Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Death to the Treadmill...My Cardio Workouts

If you want to have a great physique, you must do cardio. Fortunately, there are so many different ways to do cardio that you are bound to find something you’ll enjoy. I’ve never enjoyed the classic treadmill standby, mostly due to my bad knees but I simply don't enjoy the machine. So what follows are the various solutions I found to the problem.


Ergowhat? Its also known as a rowing machine. I love these things. It gets my heart pumping but it still works my muscles in a big way. From the legs to my back, biceps, and abs, total body workout while doing cardio! What else can you ask for. Be sure you use proper rowing form as shown and described below.
Proper Ergometer Form
Directions: Sit on seat, place feet in the straps, and grab the handle bar with both arms in an overhand grip. Slide back by extending legs while keeping arms straight. Once legs are near/at full extension, pull handle bar to midsection while keeping your forearms horizontal. Then return to the starting position with your shins vertical and your body pressed up to your legs. Repeat.



This machine is a a recent discovery for me. Most gyms don't have them, but if you are one of the lucky ones that has one available, you are in for a treat. A stepmill is essentially a rotating set of stairs, effectively the stair version of a treadmill. I like to set the program to fat burner, set a challenging level, and climb until my legs fall off. Try it!



Basically the treadmill for those with weak knees. My solution for the monotony is what’s called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You pedal at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, and then pedal at sprinting Tour de France deluxe pace for 30 seconds and repeat the 30/30 for 20 minutes or so. This is an amazing routine for those looking to burn fat. Just those 20 minutes provide you cardio more effective than an hour running on a treadmill. You may not be able to complete 20 minutes of HIIT right away. This is perfectly fine, be honest with yourself and push yourself as far as you can take it. It's not supposed to be easy. Over time, you will hit that 20 minute goal. For those of you who do like a little treadmill time, try HIIT on the treadmill. Fun in store for sure...


Jumping jacks, burpees, jump rope…all those exercises from middle school. You can also do depth jumps, box jumps, etc. These exercises basically involve using boxes or platforms which you jump over or on top of repeatedly. In addition to the cardiovascular workout, I love these exercises as they increase the explosive ability of your muscles. For example, that leg strength you’ve been developing is channeled into jumping ability through exercises such as these.
Plyometric Box Jumping

That covers the principal exercises I do for cardio at the gym. I also enjoy occasional hiking or running in scenic areas when my knees feel up to it. And if feeling like I need to let out some steam, hitting the punching bag for a while with some gusto will do the trick as well. Just focus on getting your heart rate up for an extended period of time and you’ve got an effective cardio exercise. Don’t underestimate the power of an iPod to help you along either.

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