To give your workout the ultimate boost, add CWF into your gym routine

Over the past couple of months, I've discovered Cardio Weighted Flow (CWF) and worked it into my training. It sandwiches weight bearing exercises within cardio movements that will elevate your circuit training to the next level.

Read on to see how you can incorporate it into your gym routine.

What is it?

CWF is akin to building a "fitness sandwich": cardio elements make up the bread, the fillings being loaded movements where the weights are never freed from the gym goer's hands. It's cardio-weights-cardio circuit training with little, to no rest.

How much weight?

It's purely based on ability. A newbie to the gym might grab three or five kgs dumbbells. I use 10 kilo dumbbells, whereas someone built like an AFL athlete might utilise 15 kilos.

Who should do it?

Everybody, because cardio on its own is monotonous. You'll never see serious body transformation if all you do is run, bike, or hit the cross trainer. Conversely, "just weights" will bulk you up, but a lean, balanced body comes from that mix of cardio and weight bearing movements at a high intensity.

Get that upper body

Jump on the rower for a 200 metre  row at 100 per cent intensity. Jump off and grab 10 kilo dumbbells for (in succession, do not release the weights) 15 push-ups, 15 squat thrusters, 15 weighted sit-ups (anchor your legs to something), 15 bent over rows, 10 burpees into a bicep curl, then finally releasing the weights for 200 jump ropes. Perform three rounds.

Get that lower body

Sprint on a treadmill for 300m, then jump off and perform 15 weighted squats, 15 (with weights at chest) abdominal leg extensions, 20 walking lunges, a one minute dumbbell plank hold, 10 single arm clean-press (each side), 20 mountain climbers, then drop the weights and repeat the 300m sprint. Perform three rounds.  

I like working with kettlebells. Help? Sprint for 300m, then jump off for 15 kettlebell swings, 15 alternating (hand on bell) push-ups, 15 sit-ups with legs wrapped around kettlebell, 10 clean and press each side, then drop the weight for 10 burpees and 200 skips. Perform three rounds.

Beat the crowd

If your gym is one that is frequently packed to the rafters, here's a minimal space option. I call it Row-Burpees-Run. Try three rounds for a 300 metre row, jump off for 15 dumbbell burpees into a curl-overhead press (add a squat if you like), then hit the treadmill for a 300 metre sprint. Time your session and beat last week's effort.


What's the science

The fitness community constantly debates what's "best" – weights (w)? Cardio (c)? Or both (c+w)? But over an 8-month period, participants who did just cardio (c) and cardio plus weights (c+w) lost the most weight and fat. But the cardio plus weights group (like CWF here) had the most body composition changes because they lost weight and fat while gaining muscle.

The benefits of CWF are:

  • Grip and forearm strength. In performing varied movements while never letting go of weight, arm strength will improve dramatically.
  • Efficiency. The workload is constant, so sessions are superior in a time crunch. The sessions above are max 30 minutes long.
  • Heart health. You're constantly moving - the cardiovascular benefits are obvious.
  • Good for all. CWF is intense, but there's no serious overloading, making it doable for all levels.
  • Full body muscle gains. Every workout is a head-to-toe session – muscles are constantly firing from start to finish.

Training that combines cardio and strength elements works wonders for fitness and leaning up – CWF is just that. However, there's one more element. When you drop the weights and leave the gym will you drop into the drive thru?

Or do it right and drop some Tassie salmon and veggies on to the grill.

You choose your gut by what you choose to do in the gym and the kitchen.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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Have you tried CWF already? Share your experience in the comments below.