running alone.

Total body movements should be the foundation for any fitness programs, whether it is for fat loss, athletic improvement or gaining size and strength.

Traditional cardiovascular exercise is great if you like it, but if you want to improve your aerobic fitness and save some time, try adding some resistance training exercises, you might actually like it.

Kyler Crouse is a Barton Performance Coach at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. Learn more about the programs available by calling 530-600-1976 or visiting

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