Four Great Cardio Workouts
When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, many people simply turn on their workout machine or walk out the front door. There is no real structure or specific purpose to the workout other than getting in the exercise. While this type of workout is perfectly fine for basic cardiovascular health, adding in a little specificity can increase our results, while making these workouts a little more enjoyable; both of which will increase the chances that we stick with it for many years to come.
I’d like to share with you four basic cardio workouts that I use for myself and my clients. They can be performed indoors with cardiovascular equipment - such as elliptical trainers and treadmills - or they can be done outdoors while walking, running, biking, etc. Use these four workouts to add variety to your cardiovascular exercise while exponentially improving your fitness and your results.
This is the most common type of cardio workout. There is not much variation to the speed, and it is done at a low intensity. It’s great for building endurance and for longer duration workouts. These are great to do on days when you just feel like putting on your iPod and going long.
2. HILL REPEATS
This is one of my personal favorites. Performing hill repeats adds powerful short bursts of intensity to our cardiovascular routine. A hill workout raises our heart rate and increases our caloric expenditure. It also challenge the muscles in our lower body to a greater extent, helping to build sport specific and functional strength. An example of a hill workout would be: 5 to 15 minutes of an easy warm-up, followed by4 to 10 repeats of a 60 second steep hill, pushing the intensity up the hill and waking back down (or if on the treadmill, walking at a 0.0 incline for a minute to recover). Finally, cool down for 5 to 15 minutes at an easy intensity.
Tempo is another great cardio workout. Simply put, it involves performing the middle part of your workout at a comfortably hard intensity. So, if you're doing a 30 minute treadmill run, you would start with a 10 minute easy warm up, then perform a 10 minute Tempo, running at a speed that is challenging but not too difficult, finishing with 10 minutes back at a comfortable pace to recover. You can do this workout on almost any piece of cardio equipment and outside as well.
There is a great deal of current research about the benefits of high-intensity interval training. Interval training involves short intense bursts of cardio followed by a significant recovery period. This is a great work out to do when you are pressed for time. A sample interval workout would be 5 to 15 minutes of an easy warm-up followed by 10 intervals of 30 seconds at a high-intensity, specifically 8 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely difficult. Each interval should be followed by recovery of 1 to 2 minutes. Finish with a 5 to 15 minute cool down.
Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If your cardio routine has hit a plateau, use these four workouts to break through to the next level!