Ask The Ripped Dude: How Can I Mix Up My Cardio Routine?

Too much time spent on the treadmill can make a quick cardio session seem endless. Fire up your routine run with this deadly combination of suicide sprints and push-ups!
Q

What's another cardio-based exercise I can do to shake up my system and shed the calories?

Straight-up cardio lovers are few and far between—even I raise my hand in displeasure at times. Let's face it, not all of us have the time (or desire) to grind on a treadmill for an hour. Worse, doing the same, methodical exercise day in, day out can cause your weight loss to plateau. After six weeks of the same routine, your body will stop adapting.

I'm going to share a cardio technique that will get your head back in the game and your body burning fat again. It's called suicide push-ups, and done the right way, it can burn up to 400 calories in 20-30 minutes—without fancy equipment.

Suicide Push-Ups

This all-in-one workout combines the cutting power of "suicide" sprints with the pain of push-ups. Suicide push-ups target your entire body. When you accelerate in your sprint, you work your quads. When you decelerate, you work your hamstrings. Every time you lift your leg off the ground, you work your core. When you reach down to touch the yard line, you work your glutes, and when you complete that set of push-ups, you exhaust your triceps and chest.

This full-body aerobic and anaerobic workout will torch fat and push your body to its limits—increasing your stamina, and strengthening your heart while increasing your metabolism and lean mass. To limit your risk of pulling a hamstring, keep your sprints to 50 to 75 percent of your max speed. Remember, you don't have to go all-out for a great workout.

When you're done with this workout, you'll have completed 150 to 185 push-ups and performed an incredible full-body, fat-busting cardio workout. Take these moves to a football field—or, in bad weather, a basketball court— for an incredible training session that's sure to score big. No access? No problem. Head to a local park or any flat, grassy area and mimic field markers by placing cones 10 yards apart, starting at the 50-yard line.

Pre-Cardio Stretch

Make sure that you warm up and stretch properly for 15 minutes before doing this workout to prevent common hamstring and groin injuries. Run two laps around the field to warm your muscles up, then do a standing hamstring stretch, butterfly stretch, and Achilles stretch to target your lower body.

Surviving The Suicides

To perform suicide push-ups, start at the end zone and sprint out to the 10-yard line.

  • Touch the 10-yard line and sprint back to the starting line.
  • Turn and sprint to the 30-yard line. Touch the 30-yard line and sprint back to the starting line.
  • Turn and sprint to the 40-yard line. Touch the 40-yard line and sprint back to the starting line.
  • Turn and sprint to the 50-yard line. Touch the 50-yard line and sprint back to the starting line.

Perfecting The Push-Ups

After you're done with the suicides, challenge your endurance by immediately completing 15 push-ups at the end zone. That makes one set. If regular push-ups pose a challenge, strengthen and firm your triceps with modified, bent-knee pushups. Give yourself about 1-2 minutes rest between each suicide push-up set, and remember: Once you get to the half-way mark, fatigue will kick in. If you're extremely winded, decrease your speed. This workout can be completed in about 25 to 30 minutes.

Suicide Push-Up Program

Do 10 to 12 suicide push-ups three times per week—on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for example—to give your body plenty of time to recuperate between workouts. On a football field, go from the end zone to the 50 yard line. No football field? On an indoor basketball court, take off from the baseline and make each line— free throw, 3-point, and midcourt—a suicide line. Finish off each suicide with a set of push-ups.

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