What is the best way to train cardio? This is a common question, usually by those of us who don’t enjoy running for distance. Well as it turns out, logging countless hours on the treadmill is not the most beneficial approach. When we’re talking about “best” there’s a few things to consider. What is your goal? What are your limitations? How much time do you have? Let’s look at a few ways to train cardio and what some of the benefits and disadvantages are.
Taking home, the bronze medal today is swimming. Swimming is a great way to burn calories and shed some extra body fat. If you’ve got a nagging injury, it could be a strategic way to work around that. Swimming has been shown to burn more calories in the same time spent jogging.
The biggest disadvantage of this option is access to a pool or a safe body of water. Pool memberships can be costly, and most gyms do not have pool access.
Another con here is the additional time planning for your swim around your existing workout or planning for the time to change before and after your swim. So if you’ve got a busy schedule, you’ll need to get creative with time management.
And of course, there’s the learning curve. According to the Red Cross 54% of US adults either cannot swim or don’t have all the proper swimming skills. So, if you can swing it learn to swim.
In second place is rowing. This full body workout, when done with intensity, is an absolute calorie burning beast. Proven in studies to decrease body fat, rowing also helps with back health and strength and overall body composition as it works so many muscles. Rowing is easier on the knees than running and easier on the shoulders than swimming. Almost every gym will have rowers, so access is not as complicated as swimming.
Rowing is very easy to overdue and injure yourself, especially for beginners.
If you already have a back injury, then rowing will likely be painful and therefore off the list for you.
The winner of the best way to train cardio is sprinting. I always like to tell people who are looking to get in better shape or increase performance that pavement is free. Sprinting costs nothing, you don’t need a gym membership, no fancy clubs, just feet and space. Sprinting has been proven to improve aerobic capacity in less time that long distance running. Studies have shown that sprinting is an excellent way to improve muscular performance and endurance. Sprinting is shown to reduce fat more than traditional running and other forms of intensity training.
Sprinting is a huge timesaver. You can get a good workout in just 20 minutes. Contrary to bro-guidance, cardio doesn’t kill your gains and sprinting can help if you’re trying to build some solid muscle. A sprint workout can be completed on a treadmill if needed.
The disadvantages don’t even come close to the benefits of sprinting. Form and overuse can cause injury no matter what you’re doing, and this is no different.
Add sprinting in every other day. Determine a distance of 25 – 50 yards, jog out to your point, and then sprint back to your starting point.
Do not start any diet or exercise plan without first consulting with your physician! Let your doctor know about any drugs or supplements you are using and what the plan consists of.
This content is meant to be informative and should not be considered medical advice.
Written for Stoked American Fitness