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Useless Cardio

Nov 2, 2011

G…amn, useless cardio machines!

Here’s another little secret I’ve learned about people and “fitness” over the years. Those cardio machines that you see packed into gyms aren’t really getting you in much better shape. If anything, your favorite cardio machine is likely feeding your OCD while fooling you into believing that you are “getting into shape”. Those that don’t believe me should try doing 30 seconds each, with no break, of jumping jacks, shuffle splits, burpees, and mountain climbers. How do you feel now? I bet 2 minutes doing some cardio machine won’t have nearly the same effect!

A famous strength and conditioning coach I know was hired by Northwestern University to help get the lowly football team in shape to climb out of the cellar of the Big 10. The athletic director proudly showed off rows of gleaming new elliptical machines and remarked how the football athletes would use the latest methods to get into shape. The coach said, “From now on, you will cover those machines in towels. Any football player caught using those will have to do wind sprints until I say they can stop.” The next season, Northwestern won their conference and was in the Rose Bowl. They did it using good old calisthenics, wheelbarrows, jump ropes, agility ladders, sprinting drills, and tumbling exercises.

Do you really think it’s any different for you? I have cardio equipment because years ago FT told me I needed to have them because that’s what people wanted. Even now, I think only a handful of clients actually use them on a regular basis. The other day someone forgot that the treadmill was running, stepped on, shot back into the wall and missed a whole week of training with a swollen knee. I won’t get into the fact that most accidents happen around home (and FT is like home to this client!). Pay attention, folks!

If I were to re-do the Cardio area, I would have the following:

Schwinn Air-Dyne bike: For beginners who have back and knee problems and are very limited in their movements. You see them being used by NFL players to keep loose on the sidelines.

Concept 2 Rowing ergometer: Simply the best bang-for-the-buck training device, even functional when you consider the way your core and upper body need to work together.

Jump-ropes: Simple, effective.

Non-slip mat for doing GPP (general physical preparation)

Perhaps even sledgehammers strikes: Swinging a sledgemanner will raise the heart rate higher than anything else I’ve seen. Perfect for interval training, which you all should be doing anyways. And let’s face it, most people begin having no idea how to use one. Did everybody forget what actual work is like? Or did they never learn how to do real work in the first place?

Comments are welcomed!


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