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Maximize Your Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss and Performance

How to increase the intensity of your favorite cardio-focused sports.

So, you’re in pretty good shape and take part in plenty of different cardio workouts and sports. But as much as you’re doing out there, you feel like you’ve been in a sort of fitness plateau for a while. A change is definitely in order, although it seems unreasonable to suggest more intense training that might keep you away from the activities you enjoy most. Here are some tips from personal trainer Mike Duffy on how you can rework your approach to activities like jogging and biking so that you get more out of them.

Basketball

What You’re Doing:
Playing pickup games and casual league games with the guys, without much practice or focus on improving in between games. You knock down a jumper from time to time and generally pull your own weight, but you’re more Brian Scalabrine than Kobe.

What You Should Be Doing:
Tailor your general workout program to help you improve your game, and stay on the court a little while longer to work on specific skills and stamina. Low impact cardiovascular exercise like swimming and cycling are great for cross-training, giving your joints a good rest from getting worn down on the court. “Add in plyometric training such as jumping rope, box jumps, squat jumps and lunge jumps for power,” Duffy says. He also recommends timed mini-games to improve skills and endurance, like seeing how many three-pointers you can make in five minutes (get a partner to rebound for you).

Why:
Well, if you’re already hitting the gym and the court, might as well put in the extra effort to step that game up. The increased stamina, improved shooting and those higher, more explosive jumps should make a big difference in helping you make an impact on those pickup games.

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