No workout would be complete without cardio. Cardio is one way of getting your metabolism going and it is one of the most popular ways to burn fat. Cardiovascular workouts involve physical exertion and pushing oneself to the limit. It involves a lot of sweat and running out of energy just to drop some pounds. There is no wonder that many people despise doing cardiovascular workouts because of the toll that it takes on the body. Most people believe that a workout should be fun and also inspiring enough to stay with the workout. Some gym memberships drop because of the lack of motivation to stay fit because of the monotonous nature of some cardiovascular workouts.
People who workout dread doing cardio workouts because the type of cardio workouts they are doing are boring and not exciting enough. The benefits of cardio are important, as there are several health benefits besides burning fat. Cardio improves thinking and doing enough cardio even has the potential to help with certain diseases. Although the old cliche of no pain no gain is true when it comes to cardio exercises, cardio should also be fun. For those of you who dread doing cardio, the following are variations of cardio workouts that are not only engaging, but these exercises will make you love cardiovascular workouts once again.
20 Battle Ropes
This exercise is a break from what is traditionally known as a cardiovascular workout. It does not involve the legs, nor does it involve any running. The battle ropes are pretty challenging, but they are a fun and rewarding exercise.
The battle ropes involve grabbing hold of two ropes and then flailing your arms as fast as you possibly can.
To make this exercise more of a challenge, use a thicker grade of rope. The swinging variations provide for a more challenging workout such as rope circles and rope slams. It is best to start with 40 seconds, and then resting for 20 seconds and repeating about 5 to 10 times.
19 Tire Flips
Imagine turning over a tire over and over with all of your might. These tires are not the type of tires you would find on a car or a truck, but they are huge tires that you would find on a construction vehicle. The tire flip is more like a combination of weightlifting exercises such as the squat and the deadlift and the shoulder press all rolled into one. To do these, you start in the squat position and lift the giant tire up from the ground. You then just simply flip the tire over, hence the name. This is a cardio workout sans the running. 15 flips are enough and 2 sets will have your legs feeling like linguini.
18 Weighted Box Jumps
Weighted box jumps are what most sports call a plyometric exercise. This plyometric exercise is great for strengthening the heart and improving coordination. Jumping is one of the most popular ways to get a great cardio workout as opposed to running on a track or a treadmill.
The weighted box jumps are performed with weight ankles or holding a dumbbell. The exercise is fairly simple.
You will stand in front of a wooden box or platform with feet shoulder-width apart. You then jump onto the box, and then you can either step back down or jump back down. Perform for about a minute, quickly jumping onto the box or platform and then coming down from the platform.
17 Line Sprints
There is a reason this exercise is called a suicide sprint. You will kill over after just one set. Seriously, suicide sprints are a very challenging cardio workout and it is a very good way of strengthening the heart and improve breathing. In the sport of football, the suicide sprints are known as gassers because they will cause you to run out of gas. The concept of the suicide sprint is simple. You start on a field or preferably a football field with the yard lines marked. You then sprint to the 10-yard line and back to the starting position. Without stopping, you then sprint out to the 20-yard line, and then back to the starting line. Immediately sprint to the 30-yard line and back. Aim to rest for one minute and repeat for about four sets.
16 Resistance Tether
A little resistance is what you need if you are in need of a change in cardio exercise. The resistance that you can use can be a tire, a sled, or even another person.
You will attach a tether band around your waist or wear a vest with a tether attachment. The other object (or person) will be attached at the other end.
You will have three cones ahead of you that are 10 feet apart. Start by laying on the ground. And then get up and sprint to the first cone, and then back to the starting position. Then sprint to the second cone and sprint back, and then repeat with the third. Do for 3 sets and rest for one minute between sets.
15 Rope Attached Sled Push And Pull
Instead of using a rope, a chain can also be used for this exercise. This exercise is done by attaching a chain or a rope to a sled. You will then sprint while pushing the sled from one end until the length of the rope or chain. Once you have reached the length of the chain or rope, turn around and proceed to sprint the opposite direction while pulling the sled until the chain or rope lengthens. Once the length or the chain or rope is stretched, you will once again sprint back to the rope or chain while pushing the sled again. Repeat 2 to 3 times and increase the sled weight with each new set.
14 Sledge Hammer Tire Swings
If you are angry on a cardio day, take it out on the tire! This is one popular cardio exercise and a way to let out stress on a tire. All you need is one large tire (such as a large construction vehicle tire) and a sledgehammer. You take the sledgehammer and put one hand on the top end of the handle and the other on the bottom. You then simply hit the tire with the strength of your might.
A rubber plate can be used also if a tire is not accessible.
Swing and hit the tire for 40 seconds, and rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for about 4 minutes.
13 Farmer Carry Figure 8’s
Have you ever carried something heavy, like a suitcase? It forced you to walk fast so that you could drop it as soon as possible because it was so heavy. The same concept basically applies to the farmer carry figure 8's. This exercise involves holding two heavy tanks or kettlebells (or dumbbells). You will have two cones set up previously about 10 feet apart. You will then walk with the weights in your hand but your arms will be straight down. You will walk fast because of the amount of weight getting in your cardio at the same time. You will make a figure 8 pattern while walking around each cone. Walk back to the original position. Do 3 sets and rest for 2 minutes in between each set.
12 Sand Sprints
Running on a track is challenging, but it is fairly easy as compared to running on beach sand. Beach sand in itself is a resistance and cardio exercise. It is very hard to run on beach sand and thus beach sand provides you with an excellent workout that is different from the norm.
No weights or any type of resistance is really needed for running on the beach.
The concept is very simple: You just sprint a good distance of about 40 to 60 yards and then run back to the starting position. You can repeat for about 5 times for 5 sets.
11 Jumping Rope
This is one of the most popular cardio exercises and also one of the oldest of all cardio exercises. You can get out of the fear of doing cardio by going back to your childhood temporarily with jumping rope. Jumping rope can make a person more focused since there is a greater amount of concentration needed to jump rope. No one wants to get caught in the rope and the amount of coordination needed to jump rope is pretty high. There are all kinds of rope exercises that have been around for decades and also different variations for jumping rope.
10 Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebells are kind of a new thing in the world of weightlifting. Using barbells and dumbbells can often cause posture problems because of the restrictions of using a bar while lifting weights.
Kettlebells give a person more freedom to move the weights and are kind of like dumbbells without the bar.
A simple cardio workout can be created with kettlebells known as the kettlebell swing. Simply just swing the kettlebells with intensity. A ten-minute swing of the kettlebell is good for starters. There are many variations for the kettlebell swing and it will also serve as a double benefit as a weightlifting and cardio exercise.
9 Stair Sprints
The good thing about stair sprints is that they can be done anywhere where stairs are available. This is a great exercise for people who are at work and decide to do a little exercising on their break. Many people would rather take an elevator than the stairs, but even walking the stairs will build a person's stamina. There are several variations of this exercise. Start by running up a flight of stairs and then back down. To get more of a cardio challenge, find an empty sports arena such as a high school arena and run up and down the stairs. 5 sets are good and taking a minutes rest is sufficient.
8 Hill Sprint
Running upstairs can be quite a challenge. Running up a hill can be somewhat of a challenge, especially when the hill is very steep. If a hill is not that steep, it will make for an easier run.
To do the hill sprint, it is best to do a warm up by either walking or jogging before sprinting up a hill.
Start by sprinting up the hill, and then slowly walk down the hill. Repeat this process for at least 4 to 6 times. This exercise is fun, but it is always best to walk back downhill to avoid running or stumbling on the way down.
7 Side Shuffle Treadmill
We have either been on a treadmill or seen someone doing a workout on a treadmill. The very first thing that you probably see when you walk up to a gym is the ever-present treadmill. It is a common staple amongst workout equipment and one of the most popular cardio machines of all time. Instead of the traditional walk or run on a treadmill, the side shuffle adds variation to the monotonous walking or running exercise. Facing one side of the treadmill, slightly squat down and then shuffle as the treadmill is running. Make sure to use a low to medium speed.
6 Chest Loaded Swing
Here is yet another kettlebell exercise which is similar to a barbell exercise known as the good morning.
The good morning can be a bit stressful since the barbell rests in the area between the shoulder blade and the back of the neck.
The chest loaded swing is a lot safer to do and only one kettlebell is needed. To do this exercise, stand and spread the feet about shoulder-width apart with the feet facing slightly outward. Hold the kettlebell up to the chest. You then bend at the hips with the kettlebell against the chest until your torso is parallel with the floor and then rise up. Repeat about 15 times and take a 30-second rest and repeat for 5 sets.
Anyone will get a kick out of kickboxing for cardio exercise. Many people sign up for kickboxing classes to learn the art of self-defense. Some individuals sign up just for the cardio workout. Any type of fighting art will get the heart pumping and no resistance is involved. Adding in punching and kicking moves can really give a person a great workout. You can either spar with a partner or even use a punching bag to get in these workouts. Variations of ordinary boxing moves and kickboxing moves make for a more intense workout. Try to have as much fun fighting as you exercise.
4 Interval Sprint
Sprinting is an intense form of running where you are running at your near maximum or maximum potential. Sprinting will not only benefit the heart but also build muscle. Most people in professional sports do continual sprints, but for the rest of us, interval sprinting is enough.
Interval sprinting involves a quick burst of speed and a change in speed momentarily.
You can mark a distance of about 10 to 20 feet and you will sprint half a distance and then jog half of a distance and repeat 10 or 15 times. Anyone who is just beginning cardio would truly benefit from interval sprinting since it involves a fast and somewhat slow pace.
Dancing is perhaps the most enjoyable of any cardio exercise. Most people would consider dancing as a recreational activity more than an exercise, but many calories are burned and people work up a sweat while having a great time at the same time. Dancing can be done with a partner or alone. There are many dance classes that can be attended in order to get a good cardio workout. The genres of dancing for cardio are usually Zumba, hip-hop, salsa, and many other dance genres to get the heart pumping. Dancing can also improve a person's coordination and posture.
2 Tabata Training
If you want a really intense cardio workout, then turn up your cardio routine with Tabata. Tabata training is an intense form of interval training which was originally created to help Olympic athletes improve their cardio. Tabata was created by Dr. Izumi Tabata.
With Tabata training, you can do any numerous amount of exercises which involves exercising in one place.
The time interval can range from 20 seconds to a minute, and then you go into the next exercise. Do this for about 5 minutes, rest for a short amount of time, and then repeat the process. This is a super intense way to burn a lot of fat in a short amount of time and no equipment is needed to do these exercises.
1 Agility Ladder
The agility ladder is not really an actual ladder that you climb. It is just an apparatus that looks like a two-dimensional ladder. Many professional sports use the agility ladder to improve quickness and movement. The agility ladder has been incorporated in gyms because it is a great way and a change from the normal cardio exercises. You can do many types of movements with the agility ladder such as quick forward shuffles, side shuffles, and front and side hops. Using the agility ladder requires quickness and some skill. It can also increase a person's running speed as well as improve a person's coordination.