Hey guys, it's that time of year when you go out and buy an annual gym/yoga/taichi/zumba/crossfit membership that you'll only use for a month or two. *This* time you're gonna make it work! Well, I hope you do anyway.
As my throngs of adoring fans know, every year I do an annual fitness post.
This year's post is about the most efficient workouts in the woooooooooooooorld. Basically, my patented high-tech workouts will teach everything you need to know to lose fat, gain muscle, and cure cancer. Ok, maybe I'll just teach you how to get the best workout in the shortest amount of time.
You can use these workouts a couple of ways. They can be your primary workouts or you can use them the way I use them. If I'm short on time or need a change from my usual routine, these workouts kick my ass in under 25min. For most people it'll be less.
The common theme of all these workouts is high intensity. I'm too busy to do the literature search but basically, the best evidence on fitness training is that short high intensity training gives as much if not more benefit as up to 2 hours of low intensity training. Trust me. I'm a philosopher.
Why waste time working out when you can waste time doing other things? Now, hold on to your panties cuz these workouts are intense. Some of them will finish you in 10 or 15 minutes (as long as you're pushing yourself and not whining like a baby).
World's Most Efficient Workout #1: Running Stairs
Back in my high school wrestling days, after a full practice Coach Buono would make us run stairs for 15min. It is one of the most hellish workouts you can do. Let me be clear. I'm not talking about no sissy stair climber. I'm talkin' real stairs. There's a very big difference. You'll find out...
How to Run Stairs
Find some stairs. Run to the top. Run back down. Repeat.
Ok. So let's talk specifics so you get the best workout possible in the shortest amount of time.
First of all I like to find at least four stories of stairs to run (more is gooder). Find a building or outdoor parking garage or maybe the building you live in.
Second, mentally commit to the number of times you'll climb the stairs. You aren't allowed to quit until you've finished. At the low end it should add up to maybe around 30 flights. I like to do around 60. Back in the day I lived in an 18 story apt building and I'd run up 10 times. Don't do that. You'll die. The first time I did it, I couldn't walk for days.
Third. This is the important part. You must ascend 2 steps at a time. Running! No walking! Ok, so maybe near the end when you're starting to die you can walk the flights at the end of a rep but you must walk up 2 at a time. Otherwise, you won't be engaging a lot of the muscles in your legs and you won't be working out with enough intensity. MORE INTENSITY!!!1111!1!!!
What I like to do is I'll go up the stairs to the rhythm of the song I'm listening to. This forces me to keep a certain pace and not give up like a baby. Also, when you start to get tired, you can walk to the rhythm between flights but once you get to the next flight get back to 2 at a time and to the beat! Stop crying, big baby!
Fourth: Descending. For most people I don't recommend running down unless you're used to it. If you do, make sure you keep one hand on the handrail. I've fallen before. It's no fun.
I usually do my 60 flights in around 25 min and I'm done after that. Lungs are on fire, legs like jelly (u jelly?). So, if you're looking for a quick workout that will give you results; this is a good one.
Reminder. RUN up. Yeah, your legs and lungs will hurt but you wanted to get in shape didn't you? Oh, did you think it was going to be easy? Did you think you could just sashay up those stairs and you'd get all the results? Listen cry baby: All those fitness sophists telling you that you can get in good shape by doing comfortable low intensity exercise are lying to you. You're going to have to push yourself past your comfort zone if you want results. Now stop crying and go run some stairs!
World's Most Efficient Workout #2: Sambo Conditioning
What is the sambo conditioning circuit? 10 Jumping Squats, 10 Push ups, 10 Sit ups. Repeat for minimum 10 minutes. I dare you to do 15 minutes. Count how many times you can get through the circuit so next time you have benchmark and a target to beat.
How to do the squats: Go down into a regular squat but with your arms at your sides until your finger tips touch the ground. Jump up. That's one.
Let's be real. You're not going to be able to jump the whole 10 minutes. So, as you begin to fade, do as many jumping squats as you can at the beginning of the set until you fail then finish the set with regular squats. For example, you're already starting to cry cuz you can't do 10 full jumping squats. In your next set of squats, jump for the first 3 or 4 then finish the set with regular squats but make sure your finger tips touch for each one.
How to do the push ups. You know how to do push ups. Chest to the ground then full extension of the arms. That's one rep. Don't let your midsection sag. Better to stick your ass up a bit then let it sag. You can vary the hand placement too: narrow, neutral, wide.
Sit ups: Well, they don't have to be sit ups. Pick another ab exercise if you like: crunches, leg raises, V-ups. Whatevz. Just make sure you get a full range of motion and a good contraction at the top of the movement (that's what she said).
If you can do 10 cycles in 10 minutes you are Jesus. I think my best was 8.
World's Most Efficient Workout #3: Randy Couture Weightlifting Circuit for Wrestling
Maybe you can't find a staircase or maybe you just want to do weights but not your usual work out. This weight cycle will kick. your. ass.
Do this circuit 6 times:
World's Most Efficient Workout #4: Versa-Climber
I just discovered this one a month ago. If your gym has one, I challenge you to go just 5 min at 90 ft/m (that's what I did the first time and I died the death).
The way I'd recommend using this one is as interval training. Go 2 min at 120 ft/m then rest for 1 min. Repeat 5 times. Go home, you're done.
UPDATE: Here's what I've been doing on the versa climber: 3x 3min sets at ~85% of max with 1:30 rest between sets. First I set the resistance. To do this I find the resistance where I can't go faster than 135 ft/min at max effort. Once I've set the resistance I begin my 3min set. The way I do it is that I don't let myself go below 120 ft/min during my set. 1:30 rest then start your next set (at the resistance you're already using--no need to recalibrate).
Now, I'm telling you right now that you will not be able to do 3x3min sets with 1:30 breaks (at the resistance level and rate I use). Here's what I did to work myself up to that. In the first 2 weeks I did my first set 3min, 1:30 break, 2min set, 1:30 break, 2min set. Then after 2 weeks I went to 3minx2:30minx2min (1:30 between each). Another 2 weeks or so then I went to 3minx2:30x2:30. Then I went up to 3minx3minx2:30. Finally, I got to 3x3x3.
If you try this I'd love to hear about your experience. At first I wanted to die....good luck!