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The 15 BEST Cardio Exercises for 2019!

Matt Skeffington

Matt’s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Matt’s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Dec 8 12 minutes read

Ready to get started making 2019 your healthiest and happiest year yet?

We are here to help!

Over the next few weeks we will be unveiling our some of our favorite strength, ab, flexibility, and cardio exercises, as well as our favorite workouts to do with a buddy!

Let's CRUSH those 2019 fitness goals!

To get started, we've created a list of the 15 BEST fat-shredding cardio exercises to add to your routine!

These cardio exercises are handpicked to:

  • Elevate your heart-rate
  • Shred fat 
  • Burn calories
  • Improve your fitness
  • Increase your strength
  • Help you feel your BEST!

Enjoy! :) 


1| Sled March

#1 on our list is the sled march. It is also a favorite amongst our members here at Dynamic. They are great for building an incredibly strong lower-body and core. Sled marches are a fantastic fat shredding cardio tool as they get your heart-rate up and burn some serious calories. Load these up HEAVY! You'll be surprised how much weight you can push! 

Key Points: 

  • Keep arms straight and keep a straight line head to back foot
  • Keep body leaning at 45 degree angle 
  • March forward one step at a time keeping head and upper body still
  • Push through your mid-foot
  • Start with 3-5 rounds of 15-25yd march 

2| Skierg

We are very fortunate here at Dynamic to have some of the most state-of-the-art fitness equipment. One of our favorite pieces of cardio equipment is the Skierg. 

If you've ever been cross-country skiing, you know how good of a workout it can be.

Now envision cross-country sprinting! 

These get your heart rate way up and challenge your entire body, especially your arms. As a bonus, these are incredibly FUN!

Key Points:

  • Start tall with feet hip width and hand on handles
  • In one motion, pull the handles down and back as you sit back into athletic position
  • Finish with hands behind your hips and chest tall
  • Reset to standing position with hands overhead
  • Start with :30 of work with :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds

3| Versaclimber

We've nicknamed the Versaclimbers our "Unicorns" because they are so rare.

These are also a favorite here at DSC. 

They are another joint-friendly piece of cardio equipment that are awesome for your legs.

The great thing about the Versaclimber is their versatility!

You can lower the resistance, allowing you to sprint and really get your heart-rate up.

You can also crank the resistance up, making these one heck of a leg workout.

Key points:

  • For more of a sprint workout, keep resistance low
  • For more a of strength workout, keep resistance high
  • Step into foot pedal straps and grab handles
  • Alternate pushing down with one foot to get climber moving
  • Keep motion small and sharp and core tight
  • Start with :30 of work followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds

4| Med Ball Slams

One of our favorite forms of cardio is medicine ball work. 

They make any workout fun and challenging, and offer some great variety!

They work well with all of our members, especially members who come to us with some kind of joint pain. 

We like these especially for our members with lower-body and/or low-back issues. 

Get some aggression out and get ready to sweat!

Key Points:

  • Get as tall as possible and reach ball high overhead without leaning back
  • Slam ball right in front of feet 
  • Finish slam in low squat position
  • Catch and repeat as fast as possible
  • Start with :30 of work followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds.

5| Curved Treadmill Sprints

One the best equipment investments we have made has been our curved, self-propelled treadmills. 

They actually do not have a motor therefore, similar to running on the road, you have to be the one to move the belt. 

The difference between our treadmills and traditional running or treadmill running is the curve feature in the front of the treadmill where your foot strikes. 

This actually dampens the impact forces, making these much more joint friendly for our members with bad feet, ankles and knees. We have even had people run on our treadmills who have not run in years because of pain. 

They are also great for those with elbow or shoulder issues. The low impact allows our members to do one of the world's greatest cardio exercises -- SPRINTING! 

Key Points:

  • Stay tall throughout
  • Try to stay to front of treadmill
  • Keep hands on railings if needed
  • Focus on getting knees up 
  • Start with :15 sprint, jog or fast paced walk followed by :45 walk for 6-10 rounds. 

6| Battling Ropes

Battling ropes might be our member's favorite cardio exercises. 

They are especially great for anyone with lower-body or back pain as all of the work is done through the arms, shoulders and core. 

Not only are they tough but they are a lot of fun! 

These are great for getting that heart-rate up and building some great looking arms!

Key Points:

  • Stay in a low, athletic position throughout
  • Using just your arms, make quick and even waves with the ropes
  • Keep the ropes moving together or alternate arms
  • Start with :15 of work :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

7| Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a staple for many of our members. 

The dynamic, fast paced motion makes the swing a great exercise for getting your heart-rate up and burning calories. 

Prepare to sweat!

The majority of the work comes from your hips, hamstrings and glutes making the swing a great choice for individuals with bad knees, feet and ankles. 

The hamstrings and glutes are two of the most important stabilizers of the knee so strengthening these two muscles is a must for improving knee pain. 

Key Points:

  • Before trying the KB swing, be sure to master the Kettlebell Deadlift or RDL first (shown in video)
  • Make sure all the work is done through your hips
  • Keep posture strong and tall throughout 
  • At the top position, finish tall with glutes squeezed and legs straight
  • Start with 8-10 swings followed by :30-:45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

8| Lateral Burpees

The burpee is one of the most popular fat-burning, cardio drills on the planet and rightfully so -- they are tough and tax the entire body. 

The tough thing about burpees is that they require a great deal of mobility. 

For many, getting down to the floor can be a problem and can cause pain. 

For our members who do not have the ability to complete the full burpee, we simply shorten the range-of-motion by having them go off a bench rather than all the way to the floor. Win, win!

The lateral burpee takes all the things we love about burpees and makes it a bit tougher! :) 

Key Points:

  • Start tall with feet under hips
  • Bend from the waist and bring hands to floor
  • Keeping weight in hands, kick feet back to plank position
  • Add push-up if possible
  • Do not let hips sag when kicking legs out
  • Bring feet back in, stand up, jump to the side and reset
  • Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

9| Kettlebell Headcutters

The headcutter might be our favorite total-body cardio and strength exercise. 

It taxes your shoulders, legs, and abs, while burning some serious calories and getting your heart-rate sky high. 

You will LOVE these!

Key points:

  • Start feet shoulder width with KB between feet
  • Keeping chest tall, push hips back into deadlift position
  • Drive through heels to lift KB
  • As the KB comes up, pop it up and catch it at chest level
  • Drop into squat by sitting back and pushing knees out
  • As you come out of squat, press KB overheard 
  • Start with 10 reps followed by 1:00 of rest for 6-10 rounds

10| Forward and Reverse Bear Crawls

These are a bit different from what you may remember doing as a kid in gym class. 

Not only are they great for core and shoulder strength but they work to get that heart rate way up, making these one of our favorite cardio exercises. These are tough!

Key Points:

  • Start with hands directly under shoulders and knees bent under hips
  • Lift your knees 2-3" off the floor
  • Move forward by moving opposite hand and foot simultaneously
  • Make your steps 3-5" inches at a time, always keeping knees under hips
  • Do not allow spine to move
  • Start with 2-3 sets of a 5-10 yard crawl forward and backwards (if new to the bear crawl stick with just going forward)

11| Plyo Reverse Lunges

The plyo reverse lunge is your normal lunge on steroids. 

These are tough and really work the strength and endurance of your legs while getting your heart-rate elevated. 

The dynamic nature of the movement makes these also great for overall athleticism, coordination and balance. 

Key Points:

  • Start tall with feet together
  • Step back with one leg and drop into low lunge position
  • Do not let front knee travel over front toe
  • As you come up, drive into ground with front foot
  • Drive back knee up and hop with front foot
  • Reset and start again
  • Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 6-10 rounds/leg

12| Kettlebell Wideout Squats

One of our favorite conditioning or cardio exercises is the wideout squat. The fast pace and high tempo keeps our members heart rates up and burning calories. If you are new to the wideout squat, start with just your body-weight and incorporate the kettlebell when you're ready! These are TOUGH and really work your legs and cardio!

Key Points

  • Start tall with legs straight and feet together
  • Keeping your arms straight, grab your kettlebell with an overhand grip
  • In one motion, quickly widen feet and drop into low squat position
  • Get as low as possible, keeping heels down and chest tall
  • Tap your kettlebell to the floor
  • Finish motion by quickly popping up to starting position
  • Start with 5 to 8 rounds of :20-:30 of work and :30-:40 of rest

13| Slider Mountain Climbers

We love mountain climbers for all of our members but they are especially great for members with bad knees and low backs. 

When done correctly, the plank position keeps the low back and spine in a good, neutral position. 

By keeping your weight in your hands, stress is not placed on the knees. 

Build core strength and shred fat with the mountain climber. 

But, we're going to kick up the regular mountain climbers a notch add workout sliders (you can also use furniture movers on carpet or a towel on tile or hardwood).

Now we're shredding fat and building muscle! 

Key Points:

  • If new to the mountain climber, start with hands on bench or table vs. the floor
  • Maintain a stable upper-body plank position throughout
  • Keep hands placed directly under shoulders and feet on sliders
  • Quickly bring one knee forward at a time, while keeping the back leg straight
  • Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds`

14| Kettlebell or Dumbbell Farmer Carries

The farmer carry is a favorite amongst our members. 

Think of these as a weighted and moving plank. 

Walking with weights is a great way to improve the strength of your grip, shoulders, core and hips. Carries challenge you to control your spine and aid in improving core stability. By grabbing some heavy weights and keeping the duration of your carries long, these are fantastic for burning fat and building your endurance. 

Key Points

  • Start with 2 kettlebells or dumbells in hands
  • Squeeze weights hard and stay tall
  • Keep shoulders back and abs braced
  • Do not allow weights to move around
  • Start with 3 sets of 40-50 yd walks

15| Sled Sprints

There is no better exercise than sprinting for getting your heart-rate up and burning fat. Now sprint with a weighted sled. Talk about one of the best exercises!

Key Points:

  • If new, do not fully sprint
  • Keep weight light on sled (10-45lbs)
  • Keep arms straight and body at 45 degree lean
  • Start with 5-10 rounds of 20-25 yard sprints followed by :45-1:00 rest
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