One Killer Exercise That's More Effective Than Cardio

In one of my podcast episodes, I interview a coach named Jay Schroeder, who works with professional athletes from around the world. Jay uses something called “isometric” exercise to enhance the results that his athletes get — and even if you’re not a professional athlete, you can take advantage of his training techniques.

There is one killer isometric exercise that can get you results that are just as good as cardio. It’s a lunging body weight row. To do it, drop into a lunge position with either your right or left leg forward, then slowly (very slowly!) reach forward and imagine pulling an imaginary pull-up bar in toward your body. Then push it just as slowly out and away from your body, and repeat for five to 10 repetitions.

This super-slow, isometric style of training results in increased cardiac output, better training of your muscles to pump lactic acid, and increased ability to withstand an external force, along with better muscle utilization and coordination.

Include a weekly, or biweekly workout in which you incorporate at least one move like this, or a series of moves performed very slowly or simply held for a long period of time.

For example, you could simply perform one set of each of the following exercises (timed so that it takes you 10 to 60 seconds to go up and 10 to 60 seconds to come down), or simply hold each exercise listed below in its hardest position for as long as you possibly can, up to five minutes:

  • Push-up
  • Pull-up
  • Dip
  • Lunge
  • Wall Squat

Another isometric technique you can use is to simply do isometrics when you’d normally be standing around anyways — such as doing a wall squat while you’re on hold on the phone, or holding a push-up position during the commercial break of a TV program.

Get more tips in my mindbodygreen course, The 7-Day Full-Body Reboot To Get Strong + Fit.

Photo courtesy of the author

And do you want to learn how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, obstacle course racer, human performance consultant, speaker and author of 13 books, including the New York Times Bestseller Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life. In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys.
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Ben Greenfield

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