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Military Muscle: Mix up your cardio

Embrace aerobic exercise with these moves

Feb. 9, 2012 - 10:26AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2012 - 10:26AM  |  
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jenny Krug is a triathlete and a requirements officer at the Pentagon.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jenny Krug is a triathlete and a requirements officer at the Pentagon. (Thomas Brown /Staff)
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Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. Click here to email him.

Want to pump up your aerobic conditioning? You don't have to go on long runs or do step aerobics. Here are some alternatives for your next cardio day:

Gym cardio blast

1. Pick out four or five pieces of cardio equipment. For example: treadmill, elliptical, rower, step mill, bike, VersaClimber.

2. Determine a strength exercise to do for either 10 reps or 30 seconds — body weight or weights, and battle ropes are applicable.

3. Complete six minutes at a high pace on each piece of cardio equipment.

4. Between each cardio interval, perform one of the strength exercises.

5. No rest until the end, then rest for five minutes and repeat the circuit.

Weighted vest workout

1. Use a weighted vest or body armor vest.

2. Perform the following strength exercises, doing eight to 10 reps per set and four sets of each exercise. Take five to eight seconds of rest between each set and 15 to 20 seconds between each exercise:

• Push-ups

• Squats

• Calf raises

• Crunches (legs at 90 degrees)

• Push-ups with hands on medicine balls

• Bench triceps dips

• Lunges

• Jackknife push-ups: Start in an inverted V position with your butt high in the air. Keeping your butt in the air, bend your arms until your face approaches the floor. Press back up to the start position.

• Step-ups: Use a box, a bench or steps 18 to 22 inches high. Step up, stand straight up, step down, then step up using the opposite leg.

3. Rest and repeat.

Cardio with box or bench

Set up the following exercises and execute each for a predetermined time, 30 seconds minimum. Take a slow, easy walk to the next station and grab a drink of water between exercises, resting as needed. This will allow you to see progressions. I worked with two women who had to rest between each exercise when they started and now can go halfway through before they need to take a breather.

• Lateral bench jump-overs: Stand beside a weight bench or other raised platform; jump laterally over it and immediately jump back. Continue for the allotted time.

• Step-ups

• Jump rope: Try to keep your knees high.

• Squat press: Hold a set of dumbbells — don't go lightweight — at shoulder level. Squat, touching a weight bench, and as you come out of the squat, press the dumbbells overhead. Return them to shoulder height as you lower back into the squat.

• Jump step-ups: Hold a set of medium-weight dumbbells at your sides with one foot on a 10- to 18-inch bench (most weight benches are 18 inches). Drive yourself up, switching feet in midair so the opposite foot is on the bench when you come down.

• Four-count burpees (rapid throughout): From a standing position, squat so your hands are in front of feet; thrust your feet into push-up position; bring your feet back to your hands; then explode upward, arms overhead and feet off the floor.

• Mountain climbers: In push-up position, rapidly alternate bringing each knee up under your chest.

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