Every endeavor you want to be a part of has two aspects. There are the fun parts that get you hyped up and extra motivated to do. There are also those parts that may not get you as excited but you know are a necessary evil to do whatever it is you want to do in the best way possible.
Bodybuilding and fitness is no different. Everyone gets pumped up to lift weights (except maybe on leg day) because the challenge and thrill of moving something heavy.
Conversely, cardio is that necessary evil. It helps you burn fat, get leaner, improve heart and respiratory health, so you have to do it. But the thought of moving on a machine and going nowhere like a hamster on a wheel is something that makes a lot of people cringe.
Fortunately, there are alternative solutions. Not only are these options great for cardio purposes but you may even notice that you can get stronger and improve muscular endurance.
These workouts have two movements included as a pair so they can be considered cardio supersets. They all provide different benefits but overall serve a similar purpose – breathe new life into your aerobic training.
Each pairing has the potential for minimum transitions from one movement to the next so you have little time to rest besides the predetermined periods.
You’ll also notice that there is no steady-state going on here. Every workout is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This way is very popular because it’s challenging, can be fun, and still yields results without committing a lot of time to it.
Try a minimum of five rounds of each workout. Once you become comfortable with five, go up to six, then seven, until you’re at 10 rounds.
If you can complete ten rounds of each workout and not feel challenged, pat yourself on the back. Then go grab a weighted vest and try to do them with that extra weight. You can always find ways to make workouts like these more challenging.
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1. Heavy Bag Boxing & Jumping Rope
What You Need: Boxing or MMA gloves, heavy bag, jump rope.
|A1. Heavy Bag Boxing||5-10||60 Secs|
|A2. Jump Rope||5-10||60 Secs|
This is likely the most “old-school” routine on the list. You may have had images of Rocky going through your head when you saw it. Younger fans may think more MMA but the same premise applies.
When you are on the heavy bag, swing for the fences. Don’t just jab nonchalantly. Try to punch through the bag with hooks, power punches, and combinations. Take a breath when you need to but don’t stop until the 60 seconds has passed.
Once the “round” is over, lose the gloves and grab the rope. Just focus on skipping. Don’t try to count and don’t worry if you mess up. Get back into position and try again. Keep skipping and jumping until the minute is up.
When you’re done, you have 30 seconds to sip on your water or BCAA’s and put the gloves back on. Hopefully you have either MMA gloves or boxing gloves that are easy to slip on.
Rest 30 seconds after each round.
2. Hammer Swings on Tire & Battle Rope
What You Need: Sledgehammer, Large Tire, Battle Rope either on an anchor or where you can secure it to work with.
|A1. Hammer Swings||5-10||30 Secs|
|A2. Battle Rope||5-10||60 Secs|
This is a great one to use in conjunction with your shoulder training or if you want something upper-body specific to do after a hard leg day session.
Alternate sides when you swing the hammer at the tire. Like the punches in the last workout, go as hard as you can with each swing. Just make sure you hit the tire and don’t swing recklessly.
As for the battle rope, you can do any type of motion you want. Alternate, flip both ends at the same time, go for speed, or do slams. Whatever it is you feel works best, do that.
Rest for 30 seconds between rounds.
3. Speed Sled Pulls & Farmer’s Walk
What You Need: Speed sled, weight plates, farmer’s walk handles or dumbbells, open space.
|A1. Speed Sled Pull||5-10||50-75 Ft|
|A2. Farmer's Walk||5-10||50-75 Ft|
This one is great for athletes like football players or for strongman-style training. If you want a lower-body focused session, this one is right up your alley.
There should be the sled with weights on one end of your course and the farmer’s walk setup on the other. The speed sled will challenge your entire posterior chain. You can either wear a harness or belt and pull that way or use the handles and pull it. If you want to work the quads a little more, walk backwards.
As soon as you cross your finish line, you should have the farmer’s walk setup ready and waiting. You’ll grab the weight and walk back the other way. This will challenge the legs, core, arms, and shoulders.
If speed is your focus, then keep the weights light and focus on improving your time. If power is the name of your game, then add weight to the sled, use heavier weights on the walk, and try to achieve the same time you did with the lighter resistance.
Rest for 60 seconds between rounds.
4. Jogs & Sprints
What You Need: A Track that is at least ¼ mile
|A1. Jog||5-10||3/4th Track|
|A2. Sprint||5-10||1/4th Track|
This one is the most basic. You don’t necessarily have to have a track. You can also do this in your neighborhood and time when you do your sprints.
If you can’t jog the distance, feel free to speed walk it. Just don’t stop moving until you get to your place that you will start the sprints.
Once you reach that place, stop and take a couple deep breaths. Get into a sprint starting position and count down from 3. So three, two, one, go! Run as fast and hard as you can from the start to the finish. On a track that is the end of the straight stretch. On your own course, find that spot that is at least 100 yards away.
Just make sure that you have enough space at the end that you can slow down back to your jog or walk. Don’t try to come to a solid and sudden stop. This can lead to a potential injury. Once you’re back to your slower pace, keep going and repeat for the desired number of laps. You should go for at least one mile.
5. Burpees & Assault Bike
What You Need: Space and Assault Bike
|A1. Burpees||5-10||15 reps|
|A2. Assault Bike||5-10||30 Secs|
This is the only workout that calls for an exercise machine but you won’t be on it long and the workout will still be effective. If you don’t have access to an assault bike, a traditional stationary bike will work. Just make sure the resistance is moderate to high.
Perform your burpees as you would normally. Once you complete 15 reps, hop on the bike. For the next 30 seconds, push yourself to pedal as hard as you can. Once that 30 seconds passes, hop off the bike and take deep breaths. The more oxygen you can take in, the better. Sip on your drink and get ready to go again.
Rest for 60 seconds between rounds.
Do you have any awesome pairings of your own that you don’t see here? Let us know in the comments section below so others in the M&S community has options to try out.