Sprints, Without the Sprints: 4 Alternatives, Same Level of Shred

When the weather is fine … cardio is probably on your mind. After all, it’s been drilled into us that the best way to torch fat and shape up quick is to add in more cardio.

However, long bursts of cardio have been proven not to be the most effective way to burn fat. Instead, high-intensity-interval-style cardio takes the cake. One of the most popular ways to get in this type of cardio is to incorporate sprints, whether on the ground or on the treadmill.

This is no knock against sprints (they are one of the best forms of cardio to build both anaerobic and aerobic fitness simultaneously, while also torching serious calories) but there are several other moves and workouts you can do to mimic sprinting. These are especially useful if you don’t have access to room to sprint, or a treadmill, or if you simply want a more stimulating workout.

4 Alternatives to Sprints to Shred Fast

These alternatives to sprints focus on high-intensity cardio moves that compare (or even rival) the anaerobic and aerobic conditioning you can receive from regular sprint training. As an option, you can add more bodyweight moves to these circuits to up the intensity – feel free to play with the structure!

1. Jump Rope

4 Alternatives to Sprints: Jump Rope | Ericleija.com

Jumping rope is one of the best alternatives to sprints. It gets your heart rate up like no tomorrow, burns an insane amount of calories, is portable, and the variations are endless. You can also add in quite a bit of core and leg work by throwing in some high-knees or double-unders. My advice to is to structure a 15-20 minutes jump rope HIIT-style workout for maximum benefits, such as:

  • Regular jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Right foot hops – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Left foot hops – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • High knees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Regular jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Rest one minute. 
    Repeat 5 times.

You can also add in a lunge, squat, push-up, or other bodyweight interval to jack up the intensity even more.

2. Kettlebell swings

Obviously, kettlebells can’t be left out here. Aside from standard swings, almost any work you do with a kettlebell is going to spike your heartrate, torch calories, and work every inch of your body, similar to a sprint. They’ll also work on your balance, help strengthen and stabilize your shoulder and hip joints to help prevent injuries, and (this is key) you’ll never get bored.

Try a HIIT-style version of a kettlebell workout similar to the jump rope circuit to get in a killer cardio session in just 20 minutes or less. Here’s an example:

 

• Regular swings (30 seconds)
• Rest (20 seconds)
• Alternate arm swing (30 seconds)
• Rest (20 seconds)
• Kettlebell step-ups (30 seconds)
• Rest (20 seconds)
• Regular swings (30 seconds)
• Rest (20 seconds)
• Kettlebell goblet squats
• Rest one minute.

Repeat 3-4 times.

For the box step-ups, hold a kettlebell in each hand and step up, alternating legs, onto your box. For the goblet squats, hold a bell at the handle in both hands tight to your chest as you squat down.

3. Battle Ropes

Watching someone swing battle ropes makes them seem deceptively simple; however, these babies will give you a full body workout, while also challenging your endurance and stamina (not to mention torching fat). You can stick to a standard swing here, swinging with both arms alternating, or add in bodyweight exercises between swing sets.

• Standard wave (20-30 seconds)
• Rest 20-30 seconds
• Tsunami wave (20-30 seconds)
• Rest 20-30 seconds
• One-Arm plank wave (20-30 seconds)
• Rest one minute
Repeat 3-4 times.

Tsunami Wave:

One-Arm Plank Wave:

 

4. Tire Flips

If tire flips don’t leave you gasping … you need a bigger tire. And, if you thought sprints were difficult, your legs will be shaking and your entire body will be feeling the burn after just a few of these. The best way to do flips is to either do a challenge for time (say, flipping for 2 minutes straight, then resting for two minutes, then repeating), integrating them into a circuit, or even flipping back-and-forth with a partner.

Basic instructions: Set up by lowering into a squat in front of the tire, keeping your arms beneath it slightly bent in a comfortable position. Your chest should be up against the tire, with your back flat and hips low. Lock down your upper body and drive from your legs to extend your hips, knees, and ankles.

When you do this your hips should be propelling the tire simultaneously upward and forward. Do not try to flip the tire with solely your upper body – this could be a recipe for injury. Your body should remain close to the tire at all times as you quickly rotate your hands and push until it’s completely flipped.

 

Do you have any hardcore “cardio” workouts to add that can help all of us shred? Share them below!