Chisel Cardio

In Coaching, Fitness Programs, Reviews by Dale Hill Comments

This cardiovascular resistance routine will increase heart rate, circulation, and burn an intense amount of calories 

Building a strong, sculpted body doesn’t require hours spent working out—just an expert approach. And with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, seasoned trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese have compiled their best, most efficient techniques into 30- to 40-minute resistance-training workouts to help you craft a powerful, perfectly defined physique in just 60 days.

Throughout the entire 60 days, you’ll focus on Stabilization, Strength, and Power to rapidly build, sculpt, and refine your physique. Combine this training with proven portion-control nutrition-the way Sagi and Autumn do in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel-and you’ll build a body that’s strong, chiseled, and defined.

As I  embark on my own 60-Day Journey with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I will be reviewing each workout as they present themselves in the program calendar. I will add my own insights and observations about the workouts; the comments I make are my own as an Independent Certified Personal Trainer and do not necessarily represent the Celebrity Trainers or Beachbody. Full disclosure, I am also an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and a distributor of this program and all other Beachbody products. I hope the information I provide is beneficial in your personal fitness journey.

Chisel Cardio735x1102The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program’s focus is on building, shaping and sculpting your body into a stronger, more powerful and leaner version of yourself. To do that you will use the three energy systems of your body: Phosphagen, Glycolytic and Aerobic. The first two systems are designed to generate immediate energy, what you’d need to Clean and Jerk your One Rep Maximum or to sustain your sprint in a 100 meter dash – these systems only provide energy for a maximum of about 2 minutes. After that point your aerobic systems kick in and provides the source of energy for the remainder of your effort.

Every bite of food we eat contains potential energy in the form of calories; the main macronutrients that make up our food (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) are broken down in our bodies and used to keep our major body systems running. In the most simplistic terms, calories that aren’t used to create energy are excess and end up being stored as body fat. We want to put ALL that potential energy to use and not let it accumulate; our aerobic energy system uses oxygen to help metabolize or ‘burn’ the nutrients we take in (or have stored). Specifically, our aerobic system uses oxygen to help burn fat. Our Cardiovascular and Respiratory systems are the super highways and backroads that get the oxygen to where it needs to be. Cardio training strengthens and increases the capacity of our cardiovascular and respiratory systems to make them more effective at getting oxygen to where it needs to be.

Cardio training is vital to our long term health and well being and cardio health has long been identified as a leading predictor of morbidity and mortality [1. NASM, Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p. 188] so we know that cardio training is essential. When most people refer to cardio training though, images of treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical machines and running come to mind. While these methods all have their advantages and can clearly be incorporated into your personal fitness plan, there are many other ways to achieve the same benefits.

When asked in an interview what she did for Cardio, Olympic Weightlifting Coach and Trainer Jen Sinkler replied “I lift weights faster“. I love that quote and it’s why I love Chisel Cardio, because you’re going to combine weights and resistance training with some old fashion body weight movements to build and strengthen your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

This routine will include two sets of the exercises listed below, it’s not about endless hours on the treadmill, doing steady state cardio training; it’s not about all out crazy High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that you’ll find in INSANITY®, it’s something in between. As they say “This ain’t your momma’s cardio program” – Get ready to get your heart rate up and get Chiseled!

Over The Top will start to get the blood flowing and begin to raise your heart rate. The first time through with this exercise you’ll want to select a moderate weight and assess how it works for you. Make sure your bench is stable and plant your feet squarely throughout the entire move. Personally I prefer my 18″ plyometric box for this (and many other moves that require stepping up and down from the bench) because it offers unparalleled stability. Start by holding your weight in front of your chest and place one foot on your bench. It really doesn’t matter which foot you start with since once you get going you’ll just be going from one side to the other.

Step both feet up on to the bench…

…and step down to the opposite side of the bench. You can introduce a slight hop when you’re switching your lead on top of the bench (just make sure your footing is stable). When you land your foot on the ground, slightly bend your knee to cushion the landing. Immediately come back up to execute the move in the other direction. Over the top is a continuous movement with no significant pause at the middle (both feet on the bench) or at either side when one foot is on the ground. Find a tempo that keeps you constantly moving.

Nothing fancy, just old school Pull-Ups….for 60 seconds; don’t think THAT’LL get your heart rate up?! Don’t have a bar to do your pull-ups? No problem, use a resistance band anchored securely slightly above eye level. Step back into a forward lunge position keeping a flat back, imagine a straight line from your shoulders to your rear ankle, you back and hips all in alignment. Grasp the handles and keep them slightly wider than shoulder width through the entire pulling motion.

If you’re feeling it and have a pull-up bar, do as many full pull-ups as you can unassisted. Strive to be better than you were last time, if previous attempts used the assist, target to do one or two reps full bodyweight without the assist.

The Chin-Up Max (or any pull-up assist device) can help transition you to full bodyweight pull-ups. Set the resistance so that you’re not bouncing up and down, remember this is an ‘assist’, it’s not intended to bear the full load of your weight.

Regardless of what method you choose for your pull-ups, focus on contracting the large muscles of your back to pull you up each time. Since this is cardio, find a rhythm and settle into a tempo.

I have to catch myself and remember to call this a Dumbbell Swing; instinctively I grab my kettlebells and always refer this to a kettlebell swing. the motion and body positioning is the same, I personally  find kettlebells are just easier to hold on to for this move. The most important thing to remember in the dumbbell swing is that you’re not using your arms to lift the weight. Your grip on the dumbbell should only be enough to hold it and keep from flinging it across the room as you come up swinging.

Begin in a low squat position holding the dumbbell by the head, arms hanging straight down, weight between your calves and just off the ground. The motion involved in the swing is to drive up from the squat position using your legs and glutes.

As you come up from the squat, contract your glutes and thrust your hips forward. The dumbbell comes straight out and up in front of you. Protect your back by keeping your abs contracted throughout the swing. Like the other moves in this workout, it’s about tempo and continuous movement. Drop back down into the squat allowing the weight to fall back to the starting position. Increasing the depth of your squat will activate more of your glutes, hamstrings and quads, but initially shoot for having your thighs parallel to the ground.

I start my Swings with a 45 pound kettlebell and to give you an idea about the grip, when I’m at the top of my swing it’s as if the kettlebell is suspended in air, floating, my hands are only there to guide it…not to grip it. This move is not about lifting the weight with your hands, it’s about activating the glutes and legs to create the power to swing the weight up. Maintaining a quick tempo will have your heart rate up very fast.

The ‘Figure 8’ is a mid-routine recovery in a sense, you’re taking things down to the mat and are focusing on your core. A variant of a Russian Twist, the Figure 8 will engage your obliques and transverse abdominis. Depending on the weight you select, you will also be bringing your shoulders into play as you rotate from side to side. Select a light to moderate weight to start and focus on tempo and completing as many repetitions as you can in 60 seconds. The starting position is sitting on your mat holding the weight in front of your chest, hands on each head of the dumbbell. Drop

Drop back into a C-Sit position and rotate the dumbbell to each side as if drawing a figure eight with the motion. I like the analogy of paddling a kayak – that’s the motion you want. Keeping the weight high on the chest as it passes in front of you, bring it down to either side of your body as if you were using a kayak or canoe paddle

The rotational movement of going side to side in the C-Sit position is going to really bring the obliques into play. The further you are able to go back into the C-Sit, the greater activation you’ll get in your core just adjust your feet forward or back to maintain balance. Remember: Tempo, tempo, tempo. While this allows you moderate recovery, you still want to keep your heart rate up.

Everyone loves Burpees, right? R-I-G-H-T-H! Just another full body, bodyweight exercise that is going to have you gasping at the end of 60 seconds. If you want to add a power component to this, you can add a push-up in the down position, but the basic move is a simple burpee with a jump at the end. Start with feet just about shoulder width apart, squat down and place hands on the mat in front of you about shoulder width apart, in a continuous movement…

Jump your feet back to a full plank position (this would be where you add the power move if you are so inclined). Jump your feet back into your hands, in a squat position then jump straight up, reaching your hands above your head. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Modifications for burpees include stepping each leg back one at a time instead of jumping both feet back into the full plank. Other options include taking the jump out at the end by simply returning to a standing position before repeating. Alternatively, you can complete a high knee raise with each leg after you return to standing in place of the plyo jump. With arms raised above your head, raise one knee to waist height while simultaneously bringing both elbows down to meet the knee, do one rep with each knee before dropping back down into the burpee.

The Sword Pull is one of my favorite moves in this workout. Using a light to moderate dumbbell you’re going to be working both upper and lower body while getting a cardiovascular benefit. This move is done 60 seconds on each side, so the first time through hold the weight in the left hand, side lunge to the right and open back up raising the weight up and out over the left shoulder. For the second pass, switch hands so you’re lunging to the left and raising the weight to the right.

Note as you come up and raise the weight, your feet are coming together. If you have a shoulder impingement or experience other shoulder pain during this move, modify the move to an upright row across the chest. (Note the final arm position in the modifier in the right hand side of the image below)

Forearm Plank Kicks don’t seem like much of a cardio move on the surface, however maintaining a low plank, keeping your hips and glutes in alignment while alternating straight leg kicks to either side will clearly get your heart rate up. Start in a low plank position with your elbows under your shoulders, forearms on the mat in front of you.

Bring one leg straight out to the side in kick that begins at the hip, not the knee. Ideally, keep your foot 6 to 8 inches off the ground through the full range of motion on the side kick. This is a sweeping motion with no significant pause at the end of the kick, return to the low plank position and…

Repeat the move with the other leg. Alternate between sides on a steady tempo. Keep your glutes down and your hips as level as possible. Modifications include adding a toe tap at the end of the kick if you’re unable to keep your foot elevated through the full range of motion.

We started this workout with a step-up move, it’s only fitting that we end with one. The Side Step-Up Kick uses a bench and weight just as the Over The Top did, however this move we’re going to focus on one leg at a time, completing 60 seconds on one leg, then 60 seconds on the other. Start by placing one foot on the bench and hold the weight in both hands in front of your chest.

Step up pushing through the heel of the foot on the bench, raise your other leg out into a straight kick. This is not a snap kick where the action is in the knee, rather you should feel this in your glute and hips as you raise your leg up.

Modifications without the bench include stepping back into a rear lunge,

and coming up into a forward kick.

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