This go 'round we are doing 3 days a week of our class (the one we write about a lot that is essentially HIIT training using kettle bells, TRX, barbells, bodyweight exercises, and risers). The other 3 days we lift. Ronnie started using an app, Strong Lifts 5x5, for lifting. He's gotten ripped...and yes, please read the "proud wife smile" in that description...he's lookin' fine, if I do say so myself.
Anyways, I also use the app, but to get the kind of exercise I enjoy, lifting alone doesn't do it. I like feeling winded when I workout. I like feeling my heart beating out of my chest. I like that feeling after a workout when I know I couldn't have pushed myself any harder. For me, lifting just doesn't do that. Lifting, my heart rate stays around 40-60% of my max heart rate, and I like to see it more in the 70-95% of my max heart rate. In order to get my heart rate up like I like, I mix cardio into the lifting routine. Usually, I do a set, do 1-3 minutes of cardio, do a set, do 1-3 min of cardio, etc. This is a good way to spike my heart rate into the 70-95% of my max heart rate, it drops a bit through the next set, and then I spike it again.
Here are my cardio bursts of choice:
- Burpees (usually 10 if doing it with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30 if alone)
- Sprints (usually 1-2 minutes at a 10-11 on the treadmill)
- Box jumps (usually 10 if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30-50 if alone)
- Toe taps...tapping my toes on the top of a riser (usually 20 if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 50 if alone)
- Step ups onto a riser (usually 10 a leg if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 20 a leg if alone). For this one sometimes I also hold a 10lb plate and when I step up, I do a press with it.
- Squat jumps (usually 15 if doing it with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30 if alone)
We wear heart rate monitors at the gym, and I find that my calorie burn is exceptionally different if I just lift verses if I lift with cardio bursts mixed in. Just lifting, I burn, say, 80 calories (or so depending on the day). If I lift with cardio bursts mixed in for the same amount of time, I burn, say 250 calories. That's a major difference. So make sure if you're not looking to lose weight, that you account for extra calories you will burn. If you are looking to lose weight...enjoy the extra burn :)