“Variety is the spice of life” is a common phrase people use when describing why they add something new and different to their lives. In CrossFit, an important spice is cardio.
Jonathan Burgard, founder of True Glory CrossFit, explained the reason for adding a variety of cardio to high-intensity workouts is to create an athlete mentality and increase work capacity in members.
“If you are trying to excel at a sport or maximize calorie burn, then conditioning will be both your friend and an essential part of your training that you love to hate,” he said.
Once the importance of cardio is understood, it’s time to start looking at equipment. Andy Parker, a co-owner of CrossFit Stamford, has found by incorporating the right cardio equipment in his Box, his athletes have been pushed to different levels. “The [cardio] equipment allows us to add variety to the WODs, scalability and the ability to work around injuries,” said Parker. “We own Assault Bikes, Concept2 rowers and prowlers/sleds. We selected these pieces because they offer the best ‘bang for the buck,’ store efficiently and are all mainstays in CrossFit workouts.”
Burgard explained cardio equipment is essential to two types of conditioning. “Aerobic benefits fat loss and being able to work consistently at a longer distance or time. Anaerobic not only benefits fat loss as well, but increases improvement in power, speed, strength and muscle mass, producing an immense amount of effort over short periods,” he said.
When it comes to rowers, Parker said the Concept2 rowers have allowed his athletes at his Box to not only improve their performance, but to compete against others at a more competitive level. “Athletes looking to improve their performance in the workouts must put in the work to have superior cardio endurance in order to be competitive,” said Parker.
In terms of bikes, True Glory CrossFit has found ultimate success with Marcy Air 1 Deluxe Fan Bikes. Burgard explained they are a less expensive version of the Rogue Assault Airbike and they do everything you need to get a good workout.
“We are a growing community of a majority of beginner CrossFitters, so [the Marcy Air 1 Deluxe Fan Bikes] were the perfect solution to another form of cardio,” said Burgard. “Our members love them. They are a fourth of the cost of an Assault AirBike, and durable as well. We have had our fan bikes for over a year now with no issues and they have become a huge part of our programming, and the results are noticeable.”
Like rowers and fan bikes, sleds are great for cardio when programmed with functional movements. “We use the Rogue Echo Dog Sleds about once a week in our facility and they add such a dynamic to our programming and are an excellent addition to full-body conditioning,” said Burgard. “They are extremely easy to use and can crush you, in a good way, if you allow it to.”