When the Colorado Rapids hit the grass for preseason camp, it's safe to assume they are ready to run.
To challenge and assess his players' aerobic conditioning level, Colorado assistant coach Steve Guppy has them run the Four Fours Test wearing a heart rate monitor. "We gauge their heart rate, because it gives us a good indication if they are in shape or not," Guppy says. "We're playing 90-minute games, and we have to prepare for that during the preseason."
Guppy lays out the Four Fours, which the Rapids perform three days a week both to monitor and improve their conditioning level.
• Run at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for four minutes
• Jog for three minutes
• Repeat sequence continuously three more times
The Test: If you can't maintain 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for the duration of the four-minute run, perform additional conditioning drills throughout the week until you can meet and maintain the desired maximum heart rate.
If you don't have a heart rate monitor, use the following rule to gauge your conditioning: you should be able to cover half to three-quarters of a mile during each four minute session.
Estimating Your Age-Adjusted Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)*
Boys: 220 minus your age = MHR
Girls: 226 minus your age = MHR
* This formula is a general guideline. It does not account for your overall physical condition, size and body mass—all of which affect your overall maximum heart rate.
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