5 must - do exercises everybody should do

I really need to start busting my ass and getting into better shape. That’s why I’m going to start to devote more time to working out. With that being said, what five things should a person do to insure that they get a good cardio workout. I’ll be the first to tell you that I won’t be devoting a whole lot of time at the rec, but I figure I’ll go there and bust my ass for somewhere between an hour to hour and a half. The exercises I plan on doing are as follows:

  1. Ride a stationary bike for 2 fifteen minute intervals
  2. Do a row machine for 20 minutes
  3. Do 50 pushups
    and I don’t really know what to do for the 4 and 5 activity.

any suggestions would be welcome :slight_smile:

I just hang out on the elliptical machine for an hour.

I’d recommend doing squats. Concentrate on form and don’t worry about using too little weight. If there is 1 exercise that I’d place above all the others, it’s the squat. If you use less weight and more, quick reps, you’ll even get an excellent cardio workout with squats.

  1. Ride the stationary bike again.
  2. Ride the stationary bike again.

I’m only somewhat joking. That doesn’t give you a balanced routine, but I’ll tell you, I started riding a bike again last year after putting on a lot of weight after knee surgery.

I’m now in the better shape than I was the year I ran a marathon, and I’ve done it with none of the shin splints, twisted ankles, beat up knees and day in and day out soreness of running. I’ve taken off a bunch of weight, and inches.

My upper body isn’t as strong as it has been in the past, but heart and lung-wise, I’ve never been in shape like this before. After you build up a little muscle endurance, you can turn those legs forever and your heart and lungs just feed them, feed them, feed them.

As a matter of fact, I’m biking so much, I don’t think I could put weight on right now if I tried.

But, that’s ALMOST all been on a bicycle. I don’t think I could have put in the same time and mileage on a stationary. You’ll want to vary things. . .real intervals mean repeated extreme exertion mingled with recovery riding. Do some “hill” type work outs for greater strength.

I’d seriously take some of those 1.5 hour days at the gym and ride a bike the WHOLE time. It will be mentally tough, but it’s a great cardio and fat-burning workout.

Walk and stretch.

Resistance training in general is an excellent addition.

Rather than spending an hour and a half in the gym just doing cardio for your workout, I think you’d see better results if you spent the first 20 minutes doing squats, pushups, chins, etc and then doing your cardio.

If you don’t have weights:

Dips. Wide-grip pull-ups. Close-grip pull-ups. Incline sit-ups (done correctly). Run stadium stairs.

Do those things and eat five times a day and you will be lean and pretty damn buff.

If you’ve got dumbbells:

Curls, flat-bench presses, lunges, shrugs, squats, standing flyes (I know that’s six- suck it up, girly-man! :wink: )
If you’ve got barbells:

Curls, flat-bench presses, hi-pulls, front raises, squats, reverse curls. (yes, six again, Nancy. :wink: I can’t say enough good things about finishing a circuit with reverse curls.)

But honestly, if you just want to “look like you work out,”

-Go to your local sporting goods store and get one of those pull-up/dip bars that fits in a doorframe, some push-up handles, and a good pair of running shoes, and, when you get up in the morning, do the circuit I described first. Do it again before going to bed. If you want, buy some cheap dumbbells and do the exercise above every other day at lunch or instead of the pre-bed ritual- 10 reps of each exercise in a row, repeated 3 times.
All this will take maybe an hour and a half total out of your day and you’ll feel great.
Or, if you want to spend $150.00, buy a power-tower and use that. Damn, it’s a great piece of equipment.

I don’t have suggestions for the last two but since you want a cardio workout I’d modify your first exercise.

Ride the bike for at least twenty minutes at a time. That’s the magic number for keeping your heart rate up and your metabolism humming after a workout. You’ll do better for you heart by riding it once for twenty five minutes rather than twice for a half hour total.

Do you enjoy doing these things? Can you picture yourself doing this every day for the rest of your life? If so, then this should work for you. If not, then find a workout you do enjoy so that sticking with it is a pleasure and not a chore. Ride a real bike outdoors or join a hiking club, something that engages you rather than just moves your muscles.

Yes but what if I don’t have room in my appartment for stadium stairs?

Elbow curls, with a pint of good ale.

The rowing machine will give you a much more intense workout than the stationary bike but only if you do it correctly. Click “technique” in the side menu on the Concept II page to get a little flash illustration of proper technique. Done correctly, you’ll find 20 minutes a pretty hard workout and tougher to stick to than the bike.

As far as your overall plan, you ask specifically about cardio but, if you’re at a gym, what would serve you better would be to alternate a full body weight circuit day with cardio days. And if your knees can take it, I’d try running outside for some of the cardio days too, so you’re not just stuck inside a gym all the time.

I do two hours at a go*****. Fifteen minutes is only enough for a warmup, if you want to burn off fat you need to do more than 20 minutes. I started doing this specifically to get thinner, and it worked.

Is running out of the question? It is a more effective way of getting/staying fit than a gym machine. I run most days, but it wasn’t until I started the epic stationary bike rides that I actually started losing weight.

*****When I started doing this it fitted in neatly at weekends where Sky would show great blocks of various Star Treks so there was always a couple of hours’ watchable TV on. More recently the BBC were showing The Rockford Files and Monk back to back, now Channel 5 are showing three varieties of CSI so I’m still Ok for new TV. I’m assuming that it’s the biking doing me good rather than the TV viewing so if you’d be happier watching WWF or listening to Slipknot I think you can substitute that.

Just my opinion, but a real bicycle is a better excercise than a stationary bike. The scenery changes faster so you don’t get bored, and having a destination gives you more motivation. Maybe you can integrate it into your life so it doubles as transportation - if you replace a 5-minute drive with a 15-minute bike ride, you’re getting 15 minutes worth of excercise with only 10 minutes extra time.

Get a bigger apartment, Mary and quit crying.

Seriously, then run hills or other varied terrain. Nothing is more fun than a 45-minute run.

Yeah, but watching the falling bubbles in Guinness is what got a lot of us in bad shape to begin with. …those bubbles, hypnotically moving through dark fluid.

See now that sounds like more fun than a 45 min run.

Whoever said squats, I have to second that. It is the BEST exercise you can do, for a couple reasons: 1. It will get your heart-pumping, some people skip cardio on “legs day” because of that; and 2. It works out your entire lower half and you will have the pain to prove it.

Until you get your legs used to it, it will hurt like you couldn’t believe, but it is worth it and it will go away.

Kegels. C’mon. Ya know you were thinking it too.

And your back. And your glutes. It’s a f’ing awesome exercise.

Just wanted to chime in with Squats. Straight-legged Deadlifts are great too. They work the back, arms, shoulders, etc. Some good ol olympic lifts are great too, The Snatch and the Clean and Jerk are great exercises that can give an all around great exercise. The weights you can do may seem low, but it really works, they just aren’t ego exercises.

Anyhow, Bike riding and row machines are great, and running or swimming is great too. I might suggest Jump rope or a trampoline as well. Both are great for cariovascular fitness. So lets see:

  1. Squat
  2. Snatch
  3. Clean & Jerk (2 and 3 can replace the deadlift in a tight spot)
  4. Running
  5. Jump rope

There ya go, my suggestion. :smiley: