5 Best Cardio Workouts Without Running

best cardio workouts without running

Running will give you a good cardio workout, and it’s good to have as part of your cardio repertoire, there are many other great cardio workouts to have in your workout toolbox.  Running isn’t always the best for everyone, and it certainly is not the only way to get a good cardio workout.

Cardio workouts boost your calorie burn and help to sculpt your muscles. Here are the top 5 cardio workouts without running.

Circuit Training (or High-Intensity Interval Training)

Circuit training can be done in a class or by yourself. It’s a fast-paced, high-intensity set of aerobic exercises you do for 30 seconds to 5 minutes, rest for 20-60 seconds, and then move on to another exercise.

If you’re looking to get a lean body, it’s a great way because it burns a lot of calories, builds muscles, and tones muscles. A circuit training workout can include pushups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, biking, sit-ups, crunches, or stretches.

Some may also include lifting weights in between aerobic exercises, such as bicep curls, working the legs with a leg machine, or bench presses. The circuit training is easy to adjust to your fitness level, and you can increase your workout with ease.

Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling can be done at the gym or home, and it can be with a class, like a spinning class, or alone. Many indoor cycles today can be programmed to help you get the perfect cardio workout.

Having pedals that you can clip or strap into will make your workout use more muscle groups. You use the quad group when pushing down and moving the focus to the upward motion works your glutes and hamstrings. Warming up with less resistance and then add a sprint session to build your heart rate.

Add some resistance for a few minutes, do a sprint, and then add more resistance. Moving between sprinting and increasing the resistance, plus changing your focus from pushing to pulling on the pedals will give you a great cardio workout. It will burn calories, build muscle, and increase endurance.

Indoor Rowing

An indoor rowing machine is designed to work your entire body in ways you may not have thought about. Each stroke uses about 84% of your muscles, and it’s low impact for your joints.

Most of the power is from your legs, back, and arms, but it also works your hips as you push and pull with your legs and arms. Start with a slow row and work into a sprint to get your heart rate up. Then you can slow down to a fast-paced row with periods of sprinting.

You can change your focus from pushing with your legs to pulling with your legs, and change up your arm action to pull harder, longer strokes, to shorter, fast-paced rows. It will burn calories, build muscles and endurance, and tones muscles.


Have some fun with a plyometric aerobic workout. Do you remember how much fun you had as a kid hopping, jumping, and skipping around the yard? A plyometric workout mimics those movements and is also referred to as “jump training.”

You start with a series of hops and jumps, such as jump squats or one-legged hops. It often uses something to jump on, like a bench or box or jumping over something like a cone. You can start slow and work to doing these dynamic movements faster, then slower and faster.

Plyometrics are great training for playing tennis, basketball, or volleyball. Each time you land, it stretches your muscle, and then gives you more power for the next jump. It burns calories, builds muscles, and tones your muscles.

Power Yoga

You might not think about yoga as a cardio workout, but power yoga will give you a full body cardio workout. Power yoga is good for strength training while you increase your flexibility.

A 10-minute power yoga of flow yoga, which means you do not stop between poses because each one leads into the next, will build your core strength, workout your arms and legs, and improve tone and flexibility. You can take a power yoga class or find a sequence of poses online or a DVD.

Ashley is a contributing editor, specializing in social marketing, as well as health and fitness. She writes weekly for popular fitness & exercise news columns, with tips on how to stay in shape, fitness, workouts and much more!


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