Quick yet brutal workout

The other day I only had about 15-20 minutes to get a workout in.

It wasn't enough time for a proper warmup and a strength-oriented training session, so I decided to do something that would require very little time and give me my "dose of cardio." I hadn't conditioned in about 8 weeks (I was performing a rough weight gain experiment on myself), so this seemed to be what I needed.

If you think that running is the only way to "get your cardio" on, think again. Try this routine and you'll be gasping for breath within 6 minutes. I grabbed it from Ross Enamait when I was looking for something to do (that wasn't written by me), and it's called "Work Capacity 101."

Basically, start the clock and perform:

  • 5 pullups
  • 10 med ball slams
  • 15 burpees**
  • 20 jumping jacks

Continue until you're done (probably anywhere at the 60-90second mark) and rest until the 2-minute mark. Repeat for five to ten rounds, or a 10-20 minute routine.

A few notes:

1. If you can't do pullups (you'll want to be able to do 8-10 comfortably for the pullups in this routine to be appropriate), then perform an inverted row (on a barbell or TRX) to decrease difficulty.

2. If you don't have access to a medicine ball, perform an abdominal exercise of choice

3. The burpees are the most difficult portion of this routine by far. If they render you unable to complete the routine, then try elevating your hands, omitting the pushup portion of the burpee, or reducing the number of burpees from fifteen to ten.

Give it a shot! Be warned: it is WAY harder than it looks. After the fourth or fifth round you'll really be questioning your sanity. I filmed an example round that is located on the right of this webpage, or you can view it HERE.

**Burpees are as hard as you make them. Don't short-change yourself here. A true burpee is completed with a FULL pushup at the bottom (chest to floor) and a JUMP at the top. You can omit the pushup, but understand you are now doing a "squat thrust" or "up down," not a burpee.

P.S. I don't recommend doing something like this very often if increased strength and power are a primary training goal.  But it can certainly be used periodically, or for those "cardio junkies" out there!