I'm on record saying how much I love aerobic work. As far as health is concerned, there is no better way to train. I also think that having a wide variety of exercises is massively important to mobility, brain health and performance.
With all of this in mind, I still want to get after it in the gym. I'm not interested in becoming a mindless zombie for 45-minutes on the elliptical. I want to challenge myself. In particular, I want to challenge my mental toughness. This new workout that I concocted checks all the boxes.
Here is how it is set up:
- 6 Exercises
- 6 Minutes Each
- I like workouts that keep me in the Heart Rate Zone between 130-140 for 30 minutes. This workout is 36 minutes because I am planning for the time it takes for me to build my heart rate up and keep it steady in that area.
- Incline Treadmill Walk: One of my all time favorite and most effective exercises. I outlined many of the benefits of this exercise in this article. I like to start here because it essentially acts as my warm-up as I try to elevate my heart rate and start breaking a sweat. I usually start at an incline of 10.0 and raise it 1.0 level every sixty-seconds. This brings me to the max incline of 15.0 for the last minute of the walk. I go at a speed of 4.0. When this is done, I'm fully warm and ready to go.
- Side Planks: That's right, six consecutive minutes of side-planks. The one rule is you cannot drop. If you get tired, rotate and flip to the other side. I love it because it's a classic ab exercise that fits my unilateral model. I always start and finish on the left side to address the body's underlying asymmetries. The entire time I am focused on expanding my top-side rib cage through inhalation while the exercise shuts off the bottom.
- Concept Rower: Admittedly I'm pretty up and down with intensity here. One of my big focuses is how I'm driving off the foot pedals. I like to maintain full foot contact so that my hamstrings dominate the push. If you slide too far in, it will be all toe and all quad and that doesn't have as much value. I really like doing "cardio" based exercises that involve my upper body too. It's easy to keep the focus on the lower body with conditioning work but the upper body needs some lovin' too. I also love how on every pull, my serratus shortens and gives my back the ability to train in a non-extended state.
- Single Leg Stance, Anti-Rotation Press: This is probably my most prescribed exercise. I LOVE the anti-rotation press. Nothing gets you in your abs like this move. I go six minutes straight, just like the side planks, when one side gets tired, I just turn around and do the other side. The unilateral nature of this is phenomenal but the global integration is the show. At some point, you need to make sure that these muscles have the energy to work all day or throughout the entire game. So doing this for six-minutes is a godsend for that exact reason. During these six-minutes, I'm focused on proper rib cage expansion while breathing. When I'm working the left abs, I'm trying to feel right front and left back expansion, and vice versa.
- Sled Push/Pull: This is certainly one of the best conditioning tools around. Much like the rower, I love both the pull and the push because it keeps your ribcage down. There really should be no other way to condition or train for that matter. I'm a big proponent for moving backwards in your training program and this certainly gives you that opportunity. I typically use high handles to push and pull to make transitions seamless. By this point I'm really cooking.
- Bear Crawls: Six minutes of bear crawls is a bi**h. I love it so much because it challenges my mental toughness a lot and that's why I go to the gym. But don't get it twisted, this is where alternating and reciprocal movement is at it's finest. I do NOT subscribe to the philosophy that you should be able to balance a cup of water on your back as you bear crawl. The body is supposed to move during gait, a stiff core, is just that, a stiff core. The ribs and hips should all move. When I reach out with my right hand, I side bend to the left and find my left abs and then I do the opposite on the right. If I put a cup of water on your back during bear crawls, you should be soaked in half-a-second.
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