For anyone who wants to get super fit and is tired of treadmills and bikes, bodyweight cardio exercises can offer an effective and exciting alternative. These exercises are not only more fun than endless jogging or biking but also have the added advantage of being multi functional which enables you to build muscle size, muscle tone and strength at the same time as dramatically improving your cardio vascular performance.
It has been well established through sport science that one of the best ways to quickly improve fitness is to incorporate interval training in your workout program. This type of training, which involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of recovery can be done many different ways and can even be done on treadmills with circuits of sprinting and jogging. However, the real big advantage bodyweight cardio exercises have is they allow you to work far more muscle groups and if you do your chosen exercises in sets of 10 repetitions and move straight on to the next exercise this type of training becomes both aerobic and anaerobic at the same time.
The effect of being both aerobic and anaerobic means the circuit will enable you to improve your fitness but unlike traditional jogging and biking you will be also be able to build muscle and strength throughout your whole body and do that in as little as 15 minutes per session. When seen from this perspective it is clear that bodyweight cardio exercises can be far more effective for most people to reach the goals they have set themselves. For anyone who participates in sport It is also worth remembering that the fitness required in most sports is almost always based on short bursts of intensity rather than the steady aerobic type that traditional CV builds.
How to do bodyweight cardio exercises
Once you have decided to incorporate bodyweight cardio exercises in to your training you might be wondering exactly what is the best method of doing so? One way is to do a circuit of 10 exercises with 10 repetitions for each one. After completing one circuit you rest for between 30 to 60 second and then repeat it so that the workout takes between 10 to 20 minutes.
However, from my own experience the most effective method is a pyramid system were you do 10 repetitions of 10 exercise for the first circuit then do 9 repetitions for the second and then 8 reps and so on until you get down to only 1 rep per exercise. Once you have completed the whole pyramid you should climb back up by increasing the reps to 2 and then 3 and so on until you are doing 10 reps again.
This pyramid system should be repeated for 10 to 20 minutes and you should cut the rest down as the reps decrease. I have always found this method produces the best results and is fun at the same time ensuring that your workouts stay fresh and exciting.
There are no set rules for bodyweight cardio circuits and you can tailor the number of exercises, reps and sets to whatever suits your needs. You can also incorporate any exercise you like and even design a circuit that works just the upper or lower body instead of an overall body workout if you wish but I recommend the routine takes at least 10 but no longer than 20 minutes to be most effective. To Start you off I have included one of my own circuits for you to try and once you master this one you can design others either to keep things fresh or because it suits your individual needs more appropriately.
My own pyramid circuit
Ten repetitions of the following exercises,
Press up, free squat, crunch, pull up, squat thrust, triceps pres up, leg raise, mountain climbers, bench dips and star jumps.
Once you have done this circuit rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the circuit but only doing 9 repetitions and then 8 and so on until you get down to 1 repetition. Once completed build the repetitions back up until you get to 10 again. This circuit should be repeated so that your bodyweight cardio exercises take 10 to 20 minutes and you should cut the rest periods down as the reps decrease.
There is nothing wrong with steady paced cardio such as jogging and cross trainers and this type of training will get you fitter. However, if you want to build muscle and strength as well as improve stamina bodyweight cardio exercises provide the perfect opportunity. Another advantage of this training is that it can be a lot more fun than endless jogging and takes a lot less time. I would also take into consideration that if you participate in sport you will defiantly get better results with bodyweight cardio exercises because you will be more closely following the principle of specificity, in this case doing short bursts of intense exercise using multi muscle movements which is very similar to most sports.
Remember to have fun with it and design circuits with lots of your favorite bodyweight exercises.
Find out which are the four best bodyweight exercises
Learn about fat burning to compliment bodyweight cardio exercises
Back to home page for more bodyweight exercises.