Cardio Workout Plans The Complete List Rated and Reviewed
There are several benefits associated with cardio that include improved overall health, regardless of age or fitness level. These workout plans can also be supplemental or part of a healthy lifestyle choice. Best of all it doesn’t have to be dull or boring, now there are exercise routines that are actually fun to do.
Regardless of your fitness goals a good cardio workout can help you achieve them, and there are several programs for you to choose from. To help you make the right decision for your health we have the complete list rated and reviewed by licensed medical experts and experienced trainers. This will also ensure that you select the best cardio workout plans to help you meet your fitness goals.
Cardio Workout Plans for Beginners
Before you start looking for a cardio workouts for beginners it is a good idea to first speak with your primary health care provider to ensure that it is safe for you. Regardless of the results you are trying to achieve all top beginners’ plans start and end each routine with a short warm up and cool down.
Generally this involves stretching, and it should be an important part of every cardio workout plan.
You can find cardio workouts with or without equipment, and both types of programs can be equally effective. It can also come with a meal guide, which can be a useful tool for beginners just starting out.
If you are performing the exercises at home you might also want the plan to come with access to an online community. Not only will this provide you with support and encouragement, but also tips and information on how to properly perform the exercises.
Some of the exercises you often find can include,
- Treadmill or brisk walks outsides
- Sets of jumping jacks
- Series of rope jumps
- Cycling (outdoors or on a machine)
You should expect the workouts to start off with a low intensity, at least for the first 4 to 6 six weeks, and each routine lasting for 30 minutes.
As your strength and endurance increases so will the intensity level until you are ready to move onto intermediate or advanced exercise plans.
Top 8 Cardio Workout Plans
Cardio Workout Plans for Overall Health
Almost any cardio routine will improve your overall health, and if this is your ultimate fitness goal there are several programs that will work your upper, lower and middle body.
The intensity level of the daily exercise routines will vary, and it is generally recommended that you choose a plan that starts off with LISS before moving onto HIIT training. Like any other type of workout you will want it to start and end with a 5 minute warm up and cool down period.
Since you are trying to improve your overall health diet will be crucial for your success.
Many of these workout plans also call for equipment, but you can easily use common household items or your body weight. Another factor to look for are exercises that are designed to target all of the major muscles in your body.
Some target a specific section each day, while others hit all of the major muscles groups in one routine. Both types of exercise plans are effective, it is simply a matter of what works best for you.
It should call for three 30 to 40 minute exercise routines each week. The workouts should also be spaced a day apart to give your body time to recover, though some experienced trainers recommend still getting in a few minutes of low impact cardio.Our editor’s choice for this Workout ProgramOur experts are constantly searching for the best Workouts out there. Here is our editor’s Workout of choice for the Cardio Workout Plans
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Cardio Workout Plans for Athletes
It should be noted that sport based cardio workout plans are typically geared for athletes or those at an advanced level. This means that it is important that you get approval from your primary health care provider before you start.
The best ones will start and end with a few minutes of stretching. Any coach or experienced trainer will tell you that this is crucial if you want to prevent injuries.
Unlike other workout plans these fitness programs typically start off at a higher intensity, and the daily routines can run from 45 minutes up to one hour.
It is also important to take advantage of the rest and recovery days in between the scheduled workout routines.
If it is approved by a coach, trainer or licensed physician you might still want to get in a few minutes of light cardio on your off days. This will help keep your muscles warm and flexible, along with giving a little boost to your energy and metabolism.
One aspect all workout plans for athletes have in common is plyometric training. Also referred to as jump training, these high intensity exercises can dramatically improve athletic performance in some sports.
Performed as a series of jumps at varying levels of difficulty, plyometric training is an effective way to build and strengthen your glutes and legs. Once again it is important to note that exercises geared for athletes are not designed for everyone.
Cardio Workout Plans to Burn Fat and Weight Loss
One of the safest and most effective ways to burn fat and lose weight is with a cardio routine.
It can be combined with another exercise plan or performed by itself, and either way is capable of helping you achieve the results you are looking for. If you do want to combine a fat burning cardio workout plan with another exercise program, most licensed physicians and experienced trainers recommend a strength training.
This way you can tone and firm muscles as you are losing weight. It is also important that you stick with a low fat and calorie diet. If the fat burning workout does not come with a meal guide a licensed nutritionist can help you create a healthy diet that will provide you with the nutrition you need.
You can choose to perform the exercises with or without equipment, and still see the same results. If you want to add a little definition and tone your muscles while losing weight you might want to consider using weights or creating your own at home. Some of the exercises you will want to look for can include,
- Jump rope
- Jumping jacks
The best cardio weight loss routines typically run from 8 to 12 weeks, gradually increasing in intensity. Once you are ready for HIIT training, you will be surprised at how fast the extra weight falls off, though this is only recommended for intermediate and advanced levels.
You can also find 4 week fat burning plans that start off at a high intensity level, but these fitness programs are typically designed to help body builders and others get ready for competition.
It is also important to remember that no matter how highly rated the cardio workout plan might be it is still important to get approval from your primary health care provider.
Body Weight Cardio Workout Plans
You can actually make almost any cardio workout one that only uses your body weight. The majority of the exercises can be adapted to be performed without equipment, and you can also incorporate common household items into the workout routine instead of purchasing expensive gear.
The main aspect to look for is that it increases gradually in intensity.
If the exercises do not become more challenging overtime you run the risk of plateauing before you achieve your desired results. One way to increase the intensity is to add HIIT training when you are ready.
If you are already at an advanced level the best bodyweight cardio workout plan for you will incorporate a few plyometric exercises once or twice a week in the routine.
Some of the effective bodyweight exercises include,
- Inch worm
- Power skip
- High knees
- Butt kick
- Plank to knee tap
You do want to remember not to push yourself too hard, and to check with your primary health care provider before you increase the intensity level.
Cardio Workout Plans; Dance Class
Dance aerobics, barre and spinning classes are only a few examples of a cardio workout class. You can find these fun and effective workout classes offered at a local gym, and there are also several plans that are designed to be performed at home.
If you do choose one of these types of cardio workouts and plan to perform it at home it is important to make sure that you have any equipment you might need.
When you are looking for a class it should meet your skill and fitness levels, and be something that you enjoy doing. If you hate cycling, the last thing you want to do is join a spinning class.
The instructor should also be experienced and easy to follow throughout the class. Once you have established this it really is up to you to choose one that you will enjoy.
It often comes with the same warm-up and cool down exercises you normally perform at the start and end of most fitness programs.
The only difference is that these exercises are now a part of your daily workout routine.
The number of reps can vary depending on your skill and fitness level, but overall you can expect to perform many of the following exercises.
These often include,
- Brisk walking
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope
- Aerobic and dance classes
You should expect the workouts to be relatively strenuous, but if you are having trouble catching your breath you might want to lower the intensity level of the exercise routine.
A cardio workout should result in moderate perspiration, not cause you to lose your breath.
In general it is safe for adults over 50, but it is a good idea to first get approval from your primary health care provider before you start any type of exercise program.
If you are over 50 a cardio based workout can help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle that will last for the rest of your life.
It is important to make sure that the one you choose is right for your current skill and fitness level. This will help prevent injuries and ensure that you enjoy maximum results.
There are several benefits, regardless of the results you are trying to achieve. This is why licensed physicians and experienced trainers recommend that everyone get in at least 60 minutes of cardio during the week.
Some of the benefits include,
- Improved cardiovascular and overall health
- Boost metabolism
- Burn fat and calories
- Improve mood
- Increased energy
- Increase strength and endurance
Simply getting in 20 minutes of low impact cardio 3 times a week can produce these healthy benefits, and more.
You can maximum your results by increasing the intensity levels of the workouts, but it is always best to first get approval from your primary health care provider.
It is not uncommon for people to shy away from cardio exercises simply because they are worried that it will be too boring or repetitive. While this can be a problem if you are only performing the same daily routines there are a few ways you can make your cardio workouts a little more fun and even exciting.
Some experienced trainers recommend,
- Changing the location of your workouts
- Switch from a treadmill to brisk walks outdoors
- Substitute running for another daily exercise
- Add HIIT training to increase the intensity level
- Add plyometric exercises
Changing the location can keep them fresh and even fun, and this is also true when you switch exercises or increase the intensity level.
Before you make any changes it is a good idea to first get approval from your primary health care provider.
This is a common question and the answer will depend on the individual, along with the results you are trying to achieve. Most licensed physicians recommend getting in at least 60 minutes of cardio a week if you want to stay healthy and active throughout life.
Getting in 20 minutes three or four times a week is enough to burn fat and calories, and improve your overall health.
If you combine a cardio with bodyweight exercises, you can also increase overall strength and even build healthy muscle mass. It should be noted that you will have to increase the intensity level if you want to see dramatic results.
This is usually accomplished by increasing the number of reps performed in a set, and not necessarily the amount of time you spend working out.
If you’re not sure if twenty minutes a day 3 times a week is enough to produce results, an experienced trainer will be able to answer any additional questions you might have.
The difference between HIIT and LISS cardio training is simple.
HIIT is high intensity training, while LISS is low intensity.
Understanding this difference is important if you want to prevent injuries. Beginners, women after pregnancy and others who might be in recovery should always start off with LISS cardio. As your skill and endurance improves you can work your way up to HIIT training.
An example of switching from LISS to HIIT cardio can be changing a daily walk to a fast jog uphill. You will want to get approval from your primary health care provider before you start any type of high impact intensity training, no matter your skill or fitness level.
This is one of the best ways to prevent injuries that could sideline your training.
Unless the diet has been prescribed by your primary health care provider you do not need to follow a regimented diet. It is always recommended though that you stick with a healthy meal plan, regardless of the results you are trying to achieve.
If you’re not sure about your diet or if you are getting the nutrients you need, a licensed nutritionist will be able to answer any of your questions.
In most cases cardio is safe for women after pregnancy, sometimes in as little as 24 hours.
After giving birth the majority of women are encouraged to start moving around, and a short slow walk is a great form of low impact cardio.
As your strength improves and your body starts to heal, you can slowly increase the intensity.
While it is important to get approval from your OBGYN or primary health care provider before you start, in most cases it is probably already being encouraged.
There are a few reasons why women might want to consider starting a cardio workout plan after pregnancy that often included,
- Improve overall health
- Help regain and increase strength
- Reduce stress and even lower back pain
- Help burn unwanted fat and calories
- Improve mood
Hydration is an important for one reason, your health.
It is crucial to stay hydrated throughout the day, and most licensed nutritionists recommend consuming at least 64 ounces on a daily basis.
This amount might need to be increased depending on the intensity of your workouts.
Staying hydrated not only prevents serious health complications, it can also reduce your risk for injury and produce maximum results. Hydrated muscles are more flexible, and better able to increase in strength and size.
It is also important to remember that over hydrating can be just as dangerous to your health. If you’re not sure how much water you should be consuming a licensed nutritionist or physician will be able to provide recommendations that are right for you.
One of the advantages of a cardio based program is that you don’t have to use equipment in order to get results. There are several that only call for you to use your body weight, and they can be just as effective as the ones that require equipment.
If you live in an area that makes it difficult to exercise outside or simply like the idea of working out on equipment there are a few pieces that are commonly used in cardio fitness plans.
This often includes,
- Elliptical machines
- Spinning bikes
- Jump ropes
- Resistance bands
- Kettle weights or dumbbells
- Weighted medicine ball
Rowing machines are another great way to get a full cardio workout, and it can also help tone and strengthen your upper body muscles. The type of equipment you use, if any, will typically depend on the results you are trying to achieve.
If you have any questions on how to properly use the exercise equipment an experienced trainer will be able to address any of your concerns.
A cardio routine can help you lose weight and burn fat, as long as it is combined with the right meal plan. Your daily diet should include plenty of vegetables and fruit, while being low in fat and calories.
You also want to make sure you are getting enough carbs if your goal is to burn fat without losing muscle mass.
Cardio exercises boost heart rate and metabolism which in turn burns fat and calories. In some cases a regular cardio routine can keep your metabolism up all day so you can continue to burn calories even after the workout is finished.
One thing you will want to remember is that the higher the intensity levels the more calories you’ll burn, but you also don’t want to push yourself before you are ready. Most experienced trainers recommend starting off with LISS cardio and slowly working your way up to HIIT training.
For the best results you might want to get in a few minutes of low impact cardio on your rest and recovery days. This can be something as simple as a 10 minute walk. This way your metabolism will still stay up even when your muscles are recovering.
There is no reason why exercising at home can’t be effective, as long as you perform them properly. You will also want to stick with a healthy diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight and burn calories.
Many home based workout plans also come with access to online communities where you can find support and encouragement from others with similar health goals. This is also a good way to get tips and pointers so you can be sure that you are getting the most out of your workout routine.
There are also a few advantages associated with home cardio workout plans that often include,
If you want to add a little fun and excitement you can find even find aerobic and dance classes that are designed to be performed at home. This way your workouts will have plenty of variety, which can make it easier for you to stay motivated.
Even though you are performing a variety of cardio exercises during the workout, it is still important to take a few minutes to stretch before and after the routine. This is especially true if you are getting ready for HIIT cardio.
Your muscles need to be primed and ready if they are going to make it through the high intensity workout without incurring any injuries.
You only need to spend a couple of minutes stretching out the major muscle groups, and you’ll be glad you did when you make it through the entire workout without pulling or tearing any muscles.
One of the best ways to keep a cardio fun and effective is to create your own. As long as you follow the basic schedule of three to four workouts for 10 to 20 minutes a week, you should be able to create an exercise plan that will help you achieve the results that you want.
This is also a great way to get past the plateaus and gradually increase the intensity level as needed.
For example if you are tired of walking on a treadmill you can switch to a slow jog outdoors. If you aren’t interested in increasing upper body strength you can skip the rowing machine and spend the entire workout performing sets of jumping jacks. The main goal is to boost your levels of
and this can be accomplished with almost any exercise routine that raises your heart rate. It is also important that you stick with a healthy diet, regardless of the type of workout plan you create.
Plyometric exercises should only be included in advanced cardio workout plans, and then only occasionally. Plyometrics are high intensity exercises, and should only be performed with a licensed physician’s approval.
Also referred to as “jump training”, it works your legs and glutes. It involves a series of jumps on one and both legs, sometimes over cones and on to of boxes.
It is because the training is so intensive that it is not designed to be performed as a regular routine, and you will want to schedule a day of recovery afterwards. Jump training is most often used by athletes, though it can be beneficial to almost anyone at the right fitness level.
It is surprising how often this question comes up, even when the cardio workout is being performed at home. When it comes to the clothing you wear during the daily exercise routines, it really is a matter of personal preference. Most experienced trainers recommend working out in,
- Lightweight and supportive athletic shoes
If your workouts take you outside in cool weather a pair of sweat or running pants might be appropriate, along with a long sleeve shirt. Ankle socks are typically preferred, though you can wear any that feel comfortable to you.
When you are trying to decide what clothes to wear the most important aspect to consider is comfort. You also want the clothes to be loose enough to easily move around in, without getting caught on any equipment.
While you can go out and purchase clothing specifically for your cardio workouts, chances are you already have everything you need in a dresser drawer at home.
One of the advantages is that it can be easily combined with other exercise programs. It is important that you first get approval from your primary health care provider before you combine any type of workout plans.
Some of the exercise programs cardio is often combined with include,
- Strength training
- Weight training/lifting
Since cardio workouts are typically only performed 3 to 4 days a week it is relatively easy to add the routines to your exercise schedule.
Some people even incorporate a it into their daily strength or weight training program to safely increase the intensity level.
They can be supplemental or part of a healthy lifestyle.
When it is added to your regular exercise routine it can boost the intensity level so you can achieve maximum results.
This is also a good way to get past the plateaus. When a cardio is part of your regular routine it can help you stay healthy and active at any age. Regardless of your fitness goals you should be getting in at least one hour of cardio every week, as recommended by most licensed physicians.
Even if the workout plan is supplemental, you should still continue to perform a few minutes of cardio before and after every daily exercise routine.
The results you see will depend on a few factors. The type of workout plan and your goals will all determine the type of results, along with the amount of time and effort you put into the daily exercise routines.
Some of the results that people often see after a few weeks on a cardio workout plan typically include,
- Improved health
- Increased energy levels
- Weight loss
- Improved strength
- Firm and toned muscles
You can find the best cardio workout plans at a local gym or even online. Friends and family with similar health goals can also provide recommendations on ones that have been successful for them.
Your primary health care provider is another valuable source of information, and will ensure that the workout plan is safe for you.
At Top Workout Programs you can find the best cardio workouts rated and reviewed by medical pros and experienced trainers. This gives you a little added assurance that you are choosing the right one for your fitness levels and goals.