In the preparation for that summer shape is under 10% body fat cardio for many people a mandatory cost. Where strength training consists of lifting heavy weights, intensity-increasing techniques and a good pump, cardio is a different story. Sitting on a cross trainer for half an hour or longer on a low intensity is not their biggest hobby for most and can even become a routine, which reduces motivation. The entry of High Intensity Interval Training has been a breakthrough in this. A shorter period of time, higher intensity and more results, you could hardly get better, you would say!
Yet in these cases you often remain tied to a treadmill, bicycle or cross trainer. This is absolutely not wrong, on the contrary, this is even the most practical and efficient. But it is not a bad idea to take a different approach to your cardio. A way that is more fun, stimulates your body in a different way and above all: a way that is very heavy! Read on for 5 variants of cardio for real men!
For the people who are somewhat familiar with Strongman competitions will soon notice that many of the exercises below come from it. Although strong men move enormous weights, there is often also a conditional aspect involved. Think of pulling a truck, traveling a distance with a huge frame (Yoke) in your neck or the famous Atlas Stones where five stones have to be placed on the elevations in the shortest possible time.
It should therefore be clear that these exercises are not for sisters. They combine your usual cardio with explosive power, which can have a positive effect on your fat loss, fitness and strength development! It is therefore quite possible that these forms of cardio help you with your grip, core and leg strength. Two birds with one stone!
Cardio for real men!
We start with a frequently strongest man part: the farmer walk. It is a very simple exercise, but well done and heavy enough, it kills you on every front!
The implementation is simple: you take two heavy objects and walk a predetermined distance as quickly as possible. Most of us will not have access to special farmer walk handles, so dumbbells or kettlebells are your best option.
Further preparation? Magnesium is not a must, but very desirable! After all, you don't just want to choose a weight that will condition you, but a weight that almost pulls your arms from your traps to your hands! That is also the power of the farmer walk. By walking with a heavy weight you not only demand an enormous amount of your condition, but your grip, trapezius, core and even calves will endure it.
So don't be surprised if the first time after a few rounds you are done and the next day you have an unprecedented muscle pain in your traps!
So choose a distance that you want to cover and try to add more laps over time. As your grip gets stronger, you can also add weight, so that your muscles get extra heavy.
Tractor tires, once conceived to move a tractor, but a great training tool in the world of the strongest man. The options vary, but of course we are referring to the well-known tire flips here!
For (big) strongest man competitions, a component that is no longer done much, but is often used at a lower level and for training purposes. You take a tractor tire with sufficient weight (no, 50 kilos is not enough!) And flip it over with a deadlift and push. Sound easy? Say that again after you've done the first 10 reps!
With this exercise you actually perform countless deadlifts, after which you also have to push the strap forward to flip it. The latter ensures that not only your legs and lower back do the work, but that your chest, front shoulder heads and triceps are also heavily loaded. Have you ever done deadlift or squats for high reps? Then you know that heavy compounds for high reps demolish you finally, both conditionally and on muscle strength.
Are you happy enough to have a tractor tire at your disposal? Then certainly challenge yourself and go freak out with that band!
Who said that a sled can only be used with snow and by children? A weighted sled is the perfect cardio tool! All you need is a sled, enough weight and a rope with strap and / or handles.
The most obvious exercise is drag training, where you attach the sled to your waist with a belt. What you do next? Maximum sprinting until your lungs almost fall out of your body! Sounds like an easy task, but a few rounds later you probably think differently.
You can adjust the load based on your needs. Do you want to keep a lot of speed in the exercise? Then add a little less weight so that you can stay explosive. Do you want to imitate a truck pull? Load the sled full of weight and you have to collect all your strength to get ahead! A rope that you can pull is a nice addition to this.
Other options with the sled are reverse pulls, where you walk backwards and your quads endure more. You can also choose handles to hold onto, where you can even do rowing or push movements. This makes sled pulls a versatile exercise that demands a lot of cardiovascular demands from you, but also offers all kinds of options in terms of strength.
Sled pulls are also very good to perform as interval training, where you walk one round with a sled, followed by a quieter round without.
You can even push the sled, but the following exercise is better suited for that.
A prowler is a frame on skis with 2 large tubes with which you can push it on. The prowler is used extensively in the United States and is considered one of the best conditioning tools there. The prowler is perfectly explosive, requires a lot of your legs and core and is a killer for your condition.
It is unfortunately also a device that is much less to be found in the Netherlands, but when you have access to it, you are lucky! Place enough weight on the frame and push it forward as quickly and as hard as possible. Nothing more, nothing less. Need alternation? Then of course you can also pull the prowler backwards.
Do you not have a prowler at your disposal, but does it seem like a very cool exercise? Then look further!
Where most people don't have a prowler, a car is fortunately not a big problem.
Although everyone uses a car to make it easier for themselves and to move faster, it can also be the other way around! Find a large empty parking space or square, warm yourself up well and use your car as a prowler! You probably think this is a piece of cake once the car rolls. Well, think again!
The first round (s) are still quite manageable, but once you have crossed the square several times, you will notice why this is a killer! You will be conditionally demolished, but your quads, buttocks, core and shoulders will also have to endure!
Tip of the day: Please do not do this alone, only to find out that the square is not 100% flat and you can no longer stop the car from colliding with the wall. Take your training buddy along so that one man can push and the other can brake on time. This makes it a nice form of interval training and provides an extra challenge.
Talking about challenge ...
We already told that in an earlier blog motivation of your training should be. High motivation ensures that you work with enthusiasm, that you enjoy what you do and that you can hold on for a long time. Of course, exactly the same applies to keep cardio fun!
When long cardio sessions go against you, you have to find a way to get motivated. But what is a good way to get motivated? Right, challenge.
When you are challenged and want to defeat yourself or someone else, this is a huge motivation, so that you put more energy into your effort. This is nevertheless difficult with cardio, because improving yourself often means doing longer sessions, which is precisely the problem.
The solution? The above exercises, but not only, but together with someone! The best thing is that person is someone who can measure up to your strength and condition, so that performance is about the same. By challenging each other time and time again and coming up with new ways to do this, you both go for it, time flies and you can even look forward to it.
- Who is the fastest on the other side with a 150 kg farmer walk?
- Can you flip that tractor tire more often than your buddy?
- How much weight does each of you depend on the sled pull?
- Who comes to the other side of the road with that heavy car?
The possibilities are endless!
But note, how much nicer these cardiovascular forms may be, the injury sensitivity is of course much higher. When you are in a contest prep and after months of cutting at a dangerously low fat percentage and energy level, these exercises are probably not going to be a wise move.
If you want to apply these exercises, we advise you to start quietly and explore how it works. Also don't forget to take your strength training into account, because 3 drag sessions on top of your normal leg training (s) require a lot of your recovery. Depending on how well you recover, you can limit these exercises to a maximum of 1 or 2 times a week, as far away as possible from your strength training.
Finally, it goes without saying of course, but make sure you are warm! Keep pedaling for 5 minutes on a bicycle is not a bad idea at all. Because you will not be the first and certainly not the last to stretch his hamstring when cold lifting a tractor tire.
These exercises are meant to breathe new life into your cardio sessions, not to get you injured on the couch! So prepare well and use common sense, only then will you achieve the maximum benefits!
Are you blessed with one or more of these devices? Then challenge yourself and find more pleasure in your cardio sessions!
After reading this blog, did you love one of these variations? Or maybe you yourself have a great alternative to that boring cardio ... Let us know!
Written by Mathias Jansen