Paralympic athlete and Lululemon Elite Ambassador
POWER TIP NO. 2
High Intensity Training (H.I.T.), Part 2
As promised in part one, I want to give you some examples of how you can boost the intensity of your cardio workouts. The variables and combinations are endless (eg.time, rest, sets, intensity, equipment) when it comes to designing a challenging cardio program so I will keep it a little more basic with my examples. I’m not going to get into heart rates and percentages either. The overall goal remains the same though; that being to push yourself harder than the normal cardio routine your body has become accustomed to and reached a plateau with.
The warm up is essential. A 5-10 minute jog, bike, skip, row or whatever you might be used to will be sufficient. The key is that you get your muscles warm and you should definitely work up a little sweat. Always follow this with a dynamic stretch. Some examples are leg swings back and forth and side to side, hip circles, arm circles, butt kicks, high knees, and even jumping jacks are a good full body dynamic stretch. The purpose of this is to prepare your muscles for the dynamic movements of your workout so when you begin, you are physically and mentally prepared. This helps you get the muscles loose and therefore you avoid common injuries like sprains and strains which are usually a result of being too tight and not warm enough.
Workout 1 (40 yard sprints/20 yard sprints)
This is a challenging workout that should take place on a field or a track or anywhere you have a 40 yard straightaway. Following your warm up and dynamic stretch, perform 5-10 (depending on your level) 40 yard sprints. Start each one gradually and build up speed so you are running full out by the end. Run right through the line as you want to avoid stopping abruptly. Your recovery will be a very slow jog or walk back to the start line. Repeat until you’ve reached your desired reps. Take roughly a 5 minute rest and repeat this procedure with 5-10 20 yard sprints. End with an easy cool down lap on the track or field. Stretch.
Workout 2 (Rowing machine or bike intervals)
Following your warm up and dynamic stretch, perform anywhere from 6-10(depending on your fitness level) one minute fast intervals. Rest between 30 seconds and a minute depending on what you need and repeat until you hit the desired number of reps or if you are up for it, until you just cant do anymore. One way of keeping each rep challenging is to try and see how many calories you can burn in a minute or how far you can go and then try and challenge each rep or at least try to stay as consistent as you can. Cool down and stretch.
Workout 3 (Hill or stair sprints)
These can be done on the treadmill as well, but any time you can get outside it’s a little more challenging as you aren’t limited to a set speed. Find a hill, stairs or a road with a slight incline (steeper if you’re looking for a bigger challenge). I like to keep the duration of the climb no longer than about 20 seconds max. as your speed will really start to tail off as it gets longer. After your warm up and dynamic stretch, perform 10-20 all out sprints to the predetermined length. A very slow jog or fast walk to the bottom is the recovery and then go right away. One good tip for hills is to really pump the arms as it is the arm drive that really helps to propel you forward on each step. At the same time drive those knees up and forward. Cool down and stretch. For those of you who are beginners, can't run, or are rehabbing an injury, an option to this workout and even the field workout is to fast walk the intervals. You will still get that heart rate up and a sense of well being that you didn’t lie on your couch eating a bag of Ms.Vickies and watching a rerun of the Dog Whisperer.
I hope this gives you guys some new options or at least different ideas of how you can boost your cardio workouts. Keep a log as well so that each week you have some numbers to try and beat. Good luck! In part three we will look at higher intensity as it relates to resistance training.
In good health,