One thing you’ll hear in any gym is how important it is to exercise with your max heart rate in mind. For decades, athletes have been calculating their max heart rate zone and then using that number to train most effectively, also using those numbers to chart recovery, fat-burning, lactic acid thresholds, and anaerobic heart-rate training zones.
In other words, max heart rate is important, and any reputable CrossFit box in the country is going to focus on exercises that attempt to get you there. The Myzone chest strap heart rate monitor for gym workouts and Wodify Pulse group heart-rate monitoring software help athletes ensure that they are in the right place for whatever their individual max heart rate may be, but these workouts in particular are great for getting your ticker thumping:
Nearly every box in America has trainers that put their athletes through this series of high-intensity exercises, which focuses on 50 reps of ten different exercises in rapid succession. You will do 50 reps of box jumps (with a 24-inch box), jumping pull-ups, kettlebell swings, walking lunge steps, knees-to-elbows, push press (with 45 pounds), back extensions, wallballs (with a 20-pound ball), burpees, and double-unders. By the time you’re done, your beats per minute should be right in the desired zone.
Interval cardio is great for weight loss, but it’s also great for working your heart into its ideal range. The Helen workout is ideal for precisely this, as it starts with a 400-meter run, then moves into 21 kettlebell swings at 53 pounds, and finally 12 pull-ups (with a support band if needed). It will burn a ton of calories and get your heart rate exactly where it needs to be.
This workout has athletes do seven reps of seven exercises for seven rounds, which is great for hitting those target heart rates. Begin with seven reps each of handstand push-ups, 135-pound thrusters, knee-to-elbows, 245-pound deadlifts, burpees, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups, and then repeat that cycle six more times. Typically, athletes finish the whole thing in 35 to 40 minutes.
Running a mile is a great way to get your heart rate going, but things get a little more interesting when you replace the jogging for burpees and broad jumps. For this exercise, you literally burpee and broad jump a mile. One burpee, then one broad jump, then another burpee and another broad jump, on and on for 1600 meters. Most people end up doing about 600-800 burpees over the course of the mile, so it’s a brutal workout. If it’s too brutal, start smaller and work your way up to it. Either way, your heart will be thumping when you finish.
Hitting the right heart rate zones is important for CrossFit athletes, and Wodify Pulse and the Myzone chest straps can help ensure you end up in your ideal range. Intense cardio may feel like it’s going to kill you, but the best way to get into your best shape is to push yourself. The right kind of heart rate tracker will help with that, but so will the right kinds of workouts.