If you're tired of slugging it out on cardio machines with minimal results, it's time to re-evaluate your fat-loss formula. Forget what you think you know about steady-state cardio and fat-loss training programs. Implement alternative exercises that produce powerful results.
The new wave of cardio exercise is upon us. There's no reason to get bogged down on traditional gym equipment. Instead, try out bodyweight routines, plyometrics, and CrossFit-inspired rounds for time. These alternatives cut through calories like a broadsword through butter, challenge your balance, improve your agility, and develop functional strength.
1. Bodyweight Movements
Bodyweight conditioning routines are great because they provide just enough resistance to avoid interfering with your lifting program. You can easily incorporate bodyweight workouts on off days from your lifting regimen.
When blasting through bodyweight exercises, you want to complete a circuit of movements with a high rep count for each exercise before moving to the next exercise. Aim for 20-30 reps of each exercise, and rest for 90-120 seconds after each circuit. Repeat each circuit 3-5 times. Maintain good form throughout the exercises to prevent injury.
2. Rounds For Time
"Rounds for time" protocols are popular among the CrossFit crowd. They increase your work capacity and boost your muscular endurance. Timing each workout also makes it easy to monitor your progress and ensure improvement.
Select 2-3 exercises that you can perform back-to-back, and complete the designated reps for each exercise. That counts as one round. Repeat the process for your total allotted number of rounds, with as little rest as possible, and check your time. Your mission is to hit the entire workout as fast as possible and to beat your personal best.
Plyometrics training increases force generation and fast-twitch muscle fiber activation, just like a session of all-out sprints. Due to a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), plyos also produce a strong calorie burn for hours after a workout. They're also great for athletes because of their exceptional carryover to most repeated-sprint sports.
Perform 10-20 reps of one exercise, take a short rest, and move directly into the next exercise. When you complete the entire series, take 1-2 minutes off before the second and third time through. Make sure to warm up properly to lower the risk of muscle pulls and sprains.