WORKOUTS

Fast and Furious: A Time-Saving Strength-Cardio Combo Workout

For many, the new year can be a time of frustrated ambitions—you want to kick-start your body back into high gear, but you're so busy catching up at work you can't make it to the gym, let alone tack on a half hour of cardio to the end of it.

Sound familiar? Don't give up. We have a temporary solution to keep your muscles pumping and heart thumping through those difficult 12-hour work days and travel times. How do you do it? Simple:
  1. First, choose strength-training exercises that you can do anywhere, reducing your transition and setup time between exercises to almost nothing and enabling you to do your workouts at home when you can't make it to the gym.
  2. Second, choose exercises that train multiple muscle groups so that every exercise counts double—or triple.
  3. Finally, replace rest periods between exercises with jumping rope or jumping jacks. These short bursts of aerobic activity, coupled with a challenging circuit of strength training exercises, will leave you dripping with sweat and aching in a good way.
To help showcase this type of strength-cardio combination workout, RealJock.com turned to Billy Polson, creator of the RealJock.com 12-Week Strong and Lean Workout program and founder of the award-winning DIAKADI Body personal training gym in San Francisco. Polson provided the anytime, anywhere full-body workout below.

Ready to get started? Do an entire circuit of the workout—one set of each exercise below—with the jumping rope or jumping jacks in between. At the end of that circuit, hydrate and rest for a few minutes and then repeat the entire sequence. You don't want to do this kind of workout forever—for long-term fitness, do more diverse programs—but for those tough time-crunch periods where you're really busy or traveling, it can be a big help.

Note: If you're pressed for time, skip the jump rope or jumping jacks and just do two fast circuits of the exercises with minimal rest in between.

FAST AND FURIOUS STRENGTH-CARDIO COMBO WORKOUT
Exercise Muscles Circuit 1 Reps Circuit 2 Reps
Squat Thrusts (aka burpies) Full body 12 12
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Alternate Stepback Lunge with Plate Twist Legs, Full body 10 each leg 10 each leg
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Alternating T Push-ups Chest 20 20
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Squats and Squat Jumps Legs 10 squats, 10 jumps, 10 squats, 10 jumps 10 squats, 10 jumps, 10 squats, 10 jumps
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Saxon Bends Abdominals 10 each side 10 each side
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Hands and Toes Walk Out and Back Full body 12 12
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Alternate Lunges and Scissor Switches Legs 10 lunges, 10 switches, 10 lunges, 10 switches 10 lunges, 10 switches, 10 lunges, 10 switches
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Hold Plank on Elbows and Toes Full body 60 secs 60 secs
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Multi-Directional Speed Lunges with Floor Tap Legs 6 full sets 6 full sets
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks
Flat-Bench Leg Lifts Abdominals (lower) 20 20
Speed Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks Full body 100 jumps or 50 jacks 100 jumps or 50 jacks


EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS IN BRIEF
Exercise Overview
Squat Thrusts (aka burpies) With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down as far as you can and place your hands on the ground at shoulder width as if you are about to do a push-up. From the starting position, kick your feet back into the push-up position in one fluid motion. Immediately lift up your feet and shoot them back towards your hands, landing them back at starting position. Immediately jump up as high as you can in a full jump, then land in the starting position so you are ready for your next rep.
Speed Jump Rope Stand upright with a jump rope's handles in each hand. Swing the rope overhead and begin jumping rope in a running motion, bringing your knees up and switching feet with each time the rope passes under you. Jump as fast as you can, without slowing down, for 100 total revolutions of the rope.
Alternate Stepback Lunge with Plate Twist Stand upright holding a weight plate with both hands close to the front of your chest. Step back with your left foot and perform a lunge, dropping down through the back knee while keeping your upper body vertical. Be sure to keep the weight more in your right heel and do not push forward with your right knee. At the bottom of your lunge, press the weight plate directly in front of you at chest level and rotate through your upper body to the right. Your hips should stay facing forward even as your shoulders turn to face the right side. Return your shoulders to center, bring the weight plate back in toward your chest, and step back up to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with the right leg back, rotating left with your upper body this time, and continue to alternate for a set of 20 (10 reps in each direction).
Alternating T Push-ups Position yourself face down on the floor with your arms straight and your hands and toes supporting your body. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe and your arms slightly more than shoulder width apart. Next, lower down into a classic push-up, then press up from the floor. As you press up from the floor, rock up onto your left hand and bring your right hand off the floor. Your feet should turn so that your are supported on the outside of your left foot and inside of your right foot. Bring your right hand up above your head so that your body is in a T position. Your body should stay in a straight line from your feet to your armpit. As soon as you achieve the T position, reverse direction and bring your right hand back to the floor, go right down into your next push-up, and then go back up into the T position on your other side with your left hand up in the air.
Squats and Squat Jumps Stand on the floor with your arms up at the sides of your head with elbows bent, your hands gently cupping the sides of your head, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so that your toes are pointed straight ahead. Next, slowly lower down to a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight balanced between the balls of your feet and your heels as you go down. If you feel any knee pressure, shift your weight back more to your heels and let your hips ride back more to take some of the weight off of your toes. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, you will have reached the depth of the squat. Reverse motion and drive up through your feet to return to the starting position. Do 10 of these squats, then switch immediately to plyometric jump squats. To do a plyometric jump squat, begin by lowering yourself down to a fully squatted position as you did in the standard squat. When you have reached the depth of the squat, reverse motion and jump up into the air as high as you possibly can. When you land from your jump, go immediately into your next squat. After you have completed 10 squats and 10 plyometric jump squats, repeat another 10 squats and 10 plyometric jump squats.
Saxon Bends Stand upright with feet a little wider than your hips and your hands on your head (for added difficulty, hold a weight plate above your head). Concentrate on maintaining good posture and keeping your abdominals engaged. Next, slowly bend sideways at the hips, leaning over to the side as far as you can without turning your shoulders. Your objective is to stretch the outside side of your body as far as possible. Both knees should be slightly bent, and you should use your leg muscles throughout the movement so that your lower body does not move. Keep the movement slow and smooth, and breathe in a regular rhythm. Slowly return to standing and repeat the exercise for 10 repetitions on the same side. Then switch and do 10 more on the other side.
Hands and Toes Walk Out and Back Begin in a piked-up position on the floor with your back slightly rounded instead of truly piked. Your hips should be in the air, your palms flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart in front of you, your legs as straight as possible, your feet hip-width apart with heels slightly off the ground, and your body supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. In order to maintain the support through your abdominals, keep your chin tucked to your chest throughout the movement and think of your starting position as a rounded arch from your hands up and around to your feet. The feeling will be similar to the feeling of sucking in your stomach as if someone had punched you in the gut. This will help keep your back rounded throughout the movement and your abs pulled tight in. From the starting position, slowly walk your hands out past the push-up position as far in front of you as you can while staying in the plank position. When you reach the fully extended plank position, your body should be in a straight line from your heels to your head, your arms should be straight, and your hands should be on the floor in front of you. Reverse the motion and slowly walk your upper body back up to the starting pike position.
Alternate Lunges and Scissor Switches Begin in a piked-up position on the floor with your back slightly rounded instead of truly piked. Your hips should be in the air, your palms flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart in front of you, your legs as straight as possible, your feet hip-width apart with heels slightly off the ground, and your body supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. In order to maintain the support through your abdominals, keep your chin tucked to your chest throughout the movement and think of your starting position as a rounded arch from your hands up and around to your feet. The feeling will be similar to the feeling of sucking in your stomach as if someone had punched you in the gut. This will help keep your back rounded throughout the movement and your abs pulled tight in. Next, slowly walk your hands out past the push-up position as far in front of you as you can while staying in the plank position. When you reach the fully extended plank position, your body should be in a straight line from your heels to your head, your arms should be straight, and your hands should be on the floor in front of you. Reverse the motion and slowly walk your upper body back up to the starting pike position (see Photos 4 and 5).
Hold Plank on Elbows and Toes In a prone position (face down) with your feet hip-width apart and your forearms shoulder-width apart, balance on the tips of your toes and elbows and maintain a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your forearms on the floor parallel to your bodyline. Keep your abs contracted and stable to keep your back from sagging. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Hold the plank position for 60 seconds. You should feel this exercise in both the front and back muscles of the trunk.
Multi-Directional Speed Lunges with Floor Tap Stand upright with feet about hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Step one foot forward into a lunge. Drop down through the back thigh and knee as you bend the front leg. Do not push forward through your front knee; it should not go ahead of your front toe. At the bottom of your lunge, touch your hands gently to the floor on either side of your front foot. Reverse the motion, bring your hands off the floor, come up through your legs, and bring your feet back together. After you have done two of the forward lunges (one on each side), and have returned to the starting position, do two lunges at a 45-degree angle. From the starting position, step out and turn your body so that you lunge at a 45-degree angle to your starting position. Repeat the lunge forward, touch the floor, and return to standing, being sure to pivot back so that you end standing at the starting position. Then do the same lunge on the other leg. Once you have completed the 45-degree lunges, do two side lunges. Again from the starting position, step one leg straight out to the side and bend that knee, such that you lunge down over your bent leg while the other leg will stretch straight to the side. Again touch the floor at the bottom of your lunge, and press back up bringing your legs together, such that you end at the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. You have now completed one circuit of lunges. Repeat the entire circuit five more times, for a total of six circuits.
Flat Bench Leg Lifts Lie back on a flat bench and hold on to the top of it behind your head with hands. Lift your legs up until they are perpendicular to your body and the bench, and then bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your lower back is flat on the bench. Next, keep your knees bent and lower your legs down so that your feet move toward the floor. Move slowly and focus on engaging your lower abs and pulling your belly button in hard to your spine throughout the movement. Your lower back should never leave the bench. When you have gone down as far as you can, reverse the motion and use your lower abs to lift your legs back up to starting position. For a more challenging version of this exercise, keep your legs straight as you life and lower them.

EXERCISE IMAGES

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto