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Amplify Results with 3 P's: Progression, Pairing, & Plyometrics

31 Oct, 2022 | 5 minutes read

You’re in the groove. You’re getting it done. You’re working out regularly and you’re getting results. But… the results have stagnated. Your cardio capacity, muscle tone and body composition have stalled out. Now what? 

Do not panic ─ this is normal! Your body naturally responds to the stimuli that it is given and consistently strives to meet the daily demands placed upon it. As you perform cardio and resistance training regularly, your body will step up to the demands. You’ll see results, but if you don’t continually challenge and advance your cardio and strength routines, your body won’t advance either.

So, let’s challenge that body of yours using small shifts that will lead to big results. By adding progressions, pairing and plyometrics to your routine, you will be working your muscles harder or recruiting more muscles by increasing duration, intensity, resistance and power.

man riding an upright cycle

Progressions

Progressions are exactly how they sound – creating sequences of progressively challenging movements to challenge your cardio and strength

How to use progressions in your cardio routine:

1. Increase the duration of your workout week over week.

Start by adding five minutes to your workout each week to build endurance and cardio capacity.

Worried about remembering what you did last week because sometimes you can't even remember what you did an hour ago? No worries! Matrix touchscreen consoles include a Recent Workouts Calendar feature that saves your workouts, so you you only need to tap on a past workout to repeat it and add five minutes.  

2. Increase the intensity of your workout week over week.

There are only so many minutes in a day. When you are at the maximum duration of your workout, vary the intensity by adding intervals of speed throughout your routine. A very efficient way to do this is to swap a Sprint 8-style cardio workout to an existing steady state routine. 

Not ready for the intensity of Sprint 8? Start by simply adding one minute of increased intensity every five minutes during your workout. Over time, you can progress the intervals to two or three minutes in length and decrease the length of recovery in-between. 

3. Intensity can also be increased through resistance or incline.

Both options engage and challenge more muscles, bringing your workout to the next level.

The Matrix 50-series cardio equipment is specifically designed for interval training and offers resistance variation at the touch of a button.The A50 Ascent Trainer, E50 Elliptical, U50 Upright Bike and R50 Recumbent Bike all include the Exact Force Induction Brake, which makes resistance changes effortless and instant – ideal for quick interval changes.  

Check out our Induction Force Brake in this video.

Finally, if a change in muscle activation is what you’re after, increase the incline for short intervals on an Ascent Trainer or treadmill. Even a small incline increase (i.e. 2─4% on a treadmill) for a short bout of time recruits more muscles and can add an element of strength training to your cardio routine. 

Make all of these options easy by using the Custom Workout feature on the Matrix Consoles that allows you to set your own custom workout intervals so you can start with the duration, incline or resistance that works for you and gradually progress over time. 

Pairing

We generally regard cardio and strength training as two different types of exercise, but when paired together, you can shed body fat and amplify your results. 

“Any scenario where you combine cardio exercise and weight training into a comprehensive program of exercise will help you to build muscle, improve cardiovascular fitness, contribute to weight loss and can also satisfy the current physical activity guidelines for Americans.”1

A great way to pair cardio with strength is to add bouts of bodyweight movements to your cardio routine. This can be done at the beginning, during, or after your routine. The basic formula for adding a full body strength component to your workout is to select at least one exercise from each of the following movement patters:

Movement Pattern

Examples

Squatting

Squat, Deadlift

Lunging

Forward Lunge, Reverse Lunge, Side Lunge

Pushing

Push-ups, Glute Bridge, Bear Crawl

Pulling

Upright Rows, Plank Row

Rotation

Russian Twists, Wood Chop, Side Plank Rotations

Pairing Strength Before or After Cardio

Using the five movement patterns above, create a 20-minute strength sequence to perform before or after tour cardio routine. It can be as simple as performing 10 reps of each movement for two or three rounds. To make this quick as possible, start with bodyweight movements to move swiftly from the floor to your cardio equipment.

Pairing Strength During Cardio

Create an interval routine where you split your cardio into four segments and come off the equipment to perform a round of strength work. All Matrix consoles include a handy pause button that will pause your workout on the equipment for five minutes, so you won't lose your cardio progress while you're challenging muscles off the equipment. 

Woman squatting in front of an elliptical

Plyometrics

After several weeks (or months) of adding strength into your cardio routine, you may be ready to progress your paired workout to add plyometrics. Rather than reaching for the dumbbells, which can require time to transition, opt to include quick, explosive plyo movements into your off-equipment work (consider an optional loop band for quick transitions.)

“Plyometrics tone the entire body, burn calories, and improve cardiovascular health. They also boost your stamina and metabolism. In addition, plyometric exercises rapidly stretch your muscles, allowing you to move more efficiently.”2

Adding plyometric training can also make your body more resilient, which in turn can reduce your risk of injury. The high-impact movements can increase bone density and strengthen connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. 

Below are a few examples of how to use progression principle to amplify your off-equipment movements:

Basic Movement

Progressive Plyometric Movement

Squats

Squat Jumps, Pop Squat, Multi-Direction Jumping Jacks, Forward Jump, Star Jumps

Lunge

Static Jumping Lunges, Skater Hops, Around the World Single Leg Hops

Push-up

Plank Jacks, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Explosive Push-ups, Explosive Triceps Dip

Banded Rows

Explosive Banded Row, Explosive Banded High Pull

 

As always, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine or making a significant change to an existing routine. If you are working with a personal trainer, consult with them to identify the appropriate progressions, pairings, and plyometrics to amplify your fitness goals.

The Last Rep

Amplifying your results doesn't require adding hours you don't have to your workout routine. Progressing, pairing, and eventually adding plyometric movements to your existing routine is all you need to increase your cardio capacity, improve strength, and make changes to your body compositions. 

Work smarter, not harder!

 

1 Verywellfit (6/14/2020). Cardio and Strength Training for Weight Loss: Why You Should Do BothCardio and Strength Training for Weight Loss: Why Do Both (verywellfit.com)

2 Healthline (1/23/2019). How to Do 8 Different Plyometric Exercises, Guide to the 8 Best Plyometric Exercises to Try (healthline.com)

 

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About the Author

woman in black tshirt smiling at the camera

Rebecca Isensee, Matrix Master Trainer, USA

Rebecca has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 10 years, fueling her deep passion for helping clients honor health as a part of a full life through physical strategies and healthy habits. She hold Master Trainer certifications in MX4, multiple Les Mills disciplines, and has earned ACE Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition certifications.

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