Actually this is cardio for anyone that hates cardio...like me!
Plus my BMI (Body Mass Index) says I am super fat and I am 43 1/2 so I am getting old which must mean I am fat and old too...anyway...
Cardiovascular training or Aerobic Exercise is boring. It does however have it's benefits and if all you do is lift heavy weights, take long rest intervals and eat to get massive then your heart and lungs are gonna suffer. Of course, being massive can be cool but being dead is not so cool. Ladies for you this is simply a way to eat ice cream or cakes and still have a bikini body.
The physiology and science behind raising your heart rate to 60-80% of your maximum heart rate for 20-40 minutes can be found anywhere with a quick google search. I'm not here to lecture you. Instead I want to give you some less boring ways to stimulate that important muscle (the heart) and stop from getting a fat butt and bingo wings (ladies) or a fat gut and double chins (gents).
This works well for gyms equipped with heavy objects like barrels, sacks, tyres, anvils etc. However, it can be improvised in a normal gym using dumbbells, 20kg/45lb plates held two at a time, loading e-z curl bar and people!
- Get 3-5 heavy object. For example, a 150lb Barrel, a 150lb sack, a 50kg weight plate and two 100lb dumbbells. Ladies, half those numbers.
- Now pick a distance to be covered. Could be a trip across the gym, across your garden or a set distance of 50-100ft.
- Pick up the barrel and carry it to the mark you laid out.
- Walk back and grab the sack and take it to the mark.
- Continue until all the items are carried over.
- No carry them back!
- Keep doing this for 20-40 minutes.
- You can mix it up in many ways. Maybe you carry one dumbbell at a time. Maybe both together. Maybe you take the weight plate first. Maybe you shoulder the sack. It doesn't matter. Just keep moving and loading for the set time period.
Your options are limited only by your imagination.
Concept 2 Rower
Rowing uses lots of muscle and has the body moving through space. Make sure you get someone to correct your form if you decide to use a Concept 2 rower.
- Pull smooth and long
- Recover fast by punching the hands forward
- The chain should spin the wheel smoothly with no jerking and you should 'catch' the pull
- It's generally better to be long and strong than short and fast with your pulls.
I like 4 types of rows. Actually I don't like them but they seem to work nicely and are fairly standard.
- 2000m timed. One maximum timed 2000m row. Aim for 8 minutes or less.
- 3x1000m timed. 3 timed 1000m rows with a 2-3 minute recovery in between.
- 5x500m timed. 5 timed 500m rows with a 1 minute recovery between sets. Aim for 2 to 2.15 minute rows.
- 5000m timed. Not often I do this one. 20-21 minutes is your aim.
Now you can make these up yourself or try some of the workouts on the concept 2 website. I like to take the 500m rows to 10 sets when I am at my fittest and get each row under 1min 50 seconds.
I tend to rotate these when I am rowing. So I might do 5-10 x 500m rows one session, then 3 x 1000m rows then a test row of either 2000m or 5000m.
Rowing is used by some of the World's Strongest Men and they are awfully good at it too. Why? Because despite their size they are massively strong in the pulling muscles (400kg/880lb Deadlifts) and have decent cardio from repeated bouts of strongman events training. Here's Britain's Strongest Man, Laurence Shahlaei rowing 500m in a fast 1min 19seconds!
The Cross Trainer
I know it looks like the most unmanly thing in the world piece of apparatus BUT it is really a decent bit of kit.
Apart from some nice variations of programs and levels, the cross trainer is about as low impact as you can get and since we are talking FAT and OLD that's a good thing.
This one I do 'old school' - 20-45 mins of old fashioned steady state aerobic work.
- Input your weight and time period and choose HILLS.
- By choosing HILLS you give yourself little bursts of harder work to lessen the dull nature of the exercise.
- Increase the LEVEL you work out each workout. Level 10 then 11 then 12 and so on.
- Only use the handles for the HILLS. I tend to 'sprint' up the hills and then back off on the flat.
- Build up and then drop back. I like to start with a low level at the start of the week and build up to a harder level at the end of the week.
- If you want to up the intensity without upping the levels too much (after level 17 on most machines it can become like treading in and out of mud) simply add a weighted vest.
Rhianna likes the Cross Trainer apparently.
A good boxing class should have you doing variations of the following:
- Basic warm up of bodyweight exercises (pushups, situps) or possibly a 1-2 mile run
- Shadow boxing concentrating on technique
- Light punchbag work
- Heavy punchbag work
- Possibly pad work
- Possibly Light sparring
Another option is to train with a friend or even on your own.
Boxing is fantastic all round training. Make sure you are taught how to do the basics before punching anything (jab, cross, hooks, uppercuts, bob, weave, slip etc). You will sweat and move and that is all you need to know.
Boxing is one of my favourite forms of cardio/aerobic exercise.
Other forms of cardio
Prowler - I find the Prowler is a hard conditioning tool rather than a softer aerobic tool. If you're already fit then it's great and I love it but it's not easy and therefore not something you want to do if just starting out. That said I have some wicked variations for this tool.
Sprinting - Once again this is hard conditioning and the potential for injury is high also. You need good technique, a solid structured warm up and to understand the programming for even a basic sprint programme. I do sprint but not often and I build back into it CAREFULLY.
Jogging - useless. If you want to pound away on your joints then that's up to you. I have no problem with anyone wanting to increase their 1 mile time using 2-400m intervals running on a track or including some running into a circuit but jogging is a waste of time and effort.
Walking - up hills and at a brisk pace has it's benefits but realistically unless your power walking it's about as good as jogging.
Circuits - done correctly circuits are some of the best ways to lose bodyfat and do cardio. I have written hundreds of them and they will be included in the book eventually. Oh, this by the way is what all the kids today call Crossfit. It's just circuits for heavens sake!
Weight training - cardio based weight training...that little beauty is coming soon. I need to think up a fancy name first. Hah!
Placing any of these into a program is pretty simple.
If you're weight training 3-4 times a week simply choosing two of these is enough. With what I've given you above you have a ton of variation and can do different cardio each week. One week do a slow load and a cross trainer session. The next week do two rowing workouts. Maybe you want to try the boxing and add in the slow load at the weekend. Options galore.
You only need to do 2 sessions a week to see some results. Build up the intensity slowly.
Hopefully I've stirred up enough interest for you to try a little cardio so you can stop being so fat and old!
Chuck and Bruce. No words required.