Not a fan of running but still want to get your heart pumping? Personal Trainer and MMA Specialist, Moses Bentley takes us through five popular and effective exercises you can include into your cardio workout that will be sure to increase your heart rate.
The Benefits of cardio workouts
The benefits of cardio workouts have been well documented, and it is more than just weight loss.
Getting the heart pumping and the blood moving, has been attributed to a stronger heart and lungs as well as increased bone density. There has also been studies supporting claims that cardio workouts reduce stress levels and contribute to a positive attitude and mindset.
Not to mention better sleeping patterns and increased energy levels.
Whether the goal is weight loss, increased fitness or endurance, or stress relief, including a few cardio exercises into your workout routine will ensure your goals are achieved quicker and smarter.
Getting it Done
For those of you who don’t struggle with the snooze button every morning, why not set the alarm for a few minutes earlier and set yourself up for the day.
A twenty to thirty minute workout first thing in the morning will change your outlook and you’ll be the envy of your friends with your boundless energy and “can-do” approach.
One of the biggest benefits of working out in the morning is that you will no longer need to worry about squeezing in a gym session after work when all you can think about is flaking out on the couch.
Make it routine, commit to a cardio session four or more mornings a week and stop stressing about the occasional binge fest. Instead enjoy moments out with friends and celebrations with family and take comfort in knowing that you are making an effort in looking after your body and mind.
5 top cardio exercises
To master the perfect lunge, channel your inner peacock!!
- Begin by standing tall with your chest lifted and your chin up, nice and straight.
- Your feet should be hip width apart before taking a step forward with your preferred leg.
- Lower your body and ensure that your front knee is over the top of your shoe.
- Bend your back knee down so it is straight and pointing towards the floor while you balance on the back toes.
- Push back to the starting position from your front heel for one rep.
- Repeat on the same leg with 10 lunges per set before alternating.
- Try to complete 10 reps per leg for 3 sets at a time.
Benefits of the lunge:
- Lunges are a great way to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads and claves.
- Try to add weights once you have perfected your lunge and can complete reps on both legs without getting the wobbles.
- Stand with your feet, shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body and bend your knees squatting down as low as you can.
- Pause to stabilise your position.
- When comfortable launch your body up explosively into a jump.
- Land with as much control as possible into the same squat position for one rep.
- Do 2–3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Benefits of the jump squat:
- Jump squats are a great cardio workout, they improve core strength and work towards toning calves, glutes, hamstrings and quads. For an upper body workout, include bringing an arm swing into the routine.
The ultimate in full body workouts, the burpee is a cardio exercise that will have you panting and sweating in no time…
- Stand tall with your feet, shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down bending your knees placing your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
- Transfer your weight to your hands and push and jump your feet back.
- You should now be in a push up position with your back nice and straight.
- Complete a push up by lowering your body to the floor. (see image above)
- Push up from your hands and when on the balls of your feet, jump forward so your feet are back to the original position.
- At that point reach up straight with your arms and jump up.
- Land back to your feet shoulder-width apart for one rep.
- Complete 10 reps for one set and attempt to complete 2–3 sets.
Benefits of the burpee:
- A full body workout that burns plenty of calories and builds strength.
- Assume the position of a push up or plank.
- With arms and legs straight and long (see image)
- Engage your core and bring one knee into your chest and out again, now perform the same action with your opposite leg for one rep.
- Alternate legs bringing in your knees as if running into your chest.
- Keep your upper body nice and straight.
- Complete 20 reps for one set and attempt 3 sets as part of your workout.
Benefits of mountain climbers:
- Mountain climbers are an excellent way to engage all the major muscles in your body and get your heart rate pumping.
- Put the jump rope behind you.
- Position your arms close to your sides with your elbows tight to the body.
- Stand with your feet close together with your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Jump softly on the balls of your feet – ensuring your heels never touch the ground.
- Use your wrists to control the rope bring it over and around.
- Work on achieving the rhythm that times your jump motion with the rope, allowing for the rope to go over your head in front of your body, under your jump and back around to the starting position, for one rep.
- Try to do continually for one minute, without stopping and incorporate 5 x 1 minute jump rope sessions within your work out.
Benefits of jump rope:
- Jumping rope when done correctly can improve fitness levels, burn heaps of calories and provide you with a full body work out, plus it’s heaps of fun.
- When done incorrectly, jump rope will cause whip-lash across your shins!
Information in this article is not intended as medical advice and is the opinion of the featured athlete. Before pursuing any physical activity or program, you should consult with a medical professional.
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