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10 cardio workouts you can do in the gym if you hate running

April 07 2022 6 min read

If you’re in the habit of slogging out half an hour on the treadmill every time you hit the gym, you’re likely to get stuck in a rut, hit a plateau and see limited results.

For maximum fitness gains we recommend HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training, which mixes up short bursts of high-intensity anaerobic exercise (like sprinting) with low aerobic recovery (like jogging or walking).

HIIT can be applied to pretty much all exercises and means you’ll get a tough but effective workout in a shorter space of time.

Step out of your comfort zone and get your heart racing with these 10 alternatives to the treadmill…


Cycling is easy on the joints and a great cardio exercise for losing weight. Give a spin class a go, and with the help of high energy music, an encouraging instructor and the group atmosphere you’ll get a mix of sprints, hills and recovery to burn up to 600 calories an hour!

>Book a spinning class at your local gym here.


Rowing is deceptively challenging if done right. To really get the most from your rowing workout, you should aim for shorter bursts of intensity to mix the anaerobic and aerobic exercise. 10 minutes of intervals are much more effective than cruising for half an hour.

To keep things interesting, try rowing as far as you can for your favourite song. Choose something that gets you fired up and ready to go and try to beat your distance as your fitness progresses.


Boxing offers stress relief and will improve your hand-eye co-ordination, balance and reactivity. Not to mention being really fun.

While boxing is a full-body workout, most of the work will come from your upper body so it’s a good one to throw in the mix after a heavy leg day.


Swimming is a low-impact activity that blasts fat. You’ll burn around 350 calories for every half hour of breaststroke.

The resistance of the water also makes swimming a great way to strengthen your muscles and avoid injury. Try a sprint lap followed by two recovery laps to get your heart and legs pounding.


Sprint drills with a short recovery will help you to boost your cardio fitness as well as increase your fast twitch muscles.

Try 10 repeats of 50m sprints, walking back to your starting point to recover each time. Make sure you power with your arms to increase speed and strength.


The Stairmaster is a great lower-body workout for the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings. Skipping a step, side-steps and kick-backs mix up your workout and target different areas in the legs for all over toning.

Again, think HIIT and try to mix up high intensity with recovery periods rather than a slow and steady pace. You can do this by changing the speed of the Stairmaster to increase intensity.


Skipping is one of the best calorie-burning cardio workouts. As a rough guide it can burn about 10 calories a minute.

Mix it up with double unders (two turns of the rope for one jump), single leg skips and backwards skipping for high intensity, with slower skipping to recover.


Plyometric bodyweight exercises like burpees, mountain climbers and box jumps will test your agility, speed, flexibility and co-ordination.

Following the high-intensity theme, try setting up your own mini circuit, with 30 seconds of plyometric exercise followed by 30 secs of recovery as you walk to the next circuit station.


Crank up the incline on the treadmill for a 10-minute power walk. Walking burns calories and works all the major muscles.

If you’re used to jogging at a comfortable pace on the treadmill, you’ll be amazed at how tough this one is. Who knew walking could be harder than running?


The Crosstrainer or Elliptical engages the full body, challenging the heart and muscles, but with much less impact than running.

Again, mix up high and low intensity by bumping up the resistance level on the machine.