Strength Cardio – Loaded Carries

With summer in full swing in Chicago, I jump at any chance to workout in the fresh air. I love having a home gym, but it’s not always where I want to be.

After yesterday’s deadlift session, I figured some light cardio would be good to stretch things out. The treadmill in the basement would have been easy, but the sun was out, so there was no sense wasting the opportunity. Even though it was only 9:30 A.M., the Wunderground app said it was 84 degrees with a heat index of 94.

Dan John is a big proponent of loaded carries. They’re easy to do and hit just about every part of your body. My favorite version is to grab a kettlebell or two and walk for a minute and then rest for 30 seconds. I turn around and go for another minute, resting 30 seconds at the end. By that point, three minutes have gone by, and I repeat nine more rounds of up and back.

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Crossing Over To A Home Gym


With Chris LaLanne (Jack’s grandnephew) at LaLanne Fitness CrossFit in San Francisco, October 2008

The category of how to build a home gym is so broad in scope that I’m going to focus more on old-school fitness and weight training. Think along the lines of picking things up off the ground and putting them overhead rather than contorting your body on machines.

Granted, I used machines when I first starting training in 1998 because, like most people, I didn’t know any better. On my first day, I had a free training session with a guy whose calves Rep. Steve King would envy. He took me through the machine area of the gym and showed me how to use the lat pulldown machine, the leg curl machine, and the leg extension machine, etc. Of course, he used free weights to look as impressive as he did but that was a small area of the gym where I, as a lanky newbie, I feared to tread. I spent the next eight years wasting time with various Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal workouts as well as consulting a champion natural bodybuilder trainer. He got me not skinny-fat using machines and then bulked me back up using free weights.

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