Whether you’re just starting out, have some experience or you’re a pro at hitting the gym, aerobic exercise is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Even if you cringe at the thought of cardio, it can be a great way to get your blood pumping before those anaerobic workouts you love, like lifting or high intensity interval training. Curtis Sims, a trainer at Browns Fit, gives us some of his favorite aerobic workouts for any level.
Beginner: Jump squats are a perfect way to get your heart rate going and stretch your hamstrings while only using your own body weight. It’s important to keep your back straight and neutral going down into the squat. After jumping up, pay attention to where the pressure is in your feet. “We want to absorb [energy] through our heels and not the bottom of our feet or on our toes, because that can cause a possible injury,” Sims says. Beginners should start at 10-12 reps a few times a week, but pay attention to your body and don’t overwork yourself.
Intermediate: If you have a regular workout schedule, Sims recommends adding mountain climbers into the cardio portion of your workout. To start, get into a standard pushup position, but push off the ground like you’re pedaling. Keep your hips flat and level and your core engaged. “You also want to keep those hands stationary. You don’t want those hands moving too much. Our focal point is basically our core and the lower portion of our body,” he says. You can incorporate as many reps of this exercise as you want into your regular workout routine to get your core and knees ready to go.
Advanced: Inchworm burpees engage a range of muscles and are perfect for gym frequent-flyers that want to get a solid and well-rounded warmup in. “Basically, standing up, all we do is reach out to our feet, and walk out using our hands. As soon as we get down in our pushup position, we get a rep in, walk back up, and then jump up and reach for the sky,” Sims says. When you land, get right back into that walk-down position. To make it even more advanced, you can add resistance bands and weights.