Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lunch Break Workout

This workout is designed to fit into a 45-minute lunch period or can be done immediately before or after a shift. The workout itself will take about 35 minutes. You can adjust the workout length by either increasing or decreasing the number of cardio time periods. It is designed for work on a piece of cardio equipment such as a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. That is not to say that it couldn’t be done while skipping rope, jogging in place or doing some other form of cardio exercise that doesn’t require a machine. It is designed to break up some of the boredom associated with machine-based cardio training.

You can take the heart rate measurement yourself by taking your pulse for 10 seconds and multiplying it by six, or use the heart rate feature on the piece of equipment you are using. Use 7%0 or your MHR as your initial target. As you become fitter you can slowly increase the percentage. The second step is to pick four exercises that consist of a vertical push, a vertical pull, a horizontal push, and horizontal pull. Whatever exercises you choose, make sure they allow you to “bailout” if unable to complete the reps. For example, a barbell bench press is a poor choice for this workout as fatigue may put you into a dangerous situation in which the bar could trap you or injure you. Pushups or a dumbbell bench press would be the better choice. Now to begin, pick your preferred piece of cardio equipment (I strongly suggest that you rotate through different pieces of equipment through the week if your facility is so outfitted). Start off at an easy pace for one minute. Progressively increase either the speed or the resistance every minute for the next five minutes in a manner that will allow you to reach your training heart rate by the end of the fifth minute. Once you have reached the end of the fifth minute, stop the machine and immediately move to the exercise you have chosen for that day. If it is a weight lifting movement, make your first set about three-quarters of what you plan on using for a working weight (If you elected to do dumbbell standing presses with 40lbs, do your first set at 30lbs). This will act as a quick warm-up. As soon as you are done with that set, get back on the piece of cardio equipment you were

using and check your pulse rate. It should be still within the target heart rate range if you worked hard enough. It may be higher depending upon the exercise you performed. Now depending on your level of conditioning and what emphasis you are putting on your training, you can determine how much time to take between sets. You can progress from longer periods of time to shorter periods of time (10mins to 8mins to 5mins to 3mins). The shorter the cardio periods, the greater the number of sets and higher volume of work will be performed. The last five minutes of the routine should consist of gradually decreasing the intensity or pace on the cardio machine as a cool down period. Keep your repetitions in the 5 – 8 range. For push-ups/pull-ups you can make the reps higher but try to keep them fewer than 20. To stay at this rep limit, you may externally load your body to perform the exercise. I have found that reps under five are too heavy to be performed correctly while in a fatigued state. For a four on, two off work schedule, perform this workout every day you work. Do only one exercise per day following this format:

day 1 – horizontal push,

day 2 – vertical pull,

day 3 – vertical push,

day 4 – horizontal pull.

You will note that there are no lower body exercises in the workout format. Lower body exercises such as squats and deadlifts, due to their technical nature and high heart rates they produce in this format, are generally not used. I believe this format could be used with an extremely well conditioned athlete but I still believe the subject should become familiar with this type of training before including any lower body work. In the interim, I would recommend that some form of lower body exercise such as squats be performed using a more traditional strength routine such as the 5x5 format on either one of the “off days” or scheduled in the middle of the week in lieu the aforementioned training. The athlete should always take at least one full day off and it may be prudent at the start of this program to follow a two days on, one day off schedule. There are several different options you can experiment with using this workout. If you are interested in trying more than one exercise per day, alternate a push movement, cardio, a pull movement, cardio etc. I would recommend you only do this when you are training in a manner that the cardio sessions are shorter to allow enough time to get in sufficient volume for both exercises. If you do train this way, I also recommend that you do not train back to back days in this manner but either take a day off or keep the day in between as a light cardio, recovery day. This workout is quick and simple and has a lot of room for variation. Change the exercises every few weeks. Keep track of progression by increases in weight used, number of sets performed, increases of total repetitions for the entire workout or distances covered while on the cardio equipment.



Barry Charewicz, CSCS "NSCA TSAC REPORT, ISSUE 15" Originally Posted: October 2010. Full Article Available Online:

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