Workout Finisher: Kettlebell Swings and Burpees

Motion

Workout finishers (also known as metabolic finishers or conditioning finishers) are a short burst series of exercises at the end of a workout designed to complement strength based training.  

A workout finisher can be a single exercise, like a burpee, or a series of exercises strung together (squat, push up, pull up, etc).  Finishers typically take 1-10 minutes to complete, and can be organized into intervals or metabolic resistance training (think thrusters).  

A tough finisher will burn extra calories, boost cardio and work capacity while increasing the fat burning potential of the days workout.  

These days, I mainly string together several different exercises, using a variety of movement patterns and equipment.  From time to time, I’ll schedule a single exercise finisher, but it’s rare.  Burpees are a great exercise to use if you’re only going to do choose one.

Mixing Kettlebell Swings and Burpees

This post is all about one of the toughest workout finishers…

The word “burpee” makes me cringe. Burpees are a brutally effective exercise and I rarely program burpees into my own training simply because they are hard.

I shouldn’t admit that.

Burpees jack up your heart rate fast.  Few other bodyweight exercises compare to burpees for total body conditioning.  Burpees, though simplistic, are extremely functional.  Transitioning up from a low ground position to a standing position happens in sports all of time.  Maybe not for high reps like we program in a workout, but it happens.  

How do you make the burpee experience harder? Add in some kettlebell swings. 

This kettlebell swing and burpee workout finisher is brutal.  Back when my equipment arsenal consisted of 3 kettlebells, I gave the kettlebell swing/burpee finisher a go.

The combination fit the equipment and space I had available perfectly.   

I stopped twice on my first attempt. Not for extended periods, but long enough to consider throwing in the towel.  It’s hard to remember my finishing time, but I think it was less than 8 minutes.

I do remember the fatigue however, it was hard to gather myself.  I ate a pile of food that night and the following morning and the afterburn effect was potent.  

So I share this workout finisher with you. Keep it in your back pocket on the days where you’ve completed your skill work and strength training and still high on motivation.

Equipment needed… 

You’ll need one kettlebell and some space to for burpees. Ideally the burpees will include a squat jump each time (aka: full burpees), so take into account overhead clearance. Choose a kettlebell you can swing for 15-20 repetitions comfortably. It will be sub-maximal weight for the swings.

I recommend most males to swing a 24kg or a 28kg kettlebell and females to swing a 20kg or a 24 kg kettlebell.

Of course, you can swing whatever size kettlebell you want, the recommendations are just generalized suggestions.  A heavier or lighter kettlebell may be chosen based on your fitness level and experience with swings under extreme fatigue.

By design, this workout finisher has 100 kettlebell swings and 55 burpees.

Structure:

10 KB Swings + 1 Burpee
10 KB Swings + 2 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 3 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 4 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 5 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 6 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 7 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 8 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 9 Burpees
10 KB Swings + 10 Burpees

The kettlebell swing reps remain fixed at 10, while the burpees increase by 1 rep each round. When you finish the 10th burpee on the last round, you’re done.

When you’re doing this workout finisher, it’s easy to lose track of what round you’re on.  I’ve performed several rounds twice by mistake.

Modification and Variations

Decrease Difficulty

There are a ton of options to reduce the stress of this workout finisher, here some examples:

Decrease kettlebell swings to 5 reps each round
Swing lighter kettlebell (keep reps at 10)
Burpee with no jump (removing the jump makes burpees easier)
Burpee with no push up and no jump (again, much easier)

Don’t forget… take rest if you need it.  Resting is a simple way to decrease the difficulty of this workout finisher.  The goal should be to push through each round without rest, but if you need it and technique depends on it, take it.

Increase Difficulty

Careful here.  Having completed this workout finisher periodically over the years, I know how brutal it can be.

Before trying to make this harder, set a target finish time finish of 6 minutes or less. Anything over 6 minutes and there is no reason to make it harder.  You’ve got progress to make before increasing the difficulty.

If you finish in less than 6 minutes, consider sizing up the weight of the kettlebell or adding an extra round where you’ll complete 11 burpees in the final effort.

I don’t foresee a lot of people needing more intensity, but there are always options to do so.

Variations to the original…

Smaller Cycles w/ rest periods

Keep kettlebell swings at 10 reps but stop at 5 reps of burpees.

Round 1:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 1 Burpee

Round 2:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 2 Burpees

Round 3:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 3 Burpees

Round 4:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 4 Burpees

Round 5:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 5 Burpees

Above is an example of one round.  

Rest for 90sec-120sec after this round before starting the next round.  Complete anywhere from 2-5 rounds total.  This decrease the working time in half and give you a chance to rest before going again.  

Break up the Burpees into separate movements

Instead of performing a full burpee with a push up and squat jump, break it up.  Now you’ll be performing like so:

Round 1:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 1 Push Ups + 1 Squats
Round 2:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 2 Push Ups + 2 Squats
Round 3:  10 Kettlebell Swings + 3 Push Ups + 3 Squats

And so on…

Flip-Flop Swing and Burpee Reps

Switch around the kettlebell swing and burpee reps.  

Round 1:  1 Kettlebell Swing + 10 Burpees
Round 2:  2 Kettlebell Swings + 10 Burpees
Round 3:  3 Kettlebell Swings + 10 Burpees

And so on…

 

The afterburn effect of this workout finisher is HUGE.  If you’re pushing your boundaries, you’ll feel it for hours post-workout.  Personally, I like to position something like this after a strength training session where I know the next day is a rest day.  

Workout finishers are great for adding in a little work capacity and increasing the fat loss potential of a workout.  

Give this a try and let me know how you did. 

 

Cheers, 

Kyle 

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AirBike Workouts| 5-Mile Ride for Time

Airbike Workouts
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Assault Bike: “The Devil’s Tri-Cycle”

The 5-mile ride for time is oxygen depleting, soul-crushing middle distance cardio masterpiece.  

If you’re shooting for PR’s with each attempt, this workout will cut you down every single time. 

#truth

The airbike is a low-impact/high fatigue piece of cardio machinery perfectly designed for high-intensity workouts.  The 5-mile ride is an ideal challenge to measure aerobic threshold capacity. 

If you’re looking for a baseline cardio challenge or just a time-efficient workout, this is it.

I love airbikes…

Airbike training is a bland topic to write about because biking is uneventful.  There’s virtually no skill required to peddle a stationary bike.  

I have friends that rip on my love affair with the airbike.  I’ll argue they one of the best, if not the best piece of cardio equipment available.  

The training effect is potent, the risk of injury is non-existent.

The dual-action arms make riding a total body experience.  

The amount of air resistance is proportionate to intensity.  In other words, the resistance increases with the increase exertion.  Trying to sustain higher intensities on the airbike is a first class way to trash yourself (in a good way).  

The 1-minute ride for most calories is a perfect example.

5-Mile Ride Instructions…

The instructions for the 5-mile ride are simple:  ride 5 miles as quickly as possible.

That’s it.

I wish I had more to add, but simple is best.

Hop on the bike and ride 5-miles as fast as you can.  Record your time so you can monitor progress and identify the time to beat for the next ride.  If you can self-motivate, tracking your numbers will give you massive fuel for future attempts.

Make sure you remember to record your time.  Each time you set a personal best, it will serve as the benchmark for the next attempt.  It’s a great way to measure improvements in fitness. 

Knowing your best time also serves as motivation during the next attempt.

Finding the data…

Over the years, I’ve been unable to find a log of best 5-mile airbike times on the internet.  I’ve seen private gyms and colleges post times, but not the general public.

I’ve come across plenty of recorded times using the large fan Schwinn Airdyne, but fewer using modern airbikes like the Assault Bike.  

The Airdyne has been on the market for 20+ years so naturally there will be more data for the bike. 

I was able to locate several clips of 5 -mile rides on YouTube, but watching someone ride a bike for 12 minutes is boring, not to mention no quality control to verify methods.  

Basically what I’m looking for is visual proof of finishing time.  

Could be a video or a picture of the computer monitor upon completion.

Strategies to crush the 5-Mile Ride…

Briefly, your best 5-mile time will depend on the following:

  •  Increase in fitness levels (strength, power, endurance, etc)
  •  Willingness to be uncomfortable for an extended period of time (grit).
  •  Strategizing pace for 80-85% of the ride, sprinting the remaining distance.

Unlike a lot of popular air bike workouts, the 5-mile ride requires a bit of strategy.

Don’t sprint too early.  If you come out of the gates too hard, you’ll hit the wall and have nothing left to give as you near the end.  I’ve done this plenty of times.  The mental chatter gets louder and louder if you push too hard, so much so that it often convinces you to back off so much that it affects your finishing time drastically.

Don’t save it all for the end.  If you save most of your effort for the end, you’re likely losing valuable seconds in the beginning and middle, which you might not be able to make up at the end.

Pace yourself with RPM’s and heart rate.  When testing myself, I monitor my heart rate (beats per minute) and RPM’s closely to gauge my effort.  I try to limit tunnel vision on mileage and time in the early parts.  The miles never pass by fast enough and the time drags on, both of which can cut your heart out when you just want it all to be over.

Intra-workout, obsessing over distance can be awfully defeating. So, I avoid checking up on distance until the back-end of the workout.  The beginning and middle sections of the ride is a good time to find your groove with pace, focus on breath and find some sort of comfort with the exertional stress.

When the monitor reaches the 3.5-mile mark, it’s time to floor it.  All out effort until the end.

This hasn’t always been the strategy for me.  I used to kick it into gear at the 4.3-4.5 mile mark.  

Use your arms.  The legs can generate more power and exert for a longer duration, but the arms play an important part in shaving seconds off your personal best.  You must get your arms involved in taking on some of the workload.  The dual action arms are attached to the bike for reason, use them to your advantage.  Push and pull, push and pull.

Lift your legs.  Resting your legs on the pedals creates more resistance for the working leg and the arms. Actively pull your knee up to help the pedals turnover with less resistance.

Posture.  Keep the chest tall and the butt situated firmly on the seat.  Standing during the ride is cheating and hunching over restrict your breathing.  Fatigue is notorious for eating away at body posture.  Stay tall to open the lungs and bring in more oxygen when you need it.

What’s a good time?…

Anything below 12 minutes is a great time.

Here are the closing seconds of my most recent attempt:


Finishing closer to 11 minutes is considered elite status.  A sub-11 minute ride can be done, no doubt about it.  However, as you become more fit, it becomes more difficult to shave seconds off the finishing time.

In my last attempt, I finished at 11:26.  My best time is 11:07, verified with picture proof Instagram.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-04-00-pm

I need your help compiling the data…

If you decide to test yourself, come back and leave your time in the comments section (Meauxtion.com), either in the comments section or on the Meauxtion Facebook Page, Meauxtionfit on Instagram, whatever.

*** If you choose to submit your time, please take a snapshot of the computer monitor immediately after finishing.  We need proof.  No cheaters.

The original mission of writing this post was (and still is) to establish an online logbook of best times for the 5-mile ride using the Lifecore Assault Bike, Schwinn Airdyne or Xebex Airbike.

I have not been able to locate a list of best times, similar to what Concept 2 does with popular Skierg and Rowing Erg distances.

Note:  If you’re riding the 5-mile using the Schwinn Airdyne, please make sure it is the large fan version, not the small fan. Large fan bikes provide more air resistance.  One more consideration for Schwinn Airdyne users… it’s been reviewed by many that the newer generation bikes (Assault Airbike) have an increased level of resistance.

I cannot quantify how much harder the Assault bike compared over the Airdyne, but I’ve read some people speculate there is up to 40% more resistance using current generation bikes like the Assault.  

My finishing times do not reflect a 40% increase in resistance.  Not sure where people are getting this from.

I can speak to SOME increase in fan resistance with the Assault Bike, but not like Mike Boyle did on this blog post.  

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 5.52.55 AM.png

Mike’s computer monitor must be calculating distance and time differently because an 8-minute difference between old style Schwinn Airdyne and current generation Assault Bike is huge!  

What I can speak on, are the improvements in design, material choice and therefore the overall durability of the Assault Bike.  As soon as I hopped on my Assault Bike I could feel the difference.  Of course, any airbike is going to require consistent tightening of loose bolts and basic maintenance to the chain, but man the new generation bikes are nice.  

Assuming this article can draw enough visitors who are willing to share times, I will start compiling the data.

 

Cheers to the 5-mile ride for time,

Kyle

The Devil’s Ass Crack is Sitting on Wisconsin and There’s Nothing Wrong with Working Out Indoors

Quick Tips

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Blog post title is inspired by this viral “It’s Hot As Hell” YouTube video

(you can find the link to the video at the end of the post)

All of my Apple devices say that it’s 89 degrees in the EC (Eau Claire, WI), but there is no way in hell it is 89 degrees.  I could cook an egg on the sidewalk and I nearly lost skin to the seat of my Volkswagen Jetta (TDI I might add).  Just for clarification, TDI means diesel:)  It’s got to be closer to 94-95 degrees at least.

In a nutshell, it is stupid hot in Wisconsin at the present moment.   It’s down right suffocating outside.

***  Please grant me this moment to bitch about the weather… I am well aware that it is hotter elsewhere.

I preach about how refreshing it is to get take your workouts outside, but not in this kind of heat and humidity.  You’ll bury yourself in the first ten minutes.  Plus, if you’re a sweater like I am, any movements that require grip become annoyingly unsafe.  When I say sweater, I mean wet.  Not damp or slight lower back sweat stain, I’m talking about ring out my t-shirt wet.  Squeaky sneakers wet.

Swinging a kettlebell with sweat sliding between the palms of your hands and a heavy cast iron cannonball is nerve-racking.  It’s not fun to re-grip at the apex of your swing.  Also, if the bell slips, it’s going to slip on the backswing, where gravity is re-introduced and the hands are taxed to maintain grip.  Smashing the bones in your feet would not be fun.  I’ve been swinging for a while, and I’ll still grind through a few extra swings with wet hands despite knowing better.  It’s not good practice, but I’ll commonly pull the plug on any ballistic kettlebell movements (snatches, cleans, swings, etc) when the sweat is really pouring out of me.

So, the game plan today is an indoor workout.  No question about it.

My sacrifice for training indoors is that my ceilings are not of the ideal height for a select few kettlebell exercises.  If I was working in max effort squat jumps (which I never do) or snatches (which I love to do but can’t), I would have to find alternatives or take my workout outside.  But not today.

Today is going to be totally improvised.

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  • Continuous movement for 15 Minutes
  • No rest between movements, reset back to squat jumps after finishing the Schwinn Airdyne ride.
  • Monitor heart rate for effort.
  • Monitor exercise technique for muscular fatigue/breaking of form.

*  I don’t claim to have invented this, and I don’t typically mix multiple movements together that take a great deal of thinking, but this seemed like a nice combination.  I wanted a total body movement combination, and this seems to serve that purpose.

First, I put this workout together using my same general template that I use for all of my program/workout design.  All movement patterns are represented in the workout, including a cardio effort with the 60 second Schwinn Airdyne ride (in honor of the Tour de France).  Nothing is maximal effort.  That would ruin the point of the workout.  Burning out in the first round does little for you.  By monitoring my heart rate, I can verify that I am in fact working as hard as I think I am.  It’s not a perfect gauge effort, it has it’s flaws, but it works extremely well for me and a lot of other people.

Second (and to my last point), I chose sub-maximal reps and sub-maximal loading on all exercises.  This decision was influenced by the duration of time that I targeted for the session (15 minutes).  Again, the point is to move a pace that allows for:

1)   Quality technique in each rep of every exercise.

2)   The accumulation of an afterburn-like effect that will lend itself to staying lean, maintaining strength, improving work capacity through various exercise variations and while leveraging my body’s reaction to the training stimulus (calories expended post-workout). 

Third, all movements are bodyweight based the entire way through.  I have fallen back in love with bodyweight training.  Bodyweight training goes wherever you go, has simple progressions and leverages the most effective movement patterns in a brutally effective manner.  Bodyweight training is the foundation of all other modes of training, so it’s probably best be capable of executing sound technique using just bodyweight against gravity’s pull.

Also, I enjoy having and building strength as much as the next person, but at the present time, the strength that I have developed and maintained through bodyweight based exercise progressions is more than enough to meet my daily needs.  If I ever want to develop higher levels of strength, I will have to move heavier loads and adjust other training variables.  Simple as that.

Fourth, the entire workout takes 15 minutes.  Now, I won’t con you (yes con you) into thinking that the whole ordeal takes 15 minutes only, because it doesn’t.  I typically spend 10-15 minutes before the actual effort driven portion of the training session hammering home joint mobility, soft tissue restrictions and activation of weaker muscles.  I also whip through a series of staple dynamic flexibility drills that prepare my body for what’s ahead.

You can argue that warming up doesn’t prevent injuries, but in reality, why risk it?  Do you really want to find out through experience?  It’s just not worth it.

Lastly, take a look at the final two bullet points above.  Here is a snapshot so that you don’t have to scroll up (the things I do for my readers):

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What’s going to burn out first?  Lungs or muscles.  It will vary from person to person depending on what your past training regimen was and current fitness status is.  In other words, will your cardio or your ability to successfully and repeatedly execute each rep of each exercise (muscular contraction) give way first?

For me, it’s a combination.  Muscles seem to go first, especially when I am toying around with higher volume training sessions.  Some of you may find that you haven’t open up your lungs aggressively for quite some time, so the feeling of not getting enough air may cause you to tap out first.  In this case, focus on relaxing your neck.  Push your oxygen through your neck and chest down to the lowest part of your stomach.

Breathe deep.

So there you have it, a simple yet effective training session for all the land to enjoy.  Feel free to substitute your favorite or most accessible cardio alternative for the Schwinn Airdyne sprint.  Some days, low impact/high reward conditioning tools are the ticket.  High impact all of the time may mean high risk for some of you who have not yet adapted.  Jumping rope would fit the bill nicely, so would a treadmill sprint set to an incline.  Your choice.

Cheers to training inside when it’s Image outside!

KG

(As promised:  “It’s Hot As Hell”)

3 Time Efficient Methods To Squeezing in a Workout While Building a Career

Quick Tips

One thing that I have learned about writing and consulting on topics related to fitness is this:  Not everyone thinks about training, eating and health as much as I do.

Not everyone cares about how great a kettlebell swing is, how bear crawling can restore function or jumping rope is 10x better for conditioning than a recumbent bike.

I think sometimes as professionals we forget that we care about fitness far more than any other people on the planet.  Hell, we made a career out of it.

One issue with training that comes up time and time again is time, or lack their off.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I completely understand the time issue.  I currently have a full-time career, write, train and am currently building an internet based fitness company/culture to help transition out of my existing career.  Time is short, just as it is for so many other career professionals.  I am in your shoes, which is why I feel so at home writing on this blog.  You and I are in the same boat.

We’ve got to find solutions to working out when time is really tight.

Here are a few ideas that can put you back on track for working out around a career…

1)  Strength-Cardio Circuits

Interval training using strength based movements are amazing for building adequate levels of strength and power while stripping fat.  These workouts leverage our body’s natural ability to continue to burn fat for hours after the training session has ended.  Strength cardio circuits, sometimes referred to as metabolic training, involve short burst efforts and minimal rest periods between movements.  You’ll want the training session to be a total body experience, alternating exercises between upper body and lower body to increase performance by avoiding fatigue. By alternating movements, you’ll be able to hit more muscles in less time without sacrificing exercise technique.

Although the amount of time designated for work and rest during a strength-cardio workout will vary depending on your fitness and skill level, you should be able to find a sweet spot for yourself.

Here is a simple table to reference:

Strength Cardio Interval Training

Choose from these simple movements…

Strength Cardio Movements

2)  Train on the weekends.

Nothing ground breaking here, but I just want you to start thinking about where you can fit in a training session.  The weekend usually provides some relief from the time commitments of the workweek, so look toward Saturday and Sunday for squeezing in a couple solid training sessions.  This will work wonders for your attitude as you enter into Monday and Tuesday.  You’ll have the confidence knowing that you put forth a solid physical effort that you can leverage for 24-48 hours.

I train on the weekends all of the time.  During this time, I feel no need to rush through the workout like I do during the week.  The training session becomes enjoyable.  Often times, I will spend a significant amount of time working on my mobility and addressing any muscles that feel overactive with knots.  It’s a time for training aggressively and regenerating my body.

Weekend Training Solutions

3)  Two Sessions Per Day

This might sound crazy, but incorporating two smaller training sessions into your day might provide some relief to your training efforts.  Rather than spend 60-90 minutes exercising once a day, try splitting the day into two smaller training sessions that last anywhere from 15-20 minutes.  The smaller window of time will keep you focused on moving forward throughout the workout and also motivate you to do more in less time.  Stoking your metabolism twice a day will work wonders.

Check out this recent post about that would help you coordinate a couple short training sessions:

—> Time Based Training

Having a career and committing to a life of physical fitness should be able to coexist with each other.  They have to.  Wealth without health is completely pointless, just as health without any wealth is stressful.  Find the balance that fits your situation, integrate the suggestions above and make an effort to not only maintain your body, but improve it.  Succeeding in career and physical performance will elevate your attitude and take your confidence to new heights.

 

 

 

Cheers to earning the $$$ and engineering a high functioning body in the process…

KG

Red Table Round Table #1

Quick Tips

Good Saturday morning from the little Red Table in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Part of the fun of keeping a blog is being able to write whatever you want, whenever you want to write it.  It’s your own personal space to release thoughts and ideas on this massive beast we call the Internet.  That is a pretty cool thing.

I decided that I really wanted to develop a blog posting series where I could just discuss whatever topics happened to come to mind during that writing session.  

Basically, I am talking about just putting my fingers on the keyboard and having at it.  

Creatively, I think this will help me regurgitate some of the interactions, questions and experiences that I had from the previous week.  

A recap of sorts from the past week.

Here we go…

 

—> Fat loss isn’t an ongoing process, it ends eventually<—

The concept of losing fat has to end at some point.  You cannot forever be in “fat loss” mode with your training and your eating.  You have got to have some kind of end goal to attain.  Whether you choose a certain body fat % or a performance related goal, it doesn’t much matter to me.  Although I suppose that if you are partaking in a full-fledged fat loss program you should probably be measuring the amount of fat you lose.  Skin calipers are a simple and relatively effective way to do this, otherwise hydro-static weighing or a BodPod will give some fairly accurate numbers also.

I was talking with my girlfriend Amanda about the whole concept of fat loss.  I told her that in my experience, sometimes people end up taking the fat loss concept to the extreme.  They literally attempt to walk around with 0% body fat.  They engage in extreme eating habits (calorie restriction and the like) and sign up for extreme workouts.  It becomes just as addictive as eating sugar or smoking cigarettes.  

At some point, you have to realize that you are going to enter a maintenance phase.  You’ve reached  your goals and you’re content with your body figure and your physical abilities and now you’re in what we call:  Maintenance. 

Fat loss ends at some point and maintenance begins.  You decide when that happens.  

Fat loss is a war and it is a lot more mental than physical in my opinion.  Habits need to be broken and new habits need to be hardwired.  Mentally you’ve got to prepare yourself for fighting off your old self-talk.  You’ve also got to get your head in the right place to endure your training schedule.  Physically, the human body is incredibly resilient.  You can handle a lot more physical stress than you think.  (Just keep it manageable physical stress)

 

I often go back and forth between favoring two approaches fat loss, and I think both depend on the personality of the person.  

Here they are:

  • Aggressive training and eating for 4-6 weeks, followed by a tapering process.
  • A consistent, not overly aggressive effective training regimen paired with a smooth transition into concepts of clean eating.

 

The first bullet point is an approach that is my definition of a fat loss war.  It’s pedal to the metal. You go crazy in your training and you stay brutally strict with your diet.  You get results quickly and then you turn back the dial a bit and continue pushing on at an effective yet much more manageable pace with regard to training and nutrition.  

The second bullet point is an approach that is quite popular also.  This is the “lifestyle” approach.  I am sure you’ve heard that a million times… “It’s not a diet… it’s a lifestyle”.  Puke.  

Anyways, this approach is a gradual climb.  There is a lot of acclimation to this approach.  I enjoy this approach to losing fat because fat loss is inevitably going to happen if you are eating clean and training purposefully.  I love the research and the highly technical information that the experts put out, but they complicate topics in an effort to sell products.

Eat clean and drink water, learn how to lift weight using big movements, ramp up your cardiovascular training from aerobic to higher effort intervals, then move into a more cardio-strength style training regimen and you’re going to experience a reduction in overall bodyfat.  

Measure your fat loss progress on the cheap.  Use a snug fitting pair of jeans and a tighter fitting shirt to gauge your progress.  Remember, you’re after fat loss and lean tissue gain… not weight loss. (I lose up to 3-5lbs just from sleeping, it doesn’t tell me anything useful).

 —> Again, I encourage you all to set your sights a goal.  A goal is a target.  Once you have the target, set the timeline.  Once you have the timeline, you can assess what kind of effort is required to achieve that goal in that timeline.  It’s simple.  We over-complicate what should be simple.   

 

Cheers to keeping it simple…

 

KG

 

 

The Birth of Multi-Method Cardio (the aerobic alternative)

Quick Tips

Cardiovascular training is important for genuine health and athletic endeavors.

Cardiovascular training, mainly aerobic, is a topic that hasn’t gotten it’s due respect in the last few years, especially with the rise of work capacity style workouts.  Most of these work capacity style training sessions are resistance based, using training tools like dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.

Multi-method cardiovascular training was born out of necessity for me.  Maybe someone else was utilizing a tactic similar to this before me, and if so, give credit to that person.  I am sure I didn’t invent it.  However, I will certainly take credit for perfecting it:)

The background behind it…

For 3 years I trained in a studio apartment with limited equipment.  At first, I thought it was just going to be a temporary situation, but it soon evolved into a challenge of sorts.

Could I maintain my current fitness levels using nothing but a jump rope, 4 kettlebells, a suspension trainer, an Schwinn Airdyne and some resistance bands?

That was the question.

It wasn’t difficult to set up my program at first.  I had plenty of room for improving using my kettlebells and progressional exercises on the suspension trainer.  However, as the weeks and months passed by, I began to adapt to my training regimen.

Adaptation is inevitable.  I love the concept of adaptation.  You know why?  It means you stuck to the program long enough to reach the point where your body became strong enough, powerful enough, stabile or mobile enough to render your program… easy.  You essentially have become really efficient at the performing the physical tasks in your daily program.

***Just don’t continue performing those same training sessions for too long or you’ll be sorely disappointed by the results.

Sorry I sidetracked for second there…

So multi-method cardio was born out of necessity.  In between my higher intensity work capacity days, I needed a day where I could engage in some form of aerobic-style activity.  Easy right?  I could have just hopped on the Airdyne and pedaled mindlessly for 30-40 minutes.

The problem is that I don’t have the attention span for that.  I get bored, just like many of you probably do.  The Airdyne solution would have worked just fine, but it is boring as shit!

So, I decided to choose lower impact training methods sectioned off in designated time increments to accumulate that 30 minutes of aerobic activity.

I primarily used my jump rope, a 53lb (24kg) kettlebell and the Schwinn Airydyne.  I also had my Polar HeartRate Monitor on at all times.

I would use each training tool for 10 minutes, grab a swig of water, then move on to the next immediately.  Ironically, I never experienced that same level of insane boredom that I did when only using one method.

I love that.  Training effect without insufferable boredom.

I am effectively accomplishing the same thing I set out to do had I only rode the bike for 30-40, but now I am developing skills using other tools.

Staying in the 10 minute range duration-wise also helped me avoid over-use injuries.  I am convinced of this.  I love jumping rope and swinging kettlebells, but you cannot do it every single day.  You’ll eventually develop chronic over-use type symptoms or worse yet, injury.  Your body needs a break at some point.  (If you’re a person who is back in the fitness saddle for the 2013 and experiencing hip pain or back pain from all of the working out you’ve done, it is for a reason my friends!)

One important point of MMC (multi-method cardio) is anyone can do this at home, which is the other part that I thought kicked ass.  I listen to MY music in MY own environment.  I could watch my television while I jumped rope and rode bike without giving any thought to what channel or movie was showing.  Completely personalized.  Fantastic.

Here is exactly what one of my multi-method cardio session…

Sample Multi-Method Cardio:

Jump rope-  10 minutes

Kettlebell Swing-  10 minutes

Bike-  10 minutes

Depending on your training level, you can adjust the session a bit:

  • Beginner:  6 minutes each
  • Intermediate:  8 minutes each
  • Advanced 10 minutes or longer each

My heart rate for a MMC workout usually hovered around 145-155bpm, occasionally rising higher than 155bpm but never lower than 145bpm.  This type of training is intended to be an aerobic segue between more intense training sessions.  It worked great.  Soreness from my higher intensity training sessions dissipated quickly with the increase in blood flow

Simple?  Absolutely.  Why complicate fitness?  That only leads to confusion and lack of action in my experience.

Always remember that you have to be able to justify your training habits.  I can easily justify this type of aerobic conditioning, and I think that many of you can also in 2013 and beyond.

At the end of the day, give it a try.  Self-experiment and find your groove…

Cheers…

KG

(Part II coming soon…)