Treadmill-Free Cardio Workouts

If you hear the word "cardio" and immediately picture yourself struggling to stay focused on the treadmill at the gym, you're not alone. Lots of people hate the monotony of pounding their feet on that dreaded moving belt. If you're not a treadmill person but still want to get a good cardio workout in, you still have plenty of options. Next time you're looking to get your heart pumping for a decent workout session, try one of these cardio routines.

30-minute elliptical workout
Popsugar has a huge list of cardio workouts that you can do on the elliptical, which is a more exciting machine for many people. If you have 30 minutes, you can squeeze in this fast-paced, effective workout, which is perfect to accomplish during your lunch break. Set the incline to 20 percent, then follow this breakdown, according to Popsugar:

  • 3 minutes – resistance: 3, strides per minute: 130, warmup
  • 2 minutes – resistance: 6, SPM: 140
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 7, SPM: 140-150
  • 1 minute – resistance: 8, SPM: 190-200, sprint
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 6, SPM: 150-160
  • 1 minute – resistance: 8, 190-200, sprint
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 7, SPM: 140-150
  • 1 minute – resistance: 8, SPM: 190-200, sprint
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 6, SPM: 140-150
  • 1 minute – resistance: 7, SPM: 190-200, sprint
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 6, SPM: 150-160
  • 1 minute – resistance: 8, SPM:190, sprint
  • 3 minutes – resistance: 6, SPM: 150
  • 2 minutes – resistance: 4, SPM: 140, cooldown.

15-minute stationary bike workout
If the bike is your go-to, Women's Health magazine has an important pointer: Adjust the seat! Sit down and put your heel in the middle of the pedal, where the ball of your foot usually goes. Your leg should be fully extended at the lowest point of the pedal rotation. Now that you're set up, pedal for a solid 15 minutes, varying your intensity by alternating between 2 to 3 minutes of high-speed pedaling and a 3-minute recovery. The source recommended standing up periodically, which can add to your workout. You'll have to use more muscle to push the pedals and stay balanced.

No equipment workout
No equipment? No problem! Shape magazine laid out this easy routine that you can do anywhere – no gym required. Start out with the 4-move warmup, then do the main circuit. Do each exercise as fast as you can for 1 minute without resting between the different moves. When you finish the whole circuit, rest for 1 minute, then do the main circuit 2 more times. Finish up with yoga cooldown. Here's a breakdown, with the less common moves explained:

Warmup:

  • Reverse lunges
  • Squats with arms overhead
  • Bridges
  • Plank with shoulder touches

Main circuit:

  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • Squat jumps
  • Skier jumps: Stand with your feet, ankles and knees pressed together. Jump from side to side as fast as you can, lifting your chest and landing softly. Don't worry about how high you're jumping.
  • Pilates 100: Lie on the floor with your knees and hips bent at 90-degree angles, with your hands by your side. Lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the ground, then start pulsing your arms and taking long, deep breaths. Engage your core so that everything is completely still except for your arms. Keep taking deep breaths until you get to 100 arm pulses.

Cooldown:

  • Downward dog
  • Cat and cow
  • Warrior II: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Turn your right toes out and left toes slightly inward. Bend your right knee and lower your hips. Your right knee should be directly above your ankle. Raise your arms out from your shoulders and press the outside of your left foot into the floor. Sink lower into your hips and keep your spine elongated. Breathe deeply.