Put Your Fitness To The Test With This Four-Move Conditioning Session

Man using indoor rowing machine in gym
(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Even if your focus is building muscle, doing short lung-busting conditioning pieces is a great way to improve your cardio fitness and burn fat.

Whether you’re after a quick workout to raise your heart rate or a finisher to fatigue your muscles, this session from personal trainer Mark Thompson will do the job. Combining a stint on a cardio machine with two strength exercises and a gymnastic core movement, it will challenge your strength, fitness, mobility and balance.

You’ll need a dumbbell, pull-up bar and a rowing machine. If you don’t have a rower, swap in a 200m run or 100 skips. 

The final move is the toes-to-bar, an exercise often used in CrossFit workouts. This is a fairly advanced movement that, as the name suggests, challenges you to hang from a pull-up bar and bring your toes to the bar. Thompson suggests doing hanging knee raises if this part of the workout is too challenging, hanging off the bar and raising your knees to your chest. Or you can do butterfly sit-ups, which target similar muscles.

Watch Thompson take you through each of the exercises in the Instagram Reel below.

Complete four rounds of this workout at your own pace, working at a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. This means you’ll rest for the same amount of time it takes you to complete the prescribed reps of the four exercises, allowing your body to recover before moving on to the following movement. 

Thompson suggests aiming to complete each round in the same amount of time. The workout will feel harder as your muscles tire, so although you should be working hard and performing each movement with purpose, try to pace yourself and begin conservatively. 

Make sure not to rush the movements so your form isn’t compromised, especially with the dumbbell exercises. Brace your core and don’t let your back round.

For a longer session, try this full-body conditioning workout, or stick to the short stuff with these metcon workouts. Alternatively, if you’re working with one type of free weight, choose between this kettlebell HIIT workout for total-body conditioning or this strength and conditioning dumbbell workout

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.