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Bodyweight Workout: “Heart Alternator”

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An alternator produces electricity. It’s a power source containing a rapidly spinning magnet inside a coil of copper wire.

There’s one in your car. It makes the headlights work, the dashboard illuminate, and the spark that keeps your engine going. Without it, your vehicle wouldn’t work — the battery would quickly drain and you’d be stuck calling for jumper cables.

Like your car needs an alternator, you need your heart to keep working — it keeps the lights on and the engine running. Let’s build it with this epic bodyweight workout: the “Heart Alternator.”

The Challenge

You’ll work for 20 seconds and rest for 40 seconds, alternating between two exercises — sprinting and burpees. Begin by sprinting for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds, then do burpees for 20 seconds, and rest for 40 seconds. That’s one round.

You’ll do the number of rounds prescribed for your fitness level (be sure to select a level that works for you):

  • Beginner: 6 Rounds
  • Intermediate: 8 Rounds
  • Advanced: 10 Rounds

The work/rest ratio is meant to allow you to go all out on every work set, with twice as much rest as work in every round. Literally go as quickly as your health, ability, and good form will allow. If you’re into measurement, your score will be the distance you cover and the total number of burpees completed (visiting a track allows for easy measurement).

Movement Tips

To sprint: Run as quickly as possible. This is not a jog — rather, you’re running as if you’re being chased. Get as far as you can, as fast as you can.

To perform a burpee:

  1. Begin at standing with your feet at hip width.
  2. Put your hands on the ground and kick back to a plank position, quickly lowering your chest to the ground (this is exactly like the bottom of a push-up).
  3. Rapidly push back up to a plank (the top of a push-up), simultaneously jumping your feet back under you.
  4. Jump and clap your hands over your head. This is one repetition.

To reduce the difficulty of the burpee, you have several options:

  1. You can put your knees on the ground during the push-up portion.
  2. Rather than jump your feet back under you (or jump and clap at the end of each repetition), simply walk your feet back underneath you and return to standing at the end of each rep.

Enjoy the workout, and post your results to comments.

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Jon Gilson
Jon Gilson is a coach and writer, and the former CEO of the Whole Life Challenge.

Previously, he founded Again Faster Equipment, a functional fitness equipment company created to serve the CrossFit community. Established in 2006, Jon took the Company global in 2012, twice landing on the Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.

From 2007 to 2013, he served as a Senior Lecturer for CrossFit, Inc., training aspiring CrossFit trainers at over 100 seminars, including engagements in Iceland, Afghanistan, Moscow, Holland, the United States, and Canada. Jon also served on the CrossFit L1 Advisory Board, helping establish policy for the organization’s training efforts from 2011 to 2013.

He’s also done stints in state government, gym management, and consulting — and currently teaches classes at CrossFit City Line.

Jon graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Psychology. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Finance and Control from the Harvard Extension School, 2006, and has completed coursework in data analytics.