Five Cardio Routines for People Who Hate Running


Even for someone who identifies as a lifter

After a decadent night out in the North End that concluded with a cappuccino and cannoli, I felt the need to get moving and stay moving the next day. Monday is my running day and seeing as it was Thursday, I didn’t feel like doing that. It is time to add more cardio routines into my life.

As someone who identifies predominantly as a lifter, it took some convincing to get me to start running. Since then I have spent my winters training for strength and my summers more or less training for endurance and races. But I get it, cardiovascular exercise is good for you but running isn’t all that fun, especially if you’re stuck inside on a treadmill.

When people think cardio, they might pigeonhole themselves into one of four categories, running (treadmill), elliptical, stair stepper, or cycling. Well, I’m going to tell you that’s not the case. In an effort to broaden everyone’s horizon on the options out there for non-running-based cardiovascular exercise I present five of my favorite cardio-conditioning drills.

Each one of these is different so if you like one do more of it if the other ones aren’t up your alley feel free to skip them. Each of the four will be presented with a video, description, and a way to progress or modify the routine.

Here are some cardio routines


Description: For this routine, all you need is a box and an airdyne or assault bike. Pick the time interval and weight of your choice. In this case, I had two chains and went for a minute. The step-up portion shouldn’t burn you out but it should prime your legs for fatigue. After a minute of doing the step-ups hop on the bike. Go 40 seconds light and then 20 seconds as hard as you can. Repeat this for three to four rounds.

Progression: If you want to make this more challenging you can (1) increase the time to two minutes for the step up and the bike (2) add weight to the step ups, or (3) add an extra round.


Description: Pick any piece of cardio that tracks calories expended. In this case, I picked the ski erg. Recognizing that not every gym has one of these, you can broaden your options to a stair stepper, Jacobs ladder, or row erg. Go max effort until you reach 10 calories. Track how long it took you and do jump squats for that long (i.e. 25 seconds on the erg = 25 seconds of jump squats). Cap yourself out at 30 seconds on the jump squats since this will get tough.

Progression: If you’re feeling sadistic you can increase the calories to 12 or 15. If you want something a little less tough try adding an extra round to your routine.


Description: You’re going to need a band for this routine and a place to anchor the band. Pick any three exercises to pair together and go for 20 seconds on each one. For this, I chose jump squats, high knees, and then bear crawls. There are other options out there such as broad jumps, spider crawls, or mountain climbers so you can get creative with this. After 20 seconds make a quick transition to the next one.

Progression: Try a pyramid routine for this. Pick your three exercises. For the first set do 10 seconds for each one, for the next do 20, and then 30 seconds. Ramp back down to 20 seconds and then 10 seconds. That’s one round.


Description: A complex involves a series of different resistance training movements put together without any rest. There are a lot of different routines that you can do here that involve changing the movements or the modality. For example, I could have used a barbell or a sandbag for this routine. For this complex, I picked Romanian Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings, Cleans, and Squats for 8 reps.

Progression: You can make this routine more challenging by increasing the weight or swapping out to a barbell complex. You can also change this routine by changing the exercises. Other exercises that can be used include pushing press, bent over row, good morning (barbell only), front squat (barbell only), or back squats (barbell only).


Description: This one is deceptively challenging. Pick a distance to do a forward and backward bear crawl. Start with one jump squat and one split jump on each leg then do your bear crawl. Ramp up to 2 squats and 2 split jumps and do the crawl again. Continue until you get to five reps.

Progression: If you insist! Try going up another rep if going to five isn’t tough enough. You can also increase the distance for the bear crawl. If you’re feeling up to it you could also throw a weight vest on.

If you hate running but still want to get your cardio in then try these awesome cardio routines.

Also, if you still have questions or are looking for more guidance about cardio routines, then contact us at [email protected] or contact us for a complimentary consultation at our website.