Circuits vs Cardio

Yesterday I was interviewed by Men’s Health magazine, and they were looking for workouts that could replace cardio. In my opinion, doing bodyweight or kettlebell circuits is a much better replacement for cardio.

I think bodyweight circuits or kettlebell-bodyweight circuits are the best replacement for cardio.

Now of course you’re not going to run a sub 3-hour marathon just by doing these circuits, but I guarantee you’ll sculpt a better body and burn fat with circuit training than you ever will by just doing cardio. Plus, these circuits, even if done up to 5 times, will still be a shorter workout than doing an hour of cardio.

Take it easy the first time through each circuit and use that as a warmup, and then go through another 2-4 times for your workout.

Here are some sample circuit training workouts:

Crazy-8 Bodyweight Circuit
1) 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
2) 20 Spiderman Pushups or regular pushups:
3) Walking Lunges: 30 steps total
4) Spiderman Climb: 10 per side
5) Bodyweight Squat – 20 reps cardio workout
6) Mountain Climbers – 20 reps
7) Burpees – 5 reps
8]  High Knees: Done as fast as possible. Do 50 total.

With that program,  you can literally do that circuit anytime, anywhere, without having to rely on a single piece of equipment. After all, that’s the biggest concern of most people these days…they need to workout in a hotel room, or at home, or in a park where they don’t have kettlebells, or dumbbells, etc. So that’s the workout you can use.

Next up is a circuit that you can do in a tiny amount of space in your home. And frankly, you can do it anywhere that you have access to a kettlebell and stability ball, so YES, you can do this one in a park, too.

Kettlebell and Bodyweight Exercise Circuit
1) KB Swing – 20 reps (1-0-1)
2) Pushup – 20 reps (2-0-1)
3) Stability Ball Back Extension – 10 reps (2-0-1)
4) Stability Ball Pike – 8 reps (2-0-1)
5) KB 1-Arm Swing – 10 reps per side (1-0-1) cb-10mkw-ebook2-4
6) Pushup – 20 reps (2-0-1)
7) Stability Ball Leg Curl – 20 reps (1-0-1)
8] Ab Wheel or Stability Ball Rollout – 8 reps (2-0-1)
9) Sprint or Burpee – 20 seconds or 8 reps

If that’s not hard enough for you, you can add more kettlebell swings or snatches. And if its too hard for you, then you can do this circuit instead (make sure to move through it as fast as possible)…

Beginner Bodyweight Exercise and Kettlebell Circuit Workout
1) KB Squats or 2-Arm Swings – 10 reps
2) Beginner Pushups – 10 reps
3) Stability Ball Leg Curls – 10 reps
4) KB Squats or 2-Arm Swing – 10 reps
5) KB Rows – 10 reps per side
6) Bodyweight Split Squats – 10 reps per side
7) Beginner Close-Grip Pushups – 10 reps
8] 20-second run

Those are bodyweight exercise and kettlebell circuit workouts that you can do with little equipment, and you should be able to do them at home. The equipment might cost you 50 bucks (or more if you need a heavy kettlebell).

Helping you burn fat without cardio,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

PS – Check out all of the Turbulence Training Circuit Programs here.