Cardio doesn’t have to be a snooze fest. Crank up the intensity and revitalise your training with these fun workouts. As reluctant as you might be to hop on that treadmill—worried it’ll be boring or that it’ll prohibit your gains—give cardio a chance.
When properly paired with weight training, a good cardio plan will lead you to an ideal world of fat loss and help you carve a great, shapely figure. The trick is figuring out which movements will put you on the fast path to meeting your goals.
I’ve found four effective movements that will work wonders for your cardio routine. They’re my favourites because they pump some much-needed variety into your workout plan and produce results you’ll love.
1. The Stairmaster
The stairmaster is my first cardio choice for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it targets your glutes and thighs and it’s guaranteed to make you sweat. The stairmaster’s also great for fat loss. The key is intensity. Don’t treat your time on the stepper as you would a typical jaunt on the treadmill or stroll in the park. Crank up the intensity a bit, and get to work.
I usually do 20-30 minutes of stairmaster two to three times per week. You can do both high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS). Both styles deliver great results.
- To begin, step onto the Stairmaster and select the desired option from the menu.
- Pump your legs up and down in an established rhythm, driving the pedals down but not all the way to the floor.
- It is recommended that you maintain your grip on the handles so that you don’t fall.
- Stairmasters offer convenience, cardiovascular benefits, and usually have less impact than running outside.
- They are typically much harder than other cardio equipment.
Plyometrics are on the opposite end of the spectrum from your standard cardio workout. They are challenging: They get your heart pumping and require a ready mentality.
These exercises are also easily adaptable. If you’re new to the movements, you can get away with fairly basic body-weight-only exercises like jumping jacks. They’re convenient and portable, so you have no excuses.
Do as many jumping jacks as you can in 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. When you repeat the process, increase the time to 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. Then move on to 40 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times for a quick and effective cardio workout!
- Start by standing with your feet together.
- In one motion, jump your feet out to the side and raise your arms above your head.
- Immediately reverse the motion by jumping back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
Related article: Partner Workouts – Building The Perfect Body Together
Running is obviously a key cardiovascular exercise, but I’ve always found it to be a great stress reliever, too. If you lead a busy lifestyle, a good run may be exactly what you need to relax. Before you know it, you’ll have hit the reset button on your stress levels, leaving you recharged and back on track.
Running’s also a great tool for fat burning, especially when utilised with these other movements. When I’m on the treadmill, I set it to a high incline and do 15-second sprints with 45 seconds of rest for 12 rounds. This is a surefire way to elevate your heart rate and speed up the fat-loss process.
- To begin, step onto the treadmill and select the desired option from the menu.
- Elevation can be adjusted to change the intensity of the workout.
- Treadmills offer convenience, cardiovascular benefits, and usually have less impact than running outside.
- Maintain proper posture as you run, and only hold onto the handles when necessary, such as when dismounting or checking your heart rate.
4. Jumping Rope
For added variety, I like to throw a jump rope into my workout. Sometimes I’ll even make it a stand-alone workout. It’s great if you’re pressed on time and need to work up a sweat quickly. You can use a variety of speeds, frequencies, and rest periods to put together a unique program each time. Plus, it’s convenient and can be done just about anywhere—all you need is a rope.
When I incorporate my jump rope cardio session into my workout routine, I like to jump for a prescribed number of jumps or amount of time between exercises. I do 50-100 jumps or jump for 30-60 seconds between exercises. It’s a fantastic way to keep my heart rate up while I’m working out.
An increased heart rate speeds up fat loss, keeps things interesting, and gives you one heck of a workout in the process.
- Hold an end of the rope in each hand. Position the rope behind you on the ground.
- Raise your arms up and turn the rope over your head bringing it down in front of you.
- When it reaches the ground, jump over it.
- Find a good turning pace that can be maintained.
- Different speeds and techniques can be used to introduce variation.
- Rope jumping is exciting, challenges your coordination, and requires a lot of energy.