Fitness Trail: Putting the fun back into your cardiovascular training |

Fitness Trail: Putting the fun back into your cardiovascular training

One of the primary reasons that clients do not adhere to their exercise programs in general is boredom, and monotony, and that is particularly true when performing the cardiovascular component of their programs. While cycling, running, rowing and swimming are fantastic cardiovascular training modalities, it is important to note that there are dozens of methods available which add variety and intensity and may diminish the “dread” with which you approach your cardiovascular training. This week, check out the following four skills and drills adding depth and breadth to your program keeping it fresh, effective and fun. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

*Perform these individual drills two-three times through each for intervals of one minute with the final 30 seconds taking you to a breathless state, two-three non-consecutive days per week (these drills may be interspersed between muscular strength training exercises as well). *Perform all at a lower level of intensity if you are not quite ready for HIIT.

** You may also perform this as a circuit format which really “ticks” the intensity box big time. Perform each drill for one minute, followed by 30 seconds of active recovery, then immediately perform the next drill. Repeat this entire series in sequence two-six times through.

Cardio Drill #1: Punching Bag – Double jab/double cross, then jab/cross/jab/cross – HIIT – all out. – put on the boxing gloves (this is a must.), stand in fight stance with the front foot and toes facing the bag and the back staggered leg externally rotated approximately 45 degrees. Your front arm is always the jabbing side and the back arm is the crossing side. Jab into and through the bag twice and then cross with the back fist squaring the hips to the bag twice (i.e. when you cross, which is the more powerful punch, the shoulders/hips/knees toes are all facing the bag), then jab/cross/jab/cross and repeat. Punch through the bag, not at it. Punch 30”, then switch your leads and go another 30”. Your heart rate should soar.

Cardio Drill #2: Shuffle ball throw/bounce – medicine ball – Choose a light weight medicine ball that bounces and create an area of space that will enable you to shuffle 4x to the R/L safely. Holding the ball, shuffle 4x R and then throw the ball down to the floor allowing it to bounce upward so that you are able to retrieve it without going down toward the floor. Repeat L. This is a power drill so expect your heart rate to fly.

Cardio Drill #3: Power Squats – BOSU Balance Trainer – HIIT – all out. – begin with both feet on top of the BOSU. Lower to one side of the BOSU into a squat position keeping the opposite foot on top of the BOSU, then push up explosively and switch to the other side. One foot is always on the BOSU, land into a squat toe/ball/heel and think of “getting some air” as you switch sides.

Cardio Drill #4: Farmer’s Walk – four- to 20-pound medicine ball – Pick up a medicine ball and walk briskly across the room while pushing (avoid throwing/swinging) the ball straight over your head and back down to chest height. Controlled, full range of motion movement patterns.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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