Make the most of your cardio day with these killer sweat sessions from Master Trainer Luke Barnsley
Forget legs day – for many gym-goers it’s the monotony of cardio that can keep them from crossing the Third Space threshold. The endless thud of the treadmill is the harbinger of your long, boring slog to new stamina. But it’s not the only way.
Cardio training can be short, effective and – dare we say it – fun. Here we reveal the unsung kit and innovative workouts to propel you to all new fitness levels.
WOD 1: Lats of Doom
You will need:
Ski Erg & Rig
A1. 500m on the Ski Erg
A2. 5x Strict Pull Up
Time Cap: 10 Minutes
Your first workout is an all-out assault on the largest muscles of your back. The Latisimus Dorsi, or Lats for short.
The Ski-Erg is an underused piece of kit that brings with it all the lung-searing cardio benefits of treadmill sprints with a side-order of increased athletic potential.
The Lats are involved in nearly all pulling movements. Targeting them on the rig, as well as exhausting them on the Erg is a potent one-two punch of stamina and performance that will carry across to many of your other lifts in the gym.
It’s going to hurt, but only for 10 minutes, so dig deep.
Reach as high as possible on the erg and generate as much force downwards as possible. Bend at the hip and the knees as you drive the arms down and backwards in an arc. As you drive downwards exhale forcefully and inhale each time you reach up for the next rep.
Aim for sub-two minutes for a 500m split.
WOD 2: Best of Frien-emies
You Will Need:
Treadmill, Air Bike, One willing friend
Partner A: 1k Hill Run @ 10% Incline
Partner B: Max kcals on Air Bike
Then partners switch
Yes, we know that this article is made to save you from treadmill boredom, but, despite there being a treadmill involved, this workout is anything but boring. It’s the perfect antidote to proving there’s more to running in the gym than a lacklustre lunch-hour slog.
So, this is how it goes down. Partner A sets out on a 1K hill run – the incline must be 10%. No cheating. The speed you go, however, is up to you. Be brave. Whilst you’re sprinting, partner B is trying to burn the maximum number of calories on the Air Bike. As soon as Partner A finishes, Partner B must stop also.
Partner B records the number of calories that were achieved. This becomes his/her score.
Now both partners switch roles. Partner A will go for max kcals whilst B is running.
The winner will be the person who achieves the highest kcals on the AirBike.
Complete the run fast and you’ll give your partner less time on the bike. Go too fast, however, and you’ll be too exhausted to shift the bike fast enough when it’s your turn. It’s your call.
Deploy this WOD as a finisher to your partner workout for a fast, fitness-boosting fat-burner that will spike your metabolism, while also being far more enjoyable than your standard Tabata on the Watt Bike. Well, kind of.
WOD 3: Boat Master
You Will Need:
10,000m on Rower
Our last WOD is the simplest of them all! A single distance on the rowing machine completed in as fast a time as possible.
This is the easiest upgrade to treadmill monotony. If you enjoy the grind, rather than the short, sharp burners listed previously, this is the ideal way to tax your body and your fitness in a new and rewarding way.
This will be a real test of mental toughness as well as physical fitness. Remember you want a moderate stroke rate, but with lots of power into each stroke. Long and strong! Exhale on the drive back, inhale as you return to the start position.
For technique, keep this in mind: As you first push away from the footboard, contract your quads, hamstrings and glutes to create the explosive power needed.
Then, as you lean, transfer that power to engage your abs, oblique’s and back muscles to maintain a strong core. Only then should your arms, traps and lats contract as you pull back and get the most out of each stroke. Now, get going.
Record your finish time and aim to beat it next time. Good luck!