How Jungle Gym Keeps Your Body Guessing and Adapting to Improve – A Heart Rate Study

Variety in your training is the key to getting in great shape… and having a blast while doing it.

Jungle Gym Strength and Conditioning is a three week cycled group fitness program that I proudly call myself the Conditioning Coach for. One of the reasons it’s so effective: It keeps your body constantly guessing and adapting. Not to mention that the variety and creativity of the workouts is just plain fun too. Last year I did a quick heart rate study to demonstrate the typical variation in Jungle Gym workouts and the resulting stimuli provided to your body. Check out the details below! 📈💪 

First though – I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t at least point out the single most important aspect that makes Jungle Gym unique: the community we’ve built and continue to grow through fitness. Jungle Gym creates a way of training that can integrate each and every one of our clients, with a huge range of backgrounds, goals, and fitness levels. Inside our walls, you can find a powerlifter trying to get stronger, working out next to a marathon runner building conditioning, next to a weekend warrior trying to lose a few pounds, next to a retiree who just wants to move better. I guess you could say that variety truly is the common denominator between the Jungle Gym workouts and clientele. 

Jungle Gym members representing at the 2018 Smart Smiles 5K to support the Boys & Girls Clubs
Jungle Gym team building fun outside of gym hours.

Now on to the study: over the course of one month, I did all of the workouts in class while wearing my heart rate monitor. I produced this graph that shows my heart rate during a workout from each one of our three workout weeks:

  1. Muscle Development: High-volume resistance training. A finisher to get the heart rate up and burn out that day’s muscle group. 
  2. Yard Work: Team-based conditioning workouts. Lots of continuous movement and functional lifts.
  3. Strength: Short bursts of heavy lifts with more rest. A focus on improving three barbell lifts: squat, press, deadlift.

The punchline: each type of workout provides a unique challenge and provokes a completely different response from your body, as shown by the variability in heart rate during each one. 

There’s a huge difference in how my body responds to a workout during Strength Week versus Yard Work Week, for example. In Strength Week, we rely on short, high intensity sets to get stronger at our primary lifts, resting more between sets to fully recover. My heart rate in the graph is from squat day, where you can see spikes of about 40BPM between resting and the end of my squat sets. 

On the other hand, Yard Work Week is a essentially a lifting-based cardio/conditioning workout, where you can see my heart rate hovering consistently around 140+ BPM for most of class.  Muscle Development Week is somewhere in between, with more training volume overall compared to Strength Week to build muscle, but more resting than Yard Work Week in order to get quality lifts in. Here, we like to toss in a burnout finisher to end the workout, as shown by the spike in my heart rate at the end of class.

This variety is key to getting in great shape and why Jungle Gym is so effective. How often do we sink into the same exact weekly routine and do the same set of exercises when we’re designing our own programs? By doing so, our nervous and muscular systems adapt surprisingly quickly and we won’t be as challenged, leading to plateaus in our fitness. 

Physiological stimuli aside – the variety is what helps make Jungle Gym fun! You come to class not knowing what to expect. You learn new exercises. Each day, week, and training cycle is a new challenge. If I picked out three different classes and made this graph again, it would look completely different. This is not to mention the fact that we offer several other weekly classes including a rowing and running-based conditioning workout and a mobility/flexibility/body-weight exercise recovery session. 

Rich, Jim, Jess, Geoff – the trainers.
Owner Geoff Morehart outside the Iron Jungle Facility, home of Jungle Gym. 727 Bluecrab Rd, Newport News, VA

Contact me or Geoff Morehart  (the owner of Jungle Gym and mastermind behind the programming) if you’re looking for a new challenge that will stay like new forever. Come try us out for a free one week trial!

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Jim Warner Fitness & Endurance Training

*USA Triathlon Certified Coach *ACE Certified Personal Trainer *NPTI Kettlebell Certification *NPTI TRX Suspension Training Certification *Conditioning Coach at Jungle Gym Strength & Conditioning, Newport News, VA *Amateur Endurance Athlete -Boston Marathon Qualifier -Ironman Triathlete -Cross-country Cyclist

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