Get Fitter Faster: The Speed Workout
Warm Up: Step Backs
Curtsy left leg behind you: reach hands toward left foot. Repeat on right leg for 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
Warm Up: Inner-Thigh Squat
This move activates your leg muscles to help stop knees from tracking in or out. Stand with feet wider than hip width apart and toes turned out, and squat low; hold for 3 counts. Do 10 reps.
Do the routine 2 or 3 times a week, and never on back-to-back days. If you lift to cross-train, give yourself a buffer day between the weights and speed work so your legs are fresh.
How To Do It
For every stroke on the rower, think, “Legs, core, arms.” Push powerfully into heels to begin the motion, engage core as you pull, then finish with handle at chest, leaning slightly back.
Know Your Max
In your first week of workouts, move at a steady, methodical pace to dial in form and build up your cardiovascular endurance. In the weeks following, use a stopwatch and focus on shaving seconds off your total time.
Get Even Faster
This workout should never feel easy. If it starts to, give yourself less recovery time for your intervals. Cut it down to 45 seconds of rest during the first set, and just 2½ minutes for the second set.
Once you’ve warmed up, choose any form of cardio — rowing, cycling, running, even swimming — to knock out this 30-minute high-intensity interval routine.
- Warm Up: Start slowly and increase speed slightly at minutes 4 and 5.
- VO2 Max Intervals: Alternate pushing all out for 1 minute, then backing off to an easy speed for 1 minute; do 5 rounds total.
- Recover: Slow to an easy pace for 5 minutes.
- Threshold Intervals: Go at the hardest pace you can sustain for 6 minutes; recover at an easy pace for 3 minutes; go hard again another 6 minutes.
- Finish with “ManMakers”: Perform a push-up while gripping 10-pound dumbbells. Hold the top of the push-up position and row right-hand weight to just outside right rib cage. Perform another push-up, then repeat row with left-hand weight. Hop feet in, pick up weights, squat, then stand to push weights overhead for 1 rep. Repeat, doing as many reps as you can for 30 seconds. Take a 30-second rest. Repeat sequence again.