The rise of obstacle course races in the fitness world has led to a big shift in the way people think about cardio. There are so many people out there looking to improve their endurance level but – after years of regular lifting and very little running – they’re not sure where to start. To give those people a hand, here are five ways you can improve your cardio fitness.
1. Don’t Sit Down At Home
How many of the things you do at home involve you sitting down? How many of them can you do while jogging? Treadmills are perfect for when you have time to kill at home and they can be combined with many other activities: replying to emails, watching TV… you can even do some levelling up in World of Warcraft if you’re so inclined. Best of all, you can usually find great deals on treadmills from online retailers like Fitness Market and have them delivered to your door to save you having to borrow a friend’s truck.
2. Stop Resting So Long
Most people typically give themselves anywhere up to 90 seconds of rest between sets. The thing is, if endurance is your goal, you need to cut that time right down. Pull ups, sit ups, squats and push ups are all perfect exercises for getting the most out of your cardio workout. By the end, you should be wiped and your muscles should be burning. You should only be taking a break if you are physically incapable of continuing.
3. Lift Faster
Combining cardio and strength workouts into rapidly paced, high-intensity lifting is obviously perfect for improving your muscle growth, but it also adds a lot to your overall stamina. Better yet, exercises like these will crank your metabolism up to 11. This is actually a good thing; those who focus solely on cardio for endurance training will find their metabolism slowing down.
4. Explosive Movements Are Your Friend
Explosive movements are big, broad movements designed to push your strength, endurance and stamina all at once. The more explosive you become, the faster you’ll notice yourself getting. Perfect explosive exercises to throw into any workout are things like box jumps, jumping knee-tucks or the dreaded burpees. Yes, they’re painful and they’ll wipe you out quickly to begin with, but they’re well worth the effort.
5. Routine Is Your Sworn Enemy
You have to keep switching up the order of your workout or you’re just going to get bored. Boredom leads to you not working as hard and that leads to not getting the results you want. Your body will become accustomed to any regular workout you throw at it after about two weeks. This means if you’re a runner, you should switch to boxing. If you prefer cycling, run stairs instead. This keeps motivation and your cardio performance nice and high.
These are just five of the ways you can improve your cardio fitness with a little extra effort. What are some of your favourite cardio exercises? How do you train for endurance events? Share in the comments below!
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