When you’re looking for ways to stay in shape in the off-season, or transition from your favorite winter sport to your favorite summer pastime, sport specific training is best, but it doesn’t hurt to mix it up a bit. Adding endurance-based workouts to your routine can help you keep your legs and lungs fine-tuned for when it’s time to hit the slopes again.

With the increasing popularity and proven effectiveness of interval training to help us all get in better shape, it’s clear we don’t always have to resort to an hour of long, slow running, biking, or churning on the elliptical, for example. The phrase “cardio workout” doesn’t have to be synonymous with the word “boring.”

Interval training involves alternating short bursts of effort followed by a rest period, and high intensity interval training requires both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Bottom line? You can see more aerobic and anaerobic improvement in less time. Give these two non-traditional cardio workouts a try to add a little fun to your standard cardio routine.

Workout 1 – 30 Minutes

Every Minute on the Minute for 30 Minutes

  • Minute 1 – 10 burpees (scale up with burpees over a barbell)
  • Minute 2 – 12 Russian kettlebell swings
  • Minute 3 – 15 bodyweight squats (scale up with goblet squats)

To complete this workout, you’ll run through the three movements, and then start the rotation over. There’s a required amount of work for each minute, and once you’ve completed the work, you rest until a full minute is up. The goal is to sprint through the movements as fast as possible to give yourself as much rest as possible. The longer you take to complete the work, the less rest you get.

For the first minute, complete ten burpees. Start in a standing position, then drop to the ground in a pushup position with your hands, chest, upper thigh, and toes on the ground. Push up off the ground, pull your feet underneath you, stand up, jump, and clap. Click here for a video demo. If these are too easy for you, give burpees over a barbell or other object a try.

Rest until the second minute begins, then complete twelve Russian kettlebell swings in the second minute. Stand with your feet hip width apart and bend down to grasp a kettlebell with both hands, palms facing in. Stand up, keeping your weight on your heels, your chest high, your glutes tight, your back flat, and your head in a neutral position. Hinge at the hips and send your hips back, bending your knees, to initiate the swing. Keep your arms loose, push through your heels, extend your hips explosively, squeeze your glutes, and send the kettlebell upward to chest level, or slightly higher. As the kettlebell falls, hinge at your hips and don’t let the weight pull your chest down. Rinse and repeat. Click here for a video demo, and be sure to choose a weight that’s appropriate for you.

Kettlebell Swing

Rest until the third minute begins, then complete fifteen bodyweight squats in the third minute. Keeping your weight on your heels, initiate the squat by pushing your hips back as if you’re about to sit on a chair. Keep your chest high, lower down until your hip crease passes below your knee. Stand explosively, continuing to keep your chest up, eyes forward, and weight on your heels.

Bodyweight Squat

Too easy? Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and hold it close to your chest while you squat, like this.

Goblet Squat

Rest until the fourth minute begins, then start the fourth minute with burpees, the fifth with Russian kettlebell swings, the sixth with bodyweight squats, and so on until you’ve completed 30 minutes of work.

Workout 2 – 30 Minutes

Every Minute on the Minute for 30 Minutes

  • Minute 1 – 10 pushups (scale up with 15 pushups)
  • Minute 2 – 5 strict pull-ups or chinups (scale up with 8 strict pull-ups)
  • Minute 3 – 14 alternating (7 each side) walking lunges (scale up with weighted lunges)

As with the first workout, the goal is to complete the designated amount of work within a minute. The amount of time you have after completing the work for that minute is your rest prior to moving on to the next movement when the minute is up.

In the first minute, complete ten pushups. The hand placement you use for pushups is up to you, but in general, starting in a high plank position with your hands shoulder width apart, fingers spread apart, and feet hip width apart is a good place to start. Keeping your elbows tight to your body, lower down until your chest touches the ground. Push through the ground, keeping your core tight and head neutral, and return to the starting position. Click here for a video demo. If you find yourself with too much rest time, make it fifteen pushups.

Pushup Top Position

Pushup Bottom Position

Rest until the first minute is up, then complete five strict pull-ups or chin-ups in the second minute. Start from a dead hang with your hands shoulder width apart and your arms fully extended. Keep your head neutral, your legs together, and core tight. Pull with your lats, not just your biceps. When your chin clears the bar, lower back down in a controlled fashion. Mix up pull-ups (palms facing away from you) and chin-ups (palms facing toward you) for maximum fun, and if you complete five too quickly, add three more reps per round.

Rest until the second minute is up, then complete fourteen alternating walking lunges, seven on each leg, in the third minute. To initiate the lunge, start standing with both legs straight, then step forward with one leg. Let your back knee touch the floor lightly, stand up on to the front foot, bring your feet together, and repeat on the other side. Keep your torso upright for the entire movement. Too easy? Hold an appropriately sized dumbbell in each hand. Click here for a video demo.


Rest until the third minute is up, then start the rotation again with pushups in the fourth minute, pull-ups or chin-ups in the fifth minute, walking lunges in the sixth minute, and so on until you’ve completed thirty minutes of work.

Enjoy, and have a spring season!

Of course, any action taken based on the contents of this website is to be used solely at your own discretion, risk and liability. Always consult appropriate health professionals before proceeding with any action related to your health and exercise regimes While the information provided in this article is believed to be accurate, Liftopia and the author assumes no liability for the use.


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One response to “Two Non-Traditional Cardio Workouts to Kick Start Your Off-Season”

  1. Troy Hawks says:

    Tough exercises…def. need to work on my core strength…. sweet shoes!

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