High Intensity Weight Training - Weight Train without Spending Hours on Cardio MachinesSince 2000 I have never touched a treadmill nor any other cardio machine at the gym or at my home. I find them boring and a waste of my time. Although during the warm and summer months I do like to go rollerblading but only for 6 months of the year. It is something that I love to do as an outdoor activity and for me, more as a means of travel.
To get my cardio workout, but more importantly build muscle mass and muscle definition, I do what I call high intensity weight training. By this term I mean lifting the heaviest weights that I possibly can and pushing myself to the max, focusing most of the time on each rep at a slower pace. To further increase the resistance I will slow the movement down a little bit more without increasing the amount of the weight and I will vary the exercises over a two to four week period as well as the order of the various exercises.
By pushing yourself in such a manner when you weight train you will get stronger and lift a little heavier each year, gradually over time in a safe manner. Of course in time you will reach your maximum according to what your body and age will allow.
Some people argue that you cannot get a good cardiovascular workout through weight training but that is furthest from the truth. Many of the weight training exercises that I like to do not only focus primarily on the major muscles that I am working but they also will focus on secondary muscles as well as the legs and core which are required for stability and support to perform many exercises properly and with good form, technique. In the end, almost each and every weight training exercise involves a full-body workout and if you push yourself, maximum effort.
The other key to working out in such a manner is using breathing techniques, focus and concentration and a lot of stretching to stay lose, flexible and injury free.
The beauty of weight training is that by building muscle you will also lose weight and it helps to strengthen your bones thus preventing osteoporosis from occurring. This is particularly true and important for women.
So what are some of the types of exercises that I recommend? There are many and it is good to have a lot of different and varied exercises in your arsenal that you can perform and rotate over a 2 - 4 week period and vary their order. I will discuss a few keys ones.
When doing the chest press using dumbbells on a flat bench, especially with heavier weights, you need to support yourself on the bench with your core muscles.
Pull-ups is my favorite exercise when it comes to working out many groups of muscles all at once as well as providing an amazing cardiovascular workout. It especially comes in handy when I have a short period of time to work out.
Cable Crossovers is a fabulous exercise for your chest. Whether you are doing it more in an upright position or more in a bent over position, you are using your core and legs for support and balance. The heavier you go the more difficult the exercise becomes.
Upright Rows for the shoulders on the cable machine, you need to support yourself with your core and legs. Same is true for side lateral raises while standing.
Renegade dumbbell rows is a more difficult floor exercise where you are using your core, legs and arms to support yourself while you are performing the row for your back muscles.
One of my favorite biceps exercise is the standing barbell biceps curl with the straight bar. It really works the biceps muscles hard while at the same time you are using your core and legs for stability and support (especially for exercise form and technique) so that you don’t sway back and forth as you are bringing the barbell up or curling it.
Abdominal exercises like the bicycle crunch, ab crunch with leg extension, ab crunch with knee bent and pulling the knee in towards your chest are all great full-body ab exercises that focus on your abs but also will stretch your legs and provide a more complete total body exercise. Plus they are great warm-up exercises.
For leg exercises, there are many including squats, lunges, leg presses and extensions and the complete leg and glute machines.
These are just a few examples but basically any standing exercise using dumbbells, barbells or the cable machine requires core strength and leg strength for stability and proper performance of the exercise. If you use your entire body for support while using the required muscles to lift the weight i.e., the biceps to do the barbell biceps curl and not the forearms or your entire body then you will get the most of your workout as well as prevent any injuries from occurring.
Nutrition plays a very important role when providing you with energy required to work out efficiently, effectively and to build muscle and remain healthy. I recommend that you eat a healthy and balanced diet which is high in protein, vitamins, Omega 3 and nutrients. Personally I do not supplement my diet with quality multi-vitamins anymore. I also recommend a quality protein powder high in protein, low in fat and sugars as well as taking micronized Creatine. I will not recommend any particular protein powder because there are several quality products on the market and the product that you choose should fit into the criteria of high in protein, low in fats and sugars. Personally, I do not recommend pre-workout or energy drinks as they are expensive, very high in caffeine and a total waste of money! Using them is a matter of a person's preference.
In summary, a high intensity weight training work out will get you great results without spending hours on cardio machines and I have listed a few exercises that fit into this criteria.