Image by: tpsdave
By Robert Spencer
I don’t know about you but I know plenty of guys who skip cardio if they can and head straight for the free weights. They’re more interested in building muscle than getting a great whole body workout. Even if you want to focus on building muscle, doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate a good cardio exercise into your workout also.
Check out some of these cardio-based bodyweight exercises, warm-up exercises, and full-body cardio workouts.
#1) Warm-Up: Power Skip
It sounds a little girly but bear with me for a minute. This is a great warm-up that will get your blood pumping and get you fired up for a workout. Stand with your feet hip width apart, raise your right knee up, simultaneously raising your left hand up in the air. When you bring that foot down, land on the ball of your foot and alternate so that your left leg is now raised with your right hand. That’s one rep. Do about 15-20 as high as you can possibly go.
#2) Workout: Treadmill
This workout will alternate in intervals between changes of intensity, incline, and speed. That helps to work out your cardiovascular system while strengthening your lungs and giving your muscles a great workout too.
For the first five minutes, leave the incline at flat, and walk at an average pace (let’s set it at 5 if the speed scale is from 1 – 10). For the next couple minutes, raise the incline by 5%, and adjust the speed to a 7. For the next couple minutes, knock down your speed to a 6 while leaving the incline at 5%. For the last five minutes, bump the incline up 1% (to 6%) and up your speed to about 8.
For the next couple of minutes, lower the incline to 4% with a matching speed. You should be at around the 17 minute mark. Raise the incline to 5% and increase the speed to a 7. Then, for the next five minutes, lower the incline to 2% and bump up the speed to about a 9 (as fast as you can safely go). Now slow down so that your speed is at about a 5 for the next couple minutes. Then repeat the whole process again.
#3) Agility Warm-Up: Weight Throw (Don’t Actually Throw Anything)
Agility, balance, and coordination is important to have when you are doing cardio (and weight training) work outs so try out this quick warm-up before you go for a quick warm-up jog on the treadmill.
Balance on your right leg with your left thigh parallel to the ground. Hold a 5 pound weight in your left hand (your arm should be at a right angle with your bicep parallel to the ground), have your right arm out for balance.
Pretend that you’re pitching a baseball in slow motion and rotate your torso so that your left arm is now in the follow through position. Your left leg should be swinging down and back behind your right leg. Hold for about 5 seconds. Reverse slowly, with controlled motions. Switch sides and repeat the same motions. Do 10 reps on each side.
#4) Cardio Exercises: Stationary Bikes and Treadmills
So we’ve gone over a treadmill workout already. Treadmills are a great way to work in a quick cardio workout before you tackle something else. The treadmill workout above (in section 2) lasts about 40 minutes. I like to alternate between cardio days where I do just a few minutes of weight training and weight training days where I only do a few minutes of running or jogging.
Stationary bikes are great also. Since it’s still fairly sunny outside, I suggest going out on your *actual* bicycle. Bike rides are a great way to get some vitamin D, fresh air, and it’s a great way to socialize. Go out on a trail with some buddies or with your girl.
Also, check out some of these treadmill exercises:
This next one is a great example of a beginning treadmill workout routine:
Now it’s your turn. What cardio warm-ups do you do before your workout? What cardio workouts do you have? What are your favorite cardio exercises? We want to hear from you. Let us know what you’re thinking by putting your ideas and questions in the comment section below.