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Non-Impact Options or Replacement for
Every week, several people email me about cardiovascular options other
running. Running is a great cardio option however, if your knees
you are overweight, or just need a break from running for a while, here
some non-impact cardio options that I prefer to do:
(scan below if you need non impact options when you cannot swim)
Water is a domain that very forgiving to the joints of the body. If you are able to swim and not fearful of the water the workouts below are a great way to build up your heart and lungs as well as burn calories. There are quick and easy workouts as well as very advanced workouts that I do not recommend doing alone or without a lifeguard. If you are a beginner, do what you can and it maybe necessary to learn a few techniques to swim more efficiently. I learned by watching swims teams practice, but there are many videos and swim instructors out there to help you.
One of my favorite
workouts is the stationary bike
pyramid. You can actually do this on an
elliptical machine as well.
I call this workout the Bike Pyramid: (also done with Elliptical)
Start - Level 1 on manual mode for 1 minute and keep the RPMs at 80-100. Each minute that passes, increase the resistance by 1 level. Continue this process until you are having difficulty breathing and/or peddling. When you get really good at this you can take the bike to level 20. THEN, repeat the cycle in reverse order. So you have a warmup - max out - cool down all rolled into one nice package. This workout will take 39-40 minutes if you are that advanced. But, if you can only get up to level 10 and back to level 1, your time investment is only 19 minutes. I do the same on an elliptical machine but find that increasing by 2 or 3 levels each minute makes it more challenging.
Of course, getting
outside on a real bike can be another way to get cardiovascular
Make sure you have a safe place to ride like bike trails versus sharing
road with vehicles. Save that for the more advanced riders.
Bike / Elliptical Tabata Intervals (Also done with rower)
This workout is done in 5 minute sets where you rotate between fast / slow periods for the entire 5 minutes. You will do 20 seconds full speed followed by 10 seconds easy. Repeat 10 times for a total of 5 minutes. This is a great quick 5 min cardio "rest" exercise placed in between circuit exercises in many of our workouts.
The 2nd version is to go for extended periods of time doing the 20 seconds / 10 second protocol. Typically, if we are doing this for 30 minutes, we will go for 5 minutes - take 2 min easy and then repeat the 5 minute fast / slow cycle. Get as many 5 min fast / slow cycles as you can in 30 minutes.
If you have never ridden a rowing machine - also known as an ergometer, let me tell you - it is tough and a great full body workout. I always wondered why so many guys who rowed for their sport went onto SEAL training and did very well. It is one tough cardio-vascular exercise. My swim buddy Alden Mills was team captain of the Navy Heavyweight Crew Team and at 230 lbs could crank out 30 pullups. That is what rowing can do for you. But if you are seeking just a great non-impact cardio exercise, rowing maybe right for you. The good thing is that the machines like Concept 2 or Vasatrainer have programs on the machine that challenge you and keep your interest. Try the 2000m test. If you can get it in about the same as your mile time - not bad!100 Calorie Burnout
100 calorie burnout - pick any machine (bike, elliptical, rower, treadmill) and input your weight and age. Then see how fast you can burn 100 calories. Usually take 5-8 minutes and should feel like you just sprinted a mile.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author
certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the
To contact Stew with your comments and questions, just e-mail him
Complete List of Books, eBooks, DVDs
NEW - Tactical Fitness - Featuring the Dirty Dozen | More Info | Book only
The Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout | More info | Book only
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness | More Info | Book / DVD
Maximum Fitness - CrossTraining | More Info | Book only
The Special Operations Workout | More Info | Book only
The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT | More Info | Book only
The Combat Swimmer Stroke Video | More Info | Download MP4
The Pre-Habit Workout | More Info | DVD only
New Fitness APPs: Navy SEAL, FBI, Pushup. Pullups | More Info | APPS
The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks / Books:
* NO EBOOK READER REQUIRED | READ WITH ADOBE ACROBAT READER
Fitness for All Levels of Fitness
Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach | More Info | eBook only
The Busy Executive Workout Routine | eBook only
The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts