The Iron Chorus - Chapter 3. Cardio and Program Rules

Steady State Cardio:

Steady state cardio is “optional” because it may not be entirely necessary. You’ll be getting plenty of cardiovascular work with the HIIT cardio and may not feel the need or have the time. But, you may be wanting to shed a few more pounds of body fat or you have some extra time on your hands and want to get in a longer workout. This is where the steady state cardio comes in handy. This can be done on cardio machines, or (if the weather is nice) outside. However, steady state cardio should never take precedence over the weight training or HIIT cardio, that is why it is placed last!


Examples of Steady State Cardio Machines:

  • Treadmill

  • Elliptical

  • Stationary or Recumbent Bike

  • Cross Trainer

  • Stairmaster


As I previously showed, you can even space out your cardio to be on your “rest days.” This has two purposes: To shorten your training session and to create a consistent daily routine.


An Example Week of Training:

Mon:        Tues:        Wed:        Thurs:        Fri:        Sat:        Sun:

Training    20 mins    Training    15 mins    Rest        Training    Rest

Session 1    of Cardio    Session 2    of Cardio    Day        Session 3    Day


The “Rules”:

The following “Rules” are not set in stone. If you break one or two of them the workout does not fall apart. These are merely guidelines to help achieve your best results.



  1. For Every Push Movement you must have an equal amount of Pull Movements.*

  2. For Every Squat You must have an equal amount of Hip Hinges.*

  3. If you stop progressing on a lift, switch to a different lift and focus on this new progression.

  4. Always put your Hardest Lift first. (Hardest can mean “weakest” or the one you’d like to improve the most.)


*The amount of weight used does not need to be equal, but the overall amount of work. This means every set and rep must be matched. This is to help prevent muscular imbalances that might later turn into injuries.


For Example:

Incorrect - Bench Press 135lbs 3x12, Lat Pulldowns 115lbs 2x8

Correct - Bench Press 135lbs 3x12, Lat Pulldowns 100lbs 3x12



A Training Program is only good as the progress it gives you. However, progress is a relationship that requires mutual effort on behalf of the program and the person who’s doing the program. This program is scalable and meant to serve people of all populations and training experiences. With that said, if you don’t attempt to progress, you simply won’t. Progress yields results. And the progress you should be looking for should be tangible, not just a vague perception of reality that you see in the mirror under good lighting or the euphoric feeling you get from exercise. Although these are excellent symptoms of the program, real results come with real numbers. To keep track of your progress, stick to the math. Take measurements of the places you want to grow or shrink, watch the weight on the scale and notice if the number is slowly climbing or decreasing, and most importantly, write down your performance in THE GYM!


How to Progress:

The name of the game is PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD. Here is how you make sure you are progressing:

  1. Keep Track of all of your lifts and your cardio.

    1. Weights: How much weight you used and how many reps and sets you completed.

    2. HIIT Cardio: How long you did the cardio

  2. Every time you revisit that lift or exercise, your goal is to do MORE!

    1. Weights: Either use more weight or lift a weight you’ve previously used for MORE reps or more sets.

    2. HIIT Cardio: Do the exercise for longer or do more rounds of that exercise.


For Example:

Week 1:                         Week 2:

DB Bench Press - 35lbs (each hand) 2 x 8        DB Bench Press - 35lbs (each hand) 2 x 9

Mountain Climbers - 2 rounds, 30 secs each        Mountain Climbers - 3 rounds, 40 secs each

Eliptical - 13 minutes, level 5 resistance        Eliptical - 14 minutes, level 6 resistance


You can keep your track of your lifts with a notebook and a pen, a phone app, or a document on your computer. OR you can do what I did and start a blog!


Recommended Progressions:

If you’re completely new to strength training then you may very well need to start from the bottom. Below I listed the progression of each of the four compound movements going from easiest to most difficult.


Push:                    Pull:

  1. Push Up                1.) Machine Row

  2. Machine Chest Press            2.) Lat PullDown

  3. Bench Dips                3.) One Arm Dumbbell Row

  4. Dumbbell Bench Press        4.) Bent Over Straight Bar Row

  5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press        5.) Australian Pull Ups

  6. Barbell Bench Press            6.) Pendlay Row

  7. Barbell Shoulder Press        7.) Pull Up/Chin Up

  8. Bar Dips


Squat:                    Hip Hinge:

  1. Bodyweight Squat            1.) Standing Toe Touch

  2. Goblet Squat                2.) Sumo Dumbbell/Kettlebell Deadlift

  3. Lunge                    3.) Dumbbell/Kettlebell Swing

  4. Bulgarian Split Squat            4.) Stiff Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

  5. Step Ups                5.) Stiff Leg Straight Bar Deadlift

  6. Leg Press                6.) Dumbbell Deadlift

  7. Barbell Squat                7.) Barbell Deadlift


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Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Posted on January 16, 2017 and filed under Books.