Equipment: Rowing machine, exercise bike, treadmill, stopwatch.
Duration: Against the clock.
Purpose: Aerobic conditioning.
Method: This workout is a straight race against yourself and the clock. Perform each discipline as fast as possible, including the transitions between exercises—the time starts when you begin rowing and ends when you finish running. Although speed is of the essence, make sure you don’t set off so fast that you fail to finish. Record your time and try to beat it when you repeat this workout.
Row 2,000 meters
Cycle 5,000 meters
Run 2,000 meters
Row 2,000 meters Rowing is an effective all-over cardiovascular exercise. As rowing machines vary from model to model you should view these instructions as technique rather than operational guidelines.
Set the rowing computer to 2,000 meters
Fix your feet to the foot plates so that the strap is across the broadest part of your feet
Grasp the handle with an overhand grip
Bend your knees, extend your arms and sit up tall – this is your starting position
Drive hard with your legs and, as the handle crosses your knees, begin to pull with your arms
Continue pulling until the handle touches your abdomen
Extend your arms, bend your legs and slide forward to return to the starting position
Do not allow your lower back to round as this can lead to injury
Cycle 5,000 meters This simple cardiovascular exercise can all go horribly wrong if you don’t set your bike up correctly! Professional cyclists spend weeks in wind tunnels making sure they are properly positioned on your bike. Make sure you spend a few seconds you are set up properly too! Do this prior to starting the workout to save transition time…
Stand next to the bike and adjust the seat so that it is level with your hip
Sit on the bike and place your feet in the pedal straps. The balls of your feet should be directly aligned with the pivot point of the pedal
Push one leg all the way down – you should have a slight bend in your knee and should not need to rock over
Repeat this process with the other leg in case you have a leg length discrepancy
Place your hands on the handle bars, set the distance on the bike computer and begin pedalling
Try to keep your upper body relaxed and avoid rocking from side to side – this is uneconomical and can make cycling uncomfortable
Run 2,000 meters Your legs may be feeling decidedly jelly-like now and the only way you will get them feeling even halfway normal is to set off on your run at a good, fast pace. Starting off slowly merely delays the recovery of your leg muscles. As each treadmill operates differently, use these instructions as a guide to running technique.
Stand on the centre of the belt near the front
Start the treadmill and quickly progress from a walk to a jog to a run
Focus on a light foot fall while using a heel-toe action and keeping your upper body relaxed
Stay fairly close to the front of the treadmill so you can hit the emergency stop button if you get into trouble
It’s legs all the way today with our The Leg Blaster Giant Set workout!
Duration: 20 minutes approximately
Method: Perform 3-5 laps of the following circuit and rest 60-90 seconds between laps. Adjust the reps up or down depending on your personal fitness level.
This simple but challenging workout targets your legs and cardiovascular system…
Legs and Lungs A Duration: Against the Clock
Equipment: Treadmill or rowing machine
Method: Complete the following as fast as possible…
50 bodyweight squats
500 meter run
40 bodyweight squats
400 meter run
30 bodyweight squats
300 meter run
20 bodyweight squats
200 meter run
10 bodyweight squats
100 meter run
(Rowing can be substituted for running if preferred)
Today’s workout is called the Box Squat Jump and Incline Press up Blast
Duration: 20 minutes
Equipment: Exercise step/box
Method: At the top of each minute, perform a set of 10 box jumps alternated with a set of 10 inline press ups to total 20 minutes. For an extra tough workout, you can skip (jump rope) during your rest intervals.
It might be new years eve but this workout can be performed anywhere so you have no excuses for not exercising today!
The Doubler requires a bit of maths but is a very simple and effective self-regulating workout…Perform a maximum set of press ups and then rest 15 seconds. Next, perform double that amount of squats and then rest 15 seconds. Perform a 2nd set of max rep press ups, rest 15 seconds and then perform double that amount of squats. Continue for 5 sets. (See example below)
24 press ups/48 squats Set 2
19 press ups/38 squats Set 3
16 press ups/32 squats Set 4
12 press ups/24 squats Set 5
9 press ups/18 squats
Totals 80 press ups/160 squats
Press ups – place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Rest on your toes or knees as appropriate. Bend your arms and lower your chest to lightly touch the floor. Push back up and repeat. Do not allow your hips to drop.
Squats – with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Try not to allow your lower back to become rounded.
The BS (Burpee/Skipping) Workout – simple but very effective, this workout is against the clock…
Duration: Against the Clock
Equipment: Skipping rope, stopwatch
Method: Complete the descending burpee pyramid described below and perform 50 skipping rope turns between sets of burpees. Adjust the burpee exercise to suit your individual fitness level by adding or removing press ups and jumps.
The Spartan Circuit This is one of our favourite workouts! It ticks lots of fitness component boxes and is easily adaptable according to the equipment you have available. Why the Spartan Circuit? It’s brutally effective like the Spartan warriors were and it can be performed even when exercise equipment is sparse.
Equipment: Timer, skipping rope, exercise mat.
Duration: 30 minutes plus warm up and cool down.
Purpose: Aerobic conditioning, whole body muscular endurance.
Method: Set your timer for alternating 2 minute and 1 minute intervals and then complete the following circuit twice. This is a continuous circuit so move from one exercise to the next without taking any rests. If you are not a very proficient skipper, you can substitute jogging or marching on the spot, step ups, cycling on an exercise bike, running on a treadmill, jumping jacks or any other suitable cardiovascular exercise as an alternative.
2 minutes skipping
1 minute press ups
2 minutes skipping
1 minute squats
2 minutes skipping
1 minute dorsal raises
2 minutes skipping
1 minute planks
2 minutes skipping
1 minute lunges
Skipping Skipping, or jumping rope if you prefer, is a cardiovascular exercise that also improves eye/hand/foot coordination. In this instance, it is being used as an active rest and aerobic conditioning exercises. Make sure your rope is the right length for you by standing on the middle with both feet. If the handles reach your arm pits then the rope is the right size for you. Too long or too short a rope will increase your likelihood of tripping which will reduce the effectiveness of this workout.
Stand with your feet together, your hands at hip-height and the rope behind you
Swing it up and over your head
Jump over it as it nears your feet – try to only just clear it by jumping no higher than necessary
As you get more proficient at jumping rope, try using a heel/toe action or jogging on the spot. It’s actually easier and looks much cooler!
Try to perform your skipping on a forgiving surface to minimize your likelihood of developing any impact related injuries
Press ups You know how to do these now but, in case you missed it, here is a reminder…
Bend down and place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Point your fingers forwards
With your arms straight, walk your feet back into the press up position
Check that your heels, hips and shoulders form a straight line
Keep your core muscles tight and your neck long – tuck your chin in slightly
Bend your elbows and, keeping your arms tucked into your ribs, lower your chest to within one inch of the floor
Push back up and return to the starting position
If full press ups are too challenging, bend your legs and place your knees on the floor. This is the three-quarter press up
You can make press ups more challenging by elevating your feet on a 12 to 18 inch high bench
Squats Squats are the king of lower body exercise. Performed for high repetitions using just your body weight they will increase your muscular endurance and lung capacity. Performed with heavy weights and lower repetitions they will build and strengthen your entire lower body.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides
Turn your feet out slightly
Push your hips back and bend your knees
Squat down until your thighs are around parallel to the floor
Stand back up and repeat
Try not to round your lower back at the bottom of the squat as this may lead to injury
Dorsal raises Dorsal raises strengthen and condition your lower back and provide a nice balance to any abdominal exercise. Perform this exercise while lying on a mat. Males may also be more comfortable if they place a small cushion under their hips. I’m sure you don’t have to ask why…
Lie on your front with your legs extended and held together
Clasp your hands behind your back
Push your toes into the floor and use your back muscles to lift your head, shoulders and chest around 8 to 12 inches off the floor
Hold this uppermost position for one to two seconds and then return to the starting position
You may find you need to place your feet against a wall to help keep your balance
Planks Planks are a curious exercise in that although they do not involve any actual movement, they are still very challenging. Planks will strengthen the anterior or front core muscles.
Kneel down and place your elbows in the floor, shoulder-width apart
Lay your hands flat with your forearms pointing straight forward
Walk your legs back and extend your legs so that your weight is supported on your arms and feet only
Make sure your heels, hips and shoulders are aligned
Brace your core muscles and hold this position – do not let your hips drop or your back arch
Remember to breathe! Amazingly it’s not uncommon for people to forget this vital instruction!
Lunges Lunges are similar to squats in that they target every muscle in your lower body but they also challenge your balance and coordination. Lunges simulate the one-legged action of running which makes them a great addition to your programme. They also make your butt look great in jeans!
Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
Take a large step forwards
Bend your legs and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor
Push off your front leg and spring back to the starting position
Perform another repetition leading with your opposite leg
Continue alternating legs for the duration of your set
Our Dead Lift and Press up Superset workout uses virtually every major muscle in your body in double-quick time – excellent for when you are pushed for time!
Duration: Against the Clock
Equipment: Barbell, exercise mat
Method: Perform 10 sets of 10 reps of bent-legged dead lifts using 60-75% of your body weight but adjust load as necessary. Alternate sets of dead lifts with 10 sets of 10-15 reps press ups (on knees or toes as appropriate). Aim to complete the workout as fast as possible whilst maintaining perfect form to also challenge the cardiovascular system. Adjust the reps and/or loads to meet your current fitness levels.
Bent legged dead lifts – 10 sets, 10 reps @ 60-75% of 1RM
This workout is a standard fitness test in the armed forces and other uniformed organizations. Warm up thoroughly by performing a few minutes light cardio, mobility and dynamic flexibility work.
Once you are ready, run 1.5 miles (2.4km) at a very comfortable pace. This is best done on a treadmill, track or flat piece of road. On completion, take a moment to catch your breath and then repeat the 1.5 miles (2.4km) distance, this time running as fast as you possible can. Your aim to cross the finish line feeling like you couldn’t have run any faster if you wanted to…
Once you have completed the second run, have a light jog and stretch to cool down. Sub 9 minutes is a good target to aim for!