As a functional fitness coach, athlete, and metcon fanatic, I can tell you that there's elements of competitive fitness I absolutely love... and elements I absolutely detest.
I love the fact that CrossFit brought functional fitness to the mainstream and got more people than ever to squat, deadlift, and train with greater intensity. However, functional fitness (CrossFit in particular) gets a lot of hate, and not all of it is unjustified. Why the hate? Three reasons:
- A clear lack of emphasis on prioritizing basic foundational strength, especially for beginners.
- The constantly varied nature of CrossFit programming, which often results in no clear structure or progression. Random training yields random results, or little to no results.
- The metabolic conditioning element of CrossFit, which often results in illogical workouts with way too many reps of low-value exercises. This can leave people overtrained, broken down, or injured.
Let's focus on number three. I feel qualified to speak on this topic because I've done literally thousands of burpees, high-rep box jumps, and lightweight snatches. It didn't take me long to realize that doing these crazy high-rep metcons with low "value for time" movements wasn't really making me fitter. If anything, it just left my body feeling destroyed and unnecessarily sore for days.
So if you're a high-intensity training junkie like me, let me save you the injuries and lack of progress by skipping that stuff and instead focus on improving your conditioning with these two amazing cardio machines: the Concept 2 Rower and the Assault Airbike.
Without question, these are two of the most effective machines to build an aerobic base and improve work capacity. Here's what I love about them:
- They're effective! Both machines incorporate all major muscle groups for an incredible, total-body conditioning effect.
- They're joint friendly! Both the rower and Assault bike are low-impact machines, allowing anyone at any age or ability level to get an effective conditioning workout without taking an unnecessary toll on their bodies.
- Ease of use! While the rower may require more coaching and practice to dial-in proper stroke form, both machines are very intuitive and simple for anyone to learn.
Cardio doesn't kill your gains; your lack of cardio does. Improving your work capacity through short, intense bouts of conditioning will allow you to lift longer and harder than ever before.
Your heart is arguably the most important muscle to train. Don't neglect it.
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