Ah, cardio. We all know it’s important to do. Some of your clients may even fear cardio just as much as you or any other trainer does. However, cardio doesn’t have to be unexciting, tedious, or even dreadful for your clients to reach their fitness goals. While there’s no “best” cardio exercise for your client to perform, the better choice would be choosing an exercise that your client can perform based upon their fitness levels with correct form. There are a multitude of creative cardio methods to create fun, challenging, and effective workouts for your clients during your sessions together.

Enclosed below are three different methods to get your client’s heart rates up while hopefully keeping a smile on their faces…

Get to Pushing 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a push-up! Push-ups are not just for stability or strength. Push-ups can be performed as power movements and therefore, are a great cardio exercise for your client to perform. Please note not to progress your clients into doing power movements until they have efficient stabilization and strength. In particular, the Jumping Jack Push-up builds lean muscle in your clients’ entire body while stretching their hip adductors and abductors, and engaging their core stabilization and movement muscles. To perform: have your client start in the traditional push-up position and execute one push-up. As they rise back up to the starting position, their legs will jump out as wide and high as possible (to form a “V” shape). After performing the jumping jack in the air, they will land softly back into the starting position. Remember to have your clients maintain the neutral spinal position with no leaning or hip hiking throughout. Beginners should perform three sets of 10 repetitions with one to two minutes rest between sets; more advanced athletes, should perform three sets of 24 repetitions with one to two minutes rest between sets.

Do Those Intervals 

The majority of us know how to work within intervals when programming a piece of cardio equipment at the gym. However, fitness professionals may not realize that using your own body weight when performing intervals can be a beneficial calorie burn. Your clients’ heart rate increases during endurance training due to the intensity and oxygen consumption. To begin, try coupling the Standing Marching exercise with a combination of High Knees. Perform Marching for a two-minute total duration consisting of one minute and 30 seconds at a pace of 55% of your aerobic energy, and then perform High Knees blasting the final 30 seconds utilizing 85% of your maximum effort in a controlled fashion. Remember to have your clients keep optimal posture while raising their knees to hip-level during the Marching and High Knee exercises. These exercise build lean muscle in their quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, gluteal muscles, abductors, adductors, and rectus abdominis. Beginners should attempt two rounds, while the more advanced client should shoot for four rounds. 

Become Super 

Supersets can be a great choice to get your clients’ heart rate up since this technique deceases the rest time between sets to no more than 30 seconds. This form of training allows for an abundance of creativity for the fitness professional. Foremost, you can choose two or more exercises that work similar muscle groups for your clients. Some of these examples include: a rear lunge with dumbbells and a body-weight squat or another superset could become a pull-up, one-arm dumbbell row, and a pull-over. On the other hand, you may have your clients work different muscles group with minimal rest. Your clients could perform a one-arm chest press with a chin-up, or couple a tricep “diamond” push-up and a one-arm dumbbell curl to produce similar results. Supersets truly allow an endless combination of exercises for your clients to perform all while building lean muscle in the process!

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Shaun Zetlin

Shaun Zetlin

As the son of a professional bodybuilder, Shaun was exposed to weightlifting and exercise at a very young age. After overcoming his own physical limitations having been born with club feet and gross motor skills, Shaun made it his mission to share his passion and knowledge of proper fitness and health to help others meet their fitness goals.

For over ten years, Shaun has successfully run his own personal training business in the New York City Metro area. Able to relate and adapt to each individual, Shaun prides himself on developing exercise plans and nutritional menus to foster every client's fitness needs. His clientele ranges from the athlete, and senior citizen, to bodybuilder, and dancer. Shaun's specialties include: strength training, power techniques, corrective injury training, and core stability training.

In addition to the highly regarded Master Trainer status, Shaun is a certified personal trainer of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). With NASM Shaun also holds specialized certifications in: Pre- and Post-Natal, Corrective Exercise Practices, Cardiovascular Weight Loss, Youth Training, Senior Citizen Training, Balance Training, Core Stabilization, and Self Myofascial Release (SMR). Additionally, Shaun is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist, with training in the Female Athlete, Knee & Shoulder Rehabilitation, and Marathon Training. Shaun earned his Bachelors degree in English Literature and Writing from the University of Delaware.

Shaun's first full-length book, "Push-up Progression Workout for a Stronger Core" is currently available worldwide both in paperback and e-book formats. It was featured as one of three top books in 2013 for healthy living as selected by Dr. John Whyte of The Discovery Channel. His latest book, "Push-up Progression (2nd Edition)" has already achieved great success and notoriety in the world of fitness. It is currently featured in bookstores across the United States and United Kingdom in paperback and available wherever e-books are sold. Shaun has had a multitude of articles, program designs, and tips published within a variety of books, magazines, and on websites in the world of fitness and beyond including: Price World Publishing, Demos Medical Publishing, Livestrong, Rodale Books, OnFitness Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Brides Magazine, and GO: AirTran Magazine. Additionally, Fitness Professional Online recognizes Shaun as an "expert," answering questions for other fitness and health professionals.

Shaun also has media experience in both television and radio, ranging from fitness modeling, to hosting his own weekly radio fitness show.
Shaun Zetlin

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