Cardio For Strength Athletes | Don't run, Do THIS Instead
Meatheads love to lift weights. That’s the point, right? Meatheads LOVE lifting all the time. Meatheads don’t want to do any cardio because of fears of becoming pathetically weak or incapable of moving any load when talking about resistance training.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
I’m going to take you through a workout that excels at training cardio for all my fellow meatheads out there!
1. Back Squat And V-Ups
One of the big things I have found out is that if I can do a little bit of a lift early on in the workout at a faster pace, like a back squat for a set of six or seven reps and immediately following the squat, drop to the ground and hit a respectable set of V-up reps. Ten reps get the job done.
For me, V-ups is a way to have the stomach feel a little bit of tension and allude to getting cardio going. Now the key at this point, once feeling that, is loading the bar and getting right back into squatting. So I start with 70 kilos and then jump up and hit 110 kilos. I’ll hit the 110-kilo weight for a set of four or five.
The point is to keep it moving. Meatheads don’t like to just go, go, go. We want to take long breaks, have philosophical discussions, or solve all the world’s problems with conversation.
With that next set of back squats done with the heavier load, I’m dropping to the ground again and immediately hitting another substantial set of V-ups. Me, like other meatheads, ends up being out of breath already.
Again, my big thing is to get right back into it. So one more round of back squatting with a heavier load is where it is at. I’ll bump up to 150 kilos now. The important thing is to select weight based on where you feel comfortable. Some people might struggle to squat up to 150 kilos. Some might want to go up to 180 kilos. That fact that I become fatigued already, I’ll stop at 150 just to keep it moving. And as before, one more time down into the V-ups.
This is a solid pairing for a meathead trying to hit up that cardio.
2. Assault Bike
The next thing I love to do is get on the assault bike. We want to get a measurable factor back while doing cardio. Being a meathead, I want to do everything as heavy and as hard as possible. Thankfully the assault bike lets me know how many calories I’ve burned. Seeing that I’ve burned 20 calories motivates me.
I also want to get a good quad pump, feel strong, and I like getting sweaty because then I feel like I’ve done something. To solve this problem I do 20 calories as fast as I can. This leaves me out of breath and my quads dying.
I go ahead and pair the assault bike with the next movement.
3. Backwards Sled Pull
Immediately hopping off the assault bike, I head on over to the sled and perform a backward sled pull for ten to twenty meters. My lungs feel like they are on fire at this point. My quads feel like an acid bath.
This pairing is brutal. After every round, it is okay to rest for a minute before hopping back on the assault bike for another go. Do the pairing four times at least. It will feel good. It is great cardio and for sure makes you feel healthier.
I really like rowing the day after really heavy deadlifts. I feel it mobilizes my hips and lower back, loosening everything up by the end of the day.
Now when I am on the rower I like to play some type of game. My best 500 m row is 1:21. So I’ll typically go as hard as I can to get under 1:30. Now if I don’t feel good and lack pop, I’ll set a five-minute timer. Each week I’ll add some time. So by week four, I’m at twelve minutes going nice and easy, not focusing on going as fast as possible.
I do like to super-set my rows with the next movement.
5. Jump Lunges
The goal with this movement is to get my posterior chain engaged to make my glutes and hamstrings more fatigued. The goal is to fifty straight. That means twenty-five reps on each leg.
My quads and my abs end up having me screaming. Jump lunges destroy me!
6. Kettlebell Swings
Typically when doing kettlebell swings, I want to hit it for a set of 40 reps. Also, having just done the jumping lunges, a set of twenty reps does the trick. I’ll then rest for a minute and come back for another set of twenty reps.
The hardest part when doing cardio for giant meatheads is being accustomed to long periods of rest. Keep the rest short! Use a timer on your cellphone and keep yourself accountable.
The big question as a meathead is how often should we be doing this? That varies. At least once a week we need to get in and do some cardio. This will help the body feel healthier and stronger and good.
Now as we get age and get older, have kids, we tend to pull back from pushing the ego by trying to hit the massive weights. Then we might do cardio twice a week. One day trying to really hit the aerobic perspective. And as big dudes, we need to start walking more, hitting 10k to 12k steps every single day. Eating clean helps too. And if accessible, get in the sauna as well. This is all stuff that will contribute to being healthier and having a long, sustained life.
The best part about cardio is it helps the body recover better which in turn leads to becoming even more savage in the weightroom.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.