The Pump & Run

Dustin Myers

I get bored.  Too monotonous.  I don’t get a pump.  I don’t want to flatten out and loose muscle.

I don’t have time…

I’ve heard just about every excuse imaginable for why people don’t do their conditioning work.  If you have ever convinced your self why you didn’t want or need to do cardio, chances are I have already heard your rationale and can counter any argument with the same reply.  You are doing it the wrong way.

First let’s talk about the reason most of you want to do conditioning in the first place - to get leaner/loose weight/get shredded…right?  If this is important to you, then why make excuses to avoid this type of training altogether?  Using the most easily accessible piece of cardio equipment, the treadmill, as the example, let’s go ahead and dispel those excuse making myths.

Too Boring/Monotonous - You are absolutely right, running on a treadmill can be boring and tedious…but only if you jump on and plod along aimlessly for long distances.  This strategy is what I often see from your average Joe, either before or after their workout they hop on a treadmill and run at an easy pace for a few miles.  I enjoy a long run once a week or so, but this is not the most efficient way to burn fat, as long steady runs basically work on building your aerobic base.

No Pump - again, you are right.  You won’t get much of an upper body pump from long runs, and even though you sweat a great deal you may feel “flat” when the run is completed.  If only there was a way to incorporate your upper body into these runs…

Cardio burns muscle - You got me.  Long extended bouts of aerobic cardio can burn a small amount of muscle as the body begins to utilize protein for fuel.  But what about a sprinter?  I have noticed that Olympic sprinters and marathon runners have vastly different physiques…

No time - sounds to me like you haven’t been getting the results you want (or enjoying the training) so you haven’t prioritized your conditioning…

It sounds to me like the solution you seek is an exciting, muscle preserving, major pump inducing, anaerobic conditioning workout that can be done quickly.  Luckily for you I have something that fits that exact description, The GutCheck Pump & Run.  The set up is fairly simple: 

1 minute Sprint

30 seconds Pull Ups Max Reps

30 seconds Push Ups Max Reps

x 10 rounds non-stop

Start by setting up a treadmill humming along at the highest speed you can run at for one minute (always warm up by getting in a light jog or bike for 2-3 minutes and/or dynamic stretching).  Grabbing the side rails, carefully step on at full stride and run for one minute.  Leave the treadmill running, and grab the hand rails to exit the treadmill.  Transition immediately to a pull up bar and complete as many reps as possible in 30 seconds.  Drop to the floor and pump out as many push ups you can muster in 30 seconds.  Once your thirty seconds of push ups is complete, go directly to the treadmill and start another round.  You must complete 10 consecutive rounds with minimal rest.

Some things to consider:

What is the right speed?  Any speed on this workout makes it difficult, but finding the right speed can be the difference between a “good sweat” and “hardest workout ever”.  Since the run interval is for 1 minute, it is not realistic to do a true sprint, but the speed needs to be challenging.  I suggest using +2mph over your normal jogging speed.  If you can comfortably jog at 8mph, then set the treadmill for 10mph.  Since some treadmills max out at 10mph, if this is too easy then add a slight incline.  On the flip side, if part way thru the workout the one minute run becomes too difficult, turn the speed down a little.  The key is being able to complete all 10 rounds with no break other than the transition between stations.

What if I can’t do the exercises for 30 seconds?  The key here is doing as many reps as possible in 30 seconds.  If that means 20 pull ups, great.  If you can only manage 5 pull ups in 30 seconds on the later rounds, that is fine also.  But make sure to stay in position the entire 30 seconds!  For Pull ups, that means do not let go of the bar until 30 seconds is up, even if you spend part of the round just hanging there, you will still be working your forearms and stretching your lats rather than resting.  During the Push Up sets, keep your body in perfect “Push Up-Plank” position when not rapping them out.  That entails keeping your core tight, hips level and body perfectly straight and parallel to the floor.

What if the pull up bar is really far away from the treadmill?  The key to this workout is minimal rest.  To reap the metabolic benefits of the Pump & Run, you need to be able to tax the upper body then immediately transition to a run, and depending on how your gym is set up that may not be realistic.  If that is the case, I would suggest substituting an exercise such as light barbell or dumbbell rows for the pull ups.  Keep a set of medium weight dumbbells close to the treadmill and immediately after you finish your minute run interval, rep out 30 seconds of rows before dropping to the ground for push ups.

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