I am going to be totally honest here and admit that I HATE cardio. There is nothing pleasant about over exertion of energy, in a certain amount of time. That feeling as if you’re about to die from exhaustion, the burning sensation in your throat from the need for water, aren’t welcoming ones. But, despite that, cardio is actually a very good workout and most people will admit that despite the negatives associated with it, the pros definitely out weigh the cons. Yet, some of us would love to reduce the amount of traditional cardiovascular workouts we do, and follow some type of routine that can incorporate our beloved weights and a cardiovascular workout. Fortunately for you, there is a way to do just that.
Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are looking to lose body fat or to increase your physical endurance, that you can eliminate conventional cardiovascular workouts from your fitness regimen (e.g. running, biking, swimming), but instead you can incorporate a cardiovascular workout into your weight lifting program, so you can possibly reduce the amount of times you do those conventional cardio workouts per week.
To make your weight training sessions a high intensive training session, all you have to do is work it into a form of circuit training. Circuit training is basically a workout routine that incorporates doing various exercises, in a certain amount of time. For example, doing barbell bench press (flat, decline or incline) for about 30 seconds and then moving onto barbell bicep curls for another 30 seconds and then to another exercise and do it for 30 seconds and then rest for about 1 minute or however long is needed and repeat that whole CIRCUIT for the same allotted times, until you’ve completed the desired amount of sets you’ve prescribed to that particular circuit training workout.
I am sure after reading that, you are now having an understanding on how cardio is involved in a program like that. If you are moving from one station (the area where the exercise is being performed), to another without resting and then only resting after all of the exercises are done, it can get pretty exhausting. In fact, it becomes pretty difficult as you complete a set and wait to start another. Keeping the time in between the exercises and the time in between the sets the same, without increasing it throughout the workout, you will definitely have that heart rate up and stay at that level, until the workout is done.
A good way to do this type of workout, is to incorporate one of your days in the gym to specifically circuit training. Maybe do it with one of your regular weight lifting days (to change it up a bit, every now and then) or design a workout that incorporates circuit training into it. I have seen some professional bodybuilders incorporate this into their routine every now and then to help with body conditioning and increasing their endurance.
Another pro that comes with performing circuit training, is the reduction of time you spend in the gym. Maybe if you are crunch for time, but want to get all your exercises done in that small time that’s given to you, you can change that day’s workout routine into a high intensive weight training session. Do what you would have done maybe in an hour, in 30 minutes, or however long your regular workout time sessions are and significantly reduce it to get that cardio aspect out of it.
So just to wrap it up and bring it all home, here’s an example of a circuit training workout routine, I would do personally, if I wanted to increase the intensity of my weight training.
– Barbell flat bench press: 10 reps
– Barbell biceps curls: 10 reps
– Behind the head barbell triceps extensions: 10 reps
– Overhead press: 10 reps
– Barbell bent over rows: 10 reps
– Back Squats: 10 reps
Rest for 1 minute, repeat for 5 sets.
As the sets start diminishing, it will become harder to complete the exercises and will require some rest in between the exercises but you shouldn’t rest for more than 1 minute or you’re defeating the purpose of the workout. Just pace yourself, and keep going. There’s no reason to rush through it as all of these programs are meant to increase endurance not kill you 😛
Just remember to push yourself, if you start feeling light headed or dizzy, stop the workout and call it a day. Just make sure to pass that point where you stopped, the next time you do the program.
By the way, you do not have to do a full body workout, like the example I provided. It’s just an example, of how the circuit training is suppose to look. It could have easily been a back/bicep workout day and the exercises switched between different back/bicep exercises in your routine.
Remember, warm up properly, keep hydrated and pace yourself. You will thank me later, once you’ve tried it though 🙂Read More »