Shock Training…

Methods to stimulate the body to attain a higher performance level in training are regarded as an effective way of lifting functional performance. The principal of gradual progressive loading over a period of time sometimes needs a little bit of a kick to enhance strength and progress. Indeed when performance hits a plateau it is necessary to shake things up in order to avoid staleness and also to give a training effect.

While most of the time we look for consistent progress, shock training lifts intensity and develops overloading beyond what the individual is used to. Below follows some of the methods we use.

Plyometrics- Characterized with a short eccentric (lowering phase) and a fast explosive movement. An example would be repeated jumps or bounds.

Forced Repetitions- Using a heavy weight then your rep range target and being helped to lift the weight by a spotter for a desired number of repetitions.

Repeated Singles or “Clusters”- Repeating a maximal lift is hard on the body but as a strategy to gain confidence at lifting maximally it is unsurpassed. We commonly use this method with deadlifts.

Restricted Range Movements- Limiting range can be a useful strategy to work on form and also bar speed through a certain part of a movement. Board pressing for bench press and rack pulls for deadlifts are a good example.

Maximal Eccentrics- This is often considered to be controlled lowering under a heavy load. We mainly employ this method with pull ups.

The method that may translate more successfully to sporting movements may be plyometrics as they are usually performed under body weight or low load conditions. However each if these methods is an effective way of changing changing stimulus and developing your physical abilities.

5 Ways to Break a Training Plateau

The following post is specific to those who have got to a point in their training and are looking to progress that little bit more. Progress in training is rarely a straight line of success, especially as you become fitter and stronger. As I say to a lot of our clients at Results FAST “You will never be more efficient than when you start a new training regime!” This is fundamentally due to the law of diminishing returns where as you become more expert extra gains are tougher and require more effort to achieve greater results from your training.

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1.Decrease high repetition training and specifically work on your maximal strength levels. This is where we often find that a lot of people stay in bodybuilding/ toning (hate the word) rep ranges and cannot work out why they are not improving. Lift heavier, drop to between 3 to 5 reps and find out what strong feels like.

2. Drop your number of sets and try to get a few extra repetitions out. This is where we commonly find the “strength athlete” who is strong but struggles with anything over 3 repetitions as they have poor conditioning levels. Cycling in moderate loads of 5 to 8 repetitions when you have been training maximal levels at 3 repetitions and below is useful for de-loading joints and connective tissue which will take the brunt of a maximal phase of training.

 

3. Change the order of your training. Although 95% of the time we recommend that you partition strength work closer to the start of your workout than at the end it can be a good thing to mix things up in order to change the training stimulus and avoid staleness. Sometimes we do this with movement drills which can be misinterpreted as a extra conditioning but it works quite well to fix this at the start of a session. It also works well with our fat loss clients who always appreciate that little bit more pulse raising work.

4. Look for small improvements. It has been said to me before that a great gym will have more small plates than large ones. Why? As you become more advanced with your training it becomes harder to illicit improvements. Therefore every small improvement is a step forward. For example adding 5 pounds to a 100 pound bench press is a whole lot different to adding 5 pounds to a 200 pound bench press. Don’t force improvements just find small ways of adding load or advancing the complexity of the exercise.

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5. Use ballistic methods of training. To often people get caught in the weight room without developing their athletic potential. Jumping, kettlebell drills and medicine ball work are accelerative in nature. Two things recruit muscle mass- load and speed. So rather than just trying to add more weight try adding more acceleration and impetus to your exercises by decreasing the load and moving quickly or by using more acceleration dominant exercises. Don’t get carried away though if it goes well (as seen below).

roof-jumping

3 Proven Fat Loss Tips…

Fat and weight loss is often a lot of our clients main goal at Results Fast. With the volume of misinformation in the media it is hard to find information that is factually correct.

 

These three strategies are backed up in research as having a positive correlation with fat loss. Now this does not mean they are the causitive factor- it means these three things are associated with getting a positive result.

 

Strategy 1- Eat more nuts. Nuts get a bit of a bad rap because they are high calorifically, however in research nut consumption has a positive corelation with weight reduction. The calorie theory of weight loss in the sense of “what goes out has to be more than what comes in” is useful as a guide. The fact is though that nuts are packed with quality fats which have a hunger satieting effect and makes them a useful addition to most nutrition plans as a snack food in small quantitites. So take Mr T’s advice and get some nuts!

 

Strategy 2- Drink Green Tea. The metabolism enhancing benefits of green tea are again well documented. Green tea consumption is a good replacement for calorie containing beverages which may be unnecessaery when trying to burn body fat. There are a variety of mechanisms for green tea’s metabolism enhancing effect, but often it is a case that it may be better than an additive field soft drink or a sugar laden juice drink which may promote fat storage.

 

Strategy 3- Positive Social Support.  This is probably the most important and is where we excel at Results FAST. Getting the support of your friends and family is vital for getting a great result in your health, training and nutrition. Being in the right environment is a great thing for acheiving your goals and getting motivation not just from a trainer but also your training colleagues. So if you are not getting the support you need ask yourself is your training environemnt conclusive to acheiving your goals and is your trainer giving you the positive support you need.

 

Does Sub-Maximal Training Lead to Submaximal Results?

Training for endurance sports is generally a question of efficiency. Efficiency of good performance though is a product of replicating competition and it’s demands. Competition in itself is performed at maximal or close to maximal intensity. This leads to a question about excessive training volume, lower intensity sessions and how a training programme is structured. “Should all training be maximal or close to competition pace?” So do swimming, cycling and running as well as gym training have to be challenged at a maximal of close to maximal level to administer improvements and can excessive amounts of training hamper their progress?

Swimming out of all of the disciplines is a sport traditionally born out of efficiency of movement. Streamlining and body position can make a difference of seconds and that can mean a matter of places at the top level. Race pace for sprint swimmers is as much a question of efficiency as physical capability, simply stated you cannot have shear power with no efficiency. That said form will breakdown for two reasons laziness (or poor coaching) and fatigue. Fatigue in nature is a product of inefficiency and broadly speaking is a result of the level of conditioning not being sufficient to maintain a suitable technique. Indeed the fatigue factor is relevant also to cycling and running where inefficiency in technique leads to further fatigue as ideal body position cannot be maintained.

Running in itself is governed by form. Poor running style though has the element of impact with the floor to be concerned about- something that swimming and cycling do not have. Structurally this is harder for the body to deal with as there is greater stress on the joints and connective tissue. This brings in to the equation the role of core stability, reactive strength and the ability to maintain form with good structural strength. Many new runners find the demands of running plays havoc with their joints- specifically the lower back and the knees. Both these areas have a limited amount of movement in them and predominantly need to be trained for stability. The ankles and the hips need stability though they also need a suitable amount of mobility. Without sufficient mobility or movement in the joint forces may not be transferred in an efficient way leading to overuse- specifically in the areas that have limited mobility. This highlights that excessive training volume in the form of too many miles or time spent on the road can have a detrimental effect on the body. Simply said if you are training for competition sub-maximal training should not be too long in volume. Favouring shorter runs more often is possibly a more efficient way of organising volume even as you build up the amount of training over a period of time. Recovery runs also should not be excessive in volume if your goal is to run quicker.

Cycling in turn is slightly different again. Cycling does not have the elastic plyometric bounce and impact that running has as you shift from leg to leg. Maximal training in this case can replicate competition at race pace or slightly above and below. While there is a need for training volume cycling and swimming are less destructive on the joints as you look to build efficiency of the energy systems.

As with most training excessive volume is what causes overuse injuries, I tend to term these “junk” miles and consider that you need to be training to gain ahead of just training. In all forms of training there is a need to cultivate efficiency of technique and energy systems efficiency. Technique breaks down under intensity and is where you also see injury. The key is being to maintain a sufficiently high intensity so you have carry over to performance, be it a tempo or interval session. Too much recovery work or also what some may call “base building” may end up blunting higher intensity sessions as cumulative fatigue holds back intensity, especially in running. Commonly, winter training is guilty of this as it sacrifices intensity for sheer volume. Cyclists commonly base build through the winter though is a phase of training that can be greatly helped by spikes of intensity at regular points. This means that race pace is being challenged and therefore you are training yourself to move faster. Swimming training volume is an area of debate- longer sessions should be technique refinement led and pace should not be ignored if faster times are sought.

With all three disciplines it highlights the point that slower sessions should be performed but they should be technique led, for beginners two sessions a week is ample but for the more advanced with good technique and structural strength then once a week is enough for energy systems eficency- train with intensity as when it comes to race day not knowing how quick is quick means that your overall result may suffer.

A Wobbly Concept

Unstable surface training has become a popular concept in fitness training. Vibration platforms and bosu boards are becoming mainstays in commercial gyms as they try to entice their customers with varied forms of training based entertainment. Is it all a waste of your time though?

Initially, it is important to look at the background of where these methods of training have emerged. Unstable surface training has progressed in to the “training” environment due to the greater role that physiotherapy and rehabilitation has played in the industry over the last 10 years. To understand further it is important to look at training fundamentals as well as how these methods apply to injured and non-injured trainees.

The body as a whole is a series of joints working through the ankle, knee, hip, back and shoulder. Each of these needs an adequate supply of mobility and stability/ strength. If we have comprimised stability at one of these areas it can cause injury- not necessarily though where there is a lack of stability but at a different point in the body. For example, poor hip stability is associated with knee pain. If mobility is lacking in a certain joint again pain may be felt in another area of the body, for example a forward rounded shoulder posture indicates poor mobility in the upper back (thoracic region) and can cause issue with mobility at the shoulder joint.

The concept of unstable surface training indicates that more muscle mass will be recruited if unbalanced. Is this the case though? Two things recruit muscle mass, speed of movement and load. Unstable surface training comprimises both of these as you cannot either move as quickly as possible or indeed safetly load maximally. Muscular recruitment is task dependant and therefore only relevant to the movement being performed.

Unstable surface training for the lower body is more relevant to a rehabilitation based environment. Indeed it has no real carryover for those looking to enhance performance if uninjured (Cressey, E.M. et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):561-7). When we provide an unbalanced environment for example a lunge or step up on a vibration plate or a single leg squat on a bosu a number of things will happen. Firstly, the body will aim to maintain stability, the mechanism for this is that the body will start to tighten up. Is this a good thing? It is interesting that most vibration trainers start pointing at the torso area when discussing the benefits of this type of training when really the ankle will tighten up first and shut down mobility to maintain balance. As discussed before if mobility is shut down at a joint then it can casue undesirable movements from joints further up the body to maintain balance. Usually this will be at the knee which is an area of massive stability (it is a hinge joint after all so does not like excessive rotation- which unstable surface training can encourage). If you consider how force is applied to the human body from a day to day perspective, very rarely does the ground move beneath us. Indeed we have to be able to move across varied terrain (for example, cross country running). This though is not through a full range of motion at the ankle, hip or knee. Indeed the forces are reactionary in nature, short lived and through a limited range. Most forces will act on the human body above the floor either by collision or by changes in loading or centre of gravity- consider falling over and trying to stop it happening- you tighten up from the top down rather than the bottom up.

When is this training relevant though? Well looking to improve proprioception in the lower body is vital- escpecially on return from an ankle injury. Building eccentric strength and the ability to absorb force are fundamental qualities of a rehab programme intially before returning to more advanced forms of training. After this the focus moves towards the transferance of force and power generation ultimately in a multidirectional format. Methods of unstable balance training could be argued as a valid as entry point for rehabilitation. Once the ability to control load has been assessed to be suffcient to perform more advanced training under increased training loads then unstable surfaces lose their priority in the hierarchy of needs. The evidence for these methodologies though is stil not resounding even in rehab situation indeed some studies have even shown an increase in injury risk post unstable surface training intervention (Soderman, K. et al., Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 8(6):356-63. 2000).

For the upper body there is an improved arguement. Due to the nature of the shoulder joints need for stability and the relevance of how forces act on our extremeties being able to react to unstable loading can be beneficial. This is not saying that one legged/ one arm vibration plate shoulder press is the way to go. More that unstable loading for the shoulder joint can be a challenge which encourages force production and torso stability without comprimising the role of the shoulder joint and it’s range of motion. This would not be a priority exercise in a programme but performing press ups (weighted vest for load) with the hands on the unstable surface may be relevant for scapular and torso control as an assistance exercise or indeed dynamic core drill.

How does this apply to the average exerciser or indeed even the elite athlete? It’s pretty much the same. Most people need enhanced strength- this is not gained by balancing as it comprimises load and speed of movement. Strength and it’s varied componenets such as power and endurance are the fundamental capability we are looking to develop as well as the ability to move and perform exercise in a posturally correct way. Enhancing the quality of movement is key and this is done by balancing mobility and strength in tandem usually against resistance which includes your body weight.

So why the prevalance of unstable surface training in the fitness industry? These concepts are relevant for some people, the injured and the completely detrained. If someone is new to training then unstable surface training may help them improve- but doing anything will help them improve from a strength perspective, escpecially if it is delivered in a structured format. If they increase participation then from a “health” perspective it is probably better then doing nothing. This form of training provides “entertainment” away from other more traditional exercises- however as you can see it is a regression in training rather than a progression as although changes in exercise complexity may make you feel like you are working harder in truth you may be comprimising your progress.

Hamstrung- Effective Hamstring Training for Performance

Both runners and cyclists in the past have considered the quads to be the primary muscles to develop for performance commonly leading to overbuilt, dominant anterior leg muscles.  

The hamstrings are among the muscles responsible for running and cycling fast as they are involved in both knee flexion (bending and hip extension (torso straightening at the hip)). The hamstrings are also key decelerators- indeed the faster you can stop the quicker you can move again.

The Anatomy of Movement of Running and Cycling.

Understanding the hamstring almost needs a full anatomy lesson in what happens during movement and specifically how energy is transferred. More specifically the elastic power transferred from between one leg to the other leg during normal gait. Running in this case is different to cycling; running is a movement which relies upon elastic power being converted to kinetic power before being converted back to elastic power (think as you move from leg to leg).

In running the hamstring is stretched as the opposite leg swings forward, the pelvis maintains position as the hamstring stretches away from the torso trying to stabilize against rotational forces (this highlights the role of suitable core strength for runners who have symptoms of hamstring pulls or sore lower backs). As the foot transfers through the gait cycle there is a changing of emphasis of the muscles that are recruited. As the toe pushes of there is a transference in muscular recruitment from the hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae (back) to the abdominals, iliopsoas and the quadriceps muscle group. Broadly speaking this is a transfer between the muscles at the back of the body to the muscles at the front of the body. If the pelvis is in an incorrect position away from neutral it can make the transference of muscular recruitment difficult. Why? The torso has to stabilize against rotation and forward leaning. This can be seen in runners who lose control as they run, simply elastic energy transference is affected and the individual finds it hard to bring the swing leg through in front of the body. If as they push off on their toe there is too extreme a level of backwards movement (or the back hyper extends) it will result in the forward movement of the pelvis (often termed anterior tilt), this highlights that the knee does not need to travel backwards far past the hips in order to maintain pelvic stability. Great sprinters show this knee and hip position, if efficiency is leaked over 100 metres it can mean a difference of seconds. While in distance running efficiency is vital for quick times it is also vital for injury protection. Running in an uneconomical way can lead to poor joint position that loads the muscles and connective tissues and can ultimately lead to injury. If the hamstrings are tight it can pull the pelvis downwards posteriorally, tightness in this case limits the range of movement of the leg and limits stride length. If not strong enough anterior pelvic tilt occurs causing hyperextension at the lower back and possible back pain. Both may be related to hamstring pulls but for different reasons.

Cycling is different, when seated the pelvis is affectively fixed in a different position. As you do not have the elastic challenge to stability and transference from leg to leg, efficiency and leg power have to be built within relative few changes in environment as the movement is essentially closed chain. There is a need though to maintain pelvic stability and resist rotation (as in running). A stable pelvis leads to economical movement of the legs and therefore efficiency on the bike can be maintained. It highlights why leg power or strength is only task specific- most great sprinters would not come close to setting the world of time trialling on fire and vice versa.

The Myth of Sports Specific Training for the Hamstring.

So does this mean hamstring strength is trained differently? Well no, technique for runners and setup and technique are vital for both runners and cyclists. Beyond that though training the hamstring in itself is about training not just that muscle but the muscular balance between all the muscle groups that act around the hip and knee.

Most movements that operate through the hamstring tend to be ballistic- this highlights the necessity of the hamstrings to be able to control rapid lengthening. Hamstring training should initially be eccentric in nature; this means that during training there is an emphasis on controlling the lengthening of the muscle. This should also be multi-joint so that the muscles are recruited as a unit, not independent of each other- this is often where injury or overuse occurs. In regard to injury occurrence poor warm up procedures are blamed for hamstring pulls and strains. Type of warm up matters but specifically stretching the hamstrings effectively turns the muscle off, this increases the chance of injury as the muscle cannot lengthen under control.

Initially exercise selection to develop strength should consist of exercises such as stiff leg deadlifts, single leg deadlifts, step ups, and reverse lunges. These can progress towards walking lunges, cable hip extensions, glute ham lowers/ negatives and forward lunges. Beyond this technique training for both cycling and running can be reinforced. Bike work needs to be on the bike, variation of resistance can be used.

Dynamic hip mobility exercises for both cyclists and runners is important. Lack of hip mobility is a major cause of many hamstring problems. Without proper hip mobility the leg will not be able to work through the full range of motion. This limitation will eventually lead to flawed mechanics especially in a fatigued state as more limited ranges of movement will be worked through. These drills should be incorporated daily as part of warm-up or cool down and initially may be performed for posture correction reasons.

On a single leg the abductors and adductors play a major role in the stabilization of the hips. Resisted hip abduction helps strengthen the glute medius (vital for knee tracking). If they are weak or not coordinated with the hamstrings more strain will be placed on the hamstrings. Lateral resisted side steps with a rubber band placed above the ankles or  the hips can be utilized as a warm up and cool down drill. This is quite effective for cyclists who can develop dominance in certain muscles leading to faulty knee tracking.

As for running, stair and gradient running is an efficient way of emphasising a high knee lift and powerful drive on toe off. Hill sprinting at a 15-degree grade provides an excellent means to develop good top speed mechanics. It is virtually impossible to overstride sprinting up hill and helps develop an efficient leg pick up from the hip flexors. Low hops and jumps serve to facilitate muscle stiffness which is more important for running than cycling. Stiffness does not mean necessarily mean tightness it means stability and quick transfer of movement, the opposite of stiffness would be the leg collapsing at ground contact. The emphasis here should be on the knee being slightly flexed with quick movements and low ground contact times. The key is in the ability to absorb force efficiently and transfer quickly.

This article has highlighted that subtle differences exist in the conditioning of cyclists and runners though there are more similarities especially in the gym that leads to optimum transfer to better performance.

The Overtraining Myth…

Someone who I train on occasion recently said to me was that he thought he was “overtraining.” Now this is not the first time I have had this mentioned to me and I am sure many coach or trainer has had this said to them before. The fact is when someone says they are “overtraining” to me it is them saying they are either (a) tired or (b) bored.

Wikipedia- the font of all human knowledge gives the definition….

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.

In laymens terms you are training too much for your body to recover so in effect your results go backwards. To this individual who mentioned overtraining to me my first question was “Why do you think that?” His answer “I just feel a bit tired.”

While not immediatly throwing a Snickers Bar at him and shouting “Grrr… Get Some Nuts!!!” we had a look at his programme and compared to the general recomendations for “health” he exceeded these recomendations by about 5 hours a week. However, this does not mean he was overtraining- yes, he was training a lot but 8 scheduled hours of training is not overtraining, especially if you are an amateur athlete. 

We reviewed his sleep patterns and his nutrition. Well, this is where we got our breakthrough. “Has your regular trainer looked at your diet?” I asked “Not really, I tend to avoid most carbohydrates though…” was the answer. On further review this guy in general was filling up on protein shakes, tins of tuna, fish oil capsuels and lettuce. He was tired not because he was overtraining- he was tired because he was not fueling his body to train or recover.

This is all too common-  a lot of people now are so conscious of body fat gains that they effectively can not train hard because they do not eat enough- usually in part due to ineffective dietry recommendations or a “system” of dieting which does not give flexibility to activity.

Adding in to the mix a lack of sleep and the recommendation is pretty much eat and sleep more and a lot of your “tired” symptoms will clear up. Focus on pre-exercise nutrition to give you intensity in training, put good healthy foods in to your body post session to help recovery.

Granted if you are overtraining you will have tired symptoms but don’t confuse this with poor nutrition and recovery- generally we will always review nutritional needs in line with the desired goals as a primary component of keeping exercise effective.

What you do in the gym sucks… Do this instead!

As a follow up to my last post I received a few queries on what I was actually talking about! Well keeping in line with the practical nature of this blog I thought I would give some samples. A couple of people have asked how this translates to performance in respect to strength levels and if it is relevant for those in regular competition. Fat loss can also be a product of this type of training; fundamentally this is due to the expenditure of a lot of energy.

The point I was making before previously is that conditioning needs to be varied for those seeking body fat reductions. From a performance perspective gym based conditioning does not need to be too heavy- perhaps only one to two sessions a week for those who have team or game based training time as well (commonly due to time commitments I find most gym time is best developing strength, power and correcting the postural issues that game time and general amount of training brings). If necessary then those training for a sport need to perform higher end intense work as they will get a general turnover of low level conditioning from their “skills” training.

For those training for reducing body fat the higher intensity stuff still applies. Two sessions of interval based training is usually the best choice. What type of exercises used can vary; my point on efficiency in the blog post before highlights that mastery of an exercise can limit its effectiveness. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be used, it just means that to end up with a washboard stomach variation is the key.

Interval training and high rep circuits though are not the be all and end all if you want to turn your body in to a fat burning furnace. Resistance training 2-3 times a week helps build and preserve muscle mass. For a lot of clients I tend to have a preference for strength based work (sub 6 repetition). Here we get a good return in strength- a lot of people don’t want their scale weight to go up so working with lower repetitions does not necessarily cause as much muscle damage and therefore less size gains. This is not to say I do this exclusively with clients- some may lift with higher reps as they want to install a hypertrophy response- most of the time though for fat loss a dietary modification has been made that will limit muscle growth meaning it’s just not that smart to chase fat loss and muscle gain at the same time.

Everyone though has a different preference and their programme should reflect this. I generally think that you should have one main preference in your programme of which your training and nutrition should be reflective. 3 times a week of lifting weights is the ideal either with 3 full body sessions or one upper, one lower and one full body training session. So the ideal training week may look like the below.

Monday Lower Body Resistance
Tuesday Intervals/ High Intensity
Wednesday Upper Body Resistance
Thursday Low Level Intensity Exercise
Friday Full Body Resistance
Saturday Intervals/ High Intensity
Sunday Rest

 Additional training can be done after each resistance session though this may be general activity or steady state. Also there is a low level intensity “recovery” day this may involve some general activity, posture correction work and generally a flexibility/ mobility circuit.

So what are is the best intensity based exercises to perform? Well there are some broad categories of which I use a variety of combinations in a session. Firstly, there is your standard ratio based sessions for instance 1 minute hard followed by one minute easy, 45 hard/ 20 easy, 30 hard/ 30 easy. A lot of press time has been given to “Tabata” style work outs- the original protocol of 20 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 seconds rest is just another timed interval. Simply if you do the same interval all the time your body will adapt and adjust. These sessions could be performed on c.v. equipment, running on a track or outside or with low level weights. My though process is changing a lot on this recently as I have had a larger base of clients to work with. Weight training works pretty well if this is the only time you are going to touch weights- full body complexes such as squat to press, squat to curl, kettlebell variations and modified bodyweight drills. I often use single leg exercises such as walking lunges and dynamic movement based drills such as weighted get ups and rolling sprints. These are metabolically demanding as they use the whole body as a unit.

Secondly, random drills can be quite fun as well, loaded sled dragging and pushing is perhaps my favourite at the moment- although most trainees won’t always have access to this I find that the movement is so alien to most people that for the first 3 weeks of training they forget how hard it actually is as they just try to keep breathing! Again this may be repetition based or time based though this type of training can be good for individuals who compete in strength based sports as you can add additional load (this brings down the work interval time but in turn heightens the intensity- I like this for the Rugby players I work with).

Thirdly, I love sprint based drills and hill running. On this type of stuff varied distances and work intervals can be used but find a steep enough hill and that will effectively tell you when to start and end the session. Track based sprinting is also good fun 100m, 200m and 400m are among my favourites. If you only have access to a commercial gym and treadmill perform 5 x 400m sprints at full pace (recover for as long as you want) it will definitely blow the cob webs out if you are not used to it.

 As you can see most of these methods of training involve full body movements and doing what are bodies are supposed to do- moving. Going for a 30 minute steady pace burn is okay after a resistance training session (if creating a calorie deficit is the idea) or as recovery but if you are serious about changing your fitness then simply this will not cut it when it comes to taking it on to the next level.