I’m a big fan of incorporating certain forms and methods of cardio into most strength training programs, because when done properly, cardio can help a ton with cardiovascular fitness, recovery, and body composition.
But unfortunately most people out there severely fuck cardio up. I mean, absolutely butcher it. They try to turn what is typically supposed to be HIIT style cardio into long duration bouts, and they neglect steady state cardio completely.
So before we get into the types of cardio you need to quit doing all together, let’s make something very clear:
There are two styles of cardio.
- High-intensity interval training.
Typically thought of as sprints, tabata training, etc. This is basically short bursts of all out intensity followed by extended periods of rest.
- Long slow duration cardio.
This is what you think of when you think about people jumping on the elliptical. This is typically 30 minutes or more of continued effort.
I’m getting on my soapbox a bit here, but where most people fuck up is they try and blend the two forms of cardio together too much and wind up not getting any of the desired effects. But they think it’s effective because they wind up tired, and that’s basically the worst mindset you can have in the gym. Use the gym to get better, not just to get tired. Okay, off my soapbox.
The 3 types of cardio you should quit doing.
I’ve talked about this before, but box jumps and other plyometric activity is about the stupidest thing someone can do for cardiovascular training. Plyometrics exist to help develop power output. That’s it. They aren’t supposed to be done in a highly fatigued state over and over. That’s just asking for injury.
Sure, it may look cool jumping on a box repeatedly, but it won’t look cool when you wind up snapping your Achilles tendon and walking around in a boot for 6 months.
You can thank most high school football coaches for this one. I actually love teaching my clients how to crawl properly, as it can be an outstanding way to help them learn to control their core, train shoulder health, and learn proper movement.
But doing bear crawls for speed or time is a recipe for fucking up your shoulders, hips, and lower back.
Bear crawls are meant to be done slow and steady, or the exact opposite of how most high school football coaches like to use them.
Barbell, dumbbell, and kettlebell complexes are great tools for HIIT style training, and that’s about it. Unfortunately when it comes to using weights for cardio most bros completely neglect these tools.
Instead they think just super setting a bunch of exercises is going to do the job, and completely neglect the need for lighter weight, paying attention to proper movement, etc.
It’s absolutely maddening. Like I mentioned earlier, the gym is there to help you get better, not just get tired. Don’t view lifting weights as your cardio, as it most assuredly isn’t cardio.
Use proper rest periods, good form, and proper tempo. Not only will you make gains, but you’ll actually have energy to do cardio the right way later on.