Originally Posted by Derek Simonds
68 for me at 39 years young. When I am not overtrained....
Derek, that is really high, even for your age.
Brian, your resting heart rate tends to be about 2-5 beats/min higher when you're seated.
Joel has said that MMA guys should have resting heart rates in the high 40's to low 50's. I've gotten down to about 49 or so, and it doesn't that much effort...at least to get it into the 50's.
Let me explain why resting heart rate matters.
Cardiac Output = Heart Rate x Stroke Volume
The more you eccentrically stretch your heart, the greater your stroke volume. This means more blood is pumped out per beat. If your heart pumps out more blood per beat, then it does not need to pump as often; hence, a lower heart rate tends to indicate a greater stroke volume. A greater stroke volume means a greater cardiac output in general. The more blood you pump out from your heart, the more oxygen is pumped to your muscles.
This only refers to one half of the aerobic equation-the heart, but the heart is very important to aerobic performance. Generally, if you're sucking wind, you need to work on your heart. If your muscles are fatiguing, you need to work on muscular endurance. That's a crude generalization, so don't take it too seriously.
Cardiac output work tends to work best in the 120-150 HR range. The lower end is for those who are unfit. Basically, you do cardio right above your aerobic threshold, which may be above 150. Unless you get lab tested, these figures are hard to figure out. I have approximated my maximal heart rate from some intense workouts. You add 5 to the highest heart rate you've recorded. And I've figured out my anaerobic threshold from timed runs. There are some calculators that are more accurate than others for figuring this stuff out, based on maximal heartrate.
Anyways, you can start out doing about 30 min/day 2-3 days/week of CO work in the 120-140 HR range. Then, increase volume, frequency, and/or intensity as needed for further adaptations. You can work up to 60 min/day. CO work may feel like it's doing nothing while you're doing it, but it helps tremendously in your fights. If you're not doing much MMA training, you should start off with 3 days/week. Otherwise, 2 days/week may be adequate to start, since MMA training tends to be somewhat aerobic already.
You should test your resting HR periodically to track your progress. If you don't have a heartrate monitor, CO work is basically LSD. It is not intense at all. It's just an extremely slow jog, or a semifast bike ride. You can go 5 beats/min lower when you're on a bike, since you're seated as opposed to standing. It's better to error on the lower end of intensity if you don't have a heartrate monitor, since you can monitor your resting heartrate and adjust the intensity accordingly. If you're unconditioned, your CO will increase with even light work. Plus, stroke volume tops off at about 60% of maximal heartrate.