The Journey into 2017 Fitness Goals Has Just Begun.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about it. There you are, stepping to the rhythm of your music on the treadmill. Maybe you’re watching your favorite show or checking out the news on a nearby TV.
There might be something holding you back from pushing you out of your comfort zone. For instance, many gym-goers (especially guys) believe that hardcore cardio workouts take away from their overall strength. In reality, all athletes need cardiovascular stamina just as much as they need their strength. That’s because a developed cardiovascular system is required to transport oxygen to all of those bulging muscles. So in this regard, a powerful body is nothing without the fuel to efficiently feed it.
We’d like to take this opportunity to share some pretty hardcore cardio workouts with you, ones that will challenge every fiber of your body. If you’re stuck in the same old cardio routine, maybe it’s time to kick your system up into high gear and take things to the next level. Here are some cardio routines that can take you there.
This cardio exercise is not only super challenging, but also loads of fun. Bring out the inner fireman in you by picking up something sturdy and hoisting it over one of your shoulders.
Ideally, if you want to simulate the fireman’s carry to a T, throw some weighty items into your gym or duffel bag to simulate the approximate weight and form of a human being. Actually, any bag or sack will do, even a boxing heavy bag if you can handle that—just as long as you are able to rest it upon one of your shoulders. Kettlebells also work perfectly fine for this exercise.
Walk with the weight for a couple of minutes to get comfortable with it. Then, in an open space such as a track or yard, jog for 75 feet while carrying your load. When you reach your destination, rest for 60 seconds and then turn and jog back to your starting point.
Perform 8 of these, and as you gradually begin to feel your cardiovascular system getting stronger, increase that number until you get all the way up to 16.
Expect to burn 65 to 200 calories with the fireman’s carry.
Ready to step it up even higher, literally? Running up inclines, such as stairs, hills, and ramps, contracts your leg muscles as they struggle against gravity to carry your bodyweight. Many bodybuilders utilize incline running workouts in order to push their strength and endurance beyond normal limits, and so can you!
First, you’ll want to locate a lengthy inclined surface. It could be a nearby hill in your neighborhood or park, or perhaps an inclined walkway or ramp near your workplace. Just make sure that it doesn’t have too much foot traffic. Stadiums and bleachers also make good substitutes for these locations. The grade shouldn’t be any more than around 5 or 6%, and you should be able to run up to the top of it in 30 to 35 seconds.
Do a quick 5 to 6 minute warmup, and then sprint up the incline 3 to 4 times. Rest for about a minute, and then jog back down the grade. Do this steadily until 5 to 6 minutes have passed. Always remember to keep an erect posture and keep your pace steady. As your stamina increases over time, gradually work up to 10 to 12 minutes.
Incline running burns between 120 to 350 calories.
You’ve probably seen these in many strongman competitions. If you haven’t, now you’ll see why farm boys are so sturdily built. Farmer’s walks really blast your shoulders, arms, and trapezius muscles, while also giving your aerobic system all that it can handle.
The concept is simple. You grab a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, and proceed to walk in a straight line while carrying them.
Locate a pleasant walking area, such as a park or running track. As a warning, farmer’s walks can really tax your forearms, so you may want to wear some exercise gloves before you perform these. Also, if you have any back problems, you should find another cardio exercise to perform.
If gym weights aren’t available, you can substitute them with gallon milk containers or pails filled with water.
Begin these exercises by grasping a pair of weights (about one-quarter of your bodyweight) and standing tall with your shoulder back and chest pushed out.
Slowly and steadily walk while carrying the weights in a straight line for 1 to 2 minutes. During this time, you should feel your back rounding out, tension in your shoulders and arms, and your breathing becoming labored. Be sure to breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth throughout the entirety of the exercise. After each 1 to 2 minute rep, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat three more time for a total of four. As your cardiovascular system gradually develops, increase each rep from 1 to 2 minutes to 3 to 4 minutes.
Farmer’s walks burn from 120 to 320 calories.
Stamina Fuels Strength
As you work through these intense cardio routines and begin to notice gains in your aerobic stamina, you’ll probably feel like pushing yourself further and further. That’s okay, but just make sure that you make gradual progress, don’t push yourself too hard or you could end up flaring out like a drag racer.
You’ll also want to keep developing your strength. Many experts cite a Smith machine as being the perfect accompaniment to calorie-blazing cardio workouts such as the one’s we’ve provided, since you can perform so many strength exercises with them.