I hate cardio.
Actually I take that statement back. What I hate is being stuck in one spot for a long duration of time. Some of it could be the fact that I know that I can get a superior training effect from a shorter training session ramped up to a higher intensity, ahemmm, anaerobic intervals anyone? Heard of them?
Anyways, in the winter, it is almost impossible to escape the treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. When you live in the Midwest, Mother Nature doesn’t care that you want to run outside. Once snow hits the ground and the temperature falls below freezing, things become depressing with regard to exercise options.
We can change that.
Simple tweaks right?
So if you are chasing the cardiovascular effect and the calorie burn with your run or bike session, which most of you are, then lets take another look at how we can tweak a workout to elicit that same aerobic effect without the monotony of pounding the pavement and dreaming about everything else but your run.
I use adaptive workouts like the example below all of the time in between my “go hard” days. They bring a refreshing variety of movement and serve as a simple sweat session that will get my heart rate around the 150bpm-160bpm mark. This is my personal mark for aerobic conditioning improvement/maintenance. (I highly encourage all of you to purchase a heart rate monitor so that you can track your progress).
I also love these sessions for recovery coming off of a resistance training session where rest periods are short and the intensity is relatively high. I like to think of it as a recovery or flush workout, even though I am still receiving tremendous aerobic benefit. This is great for all of you calorie counters out there. You can burn a few without getting bored with your current routine… because you know you are!
Here is the structure of the workout:
- Foam roll, mobility, activation, corrective exercise + dynamic movement preparation
1) 10 minutes – Jump Rope
2) 10 minutes – Stationary Bike (Schwinn Airdyne)
3) 10 minutes- Squat + Push Up + Jumping Jacks + Reverse Lunge (continuous)
In 30 minutes I just trained a whole bag of movements/skills. If you have never jumped rope before, or just haven’t since you were a kid, I encourage you to purchase a jump rope. As a warm-up tool, it is priceless. As a conditioning tool, you have to work a little bit harder but it can be made to fit that purpose also. Turn the rope harder with each workout, go for a longer duration and eventually work yourself into doubles…
I have a whole notebook full of variations of a workout like this. The next time you think about going for that long… slow… boring… run… think again. Change things up a bit and try this out. Use your heart rate monitor to gauge your effort and keep it aerobic. Besides, effective cross training will help prevent overuse injuries and you’ll still get the training effect you are looking for.
Take it and run with it. Your body won’t change without putting forth the work.