There’s a Better Way to Cardio, Ditch the Machines

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When it comes to cardio most people automatically think about running on a treadmill, sitting on the stationary bike or using the stair climber and elliptical. However, there’s a better way to cardio. Machine-oriented cardio usually demands that you take a trip to the gym, and for some people, machines tend to be extremely boring. However, there are fun and efficient methods to burn massive amounts of calories in a shorter duration of time.

 

Jump Rope

I picked up the jump rope for the first time since childhood once I began mixed martial arts training. At first, I hated it. I thought it was a human torture device made to destroy me. Then, after I improved my jump rope game, I quickly saw the light and discovered that jump rope is indeed one of my most favored forms of cardio.

It incorporates fast-paced calorie burning as well as muscle strengthening and improved coordination. Jump rope burns over 10 calories per minute. You could easily burn 1,000 calories a week with two ten-minute sessions of jump rope a day. Meanwhile, you will see improved strength in your shoulders, arms, butt and legs. That’s a win-win situation.

Another reason I love jump rope is the convenience of it. While I cannot carry a treadmill with me everywhere I go, I find it very easy to pack my jump rope in my gym bag or purse. I bring my jump rope everywhere with me. That way, when I find free time, I jump rope and get a quick calorie-burn in. It’s absolutely fantastic.

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Photo By AJ Alvarado

 

Plyometrics

Also known as plyo and was referred to as jump training for a time, this requires explosive compound movements. Plyometrics contains exercises like jump squats, split squats, ankle hops, one-leg hops, deadlifts, bench press, bench jumps, bench sprints, medicine ball throws and several other intensive activities. All the jumping stretches your muscles and allows you to jump higher on your next attempts. The repetitions are kept at a minimum while intensity and effort are kept at maximum production.

During plyo, your heart rate remains elevated and you’re working several muscle groups at once while your fat cries in the form of sweat. Your heart rate stays up well after you’re done working out, and you end up burning more calories at rest. Plyometric training will also increase your strength for weight lifting because it develops your fast-twitch muscle fibers, the largest and strongest in the body. Gains, gains everywhere.

Try plyometrics for an explosive calorie-burn. However, you shouldn’t do plyometrics every day because your body needs time to rest and recuperate.

 

Boxing

There’s nothing quite as cathartic as slipping on the hand wraps and boxing gloves to take out your aggression on a punching bag. Boxing for an hour using a heavy punching bag can help you burn between 300-700 calories, depending on your weight and the level of intensity you’re putting into your workout. Some may not always have the stamina to box for an hour-long session, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Just use it to wipe off your sweat and do a 15-minute or 30-minute session instead.

It gives you the opportunity to burn calories as well as enhance your coordination, stamina and level of bad assery. If you’re using a heavy punching bag, you should combine punches with kicks. The important thing is to keep your feet moving. The more movement, the better. A typical boxing workout can have six to eight three-minute rounds with about a minute of rest in between. Boxing workouts should also include calisthenics.

 

Tabata

Named after the Japanese Doctor Izumi Tabata, this workout is based on 20 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds of rest in between, repeated eight times. This interval training regimen only lasts four minutes. Surely anyone can spare a mere four minutes of their day for exercise.

A tabata workout may include sprints, push-ups, squats, medicine ball slams, sit-ups, mountain climbers, bicep curls and more. You should set the level of intensity on high and feel the calories melt off you.

This type of workout improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. Anaerobic exercise will keep your body burning fat for up to 24 hours.

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Photo By AJ Alvarado

 

Try My Routine

Warm-up

100 jump ropes

5 push-ups

(Five rounds)

 

Workout

5 box jumps

5 push-ups

20 seconds of jumping jacks

 

5 box jumps

5 burpees

20 seconds of jump squats

 

5 box jumps

20 arm lifts while planking (10 each arm)

20 seconds of high knees

 

Cool-down

100 jump ropes

5 push-ups

(Five rounds)

 

End in abdominals

30 crunches

30 strict crunches

30 jack-knife sit-ups (lying flat on your back, legs up and reaching for your toes)

30 Russian twists with medicine ball

30 plank jacks

30 bicycle kicks

30 glute bridges

20 flutter and scissor kicks (20 each)