Weightloss

10 Best High-Intensity Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

When you’re working your way toward your goal weight, curating just the right, sustainable fitness program is essential. It’s all about selecting an ideal variety of exercises, being consistent with your efforts, and challenging your body. To help you get moving in the right direction, we spoke with Josh York, the founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, who shares 10 of his best high-intensity cardio exercises for weight loss.

“High-intensity cardio is the most effective way to lose weight,” York tells us.”People don’t realize that while steady-state cardio is good for you, you need to be pushing your body, building up a sweat, and challenging muscles you don’t always use. While it is good to keep some things consistent like your routine, it’s good to mix things up in terms of the specific exercises you are doing.”

However, keep in mind that establishing balance is everything. Performing both cardio and strength training is key if you want to strip away unwanted body fat and maintain your lean muscle.

Keep reading for York’s best high-intensity cardio exercises for weight loss. And when you’re finished, be sure to check out People Are ‘Retro Walking’ & Swear by the Benefits: ‘My Posture Is Now Nearly Perfect’.

Stair Climbing

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Whether you opt for a set of stairs at home or a machine at the gym, stair climbing is a straightforward exercise that can be incredibly effective.

“As fast as you can, run up the stairs for a good 15 seconds,” York instructs. “If you can find some bleachers or an amphitheater, take advantage of those wide-open spaces to push yourself even further.”

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Incline Sprints

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Sprinting on an incline will take your go-to treadmill workout to the next level.

“Set the machine to a slight incline, and do a few sets of sprints,” says York. “Even just for a few 15-second intervals, this adjustment to a non-incline run can boost your endurance and improve your mobility.” You can also achieve the same effects by doing hill sprints outdoors.

Running (Bonus Points if on Sand)

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Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that’s praised for its versatility; you can do it basically anytime, anywhere.

“If you have access to a beach, try running on sand to challenge your stability and strengthen some of the smaller muscles in your legs that don’t always get the attention they need,” York explains. “Running is good for your heart health no matter what surface you are doing it on.”

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Burpees

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The burpee is an explosive exercise that puts your entire body to work.

“Start with a powerful jump before squatting down,” York instructs. “Place your down directly beneath your shoulders, and shoot your feet back until you are in a plank position. Do a pushup, and return to your plank position. Jump your feet back toward your hands, and return to a low squat. Repeat the sequence with a powerful jump.”

Mountain Climbers

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Mountain climbers essentially feel like you’re running in place but from a high plank position.

“From a strong plank position, engaging muscles through your legs, back, and core, bring your knee toward your naval without modifying your form,” explains York. “Replace your foot, and repeat on the other side. Build up your speed by alternating between your legs.”

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Box Jumps

illustration of box jump exercises to avoid after 50
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Depending on your fitness level and ability, set up a solid box or find a stable surface with a vertical incline that’s a few inches up to a few feet tall. “Stand about a foot away from the box with your feet shoulder-width apart,” York instructs. “Bend your knees, and swing your arms behind you. Quickly jump onto the box with both feet landing at the same time, and use the motion of your arms swinging forward to build on your momentum. Step back down, and repeat.”

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Fast Resistance Band Training

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Fast resistance band training calls for you to do classic resistance band moves, such as bent-over rows, lateral walks, lateral raises, and tricep extensions, but at a fast pace. “Perform reps quickly, focusing on dynamic movements and getting your heart rate up,” York stresses.

Jumping Rope

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Get your jump rope ready for this one, and head to a clear space in your home or outdoors.

“Grab the jump rope hands with your hands at an even height on either side of your body,” says York. “With the rope starting behind your heels, hold your shoulders and elbows. Rotate your wrists from the back of your body toward the front to generate a circular motion. Time your jump to let the rope pass beneath your feet, and build up some speed.”

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Battle Ropes

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Start battle ropes with a slight bend in both knees. Take hold of two battle ropes, positioning your thumps so that they face each other. “Start raising and lowering your arms, [and] lift the battle ropes as quickly as you can,” says York. “This will create a wave pattern with each rope, so try to keep the waves flowing as quickly as possible without any gaps.”

Fast Weight Training

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Our best high-intensity cardio exercises for weight loss wrap up with fast weight training.

“Perform the weight lifting exercises with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and even bodyweight exercises with a sense of urgency,” York instructs. “Focusing on doing exercises quickly will do wonders for your cardiovascular health.”

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