Don’t get me wrong, cycling is a great form of exercise but I prefer using functional and athletic movements like you’ll find below
There’s cardio, and then there’s MetaCardio.
Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart rate up, burns fat, and improves whole body circulation. MetaCardio does all that and more.
Instead of using traditional modes of cardio training, MetaCardio employs resistance training exercises to provide a muscle-building stimulus, which, in turn, enhances the overall fat-burning and metabolism-boosting potential of your workout.
There are lots of ways you can do MetaCardio, but 20-10 intervals are among my favorites.
This particular interval became world famous in 1994 when the Tabata study discovered that 4-minutes of 20-10 intervals delivered greater fat loss and fitness improvements than 60 minutes of long, slow, and boring cardio.
Now, to be clear, I use an adapted approach to Tabata training. For one, I typically use alternating sets of non-competitive exercises (supersets or circuits) instead of straight sets of the same move. I find this allows for better form and higher intensity throughout the duration of the workout. It also delivers a better cardiovascular response.
(However, when my goal is to focus on muscle building instead of fat loss, I will use straight sets of 20-10 intervals for a single move to provide a massive dose of local metabolic stress or “muscle pumps.”)
In addition, I like to use more functional moves than the study, which used a cycling machine. Don’t get me wrong, cycling is a great form of exercise and I do it too. But for the general population looking for the highest fitness return in the shortest period of time, I prefer using functional and athletic movements like you’ll find in the workouts below.
I’ve put together two unique MetaCardio workouts for you to try: one for the lower body and one for the upper body. (I also partnered with Men’s Health to create an entire body-transformation program using the concept, complete with 8 fat-torching workouts, recovery and core-training routines, and equipment that will help you get shredded.
The workouts below use a mix of explosive bodyweight, resistance band, and dumbbell exercises to fire up your fast-twitch muscle fibers. And because working your fast-twitch fibers burns the most calories both during and after your workout, MetaCardio is also where shred meets gainz!
Here’s how it works:
Each workout consists of four total supersets, a combination of two specific exercises that you continuously alternate between.
Perform each move for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between moves. Repeat this process for 5 to 10 minutes before moving on to the next superset. Beginners, you should lean on the lower end of that range, and advanced trainees should try to complete the full 10 minutes.
Rest 1 to 2 minutes between supersets to maintain proper exercise form and to keep training intensity high.
1. Miniband seal jacks (with the band around your ankles)
2. Miniband plank jacks (with the band around your ankles)
1. Single-leg shoulders-elevated plyo hip thrust, left
2. Single-leg shoulders-elevated plyo hip thrust, right
1. Bulgarian split squat jump, left
2. Bulgarian split squat jump, right
1. Dumbbell overhead skier swing
2. Rotational skater jump
1. Band jack pull apart
2. Band jack pushup
1. Band jack curl
2. Band jack press
1. Clap pushup to mountain climber
2. Dumbbell hammer catch curl
1. Seesaw bent-over row
2. Seesaw overhead press
If you would prefer to add these to your current workout plan as a starter or finisher, just pick a single superset of your choice and crank it out for 5 to 10 minutes. The choice is yours!