The Blueprint For Cardio Gainz


You may have heard the term MAS or Max Aerobic Speed around the gym before. What does it mean and how can you use it to boost your performance? In case you haven't let me explain it to you... 


Max Aerobic Speed is a measure of your aerobic capacity (sometimes referred to as your V02 max). It is measured in (m/sec) and is used by many professional sporting teams as a measure of the players aerobic fitness. 


To improve your aerobic capacity each training session you perform you should be spending as much time as possible at or close to your MAS. This can be difficult when running, rowing, cycling or swimming for long distances as it is too difficult for most people to sustain a high intensity which will stress the aerobic system for a prolonged period of time.   

The best way I have found to solve this problem is via interval training. By performing work to rest ratios where the time spent working is at or above your current MAS and the rest time allows you sufficient recovery to hit another interval of similar intensity. This allows you to spend more time at your MAS and provide sufficient stress to your aerobic system to make improvements.


Firstly you will need to perform either a run, row, cycle or swim. I like my clients to perform 2km as the testing distance as it is long enough to not be a sprint but not far enough to lose motivation halfway through. You need to perform this test as fast as possible to ensure you get optimal results for programming purposes.  

Once you have this time you have sufficient information to work out your speed in m/sec.

Speed = distance / time

Let’s use somebody who has a 2k row time of 8 minutes.

MAS = 2000m / 480 seconds

MAS = 4.1666 m/sec  


Using this number you can develop training sessions. To improve your aerobic capacity each training session you complete you have to be spending as much time as possible at your 100% MAS pace as possible. What I mean by this is that if you perform an interval training session of 15 seconds on 15 seconds off for 8 rounds you will be spending 2 minutes at your MAS and 2 minutes of recovery.     

By understanding your MAS and how to work it out you can design a program based on this number to improve your aerobic capacity. Let’s use the example of a 4m/s MAS that I worked out earlier. The table below shows intensities and distances which can be plugged into workouts or a program.

Any aerobic interval work to rest ratio should be programmed as 1:1 up to 1:1.5.

An example session for one of my clients doing this for the first time would look like this:

  • 5 x 15 sec at 100% MAS (60m) with 15 sec active recovery

  • 5 x 15 sec at 110% MAS (66m) with 15 sec active recovery

  • 10 x 15 sec at 120% MAS (72m) with 15 sec active recovery

  • 5 x 15 sec at 110% MAS (66m) with 15 sec active recovery

  • 5 x 15 sec at 100% MAS (60m) with 15 sec active recovery

Total work time for this program is 7 min 30 secs with the same as active recovery completing a total of 1980m at or above 100% of MAS.


MAS training is the perfect compliment to your regular CrossFit training as it places much less stress on the body than regular long distance runs, rows or cycling and will improve your aerobic capacity much faster. I would recommend somebody first starting out with this training to do 1 session a week for the first 4 weeks. After this the amount you increase the sessions by will be dependent on your current training volume and when you fit it into your day/week. I personally think that during a strength building phase 1 and sometimes 2 sessions per week is enough to keep you aerobic capacity there and not lose too much fitness whereas if you are trying to maintain strength and increase Aerobic capacity specifically then increasing your volume to 3 sessions per week and a decrease in the volume of heavy lifting it would be much more beneficial.

Max Aerobic Speed is a great way to train your aerobic capacity if you hate continuous running or want to mix it up a little from your regular training. To get the best results from this training you must be consistent and follow a periodised program to ensure you do not overtrain or injure yourself. If you want help creating your own program please get in touch and I will be happy to help…

In fact I want to offer the first 5 people to contact me a personalised program for FREE with all your percentages worked out and a program to follow for 4 weeks! Why am I offering this up for FREE? My aim is to share my knowledge of health and fitness with as many people as possible while I have the opportunity and I want to reward those who are dedicated and take action because they will be the ones who will put in the work and get the results from the program.

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