Tag Archives: cardio

10 Cardio Exercises That Are Better Than Running

Tired of running? Try one of these cardio exercises instead.

Don’t get me wrong, running is a great way to get back in shape but it comes at a cost. Running is a high impact activity that over time may cause joint pain. Also, depending on the type of running you do you may find better metabolism-boosting effects with these exercises:

Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss

1. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swing intervals are a great way to torch fat while also developing explosive thrusting strength, building the legs, core, and shoulders. Perform 5 sets of 30-60 second intervals with 30-60 seconds rest in between. This form of HIIT training will help you burn fat, build muscle and keep your metabolism boosted for up to 48 hours.

2. Mountain Climbers

Try adding 30-60 second sets of Mountain Climbers in between your lifting sets (instead of taking a break) to pump up your heart rate and burn fat in place of your resting sets. All of the cardio benefits of running without the joint impact.

3. Jumping Jacks

This classic exercise incorporates your core, hip adductors and abductors, calves and shoulders making a great way to warm up vs. jogging for 15-20 minutes. Do a few sets of jumping jacks to warm up your muscles and joints before you turn up the intensity.

4. Burpees

Speaking of turning up the intensity…any time the word “burpees” is mentioned in a group exercise class I hear a collective, audible “UGHHHH”. These aren’t for the weak of heart. Burpees are a combination of a push-up and a jump squat. At your own pace, do 5-10 burpees in between your lifting sets or for several intervals for a full-body scorching cardio and resistance workout.

5. TRX Row

Give your legs a break. Build up your back and arm strength with TRX Rows. Perform 5 sets of 25-30 reps in between weight lifting sets or superset them with a lower-body cardio workout for a full-body workout set.

6. Step Ups

Target your quads, glutes, and core by doing knee-level step ups, meaning the platform you step up on should be at your knee or slightly higher to hit your glutes harder.

7. Body Squats

Body Squats can be done any time, anywhere. Build explosive quad strength while you elevate your heart rate and develop better balance and posture. Try doing 5 sets of as many perfect reps as possible in 30 seconds.

8. Stepper Switch Foot

Set up a stepper with 4 risers (2 on each side). Place one foot on top of the stepper and the other foot slightly behind you. In one motion, explode off your back foot switching positions so the foot that was on the stepper is now behind you and the foot that was behind you is now on the stepper. Repeat for 30 seconds as fast as possible.

9. Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Goblet Squats are a level up from regular body squats. Holding a kettlebell under chin while squatting allows you to place more resistance on your quads, engage your core more, and place extra stress on the biceps and delts.

10. Row Machine

This underrated piece of cardio equipment is probably abandoned in the corner of your gym somewhere. Several sets of high resistance rowing for 60 seconds or 250 meters at a time is a sure-fire way to burn massive amounts of calories in only a few minutes.

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If cardio feels like a chore that you keep putting it off then try mixing up these cardio exercises. If you do each one of these cardio exercises for 1 minute and take 60 seconds of rest in between each set you will have done a 20 minute, full body cardio workout that is guaranteed to burn more calories and burn more fat than 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill.

Why You Should Include Kettlebells In Your Workouts

There are a myriad of benefits of incorporating kettlebells into your workout routine every day. Kettlebells offer a change from the standard body weight, dumbbell, barbell and machine workout routines. You’re adding a new stimulus to your routine that can be used for resistance training, cardio conditioning, core prep, and grip strength

1. Resistance Training

The shape of the kettlebell allows you to train for strength and power differently than barbells and dumbbells where the weight is generally evenly distributed. Try adding kettlebells to the ends of your barbells when bench pressing and try to keep them balanced while you press. It’s a different game entirely.

Use them in your arm workouts to build your wrist stability and grip strength. One way to do this is to replace regular dumbbell hammer curls with kettlebell hammer curls. Another way you can do this is by doing tricep kickbacks with kettlebells instead of dumbbells.

Try replacing at least one dumbbell workout with kettlebells to add variety, and a new challenge to your daily strength routine.

2. Cardio Conditioning

Tired of running on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day? Change things up with kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches, and kettlebell goblet squats. One way you can do this is by doing a circuit like this:

60 seconds kettlebell swing
30 seconds kettlebell snatches
30 seconds goblet squats
30-60 seconds rest

Do kettlebell HIIT circuits like this for 20 minutes instead of your usual cardio routine and you’ll see the difference in your core, arms, legs, and your metabolism will remain elevated for hours after your workout.

Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss

3. Core Prep

No more sit-ups, you can use a light weight kettlebell to shred your abs with only a few workouts. Try a core circuit like this for 4-5 sets:

Kettlebell V-Up: 15-20 reps
Kettlebell Turkish Get Up: 10 reps
Kettlebell Russian Twist: 15-20 reps
Rest: 45 seconds

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4. Grip Strength/Wrist Training

Kettlebells are a great way to work on your grip strength and train your wrists to be less susceptible to injuries. Exercises like kettlebell turkish get-up will help train the stabilizing muscles in your wrist/forearm.

Check out Heavy Metal Kettle for some insane kettlebell workouts!

Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss

Jim Stoppani introduced cardio acceleration to bodybuilding with his Shortcut to Shred workout plan on Bodybuilding.com and since then I haven’t looked at cardio the same. Why spend 45 minutes jogging on a treadmill if you could do short bursts of cardio in between my weightlifting sets and see better results. Not only will you save time, but you’ll make better progress. Here’s how it works:

1. Pick a variety of cardio acceleration exercises.

My preferred cardio acceleration moves are step ups, exploding split squats, jumping jacks, sprintervals, jump squats, and kettlebell. Click here to see Jim Stoppani’s list. 

2. Perform your cardio acceleration exercise for 30-60 seconds in between your strength training sets.

For example, immediately after you’re done bench pressing, choose your favorite cardio acceleration exercise and go at it for 30-60 seconds. Give yourself 15-30 seconds to catch your breath, sip some BCAAs and then get back to benching.

3. Increase or decrease the intensity, duration and variety as needed. 

Now that you’ve become accustomed to this style of training it’s time to turn it up a notch. You can torch some more fat by increasing your weight, intensity, duration (up to 60 seconds), or variety. Try doing 30 seconds of one cardio acceleration exercise and then 30 seconds of another. Variety means you can target more muscle groups and shock your body.

Try out this sample workout and let me know how you like it!

Bench Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
Step Up: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Pec Fly: 3 sets x 15 reps
Exploding Split Squat: 3 sets x 30 seconds
Push-Ups: 5 sets x 20 reps
Step Up Knee Raise: 5 sets x 30 seconds
Pec Fly: 4 sets x 12 reps
Medicine Ball Slam: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Incline DB Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
Skip In Place: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Decline Cable Fly: 3 sets x 10 reps
Burpees: 3 sets x 30 seconds
Leg Raises: 5 sets x 20 reps
Mountain Climbers: 5 sets x 30 seconds

Total cardio acceleration time: 16 minutes;  this is realistically like doing 32 minutes of HIIT training not including the strength training portion. It’s very intense and very effective.

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