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7 Ways To Mix Up Your Cardio


Cardio is essential for any well-rounded training program, but it can become stale and repetitive if you let it Mixing up your cardio training will allow you to work various energy systems to continually challenge the body to progress. It will also keep things interesting! Here are 7 ways to mix up your cardio routine.

  1. Intervals
    If you love running, cycling or rowing but just go the same speed and the same distance over and over, why not try intervals to spice up the intensity? A basic interval routine requires a work phase and recovery phase. You can play around with the length of these phases as you please. Try both short work phases at 90-100% intensity and longer work phases at lower intensities of 70-80%. An example might be a 20 second work phase and a 40 second recovery phase. Intervals are a great way to train various energy systems and take advantage of the after burn effect (excess energy consumption post-exercise).   

  2. Ladders and pyramids
    Pyramids and ladders can be used similarly to intervals to vary the intensity of your workout. ­Your intensity can be increased gradually by starting at a low resistance level or speed and finishing at a high level/speed (ladder up) or reverse by starting at a high intensity and working your way down (ladder down). Join these ladders together to create a pyramid ie. Start at a low level/speed and increase gradually before working your way back down or vice versa.

  3. HIRT - High Intensity Resistance Training
    Try performing a number of resistance exercises in a circuit one after the other. For a higher intensity reduce rest periods and choose exercises that involve the whole body or multiple large muscle groups. For example a squat with an overhead press will gain a greater cardiovascular effect than a body weight squat alone.

  4. Combination – Resistance training/cardio
    Combine resistance exercises with cardio machines. For example, 5 minute intervals on the treadmill divided by rounds of push-ups, squats and sit-ups. The options are endless, so keep it interesting!

  5. Speed/Power/Plyometrics/100%
    If you’ve never tried this type of training before, you will be shocked at its effectiveness to challenge your entire body. When your body is pushed to maximum effort it uses an energy system known as the ATP-CP system. This system is limited in its supply and can only be maintained for around 10 seconds before recovery is necessary to replenish muscle stores. If you’re looking to maintain maximal effort throughout your session, keep work phases short (10-30 sec) and recovery phases long (2-4 min).
  6. Personal Training
    Personal training is a great way add some variety to your sessions. Our job as trainers is to push, motivate, inspire and educate you. We can do this with new and exciting routines and exercises, all whilst keeping you accountable to your fitness goals. What you learn with a trainer, you keep for life!

  7. Get outdoors
    Exercising outdoors a couple of times a week can be a great way to mix things up. Try a walk or run with the dog, listen to your favourite music while challenging a set of stairs or just soak in the scenery surrounding you. If you need more of a challenge try mountain biking/climbing, water sports or get some friends together for a fun challenge once week.

How do you mix up your cardio? Tell us here.

This article was written by Exercise Physiologist, Josh Every. 

Get in touch with him here.



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