Let me start off by being very frank. I am not a lover of what I call Hamster wheel cardio. Hamster wheel cardio is when a person gets on a piece of equipment such as a treadmill or elliptical bike and slaves away for hour after hour in the attempt to burn a lot of calories. I would even make the bold statement that I hate cardio in general but the more I think about it, the more I realize that statement is not true! The problem is when the word “cardio” is mentioned; the first thing that comes to mind is either the use of the treadmill, some type of elliptical equipment, or exercise bike. Let’s really examine the term cardio. Cardio by an actual terminology means that’s you’re involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a sustained level. The key words being “an activity that raises your heart rate to a sustained level” people too often take this as lets jump on a treadmill and you’re doing cardio. The main problem with this is……IT’S BORING and REPETITIVE!!!!!!!!
So if you don’t want to be bored slaving away on a treadmill for hours let’s look at 5 alternate cardiovascular methods.
The Cardio Squat Interval
Here is a real heart rate raiser and cardio killer. Anyone who has ever squatted consistently for a good amount of reps knows how taxing squatting can be. Squatting not only taxes the muscles but also really sucks the wind out of you too. A good set of 20 or more squat reps will feel like you just did some serious cardio work. Here is a squat program that will really have your lungs screaming.
How to Do It:
Start with a weight you can manage for about 20 or so reps. You want to put the weight on the bar by using smaller plates because you are going to be taking weight on and off the bar several times. Once you have your weight set, squat your weight for 1minute straight. Soon as the one minute is up take off half the weight and squat that weight for 2 minutes. Once the 2 minutes are up, that is considered an interval. After you complete one interval take 30 seconds to a 1 minute break and repeat. Immediately load the bar up again and repeat. Do this continually for 5 to 7 intervals.
The Rope A Dope
Here is another killer cardio workout. If you have ever used battling ropes, then you know how much they can exhaust your cardio capacity. The one catch is you are going to need access to a set of battling ropes. If you have the ropes then you are going to really burn from this one.
How To Do It:
Start off by doing the battling ropes for 1 minute soon as that minute is up, do 25 burpees. When you finish the burpees, that is considered one completed set. Do five sets with 1 minutes rest in between sets.
Jack and Jills
Jack and Jill went up a hill and so will you. One of the best ways for a quick cardio burn is to sprint up and down hills. Moving in a vertical plane is much harder than moving in a horizontal plane causing for a more intense workload to be done in shorter period of time.
How To Do It:
Start off by finding yourself a nice hill. One that is not to small but definitely not too steep. After a couple warm up runs up the hill, do an all-out sprint up your hill. Once you reach the top do 10 push- ups and then jog back down the hill. Do between 5-10 reps.
Good Old Stairs
Yeah this one is simple and to the point. This is probably the most basic of cardio concepts but probably one of the toughest. This gets back to the whole moving in a vertical plane concept again. Walking up and down enough stairs will have you sweating like crazy.
How To Do It:
Find yourself a flight of stairs and go to work. Thirteen flights of stairs (up and down) will burn a little over 100 calories so you can determine how many calories you want to burn based on that.
This one depends if you have access to a prowler sled. If you do, then let the fun begin. The sled is so useful because it can work the body very hard in a variety of ways. You can use it for muscle building type of training, cardiovascular type training and various forms of cross training. You can get all of these benefits from the sled with the added bonus of it being very easy on the body and joints. Sled sprints are great for fat loss and cardiovascular conditioning.
How To Do It:
The first thing you want to do is set your sled up so you are pushing from the lowest part. From there, you have the option to add weight or not to add weight to the sled. If you do add weight, remember you don’t want to add to much weight because you still want to be able to move very fast while pushing the sled. For some people just using the sled will be resistance enough. You want to have enough distance that you can push the sled for 25-45 yards. After you complete your sled sprint walk it back and then repeat. Do 7-10 sprints.
Putting Your Heart Into Things
Almost any commercial gym you go to you will see people grinding away for hours on a treadmill or elliptical machine. The problem is the amount of time and boredom it takes to burn a significant amount of calories. Cardio does not have to be limited to solely the treadmill and cardio machines. There are many fun and different cardiovascular options out there that can give a killer workout.