The 9 Best Cardio Workouts That Have Nothing To Do With A Treadmill
Is there anything more boring than running on a road that leads to nowhere?
That's exactly what it's like trying to get some cardio in on the treadmill.
Don't get me wrong, I love working out — but I absolutely detest anything that involves running and a treadmill. How is that the least bit enjoyable?
There is no way anyone actually looks forward to doing this at the end of a long day.
It's no wonder so many people complain about exercising — they think this is what it has to entail. But they could not be more wrong!
There are a ton of other exercises a person can do to achieve similar — if not better — results, especially when it comes to cardio.
Don't believe me? Well, that's exactly why I asked the experts…
1. Cardio Barre
Barre? Cardio? No way. Most people think barre has absolutely nothing to do with cardio but when it comes to Flywheel's barre class, that is not always the case. The company offers a class under the name FlyBarre Sport that combines your favorite barre moves with cardio elements.
The class was designed to get the benefits of a barre class — tightening, lifting, core strengthening — while also getting your heart rate up and making you sweat. It's sectioned off into muscle blocks of high repetitions of movements with small or only body weight, broken up by jumping and light impact to increase the heart rate.
2. Hot Yoga
Yoga is known as a healing practice — mentally, physically and spiritually. But it can easily be seen as a vigorous workout with the right approach. Yoga classes under the title of hot yoga, power yoga, vinyasa and ashtanga all add that physical challenge while getting a mental release.
What I love about hot yoga and vinyasa is that I sweat as if I ran a marathon but my bones, muscles and joints don't ache from the impact that you'd get from running, making it so much better for your body long-term.
And deeper breaths help relax the mind and body and make you sweat… a lot.
3. HIIT (High Intensive Interval Training)
A great alternative to running on a treadmill is incorporating body weight HIIT workouts into your routine. HIIT is a more efficient and effective way of burning calories than in a steady cardio state. My favorite HIIT exercise, for example, is Tabata jump squats.
Tabata is a 4-minute drill: 20 seconds of all out work with 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. Jumps squats are a functional movement that willl pump up your heart rate while targeting your glutes and quads.
Sweat? You bet! But by small movements, varrying intensities and different angulations, our variation of a classic kickboxing routine takes cardio to a whole new level. Small stepping movements paired with non-stop punches and kicks requires the body to recruit multiple major muscle groups, small stabilizer groups and taxes the cardiovascular system.
The twist is adding in different angulations to the sequences, which confuses the neuromuscular system, therefore making the body work harder to keep up with beat.
Indoor cycling is an incredibly effective cardio experience. With little to no impact on our ankles, knees and hips, the belt-based bike is joint friendly while being incredibly effective.
My indoor cycling program is an interval based workout that tests our work capacity and cardiac threshold over multiple time domains: 15, 30, 45, 60 and 90 (YES, 90) second ‘pushes' to get our heart rate up and our towel sweaty without ever feeling ‘bored' all while listing to some of the best music in stadium cycling!
Rowing is a wonderful alternative to your typical running workout for two reasons. One is that it's a very low impact exercise, meaning your joints are not being forcefully impacted on a hard surface. This, of course, reduces the risk of injury and the wear and tear on your body. More importantly, rowing recruits about 80 percent of your musculature; you use your legs, core and arms to activate your entire posterior chain.
The reality is, running is rather harmful to the body (albeit very effective) over time. Rowing is a low impact, safe way to engage most of your muscles while getting a heart-pounding cardio workout in.
7. Dance Cardio
Dance cardio class is an effective method of cardio training, first and foremost, because it's actually fun! Cardio can feel so boring and laborious, especially when you do the same cardio exercise every day. The workouts, including dance moves and sculpting sequences, are always different. Throw in some great music, from current pop hits to throwback hip-hop classics, and the hour long class flys by leaving you wanting more.
The class is built to raise and lower your heart rate, while isolating arms, abs, butt and legs for a true full-body workout, leaving you sweaty and energized by the end.
Trampoline cardio is a one-stop-shop for high intensity cardio and muscle sculpting. Spiking your heart rate higher than on a treadmill with the added trampoline resistance sculpts your entire body, with less impact!
Added bonus? It's undeniably fun! Trudging away on a treadmill can wear at your willpower if you don't look forward to it. Dancing on a trampoline while firing up your core? Yes, please!
After two years of many different calorie counting devices walking in the doors here, I have not seen any exercise that consistently beats the 30 minutes of boxing we have. The reason for this is the explosive nature of punching (going from a resting position to exerting maximum force) and the use of the full body (and all the major muscles) to throw that punch. Think of hopping vs. squatting and jumping as high as you can.
When you combine the amount of effort needed to throw a proper powerful punch and the resistance the heavy bag is providing your muscles, there's almost a perfect storm of cardiovascular and resistance training that causes your heart to work at its full capacity.
I have yet to see anything that beats boxing cardiovascularly.
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