Heart Rate & Resistance Training Re-Imagined For Physical Education & Sport
“Lifting any weight that increases resistance on your muscles is the key. My muscle doesn’t know the difference if I’m digging in the yard, carrying heavy shopping bags, or lifting a dumbbell.” (Source & Study)
What is going on inside the body during strength exercises? We train our muscles by introducing resistance. The heart, just like any other muscle group, is a muscle that needs to be trained appropriately. The heart is uniquely a muscular organ, with tissues that work together to perform a specific function. With the heart, the function is to pump blood throughout the body. The muscle tissue of the heart is called cardiac muscle. During strength training in sports and in physical education class, how can one measure the progress of our most vital muscle?
I had the unique opportunity to work with one of the top trainers in the country, Jackie Ansley. It was fascinating to see her work with our athletes, using a variety of strength training and interval exercises, while heart rates were being recorded for all students. Check out the heart rate graph, that displays the heart rate of two different high school students throughout her training protocols, which included strength training using a variety of unusual resistance devices, while also providing interval aerobic conditioning.
Imagine having the heart rate data for every student, every day. The ability to see the history of heart rate for all exercise, for all students, provides every physical educator and coach with the exercise science information to help guide their students, individually, in group settings. Physical educators and students would have the real time heart rate feedback, viewed on the Heart Zones’ big board, as well the individual heart rate printout sent to all students, athletes and their parents—daily!
Resistance training does not have to include traditional weights or weight machines. Notice the elastic bands in the partner drills, that provide leg resistance exercise, while also providing cardio conditioning. So much of the exercises Jackie advocates for in conditioning, involved using their own body weight with light leg weights or elastic bands. Resistance training is good for the bone health as well as good for the heart. “Muscle is the power plant to burn calories, and it also helps move your joints and bones. If you build muscle, you burn more energy because you have more muscle. This helps prevent obesity and provide long-term benefits on various health outcomes.” (Lee, 2018)
The key to resistance training is to provide a variety of activities that go outside the normal thinking of strength training.
Today’s physical education programs are implementing rock climbing and adventure activities that demand repetitive strength demands on several muscle groups, during the activities. Heart rates are elevated throughout these activities using heart rate sensors to provide a picture of what is going on inside the body.
Today’s top physical education programs are incorporating kayaking in their programs, using the water for resistance in building muscular strength and endurance, while recording heart rates using Heart Zones’ sensors.
Ropes attached to the gym ceiling tresses, and using “moon-hoppers” provide balancing experience with upper body/leg strength resistance exercises, while heart rate feedback provides guidance and data to document cardio benefits. Thinking outside the box for strength conditioning is the key to the modernization of physical education using heart rates for guidance and for recording progress.
In the Heart Adventures’ Challenge Course I designed, elementary students use arm strength and abdominal muscles to balance on scooter boards, while pulling
themselves as red blood cells, through the “pulmonary artery”. Heart rate sensors record their heart rate data, that will be sent electronically, immediately following this trip through the circulatory system, from their physical education class to their parents and teacher and for student records.
The transformation of physical education and sport begins with measurement and creating the feedback for the students, school boards, and parents. We live in a high tech world. Coming into a physical education class should not be a visit to the past, but a vision for the future. Show me your data from the “new PE”.
New, high tech physical education programs are filled with new ideas, new equipment, and a new direction bringing excitement into our schools. Lifestyle illnesses of today require lifetime investments in our health and well-being. We must live better, together. Old ideas and old equipment will not solve our health problems in today’s world.