Stress. Recovery. Adaptation.

Stress. Recovery. Adaptation. This three-step process is how we become stronger. We apply adequate stress through squatting, for example; we recover from the squatting workout; we can then withstand more stress the next time we squat -- assuming enough time hasn't been spent outside the gym.

Did you know: our lungs operate in a similar manner? We can implement stress on our lungs, and they in turn become better at filling with and processing oxygen. Did you also know: according to the longest study in medical history, the Farmington Heart Study, lung function measures our living capacity. That's right! Strong lungs help up live longer.

As we age, our lungs lose power. Even in the ripe young years of our 20s, maximum oxygen uptake begins to decrease. Have no fear, though! Although we can't reverse the aging process (bummer, right?), we can limit its decline. How do we do so? We challenge our lungs maximum capacity.

Steady-state cardio is fine, but that's not going to do the trick. We must truly test our lungs; we must put them in a position of overreaching. In more precise terms, we must create an oxygen debt; this happens when our body needs more oxygen than it can provide it. Have you ever run an all-out 800 meters or tried performing 50 burpees as quickly as possible? Yeah. Both create an oxygen deficit. Through short, intense bouts of work, we provide stress on our lungs that help increase lung volume.

So if your routine involves only strength work, or if your workouts are filled with only muscle-building parameters, you're likely missing out on a *very* important aspect of training.

Here's a quick bodyweight workout you can try at home to rev up the lungs:

50 burpees
(3-minute Rest)
3-minute Run
(3-minute Rest)
30 burpees
(2-minute Rest)
2-minute Run
(2-minute Rest)
10 burpees
(1-minute Rest)
1-minute Run

The goal: perform the burpees as quickly as possible; run as far as possible.

Stress. Revover. Adapt.

Jason Harle