Cardio Exercises in the Gym

This week, Longevity Exercise Physiology discuss cardio equipment and exercise in the gym. Our Exercise Physiologists at our Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwick, PymbleBalmain and Neutral Bay  locations use cardio equipment and protocols in their exercise prescription to help their clients achieve their goals.


Benefits of cardiovascular training include but are not limited to:

  • Decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and risk of cardiovascular fatality
  • Decreased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Effects on the heart include: Increase cardiac output (blood pumped by heart each beat) & decreased resting heart rate
  • Improves depression and anxiety outcomes

(Warburton, D. E., et Al. 2006)


Different protocols we use

At Longevity, we use various aerobic protocols depending on the goals of our clients. The protocols are completed following a submaximal aerobic test typically conducted in an initial assessment to gauge someone’s baseline cardiovascular fitness.


The protocols we use aim to improve:

  • Anaerobic capacity
  • Aerobic capacity
  • Anaerobic threshold
  • Recovery rates


High intensity Interval training (HIIT) versus Moderate intensity continuous training (MICT)

When it comes to completing cardiovascular exercise, there are different ways we can complete it depending on certain factors including time, ability, and goals.



HIIT involves repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times. The intense work periods can range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes, performed at 80-95% maximal heart rate. The recovery blocks may be as equally long, performed at 40-50% maximal heart rate (Ito S, 2019).


HIIT can improve:
  • Aerobic & anaerobic fitness
  • Blood pressure
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Cholesterol profiles
  • Abdominal fat and body weight
  • Increased mitochondrial content

(MacInnis, M. J., & Gibala, M. J. (2017)


Why is HIIT so popular?
  • Easily modified for people of all ages, abilities, and conditions
  • Can be performed on all exercise modalities
  • Similar benefits to continuous endurance workouts, however in a shorter amount of time
  • Greater EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) – period where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, therefore using more energy



Involves a continuous effort at a moderate intensity. The intensity sits between 65-75% maximal heart rate.



The benefits are very similar to that of HIIT, however, research has shown that HIIT elicits higher gains in aerobic capacity, greater energy expenditure and can all be done in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, for someone who is very busy, HIIT is a more viable option for cardiovascular exercise.


Cardiovascular exercise is important to include in your own training for the above reasons, but also to help you perform better when training in the gym. It is often overlooked by those who love just lifting weights, however, regular cardiovascular training can help improve your work capacity which means you won’t feel as tired when completing high repetition sets and extensive workouts.


In the gym, we have different types of equipment to complete your cardio training on.


The most well-known piece of equipment in the gym and will be in most gyms. A treadmill is great as it allows you to walk, jog and run without worrying about the weather, plus most machines have adjustable inclines to imitate slopes. The treadmill is great for completing aerobic running protocols as the speed can easily be adjusted.

Exercise bike

There are multiple types of exercise bikes found in the gym including spin bikes, upright bikes, and recumbent bikes. Each serve the same purpose of building aerobic capacity while cycling, along with some leg strength. Spin bikes are the hardest due to the positioning (most like a race bike) and having a heavier flywheel. Recumbent bikes are an awesome alternative as they are accessible to use by nearly everyone as upright and spin bikes can be hard to get onto.

Row ergometer

The ‘rower’ as more commonly known, is a piece of equipment that uses the upper and lower body to complete the movement and replicates rowing. A little more complicated to begin with than the treadmill or bike, however, is a great tool to use to change up how you want to complete your aerobic exercise.


If you’re looking to begin Cardio training, or need some help with your current regime, our Exercise Physiologists are experts in exercise prescription and want to help you!


As we venture into the new year, there’s no better time to start something new to kick off the year on the right foot. Call Longevity Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Pymble, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista and Neutral Bay on 1300 964 002 to enquire today.


Written by Guy




  • Warburton, D. E., Nicol, C. W., & Bredin, S. S. (2006). Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne174(6), 801–809.
  • Ito S. (2019). High-intensity interval training for health benefits and care of cardiac diseases – The key to an efficient exercise protocol. World journal of cardiology11(7), 171–188.
  • MacInnis, M. J., & Gibala, M. J. (2017). Physiological adaptations to interval training and the role of exercise intensity. The Journal of physiology595(9), 2915–2930.

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