Cardio and Conditioning Exercises
Are you ever bored with cardio machines? Or long-distance running? Here are some other options that are often used at Real World Fitness
- Prowler and pulling a sled
- Hitting a tire with a sledgehammer
- Medicine ball slams
- Battle Rope
- Boxing pad work
- Hill sprints
- High knee dumbbell press
PROWLER AND PULLING A SLED
The prowler is my favorite tool for when I want to do conditioning work. It's can be an extremely hard workout, but at the same time is suitable for most people. It can be done with heavier weights for shorter distances or lighter for longer distances. The prowler push is great for conditioning and work capacity training and can be modified for your goals whether your goals are, active recovery, strength, muscle endurance, weight loss, or muscular hypertrophy by changing the load used, length of sprint and rest periods.
HITTING A TYRE WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER
Another exercise that people tend to enjoy, and they find it helps with stress. Sledgehammer training was popular with old school boxers to help get in shape for their fights and seems to have gained in popularity again in recent years.
As well as being very effective for cardio it has the added benefit is that it helps improve your grip strength.
MEDICINE BALL SLAMS
I normally do these as part of a circuit rather than by itself. It's a full body exercise, good cardio and easy to add to a circuit.
DUMBBELL OR KETTLEBELL SWINGS
Swings are a great full body exercise with emphasis on the hamstrings, hips and back muscles that I often use on their own, or part of a circuit. They can be a part of a circuit or done on their own. When done by itself self I'll often do a certain amount of reps as fast as I can and try to beat that time next time, for example, 100 or 200m reps. Another option is having a set time and doing as many reps as you can in that time and try to beat that each time (eg 10 minutes).
Great as a finisher to a strength workout, or as part of a circuit. Battle ropes are great for improving your cardiovascular fitness, and builds your shoulder endurance. Battle ropes are one of the few conditioning exercises that involves mostly the upper body, so is a good option if you don't want a conditioning workout affecting your squat or deadlift workout.
BOXING PAD WORK
This is popular with my clients. As they have to concentrate on using correct technique, and on throwing the correct combinations that they don't have time to think about how hard, and how long they are working. As a result, the time goes very fast. There are always technical things to work on, so you'll never out grow this.
Hill sprints are my favourite conditioning exercise. It's simple to do, and you'll find it hard no matter how fit you are. I've written an article about hill sprints here.
This were a staple of my training when I was a teenager and into my early twenties. A full body exercise that is brutal on your legs and will get you out of breath quickly. Great as part of a circuit, or done alone. Done on by itself, I like used to like to to do 100 or 200 burpees done for time, or do as many you can in 10, 15 or 20 minutes.
It's not the best exercise to do it you have joint issues as it is very high impact.
HIGH KNEE DUMBBELL PRESS
The high knee dumbbell press is an exercise I first heard about from Ross Enamait (rossboxing.com), but apart from my clients, I've never seen anyone do it. It's a simple exercise. You sprint in place bringing your knees up high, while pressing a light dumbbell overhead. While the right knee is up, your left arm is pressing the dumbbell overhead, and then left knee up and the right arm presses it overhead. Done at a fast pace this will get your heart rate up quickly.