High Intensity Cardio

by on January 14, 2011

January 2011: High Intensity Cardio

Many people have asked how I feel about cardio, and what they should do. Do you go intense for short periods? Do you go low intensity long duration? Do you not do it at all? Well as always, nothing is that simple. It depends on your goals, your genetics, and other factors.

For me personally, the only cardio I do is pre-contest (10-12 weeks out) and all I do is walk around my neighborhood at a fast pace for 35-45 minutes. I shudder at the thought of getting on a treadmill. I have some folks who love cardio, the December client of the month Todd Buchanon for example. He just loves to do the recumbent bike. Leslie Pax, the client of the month before that, has a very basic routine that is sometimes short duration high intensity, and sometimes the opposite, always done on a stepmill or elliptical. I have some elite military folks I work with that do all kinds of permutations of different exercises and routines, as cardiorespiratory fitness is a very big deal to them.

So for this month, I thought I would share a few of the harder cardio workouts I have people do. I don’t have everyone do this stuff; the truth is, very few. But for those of you who love cardio, or who just want to have some fun with it, go for it!

Routine #1 – Monday

  • Sledgehammer swings – Swing from each side for 30 seconds, so 60 seconds total.
  • Then I want V-Ups to failure for your abs.
  • When done, rest for 60 seconds.
  • I want 5 rounds.

If you don’t have a sledgehammer and something to hit, try to simulate the best you can on a cable machine. I like to wail on a good old tire, but realize all gyms don’t just have a big tire lying in the middle of it.

Routine #2 – Tuesday

  • Standard jump ropes. Do 1 minute of normal jumps
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Then do 1 minute of the forward and back rope jumps. The way you do the forward and backs is to simply hop forward on a jump a few inches, then hop backward on the next one a few inches. It’s not easy, but you’ll get the hang of it.
  • Next immediately sit down and hit 20 of Russian twists. This is where you sit with your feet off the ground and twist from side to side. You can hold a medicine ball in your hands and touch it to the ground on each twist if you can handle that. Try to touch each side of you 20 times.
  • After this rest 1 minute before starting your next cycle.
  • I want 4 cycles total.

Routine #3 – Thursday

  • 2 minutes of boxing – Punch the air while holding light dumbbells. Remember to use weight, as it will damage the tendons in your arm to punch air with no extra weight, unless you are striking something – which actually is what I prefer and is safest– if you have a heavy bag of some kind.
  • Following 2 minutes of boxing, do V ups to failure.
  • After you are done with the V ups, rest 2 minutes before starting next round. Push yourself and get as many reps as you can.
  • I want 5 rounds of this.

Routine #4 – Friday

  • Planks on a Swiss ball – Planks are you where you get into pushup position, and then drop down on your elbows and just hold. You might see some people piling weight onto their back for extra resistance while doing these. Your abs contract to keep you in the air. Doing them on a Swiss ball is a bit tricky. It’s harder to stabilize. If you have a partner, I want him to kick the Swiss ball every 10 seconds (not hard) to destabilize it. Hit 1 minute here.
  • After this I want medicine ball smashes, this is where you stand up and hold the ball overhead, and then slam it down while bending over. Hit 1 minute here too. Have a partner catch the ball as it bounces and hand right back to you so you can keep a fast pace going. Contract your abs when you slam! Let out all your anger (that’s what I do anyway).
  • Take a break to catch your breath. 2 minutes.
  • I want 5 rounds.

John Meadows