Tip: 2 Forms of Cardio That Build Muscle

Here are two ways to get your metcon on that'll also help with muscle gains. Coach Bruno (and Kate Upton) show you how it's done.

Sled Work

When it comes to cardio I'm partial to pushing and pulling sleds every which way you can imagine: forward pushes, reverse drags, rows, presses, rope pulls. You name it, we do it.

This is one of those simple "why didn't I think of this sooner?" modifications that makes a big difference and drastically increases glute recruitment. The glutes have to work extra hard to keep the knees from caving in. Translation: These will fry your butt.

Start with your butt a little lower than normal and your feet a little wider than normal and then maintain that position as you walk backwards, fighting the urge to stand up tall or narrow your stance.

Beware, these burn like crazy and are much harder than Kate makes them look (she's a badass). In addition to being a great glute exercise, this could also be a great exercise for people with knee problems, or even just for knee injury prevention.

Cardio Complexes

Of course, lifting weights can be "cardio" too. Use circuits and complexes (basically a circuit where you only use one implement) comprised of 3-4 exercises at the end of workouts, or on days when you're short on time. A sample complex might look something like this:

  • Landmine Press: 8 reps per arm
  • Landmine Squat: 8 reps
  • Landmine Row: 8 reps per arm

Here's another variation: the landmine box squat, which can help you gauge depth.

Landmine Box Squat Top
Landmine Box Squat Top
Landmine Box Squat Bottom
Landmine Box Squat Bottom

You have a lot of leeway as far as exercise selection, but with weight circuits or complexes, a few rules apply:

  • Pick "self-limiting" exercises. This means choosing exercises you won't screw up when you're fatigued. Remember that self-limiting exercises are personal. So for an advanced lifter, a front squat or goblet squat may be an acceptable choice in a circuit, but for someone with iffy squat mechanics, it's a poor choice.
  • Pick the weight according to your weakest exercise. This is important if you're doing a complex with one implement like a single bar. Try to choose exercises where the weights you'd use are somewhat close to each other so one exercise doesn't suffer for the sake of the others. You can also modify the reps to make each exercise challenging.
  • Put the hardest exercises first. Arrange it so that easier exercises come when you're most fatigued. "Hard" can either mean heaviest or the most technically demanding. You don't want to be doing technically demanding exercises at the end of a circuit when you're smoked.