The Coopers Test was performed on Day 1 of our latest 2 week testing block. The results from this test, along with some heart rate data, can give us a interesting look at your energy generating capacity.
Let’s dive straight in!…
RESTING HEART RATE
A lower resting rate (if you train regularly and are otherwise healthy) indicates that your heart is well conditioned and efficient, with an excellent stroke volume (this is the volume of blood pumped with each beat). A useful analogy I read recently “…is to imagine using a bucket to bail out a leaky boat. The bigger the bucket, the fewer times you must fill and tip out the bucket in order to keep the leak from sinking the boat. Your low resting heart rate indicates that you have a big bucket.”
While the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, conditioned athletes and other highly fit individuals might have normal resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute. This indicates a high level of cardiovascular fitness.
THE COOPERS TEST
This was a 12 minute max distance row and it is a test of general endurance. The markers we can look at are the total distance covered, average heart rate and max heart rate.
From our gym population we quickly pick out the following data points
Furthest distance run: 3000m, this equates to a speed of 15km/hr
Average distance run: 2186m, this equates to a speed of 10.93km/hr
To see how this compares take a look at this table*
Total distance covered: This is quite an obvious one, but the more distance covered in the 12 minutes, the better. As you training progresses you want this total distance to increase, simple.
However, when we tie this in with heart rate data we can paint a much clearer picture of your fitness.
HEART RATES AND WHAT THEY MEAN
Max Heart Rate: With regards to maximum heart rate during high intensity exercise, the higher the better (if you train regularly and are otherwise healthy). Combined with a high stroke volume (low resting heart rate), a high max heart rate means that you have a large cardiac output (flow of blood in litres per minute = heart rate x stroke volume). Cardiac output is argued to be the main limiting factor to your maximal oxygen uptake, and the more oxygen you can process, the more efficiently you use energy.
A good level for a max heart rate is anything over 185 beats per minute for well conditioned individuals.
Average Heart Rate as a % of Max Heart Rate: The ideal range we are looking for here is that your average heart rate during the Coopers Test was 80-85% of your max heart rate. this is the sweet spot (see below).
Your average heart rate during the Coopers test is considered your anaerobic threshold, this is the exercise intensity at which lactate (more specifically, lactic acid) starts to accumulate in the blood stream and you shift to using anaerobic energy systems.
Average HR above 85%: These individuals have a well developed aerobic system. In workouts they can keep moving at a reasonable pace and their aerobic system can manage the workload of producing energy and buffering metabolic by-products. They never seem to gas out and they tend to perform better in longer workouts with lighter loads.
However, these individuals have very little anaerobic capacity. This means when they are required to push hard (shorter, intense workouts) they struggle to match those around them and they will often ‘gas out’ very quickly. They find it difficult to turn on the intensity and cannot maintain the higher pace for long.
Average HR below 85%: These individuals have poor aerobic capacity. Once they start moving it doesn’t take much for them to get breathless and need to take rest. Longer workouts are their enemy and they struggle to maintain a consistent pace.
However, shorter, intense workouts are in their wheelhouse. They have a good capacity for anaerobic energy production, and they can push hard when needed and can stay there longer than others.
The Sweet Spot 80-85%: Individuals that fall in this range you are hitting the sweet spot. This mean they have good aerobic capacity and can produce energy aerobically at relatively high intensities, but they also have a good level of anaerobic capacity so they can kick it up a gear or two when required.
Be mindful; This sweet spot may not be so sweet if you have a low max heart rate as you will to have a low average heart, refer back to ‘Max Heart Rate’ section above. You need to be hitting this sweet spot and have a max heart rate above 185 bpm and also have a resting heart rate of under 60bpm. Once you are at that stage you are getting pretty damn fit!
“SO WHAT DO I NEED TO IMPROVE AND HOW DO I DO IT?”
When we re-test this in the future there are certain things we would like to see:
– Decreased resting heart rate
– Increased max heart rate
– Average heart rate at 80-85% of your max heart rate
– An increased power output (total distance covered) at that target heart rate
Funnily enough, all the above can be improved during the Aerobic Cycle we are about to start.. Whilst everyone can benefit from any of the methods we use, depending on your results you may want to prioritse certain areas and for that you need to know exactly which days you should strive to get to the gym, well here you go.
High resting heart rate (over 60 bpm)
What: You need to improve how efficiently your heart can deliver oxygen and also improve the peripheral vascular network.
How: Cardiac Output Method & Tempo Method
Low max heart rate (under 185 bpm)
What: You need to improve oxygen supply at higher intensities but also increase the aerobic systems max rate of ATP production
How: Threshold method & Cardiac Power Intervals
Average heart rate under 80% of max heart rate
What: You are anaerobically dominant and have poor aerobic capacity. You need to improve how efficiently your heart can deliver oxygen and also improve the peripheral vascular network but also improve oxygen supply at higher intensities.
How: Cardiac Output Method & Tempo Method & Cardiac Power Intervals
Average heart rate over 85% of max heart rate
What: You are aerobically dominant and have poor anaerobic capacity.
You need to improve your maximum rate of rate of oxygen utilisation at higher intensities, but also develop your lactic capacity/power. The lactic work will be focused on more in a different cycle, but you will need to focus on the higher intensity workouts
How: Cardiac Power Intervals & Threshold Method
With all that being said, everyone will benefit from any of the methods we use during this cycle. We can always get stronger, faster and fitter right?! So do not fall into the trap of skipping sessions because you think you do not need to work on those areas!
Tuesday 22nd September
Workout of the Day
A: 6 Minute AMRAP
Power cleans 60/40kg
B: 6 Minute AMRAP
Shoulder to Overhead 60/40kg
Burpees over the bar