In the final part of this 5 part series on strength and conditioning for leg amputees, we will be considering cardio. This is going to vary according to your impairment and how you can use the equipment in the gym. The best way to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) is to incorporate some form of sprinting into your training.Personally, I only tend to prefer using the static bike, rowing machine or static hand bike in the gym for my cardio. As a congenital above knee amputee, I will generally remove my prosthetic leg to use the rowing machine as I don’t have much control or movement in the knee-joint. Yes, I have my leg on in the picture, but that is because of the Paralympic classification I had in rowing at the time. I also had a tailor-made seat designed to help with my lack of glute muscles on my impaired side. This is not the case when using a static or spin bike as I can use the momentum from my other leg to push the pedal. But more generally than not I will take the prosthesis off so I can keep air flow on the limb and help reduce sweating.
Treadmill: Walking/Jogging or Running
Depending on your level of impairment and/or level of fitness.
- Walk/Jogging: Interval/Tabata style training of 20-second sprint with a 10-second rest; however, set it your current level of fitness.
- Running: 6 x 100 metres with 30 seconds rest between each set and 2 minutes rest after the 6th.
- 2 x 400 metres with 2 minutes rest between each 400.
It would be better to do the running sprints on the track if you can.
Static or Spin Bike
- 3 x 20 seconds maximal effort sprint with 2 minutes rest between each bout of 30 seconds, three times a week. After implementing this protocol after 2 weeks you should see an improvement in insulin sensitivity and after 6 weeks an improvement in your VO2 max. (Dr. Jamie Timmons, University of Birmingham on BBC’s Horizon: Truth About Exercise)
- Interval training: there are a number of different types of intervals that can be done (e.g.: 1 minute on with 30 seconds rest, 2 minutes on with 1-minute rest, 500 metres with 1-minute rest, 30 seconds on with 30 seconds rest). Options on the rowing machine; seat down on the machine, pull the handle once to switch it on, 4 options of training will appear (custom workout, new workout, interval time, interval distance)
It is also possible to use these sprinting protocols I’ve suggested on other equipment such as the handbike, cross trainer/ x country skier and/or swimming.
PS: I’d love to know if you found these tips helpful, hit me up in the comment section or alternatively drop me a message if you would like to know more. If we haven’t met before come say hello.
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