T Nation

best cardio?

Well, i’m gonna cut now. Usually my cardio of choice is the recumbant bike, but its seems like that really drains your quads and hams. I don’t want this to happen because I’ve really brought them up w/ box squatting lately, and don’t want them to overtrain/atrophy/lose strength. So does anyone have a favorite form of cardio that is less likely to overtrain the legs and make my squat go down?

Hit the heavy bag for sets of 1 minute. You will find out what true cardio is.

Swimming. Rower (Concept 2). Kayaking (flat-water). Cross-country skiing (classic, not skate).

I agree with Mitchell; however, try 3-minute rounds instead. Jump rope is another one I like.

A good sprinting routine will actually increase the fast-twitch fibers in your legs, so says the “studies.” I have never lost mass through HIIT workouts, so maybe try this. Just my opinion.

I like the “Crosstrainer” thingie that works your arms as well as your legs. It’s easy on the knees, too, and you can sweat like a pig without your muscles actually feeling tired.

I too am on a cutting cycle and I, too usually use a recumbant bike 20 minutes at a crack. However, I usually start at about a 2 setting then go up a notch each minute till I hit the 8 setting then back to 2 to take the strain off the legs for a while. Then do that a few more times until you get your 20 minutes or whatever. Just another idea for you since you already have the bike. In my neighborhood it’s below zero out there so I am stuck with heavy bag, bike kind of activities so I like other twists on the same stuff. Cardio sucks but what can you do? Alot of good suggestions up here though.

Wow, thanks for all the great replys folks. I just really have to get away fromthat recumbant bike, i got real comfortable doing it pretty intensley an hour every morning during my last cutter. I got really lean but my squat felt it bad.

Try HIIT on the stairmaster. This kicks my ass every time I do it. I’ve actually noticed strength increases in my squat in the past from doing this. I don’t know if you’d want to do this too much though, since it might lead to atrophy/overtraining.

just curious, how did you structure your hit stairmaster routine?

Another question…I’ve heard swimming isnt’ so great for fat loss because the cool water causes you to retain fat (insulation)…I know this probably isn’t true because total cal deficit is still there, but let me hear opinions?

Rope skip rounds followed by a bodyweight exercise such as pushups. Works wonders. Also, try the TRACK for HIIT!

Strongman cardio - sandbag training, farmers walks, tire flipping, sledgehammering, car pushing or pulling and hard labour. Real cardio.

FormerlyJohn, I know you asked Jet, but I’ll tell you how I do my HIIT on the StairMaster. I put it on the Manual setting, put in my weight and 45 minutes for the time. I hit the the 1/TIME key so that my time is displayed and I do my first minute @ Level 2. You change levels of intensity by hitting the + key. I go up one level of intensity every minute until I’m starting Minute 6, which is when I start go down one level of intensity every 30 seconds. That’s my warmup. At Minute 8 I start my sprints/HIIs. I do 30 seconds @ Level 10, 90 seconds @ Level 3, back and forth. I do 15 sprints over the course of 30 minutes. The last 7 minutes are a cooldown, done around Level 3 or so. It’s a killer, but an incredible fat burner/metabolism booster. I consider it highly complementary to my leg work. But I only do HIIT on alternate days; 3 days weights, 4 days HIIT. Remember to get in your post-workout nutrition. You do do a post-workout drink, don’t you? Surge restores my glycogen stores and brings catabolism to a screeching halt. Done this way it will not negatively affect your squats.

What I do use the manual setting. I get a nice warm-up and then hit the intervals. I do 1 minute intervals for about 20 minutes. I’ll do one minute at a level 7 setting and then go one minute at level 14. It’s pretty basic. Use whatever settings feel good for you.

Im a jrope freak, I do various round lengths for 45-60 minutes a day. Great gpp work not to mention foot speed, agility and all the other positive factors.

I like rowing but I don’t have a machine in my house and boxing is very good also. But what I like to and have gotten back too (from my HS wrestling days). Was the deck of cards cardio. Its painful and im too about 25 cards but when I was in HS I could do a whole deck (not pretty at the end). Well the way it goes is you assigned to each suit a given exercise. I do sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, and those jump up then kneel down thrust your legs backward then back up (what ever you call it). so you take a card out of the deck and you do as many of that exercise as the value of the card. Kings, queens, jacks are worth 10 and aces are 25. Try it, wow is it a pain. And no rest in between. You do one card after another with no rest. It should take like 30 minutes almost for a whole deck I think.