By Blake and Gwen Beckcom
Many people have a favorite cardio machine that they use at the gym. So imagine when that machine is taken by someone else. Do you sit around and wait for it to become free? Do you go home?
Next time this happens, consider finding a quiet spot to do some cardio moves without any equipment. There are several things you can do to help reduce fat and increase your heart rate without having to rely on a machine. A lot of these moves also incorporate some weight training, so you will get the benefit of doing cardio while also toning your muscles. Variety creates adaptation, so look at this as an opportunity to shock your bod.
Move through your exercises quickly and take about a minute break in between to help you catch your breath. Once you do these, your beloved treadmill may not be your favorite way to workout anymore — and in reality, it shouldn’t be anyway.
Air jump rope
Pretend to jump rope without the actual rope. Jump up and down while making circular motions with your arms. Engage your core and glutes and keep your shoulders down. Continue for about two minutes before taking a quick break.
Explosive star jump
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and add some weight to your heels. Then squat down before pushing through your heels and toes to jump up, lifting your arms overhead and bringing your legs out to your sides. This should resemble a jumping jack. Land on your toes and return to your starting position. Repeat the jump 15 times.
Starting in a standing position, place both of your hands on the floor in front of you. Tighten your core, slightly bend your knees and kick your left leg back toward the ceiling while keeping your right leg bent. Control your left leg as you return it to the ground. Complete this 10 times before repeating it on the other side.
Begin in a curtsy lunge by stepping your left foot back diagonally behind your right foot. Bring your left hand to the floor before exploding up and to the side while switching legs. Land softly with your right foot behind your left foot to complete your first rep. Quickly move from side to side for 20 reps.
Begin in a tabletop position with your knees on the ground. Lower your right leg under your body while lifting your left hand off the ground. Touch your right knee to your left elbow before returning to your starting position. This exercise is often referred to as a bird dog, named after a pointing dog. These canines point and freeze to show the master where the quarry hides. If you can add a one- or two-count pause in your extended pose, you will gain more core work. Finish 20 reps and then switch to the other side.
Plank to squat
Begin in a high plank, keeping your shoulders stacked over wrists and your core engaged. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands and come down to a squat. Push up with your hands to bring your hips up and return to a plank position. Repeat this move 15 times.
Stand up straight and separate your feet wider than your hips, with your toes pointed outward. Squat and bring your hands to the floor. Jump up with your heels and toes up and forward, lifting your arms overhead. After landing softly, try to jump up and one foot forward. Repeat the jump 20 times.
Similar to the long jump in the initial stance, but differing in the extension phase, is the frog hop. Keep your hips lower to the ground, and shorten the explosive move from the start point, leaving your hands at your side. Jump distance due to the shorter explosive phase is more in the 6- to 12-inch range, and hence a tad faster overall movement from start to stop. This is an absolute butt burner. Repeat the hop 20 times.
Mountain climber burpee
Begin in a plank position and bring your left knee to your right elbow before quickly switching to the other side. Do these four times so you have done a total of eight. Then, jump your feet to the outside of your hands while you sit into a squat. Jump up, reaching your arms over your head, and bend over returning your hands to the floor. Return to a plank position. Repeat the burpee 5 times.
Completing this group of moves in a circuit will amp up your heart rate and get your body pumping. Based on fitness level, a round or a few rounds of this may be a workout for some. For others, it may be a good jumping off point for an even better overall workout. The key is to not let unavailability of a certain cardio piece you might like hamper your resolve to keep at it. Variety is what your body craves to change.
—Blake and Gwen Beckcom run Fitness Together Mission Hills. Contact them at fitnesstogether.com/missionhills or call 619-794-0014.
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