Weight training and cardiovascular exercises will always be the foundation for building our physique. The progressive resistance offered by the weights coupled with the fat loss benefits of the added cardio training will keep us lean, mean and larger than life. When we workout, we are asking our body to tap into two main energy systems; the anaerobic energy system (responsible for weight training activities) and the aerobic energy system (responsible for cardiovascular exercises). On their own, each energy system is a very powerful force that can propel you to the greatest heights of physical achievement within its respective category. However, when combined, the ultimate athlete is created where strength, speed, agility, muscularity, power and endurance reign supreme. Those who have already found the benefits of mixing energy systems in their workouts are the ones you are aspiring to be like. So, rather than standing on the sidelines in admiration, be the one people are in awe of by creating and utilizing ultra-intense workouts through the combination of our energy systems.
Weights then Cardio Equals One Set
Quite some time ago, I read about a training program that involved coupling weight training with cardiovascular conditioning in the same session. At first it didn’t seem like this program was anything out of the ordinary or different from the regular approach of training with weights first and then doing cardio for fat loss once you’re in a depleted state. However, upon further investigation the training protocol called for performing a set with weights immediately followed by a bout of high intensity cardio for one minute in duration. The goal being to mix energy systems all throughout the workout, using an extremely high level of intensity so that the effects of both training methods would be maximized in the most efficient way possible. To say that this approach puts you in a heightened state where workloads and work capacity significantly increases would be an understatement. If you are looking to take your training to the next level, especially if time is of the essence, I highly suggest you try this approach.
Set Up a Circuit
Circuit training is something that most bodybuilders will shy away from and see it as a complete waste of time. The standard protocol of X number of sets for X amount of reps per exercise with X amount of time in between sets is what you’ll typically see until the workout has been completed. But what if you eliminated the X amount of time in between sets and in between exercises prescriptions and just did each exercise one after the other with no rest? You would still be completing all of the exercises you typically do within a workout, still hitting the same amount of sets and reps you like doing but in a more efficient, and dare I say, more effective manner. The elimination of rest, or the postponement of rest until your giant set is done, would tap into your aerobic energy system as you huff and puff your way from exercise to exercise. For those looking to get in their resistance training and cardiovascular work all in a very short period of time, this option may be ideal.
The term functional training has many definitions due to the simple fact that everything we do has a function. If you’re performing squats, the function is to increase lower body size and strength and if you’re walking on the treadmill, the function is to improve overall cardiovascular health and increase endurance. However, for the purposes of this article, the term functional will be defined as any type of activity, which involves the recruitment of both anaerobic and aerobic energy systems by way of performing difficult and strenuous tasks, in succession, that may not be typical of standard gym exercises performed on standard gym equipment. What I mean by this is start flipping tires, pound on them with a sledgehammer, climb a rope, push a truck around a parking lot, do parking lot lunges with a chain hanging from your neck, jump plyo boxes while throwing medicine balls against the wall, do a farmer’s walk while holding onto a loaded standard barbell in each hand or find anything that will improve your functional movement patterns by using speed, endurance and power all at once. These types of workouts are super intense, incredibly rewarding and a lot can be accomplished in a very short amount of time.
Intensity will always be your only limiting factor in how far you can take your body. Whatever approach you use, make sure you are working at your full capacity, being as efficient as possible and wearing your Super Freak Cardio Sneakers when doing so. When you are utilizing workouts that combine both resistance and cardio training, I cannot think of a better shoe to compliment your efforts than the Super Freak. Not only that, the name of the shoe will coincide with the name those watching you from the sidelines will appoint you with.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.