Tag Archives: Cardio

Bodyweight Cardio and Abdominal Workout

Posted on 27. Feb, 2009 by .

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Last night was a non-gym day for me which meant that I was supposed to perform some type of light activity (I didn’t have to do it but I felt like I needed some adrenaline rush to put a nice end to the day). So, instead of hopping on the treadmill which meant I had to go to the gym and deal with the rain, I turned to one of Craig Ballantyne’s newest invention – bodyweight cardio.

Before I go into more details about last night’s workout, I have a question for you:

Are you a slave to the long, boring cardio?

If you are, you’re probably a part of about 90% of the people that I see on the treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, stairmaster, and many other cardio machines available at the gym day in and day out. While there is nothing wrong with some of these machines, there is really something wrong with how people use them.

I was one of these people at one point. I used to run on the treadmill or climb the stairmaster for 40 minutes, 5 days a week because I thought that I have to reach a certain heart rate and stay there for a certain amount of time in order to effectively burn fat and calories – aaggghhhh… I badly hated those. It turns out that there’s an even more effective and fun way to achieve this. Besides the new form of cardio called High Intensity Interval training (alternating sprints and jogs) which I talked about in another post, there’s another form of cardio that is also a great alternative to long, boring cardio which makes use of your own bodyweight. So, you don’t need any equipment except your body and a little bit of space.

So, what is bodyweight cardio? It is basically a set of bodyweight exercises performed consecutively with minimal or no rest in between exercises. Some of the reasons (in my opinon) makes this type of training so tough and, therefore, effective and a better alternative to long, boring cardio are:

  • Bodyweight exercises – such as push ups, lunges, planks, etc. actually challenge your body because of the resistance/weight that your body provides. So, this workout is sort of a combination of strength and endurance training.
  • Little or no rest between exercises – this makes it an endurance type of training because, like running, your heart rate is always elevated since your’re constantly moving
  • Ab exercises – I actually picked out this workout from the new Turbulence Training for Abs Home Workout manual specifically because I wanted to target my abdominals a bit more on my “off” days. Because I’m performing compound movements along with ab exercises, I get a total body workout without worrying about shin splints or other running related injuries.

So, are you dying to know the details of my workout now?

Here it is:

Warm-up Circuit

Y-Squat – 12 repetitions (reps)
1-Leg RDL – 8 reps per side
Pushup – 10 reps
Prone Stick-up – 8 reps
(Repeated one more time)


Home Advanced Bodyweight Abdominal Workout

Superset #1
1A) Reaching Lunge – 12 reps per side
1B) Spiderman Pushup – 8 reps per side
No rest – repeated one more time

1 minute rest

Superset #2
2A) Close-grip Pushup – 20 reps
2B) Side Plank Leg Raise – 10 reps per side (these are tough!)
No rest – repeated one more time

1 minute rest

Superset #3
3A) Inchworm – 8 reps (even my puppy thinks this looks weird but this gives a good hamstring stretch
3B) X-Body Mountain Climber – 15 reps per side
3C) Stick up – 12 reps
No rest – repeated one more time

I added these, 3 times through:
Eccentric (lowering part only) Neutral Grip Pull ups – 2 reps x 10 seconds
Ab Curl Ups on Stability Ball – 20 reps

I got a really good workout out of this one and the best thing that I like about it is that I was done in 20 minutes! I never would’ve thought I can work my body this hard, have fun with it, and do it in so little time. It really does put a great ending to my day!

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Interval Training vs. Cardio

Posted on 12. Jan, 2009 by .

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One of the very first lessons I have learned during my fat loss journey is that I hated doing cardio. When I say cardio, I’m thinking about spending 40 long minutes (or longer) on the treadmill while going at a steady pace. While there are other forms of cardiovascular or aerobic activity to choose from such as yoga, step class, tae bo, stairmaster, etc., most gyms are equipped with a lot of treadmills because running is one of the most popular cardio exercises available. Running on the treadmill is also one of the most effective ways to burn fat.

By definition, cardio is basically any activity which forces your heart to work harder than it usually does. So, if you’re used to sitting on your desk all day then, even brisk walking can make your heart work harder than it normally does. Yes, you can benefit from brisk walking or just plain, old running but, chances are, your progress will be painfully slow.

The New Form of Cardio

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard that running at your target heart rate at a steady pace is the best way to burn fat – let’s call this traditional cardio (click here for target heart rate definition). While this may be true, it is time consuming. boring, and inefficient. I know because I’ve been there and I say this about traditional cardio because there is a much faster, more efficient way to challenge your heart.

The Treadmill and a Stationary Bike

The Treadmill and a Stationary Bike

One of the latest trends in the fitness industry today which delivers great results, is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Interval what? Ok, if this is a new concept for you, stick with me.

Interval training is a form of cardio (if you can even call it that) wherein a person goes from a period of low intensity to high intensity cardio in a matter of minutes. For example, I did my HIIT at the gym yesterday on the treadmill for 14 minutes with this:

  • Warm-up for 1 minute at 3.5 miles per hour (mph)
  • Warm-up for another 1 minute at 6 mph
  • Run for 1 minute at 8 mph and 1.5% incline
  • Run for a minute and a half (90 seconds) at 4 mph and 1.5% incline
  • I repeat steps 1-4 for 5-6 times then cool down

This is exactly what I did and believe me I was sweating buckets at the end of my HIIT. One of the things that makes HIIT more effective than traditional cardio is the high intensity. Running or performing cardio at a higher intensity challenges your heart and body to exert more effort which results in more calories burned during your cardio session at a shorter period of time. Basically, I would probably burn the same amount of calories if I ran at 6 mph for 40 minutes but HIIT cuts that time by about 70%! What’s more important after my session is that my body kept working harder to restore my system back to its “normal” state even after I was done running. This results to even more calories burned after I leave the gym even though I’m just sitting down watching t.v. or sleeping.

Note: I have to warn you to be conservative when doing HIIT for the first time. Try starting with a comfortable speed for your high intensity and work your way up as you build your endurance.

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