The Workout So Fast and Fun You Won’t Notice It’s Cardio
Blast fat without going anywhere near a treadmill, elliptical, or rowing machine.
Cardio doesn't have to make you feel like a hamster on a wheel. Robert dos Remedios, C.S.C.S., head strength and conditioning coach for California's College of the Canyons, uses fast-paced, metabolic dumbbell circuits with his clients to help them blast fat and send their fitness levels soaring—no running required.
"You're building calorie-torching muscle, but the quick tempo and incomplete rests don't allow your heart rate to come down the entire time," says dos Remedios. "The work accumulates, so the rests will seem shorter and shorter every round."
And unlike slow-and-steady running, cardio at a furious pace can speed your metabolism for hours after your workout. That's because your body uses more energy overall when training at high intensities for short clips than it does when working at a moderate intensity for longer. Plus, we guarantee you'll have a lot more fun doing this 20- to 30-minute 5-move workout than slogging away on the treadmill or elliptical.
DO THIS: Set as timer to go off every minute. Perform the following five moves in order, performing 10 reps of an exercise at the top of each minute. For instance, you'll do 10 reps of the goblet squat at the top of the first minute. Rest the remainder of the minute. At the top of the next minute, do 10 reps of the dumbbell skier swing, and then rest for the leftover time. Continue this process until you've completed all five moves in five minutes. That's 1 round. Complete 4 to 6 rounds. Use weights that are challenging.
1. Goblet Squat
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward. Hold a dumbbell vertically against your chest with both hands, cupping the dumbbell head like a goblet. Squat deeply, keeping your knees out, back flat, chest up, and heels on the floor. Pause, and then push back to the starting position. Do 10 reps.
2. Dumbbell Skier Swing
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length in front of your chest. Your feet should be hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Without rounding your lower back, bend at your hips and simultaneously swing your arms backward. Explosively thrust your hips forward and raise your torso until you’re standing upright, letting your momentum swing the weights up to chest level. Swing back and forth for 10 reps.
3. Dumbbell Squat Press
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells in front of you, your arms bent 90 degrees and palms facing each other. Squat until your thighs are just past parallel to the floor. As you stand back up, press the weights above your head, then bring them back to the start position. Do 10 reps. No video for this one, it's easy to figure out though.
4. Split Jump
Stand in a staggered stance with your feet 2 to 3 feet apart, your right foot in front of your left. Keeping your torso upright, bend your legs and lower your body into a lunge. Jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor. While you’re in the air, scissor-kick your legs so you land with your left leg forward. Repeat, alternating your forward leg for 10 reps.
5. Pushup and Row
Place a pair of hex dumbbells on the floor and set yourself in pushup position. Perform a pushup, but once you return to the starting position, row the dumbbell in your right hand to the side of your chest. Lower the dumbbell and repeat with your left arm. That’s 1 rep. Do 10.