A high-intensity workout dads will love (or love to hate)


Dad doing a pushup with son on his back

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If you’re a fit dad looking to gain endurance, strength and power so that you can add yards to your drive, wrestle three kids into car seats and/or shave seconds off your 5K time, try this high-intensity interval training workout by Julie Erickson, owner of Endurance Pilates & Yoga in Arlington, Mass., and creator of Barre Boston. You will maximize your workout and see results more quickly from with a normal rate of intensity.

This sequence challenges the endurance of your postural muscles — the ones that affect posture — and the muscles of the core to improve stability and mobility. It also shows ways in which you can involve the kids.

You’ll need a kettlebell and TRX suspension trainer. If you don't have the gear at home, try it out at the gym.

Warm up first

One-mile run as fast as possible, then two minutes of jump rope.

Tabata push-up

Eight sets of push-ups. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. 

The secret to push-ups is utilizing the entire body for stability, including legs and core so you should feel the rest of the body working as much as the arms!  

Benefits: Works abs, core an back to maintain straight body alignment

*Keep the kids involved: Let them do the push-ups on your rest and they count your push-ups during your work phase.

Kettlebell swings and TRX rows

Four sets: Alternating 25 kettlebell swings and timed 1:30 TRX rows

Standing with your feet wider than your shoulders, hinge forward from the hips. Push the kettlebell back, grazing your thighs with both arms. Using the hamstrings and glutes to drive the hips forward, the hips extend and the bell swings through, no higher than the shoulders. The movement is driven with the legs, not the arms.  

Benefits: Focus is lats, hamstrings and core muscles

*Keep the kids involved: Let the little ones swing a pillow or favorite toy alongside of you and everyone counts together. Older kids can swing a hand weight of 3 to 5 pounds.

TRX rows

Start in between the handles of the TRX, facing the anchor. Legs are shoulder-distance apart and strong, arms extended, but shoulders retracted so your body is like a steel blade from head to toe. Pull your belly in and bend the elbows out to the sides, lifting the entire straight line of the body. Elbows stay in line with the shoulders, distance between the ears and the shoulders remain the same.  

Benefits: Focus is on posture muscles and rhomboids.

*Keep the kids involved: While you use the TRX for your rows, your kids can use a resistance band! Have the kids sit and wrap the band around their feet, cross the band in an X shape in front of the chest and use the same strong muscles that dad is working!

Learn more about HIIT workouts here and here.