If you’re looking for cardio exercises, then you’re in the right place as we’ve hand-picked the top 10 exercises for cardio to get your heart pumping and get you in a sweat.
Just about everyone can do this one and with no learning curve, you can start right away. Walking is a low impact activity that won’t bother your joints and isn?t so intense that you may be put off due to being too tired or not being fit enough. It’s a great place to start for anyone who’s just entering the fitness game.
The nice thing about walking is you need nothing special to do it. Just lace up your shoes and head outside and you’re ready to begin your workout.
If you want to get more from your walking, do get on a treadmill (or find a hilly region outdoors) and power through some uphill walking. This will instantly up your calorie burn and improve the cardiovascular conditioning results you achieve. Also check out our supplements for even better results.
Just remember, if you are walking on a treadmill, no holding onto those handle bars. That will automatically make this cardiovascular exercise significantly easier and you?ll get far less out of it.
9. Stationary Cycling
Another great gym based activity is a spin bike workout. This cardio workout will hit your hamstrings and quads very well, so if you do it with a little resistance, you?ll notice these muscles getting stronger while you reap the cardiovascular benefits cycling can bring.
Choose recumbent or upright bikes depending on how you want to target your muscles and what’s most comfortable for you. Note that using the upright bike will target your abs to a slightly greater degree because you have no back rest supporting you.
Do keep in mind that those who suffer from knee pain will want to use biking in moderation in their workout program as this form of aerobic exercise can aggravate the knee joint over time.
If you’re feeling cooped up in the gym, also don’t be afraid to take this cardio workout outdoors. You can just as easily bike the streets of your neighborhood for an excellent workout.
Swimming is a form of low impact cardio often overlooked by many people because we typically think of ?land only? activities. But if you don’t mind getting wet and the process of having to dry off after your workout session, swimming is a superb workout to get into your routine.
The great thing about swimming is that you?ll be working both the upper and lower body at the same time, and more muscles worked means more calories burned. Swimming is a calorie torcher so an excellent choice for those looking to get leaner.
But beware! Many people do find that swimming makes you feel hungrier than other forms of cardio exercises, so watch your food intake after that workout is done.
Swimming comes with build in resistance and you can use different types of strokes to work different muscles as you go about the session.
7. Elliptical Training
The elliptical trainer is another choice that’s popular for many and for good reason – it’s widely available and once you get the hang of it, fairly easy to use.
Like swimming, the nice thing about the elliptical machine is that it?ll also work both the upper and lower body at the same time, allowing you to burn more calories than you would in many other cardio forms.
Elliptical training is great for working the glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, erector muscles, as well as the back, shoulders, and arms if you are making use of the handlebars.
Note that by adjusting the incline on the elliptical machine, you can really change how it targets your muscles as well, so be sure to take that into consideration as you get your workout set-up.
Use a higher incline to target your glutes and hamstrings to a larger degree and a lower incline to work your hip flexors and quads.
One final thing many people really love about the elliptical machine is that it’s non-impact, so excellent for those who can’t run because they’re experiencing back or knee pain.
6. Running Stairs
Few workouts are going to get your heart rate up like running stairs will, so if you happen to have a long set of stairs in your gym, apartment building, or even better, outdoors so you can get some fresh air, do make use of them.
Running up and then walking back down the stairs will create an interval training session of sorts and will help you quickly incinerate calories while building great muscle development in the lower body.
Running stairs will get your heart rate up quickly and effectively, so is also great for those who are looking to boost heart health as well as lower their blood pressure.
One note: running stairs, like cycling, can be harder on the knees, so take caution if you are doing these cardio exercises. You may want to only add one or two workouts of stair running if you are someone who tends to struggle with knee pain so that you don’t aggravate your joints any further.
5. Battlerope Training
If you’re in the mood for a completely different cardio training and one that’s likely unlike anything else you’ve ever done before, consider battlerope training. Done with heavy battleropes that are attached to a wall across from you, this cardio variety offers endless opportunities. There are so many different exercises you can do with battlerope training so boredom should never factor into your routine.
As an added benefit, battlerope training is quite unique from other forms of training in that the upper body is the focus of the workout session. With other forms of cardio, while you may use the upper body, it’s still primarily the lower body propelling you through the workout.
With battlerope training, it’s the opposite. There are many exercises you can do with battleropes that will get the lower body involved and working too, but the upper body is still the leader in terms of what’s guiding the movement.
This makes it a perfect form of cross training to add to your routine when you need a break from your regular cardio workouts and are looking to avoid over-use injuries.
After doing just a few minutes of battlerope training, you?ll also quickly notice just how well this cardio variety will work your upper body, so do expect to be seeing enhanced definition and strength soon if you keep up with it.
Stressful day? Few workouts are going to help you release that pent up frustration like kickboxing will, so find your nearest punching bag and have at it.
Kickboxing, or boxing if you prefer, is a great cardio workout to do whenever you need a release and feel like you have a lot of pent up energy that needs to get burned off.
You can easily keep a punching bag hanging in your basement, and because this one takes hardly any room, it’s an ideal cardio at home workout solution.
Kickboxing will hit both the upper and lower body, assuming you’re taking as many jabs and hooks as you are kicks and will even bring the core muscles into play to a good degree as well. Your core muscles are going to be contracting hard each and every time you’re lifting a leg up to that punching back or make a twist with your upper body to give it a hook so do expect to feel some soreness in that region once you’re done.
You might even find you can skip your ab workout if you go hard enough on this workout session.
Skipping is a fun and very effective activity that can be done almost everywhere as well, so this is a great option for those who may be traveling and are looking for something they can bring with them on the road.
Skipping is primarily going to work the lower body, however the arms will still get a bit of a workout while they turn the rope as you go.
One thing to note with skipping: this is a very high impact activity, so do make sure that you are wearing proper footwear while doing it and avoid skipping on cement or other very firm flooring.
Pavement, wooden gym floors (which typically have some give to them), or even grass is a far better choice as far as your joint health is concerned.
Skipping will burn calories quickly because it a HIIT workout, so you?ll only need to do it for 10-15 minutes to get a great workout in.
Don’t get discouraged if you can only skip for 30 seconds or so before stopping. That is completely normal and the more often you skip, the better you?ll get at it and the longer you?ll go.
Until then, consider alternating between skipping and a bodyweight based exercise, which will help work those muscles while still getting your heart rate up.
2. Uphill Interval Sprints
Few things trump uphill interval sprints in terms of getting your heart rate up and burning calories, so if you want one of the best cardio workouts around, head to a local hill (or use your treadmill) and create this scenario.
Run up the hill as fast as you can, preferably for a time period of about 20-30 seconds. Then walk back down or if on a treadmill, slow down to a walk for double that time. This is great interval training on the treadmill.
Rinse and repeat 10 times over, beginning with a warm-up and cool-down. When you’re done, you?ll see just how intense this really is.
Regular sprint training on flat ground is very intense and perfect for those looking to build speed and power because it allows you to accelerate as quickly as you possibly can.
Running uphill just amplifies everything.
Finally, last but not least, let’s chat burpees. If you want to get a great cardio workout in and need something that you can do anywhere, burpees are a perfect go-to.
Burpees are fantastic cardio exercises for working every single muscle group in the body, for getting your heart rate up, and for burning calories as quickly as possible.
Best of all, no equipment is needed. Keep in mind that burpees are more advanced however, so do know that you may only be able to do one or two before you’re experiencing fatigue. That’s okay. Like with skipping, keep working at it. Soon you?ll be doing 10-20 in a row and can build a HIT session out of it.
Burpees do also tend to be higher on the impact scale because you’re jumping up and landing back down, so do this on a softer surface and be sure to wear good footwear.
If you have knee pain, you may want to reconsider this cardio exercise entirely or only do it in moderation when you don’t feel pain.
Enjoyed these cardio exercises? Check out our other exercises!
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
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