Strength Cardio:
“Aerobics” For Guys Who Don’t Like To Do Cardio

“If you care about being strong then you must do these basic movement patterns:

1. Picking heavy stuff up off the ground.

2. Lifting heavy stuff overhead.

3. Carrying heavy stuff for time or distance.

If your goal is strength and you’re not doing these, well, good luck with that.”

-Dan John, Strength Coach

I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life…

  • should’ve invested in BitCoin when I first heard about it and it was $400 (it’s now at $21K and rising)
  • should NOT have bought a new car when I could have gotten the exact same car with a few miles on it for 30% less
  • shouldn’t have spent all that money on clothes when all I’d end up doing is spending the rest of my life wearing board shorts and tshirts

One of the biggest things I’ve been wrong about though is cardio.

More specifically, the necessity of building an “aerobic base”.

According to Dr. Phil Maffetone, building an aerobic base by maintaining a heart rate range of “(180-age) to (160-age)” when you train will reduce inflammation, lower stress hormones (like cortisol), increase fat burning, and prevent injury.

“Some people rely on larger amounts of fat, with the result of high physical and mental vigor, improved health, and better all-around performance.

Those less able to burn sufficient fat must rely more on sugar, resulting in less fat burning each day—a problem associated with reduced health, including low energy, increased body fat and weight, less endurance for daily living, and lower physical fitness.”

-Dr. Phil Maffetone

I used to be of the school of thought that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will give me everything I need.

But the free radical damage and stress that continuous HIIT sessions can inflict on your body can literally make you sick, weak and fat.

So about 5 years ago, I started taking my cardiovascular and aerobic fitness a little more seriously by doing some longer, steady-state cardio sessions.

In the past I never took cardio sessions – and never put any of my coaching clients on them – because I found them boring.  But since the advent of podcasting, I now find my cardio sessions more enjoyable and use them as “learning time”.

One of my favourite exercises to build a strong cardio base and burn fat is rucking.

I’ve used a heavy backpack (I have a GR1 Rucksack from GoRuck that I bought in 2007) loaded with about 50lbs – loaded with a combination of soup cans and slabs of dry wall cut to fit – for my rucking.

But now I use a weighted vest since the weight is more evenly distributed across my body.

Rucking is far more enjoyable for me than running and seems to get my heart rate exactly where I need it to be based on the Maffetone equation above.

Aside from Rucking, loaded carries with a kettlebell are an incredibly effective way to get some low impact aerobic work in.

Loaded carries using kettlebells are like Cardio Exercises for People Who Don’t Like Cardio.

If you’re a customer of our Visual Impact Kettlebell Course, you would have received our “Everyday Carry Workout” bonus.

The “Everyday Carry” Workout is a loaded carry “kettlebell complex”.

A kettlebell complex is a series of exercises performed in a sequence with the same weight and without rest. All reps of an exercise are performed BEFORE moving on to the next exercise.

Heres a video of the “Everyday Carry” Workout in action…

The Everyday Carry Workout

Use a kettlebell that you can comfortably hold over your head with a locked-out arm.

*You don’t need to be able to press the KB overhead, but you should be able to support the kettlebell in the overhead position with a locked elbow. Most people can support a weight overhead heavier than they can press a weight overhead.

Mark off a distance between 10m to 40m.

  • Starting with your LEFT arm, carry the kettlebell overhead while walking to your marked off distance.
  • When you reach that distance, “pull” the kettlebell into the rack position, turn around and walk back to the starting spot with the kettlebell in the rack (this is called a “Rack Walk”).
  • When you reach the starting spot, hold the kettlebell at your side and walk back to the marked off distance (this is called a “Suitcase Carry”).
  • When you get back to the marked off distance, switch the kettlebell to your right hand and repeat the complex started with the overhead carry with your right arm.

To add loaded carries into your training, I would do the EveryDay Carry Workout on your off days.

Just set a time for 20 to 30 minutes and see how many complexes you can get in within that time.

Remember to make sure to keep your heart rate in that “(180-age) to (160-age)” range.

To optimally take advantage of the fat burning response, don’t allow your heart rate to go over that range.

Over time, your body will start to understand how to utilize fat as a fuel.

Then you compliment that with lifting heavy (strength work)…

…and then test yourself with higher intensity work no more than ONCE every 2 weeks – although I think once per month is better.

And then just eat like an adult to stay lean – “Vegetables for Health, Meat for Strength” as Pavel likes to say.

Put that all together and you have a program that will make you stronger, leaner and healthy for the rest of your life.

Have a comment or question? Let me know below…