9 Incredible Ways To Get A Cardio Workout That Aren’t All Running

The cure for the common cardio.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Sometimes you just don’t want to go running. That’s why BuzzFeed Life asked personal trainers of all different backgrounds to tell us their favorite fun ways to get a killer cardio workout.


Check them out below — there are workouts for indoors and outdoors, workouts you can do alone or with friends, or even with a dog. They can all be made easier or more difficult to match your fitness level.

(Also a couple of them do include some running.)

1. For a ton of burn in just 10 minutes (and two moves):

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“The first handful of rounds might seem reasonable but if you push the pace, you’ll torch your muscles and definitely feel the heart thumping. It’s the perfect routine when you don’t have much time, when the gym is super crowded, or whenever equipment is limited.” —Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S., founder of Bandana Training

How to do it:
Choose weights for each movement that would be challenging for 10 reps. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Do five squats, then do five dumbbell bench presses. That’s one round. See how many rounds you can complete in 10 minutes. You can do dumbbell floor presses if you don’t have access to a bench.

Make it easier:
• Shorten the time of the workout; make it an eight-minute AMRAP.

Make it harder:
• Make the workout longer
• Add more reps.

Before you get started, learn more about how to do squats and dumbbell presses.

2. Indoor cycling to a beat:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“I love indoor cycling because of the balance between finding my breath and losing it, dancing with the beat and pushing the edges of my strength. It’s an ideal cardio workout because it offers two ways to get after high-intensity interval training … speed or resistance.” —Nicole Meline, head coach, Peloton

How to do it:
Repeat for as many songs as you want to.

Make it easier:
• Do the workout at a lighter intensity.
• Do the workout only once or twice in a row.

Make it harder:
• Do the workout at a higher intensity.
• Repeat for several songs, resting between each.

3. For a quick strength and cardio workout you can do in a small space:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“This is what I like to call a quick-n-dirty strength/cardio circuit. Most people will be able to get this done within or around 15 minutes.” —Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-founder Cressey Sports Performance

How to do it:
Do one goblet squat, followed by 10 push-ups. Then do two goblet squats, followed by 9 push-ups. Do goblet squats in ascending fashion until you get to 10, and the push-ups in descending fashion, until you get to one.

Make it easier:
• Use lighter weights for the goblet
• Do modified push-ups off an elevated surface like a bench or chair. You can even do them off a wall (the least challenging version of the push-up).

Make it harder:
• Add a third exercise that stays constant throughout. For example:
1 Goblet squat, 10 push-ups, 3 burpees
2 Goblet squats, 9 push-ups, 3 burpees
3 Goblet squats, 8 push-ups, 3 burpees
and so on

Before you get started, learn more about how to do goblet squats and push-ups.

4. For a one-mile run broken up with bodyweight exercises you can do almost anywhere:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“The circuit workout below uses bodyweight exercises in between running intervals to challenge your muscles, heart, and lungs.”—Jason Fitzgerald, 2:39 marathoner and founder of Strength Running

How to do it:
Warm up with 10 minutes of easy running. Then complete the circuit one to three times resting only as much as necessary. Substitute other movements depending on what kind of space and equipment you have available. Other movements to swap in: walking lunges, squat jumps, box jumps, mountain climbers, dumbbell push presses.

Make it easier:
• Run the sprints at a more comfortable pace.
• Do fewer reps.
• Do the circuit only once or twice.

Make it harder:
• Do more reps of each movement.
• Do the circuit more than three times.

Before you get started, learn more about how to do squats and planks.

5. For a fun workout you can do with two friends:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“This is a great combination of cardio and strength. Your heart rate never returns to resting, it’s easily scalable, and it’s a total-body workout. Plus, it’s fun to do with friends.” — Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., Naked Nutrition and Soho Strength Lab

How to do it:
You can do this workout alone or with friends. Person A spends 30 seconds walking while carrying a kettlebell in each hands (kettlebell farmer carry). At the same time Person B holds a forearm plank while Person C does kettlebell swings. Rotate stations after each round and keep completing rounds for 18 minutes.

Make it easier:
• Use lighter kettlebells for the carries or swings.
• Do a front plank on the hands.
• Do goblet squats instead of kettlebell swings.
• Make this a 9- or 12-minute workout

Make it harder:
• Use heavier kettlebells.
• Make each station 45-seconds long.

Before you get started, learn more about how to do a kettlebell swings, farmer carries, and forearm planks.

6. For a quick workout with plenty of jumping:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Submitted by Patrick McGrath, Instructor, SLT Strengthen. Lengthen. Tone.

How to do it:
Start with Circuit A. Do each movement for 60 seconds. Complete the circuit 3 times. Then rest for 60 seconds. Move on to circuit B, and do the same thing.

Make it easier:
• Modify the burpees to make them more do-able.
• Do each movement for a short period of time, like 30 or 45 seconds.

Make it harder:
• Do each movement for a longer period of time, like 90 seconds.
• Repeat each circuit more than three times.

Before you get started, learn more about how to dolunges, squats, jumping lunges, jumping squats, burpees, and side planks.

7. For a fun running workout your dog will love:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“It mixes up what I practice regularly in the studio at Lyons Den Power Yoga, gets me outdoors and exploring the street of Manhattan, requires very little “equipment,” and is bonding time with my dog. It also keeps HER in shape!” —Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga

How to do it:
Walk to a quick speed, jog for a few minutes, sprint to the end of the block, go back to walking, and so on. You (and your dog) decide when to walk, when to jog, and when to sprint.

Make it easier:
• Make the sprints shorter.
• Reduce the overall time of the workout.

Make it harder:
• Sprint more or for longer periods of time.
• Stop along the way to do some bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, jumping squats, push-ups, etc.

8. For a full-body workout you can do with just an indoor rower:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Submitted by Beth Lewis, lead Instructor, CITYROW

Full-Body Indoor Rowing Workout

How to do it:
Do 3 to 4 rounds of Circuit A, resting 60 to 90 seconds between each round. Then move on to Circuit B. Repeat Circuit B without rest until you get to 500 meters.

Make it easier:
• Do fewer rounds of circuit A or rest longer between rounds

Make it harder:
• When doing push-ups, put your feet on the rail.
• When doing split squats, lace your hands behind your head.
• For circuit B, set your monitor for 750 or 1000 meters.

Before you get started, learn more about how to do lunges, push-ups, and split squats.

9. For anyone who wants to run a mile and do 100 squats, nbd:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“This workout can be performed almost anywhere, almost anytime, by most people at most fitness levels. One round, in a hotel gym, on a business trip is better than not working out! After a while, if you feel like you’ve mastered this workout, try six rounds and be floored all over again.” —Mike Wade, coach, CrossFit Outbreak

How to do it:
Run 1/4 mile, then do 25 squats. Do that 4 times total.

Make it easier:
• Run a shorter distance, do fewer squats, or do fewer rounds of the workout.

Make it harder:
• Add more rounds, more reps, or both.

Before you get started, learn more about how to do squats.

Now go get that cardio!

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