Upper & Lower Body, In-Your-House, Cardio Circuit!…

Here is a great circuit I do in my house when I’m short on time.  It combines both upper body and lower body exercises with short bursts of cardio in between sets.  It’s a fantastic way to build lean muscle and to strengthen your heart…strap on a heart rate monitor or take your pulse in between sets…you’ll be amazed how hard it’s working!

 

1)  3 upper body exercises performed to fatigue

Push-Ups

Reverse Dips

Decline Push-Ups

 

2)  3 lower body exercises: 2 options

-If using weights, lift heavy so that failure is at 10 reps

-If using bodyweight only, perform 20 reps of each

Squats

Walking Lunges

Bulgarian Split Squat

 

3)  1 minute high intensity cardio burst: When I lived in the city I would run 15 flights of stairs in my building as my cardio.  In your home you can also use stairs, jump rope, run in place, fast-paced jumping jacks, etc.  Other options are treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, row machine, etc.

 

4)  1-2 minute break, repeat 2 more times!

Doesn’t even compare to a 10 Mile Run or all out 200 yard Sprint!…

I’ve been looking for some new ways to incorporate cardio training into my workouts besides running and ellipticals.  I have many different circuits in my bag of cardio ideas (all of which are on my workout page), but I have really been searching for something different.

On top of that, I’ve been switching things up and making my workouts a little more intense…less rest between sets, more weight, supersets, incorporating bursts of cardio between sets, etc. But, yesterday after reading a blog from Follow the Lita, I found this little workout that kicked my ass and I loved it!

Dana Linn Bailey has started using some CrossFit workouts in her training and her video can be seen here.  She is a monster and the video is extreme motivation to get you into the gym and workout hard.

The workout consists of 3 exercises:  Bench Press, Squats, Clean & Press.   You are to do 20 reps of each exercise to utter failure with no rest in between.  A 2 minute break is given after one complete set of all 3 exercises.  Your goal is to complete this 3-5 times.

I never do bench press.  I used 65lbs.  I can and will do more weight the next time I perform this set.  I currently have a semi-neck-injury preventing me from using the Olympic bar during squats.  I used 50lb dumbbells instead.  I used the Olympic bar at 45lbs for Clean & Press, an exercise I have not performed since 2001 when I was on the Track & Field team in college.  My video was recorded on my 4th set of this CrossFit circuit.

A few things to consider…you are performing 20 reps.  This is extremely different than performing 8-12 reps.  You will use lighter weight than you are used to, but you should be completely exhausted and practically shaking (as you can see here in Dana’s video) because this is a circuit that combines great strength and cardio.  Always keep your back flat on the bench and feet planted when performing bench press.  And start out a little lighter if you need to gauge your strength on your first set.  As you can see in Dana’s video, 20 reps do not have to be completely consecutive…if you fatigued, put the weight down for a few seconds and continue as needed until you hit 20 reps.  And grab a friend, because you may need a spotter depending on the equipment you decide to use!

 

 

 

Another In-Your-House-Cardio-Circuit…

Here is another In-Your-House-Workout.  No equipment is needed.  It’s a great cardio circuit created by fitness celebrity Lindsay Messina.

HIIT Glute Circuit…

I have uploaded the workout I described in my post “Bring it up a notch with a different approach to HIIT…” to My Workouts page titled: LOWER BODY HIIT w/ HEAVY WEIGHTS & CARDIO.

Like I’ve said before, when doing the side jumps on the plyo box, you should really push off your foot and spring up into the air, but because my plyo box is in my basement (dang winter keeping it indoors) I don’t push off as high as I should or I’d crack my head on the ceiling.

And pardon my lip syncing at the end. Thank goodness for mute!

5 minute warm-up

10 reps squat, deadlift, walking lunge, squat jumps, side plyo jumps, 1-2 minutes fast cardio…rest and repeat total of 3 times.

 

Bring it up a notch with a different approach to HIIT…

I’m preachin’ it again!  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the absolute way to go if you are looking to shape your body and see results quicker than traditional approaches.  HIIT has the ability to help you see results quicker than traditional methods of training by releasing growth hormones, increasing your VO2 max, and pushing your body to its limits working at max or near maximum abilities.  It is also a great training technique to help get your heart to recover quickly.  Getting your heart rate to recover means bringing it down to levels that are lower than they were while working out at a higher intensity.  For example, when performing an interval workout, you may get your heart rate up to 176 beats per minute (bpm).  Within a minute you are able to bring it back down to 116.  Your heart rate does not have to work as hard to pump blood because it is getting stronger with each training session.

Why is recovery heart rate so important? Well, imagine if your heart rate never, ever recovered after a workout.  It would probably explode!  Being able to get your heart rate to recover quickly means YOU being able to recover quickly.  The faster it slows down, the less exhausted you are.  Your breathing slows down.  You are no longer huffing and puffing.

Most people think of cardio as the only form of HIIT.  Even endurance athletes throw in some HIIT in the form of sprints.  This allows them to have a faster recovery heart rate and a heart that is able to pump blood more efficiently without causing too much exertion on the athletes’ part.  But, don’t think of HIIT as purely cardio.  You can perform HIIT with weights as well. One of the ways you can do this is by lifting heavy weights maxing out between 8-12 reps.  Maxing out at this weight at 8-12 reps means you can’t lift a single rep more if your life depended on it.  Follow this with little rest between sets, no more than 30 seconds tops.

Combining this type of HIIT with weights, along with HIIT with cardio, you have a pretty solid workout program.  OnFitness magazine just put out an article that states combining these two types of exercises will have “the heart muscle itself begin to increase its contractility and its ability to pump more blood per beat”.  Contractility is the “intrinsic ability of heart muscle to generate force and to shorten, independently of changes in the preload or afterload with fixed heart rates”.

Here is a workout that I do that combines both heavy weight and cardio HIIT for the lower body.  I’ll also throw this on my workout page for quick reference.

I take 4 of the exercises that I do for my glutes (which you can find on my workout page).  I perform them 10 reps and I’m lifting heavy.  I run through each exercise one time, 10 reps each.  After each set, I jump on the elliptical and go hard for 2 minutes.  Remember, if you don’t have cardio equipment get a jumprope, do jumping jacks, run the stairs in your house, run in place…whatever you need to do!  After this I take a minute break and run through it again a total of 3 times.  Here’s the program:

5 minute warm up on elliptical (cardio of your choice)

10 reps of each: squat, deadlift, walking lunge, side box jumps

2 minute of elliptical going hard

1 minute water break

Repeat 2 more times

5 minute cool down on elliptical at end

I will use this in place of my traditional glute workout since I am utilizing the same muscle groups.

Listen to your body.  If you are feeling pain or something doesn’t seem quite right, then slow down.

 

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