A cardio circuit for people who hate running

Are you looking for a killer cardio routine but hate the idea of running? Pounding the pavement can feel a lot like punishment, wearing on your patience and your joints. While running is a great way to burn calories, there are other less mind-numbing cardio circuits that will yield the same results.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) revs the heart rate and metabolism to burn more calories in less time. Unlike steady-state cardio, HIIT alternates between short bursts of all-out exertion and rest. This method scorches roughly the same amount of calories as a one-hour run, but in half the time.

Replace your next run with this total-body cardio challenge that fries fat fast.

For best results, repeat this circuit three times. Rest for one minute between each exercise.

Jump rope
To assess whether your jump rope is the correct length, begin by standing in the middle of the rope and pull the sides up until the rope is taut. The top of the handles should fall somewhere between your shoulders and armpits. Once you’ve found the proper length, skip for 60 seconds. Protect your joints by landing lightly on the balls of your feet.

Jump squats

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hinge back at the hips into a squat, reaching your arms out in front of your body.
  • Swing your arms for momentum as you explosively jump up from a squat position. Don’t forget to land softly. Repeat 10-12 times.

Kettlebell swings
Although this move may seem to be an upper-body exercise, take note that it is the lower body that’s generating the force necessary to move the weight.  Beginners should start with a lighter kettlebell weight until you’ve mastered this move.

  • Firmly grasp the kettlebell by the handle and swing it back between your legs as you bend slightly at the knees and hinge back at the hips. Keep your back flat and gaze upward to avoid hunching forward. It’s important to remember that this is not a squat, rather a shallow bend at the hips.
  • Powerfully thrust your hips forward, squeezing your glutes tightly as you elevate the kettlebell from between your legs to roughly chest height. Repeat 10-12 times. 

High knee run

  • Stand tall with your shoulders back and abs engaged.
  • Run in place, driving your knees up toward your chest while quickly pumping your arms. Continue for 60 seconds.

Burpee

  • Start in a standing position, then drop down into a high plank, positioning your hands and feet wide for stability.
  • Lower your chest down toward the floor for a push-up, then return to a high plank pose.
  • Jump your feet up toward your hands and drive through your heels to return to the starting stance. Repeat 10-12 times.

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.