Cardio training is important, especially if you want to lose fat as fast as possible and develop your cardiovascular capacity.
It also can be quite boring and ineffective if you use exercises that allow you to plug away for long periods of time without any focus, attention or intensity.
That's where THIS resistance-based cardio exercise comes in...it's a kettlebell (or dumbbell) swing done at the same time you're stepping up and down on a bench, Step platform or stairs. It works ALL the major muscle groups in your ENTIRE body in one combination movement.
It sounds really complicated and complex...do a one-arm kettlebell swing combined with a step-up. But once you get the hang of it, it's actually very easy and natural to do.
Bench Step-Ups themselves are a great low-equipment way to get some cardio training done.
This essentially doubles the effectiveness of that cardio by including an upper body and core component to the exercise, dramatically increasing calories burned and the metabolic effect of the exercise.
Really, you're hitting your whole body in one shot.
I recommend doing this as interval training. In the demo, I'm doing 30 seconds work to 30 seconds rest for a total of 15 minutes (I won't show you the whole 15 minutes here, though - you'll get the idea well before that amount of time).
To do this one, you'll need some Step risers or a low bench or stairs and a kettlebell. I'm using a 40 lb kettlebell here. You can also do this very effectively (though a bit differently) with dumbbells - I'll show you that version after.
Stand in front of your Step platform with the kettlebell in your right hand. Grip on the kettlebell as far over to the right hand side of the handle as you can (I actually leave my pinky off the grip completely to make the switch at the top easier). This will facilitate the switching of hands at the top of the swing.
Take a short backswing with the kettlebell then step up onto the bench at the same time as you swing the kettlebell up in front of you (right or left leg - doesn't matter, though it's good to alternate which one you step up with on each interval you do).
At the top of the swing, when you're standing on the Step, switch hands and let it swing down with your left hand as you step back down at the same time.
Take a short back swing then step up again, swinging the kettlebell up again.
Repeat this sequence of switching hands and stepping up and down for 30 seconds.
Like I said, it sounds complicated but you once get going it's not so bad. And it's TOUGH, really hitting every major muscle group in your body while you're doing cardiovascular training.
If you've only got dumbbells, I suggest doing it with two dumbbells and not switching hands at the top - it's tougher to switch with dumbbells and you don't want to drop one on yourself.
It works just as well with 2 dumbbells, though you won't get the same degree of core involvement as you do swinging a single kettlebell back and forth.
Grab two dumbbells - I've got two 20-lb dumbbells here. Take a short backswing. Now step onto the platform and start swinging them up in front of you.
Swing them up until your arms are horizontal then step back down, bringing the dumbbells back down and taking another backswing.
Again, when you're doing these for intervals, alternate which leg you lead with on each interval, e.g. step first with your left on one interval then on the next interval step first with your right. This will help keep things even.
This is GREAT cardio training...very little equipment needed and it'll work you better then the vast majority of the cardio machines out there.
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