Cardio Chores

Most advice to climbers says that to get better at climbing they should just climb a lot.  And most climbers just want to climb…a lot.  But for many people a little cross training probably would help their climbing.  And some might even be willing to do it, if life didn’t keep getting in the way (and, you know, they couldn’t get to a gym or crag to climb).

So, when life gets in the way, make lemonade.  Or whatever.  Chores are a great way to get a cardio workout in and still check things off the to-do list.  To get to the most benefit from this, you just need to do a little (very little) planning.

1.)    Pick a chore that lends itself to physical activity.  (Speed bill paying is a bad idea.)

2.)    Decide how long you would like to devote to your chore/workout.

3.)    Break up this time into intervals, varying the duration and intensity.  Use repeats to fill the time.  Make sure you design the workout to be appropriate for your fitness level.

4.)    Remember to adhere to basic workout guidelines, even though you are doing a chore.  Warm-up, cool-down, hydrate, etc.

To help get an idea of this, here’s what I did the other day as an example:

1.)    My garden needed to be weeded, so I chose hoeing as my “cardio chore.”

2.)    I wanted to spend ~40 minutes on the actual activity, not including warm-up and cool-down time.

3.)    My intervals:

:15 Fast hoeing
:05 Rest
:30 Moderate hoeing
:05 Rest
:30 Hard hoeing
:05 Rest
1:00 Moderate hoeing
:45 Rest

I repeated this entire set 12 times through.  It adds up to 39 minutes.

4.)    I did about 10 minutes of warm-up and 5 minutes of cool down.  I also spent much of the rest intervals doing light active recovery (arm circles, marches, etc).  This helped balance out the lopsidedness of the activity (I can only hoe right-handed).

In order to do my workout, I needed a timer.  I used the Seconds Pro app on my phone.  (The website says iOS, but you can get it for Android, which is what I have.)  This app is amazing.  I learned about it from the gals at Crux Crush and it was exactly what I needed for almost all my training.  A clock or stopwatch would also work just fine.  You don’t need to be this regimented in your workout, if that doesn’t work for you.  You could put on some headphones and do moderate for one song and rest for one song.  You could also do it non-time based, such as one row of the garden fast and then one row moderate.  Do what works for you.  That’s the point.  An added bonus of this system is that it makes the chore go by way faster.

This may sound silly, but my garden needed to be weeded and I needed to get in a cardio workout.  This was 2-for-1.  My garden looks great and it left me more time to climb later in the day.  I’d love to hear how others have adapted this idea.  Please share!

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