14 Cardio Exercises That Burn More Calories than Running

Everyone knows that running is an effective exercise to burn calories and keep your body fit. However, it is not suitable for everyone, and to say running is the perfect choice for working out is a bit inconsiderate. If you want to change your workout routines and keep burning the same and even more calories, the article below will give you some information about a number of highly efficient exercises.

1. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

These swings bring in the heavy hitters of muscles, working everything from your shoulders and pecs to most notably the glutes and hamstrings, meaning more calories are burned during the workout. When you swing quickly, your heart rate will spike, and you’ll not only be strengthening your body, but your heart as well.

The University of Wisconsin has conducted a research on how the kettlebell swing workout affects our bodies, in which each participant takes part in a course of 20-minute workout. Turn out, on average, one person can burn 20.2 calories per minute and his average heart was about 93 percent of its max.

The exercise’s effects mainly take on the big and important muscles like core, back, chest, glutes, and quads, though it also helps build the whole body. Doing the workout routine constantly will help you pack on muscle, burns a lot of calories (precisely up to 20 calories in a single minute) break down the stubborn fat stored in your body.

“The kettlebell swing works you so hard because it’s not a movement you’re used to,” says Dan John, a strength coach in Salt Lake City and the author of Intervention. “You’re not super-efficient at it, which taxes your body.”

2. Indoor Rowing

Indoor Rowing

“Rowing is one of the biggest calorie burners,” says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. “You're using your legs, which is a huge muscle; you're using your shoulders, your back. It's continuous; it's one of the chart toppers.”

According to a study conducted by a group of researcher from Harvard University, during a 30 minute vigorous course of rowing, an 185-pound man can burn up to 377 calories, or about 12.5 calories per minute. The figures vary depending on each person’s statistics. A 155-pound man rowing on an ergometer at a vigorous pace can burn about 316 calories per 30 minutes.

If you can extend the length of your rowing course while keeping its consistency, the number of calories you can burn can certainly get bigger, approximately 816 calories per hour.

Rowing is one of the most intense and effective exercises you can add to your workout routine. It utilizes the muscles in your arms, legs, and back for efficient strokes. To be precise, rowing takes effects on nine major muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, lats, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps. “This full body exercise torches calories and gets your heart racing quickly, plus in the seated position, it has low impact, perfect for those with feet or knee issues,” says Ms. Kellgren.

Indeed, the effects resulted from rowing can vary depending on the intensity at which you row and some other conditions. Rowing inside a gym, on an ergometer, may be less challenging than rowing on a lake on a windy day.

Related articleBest Rowing Machine

3. Burpees


Here is the basic information for starters: a burpee is a full-body workout including some repetitive movements, namely squatting down, kicking your feet out into a push-up position, doing push-ups, jumping your feet back to your hands, then jumping up into the air and reaching your hands over head. Even as a newbie, you can complete the exercises easily once or twice. However, doing them continuously for a period of time is such a big deal which gives you a serious calorie-burning workout.

According to exercise scientist and Spartan Coach Jeff Godin, an 180-pound man burns about 1.43 calories per burpee. But you have to do it as fast as possible, which means the adequate pace is about 10 burpees every 60 seconds, burning approximately 14.3 calories per minute. Looking at the results from a study presented by specialists at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, doing 10 burpees at such a pace can rev your metabolism as much as a 30-second, all-out bike sprint.

Burpees have nothing worth reconsidering. It is such a convenient, yet effective exercises for those who cannot afford time and money for professional gym training. Burpees trainees don’t need any equipment to perform them. They can do some routines practically everywhere and receive the same results as people training arduously at gyms. Burpees are an amazing workout for the purpose of reducing stubbornly-stored body fat. Despite difficulties in quantifying in terms of calorie burn because of all the variables, burpees involve all the ingredients for major calorie burn: full-body muscle recruitment, resistance and intensity.

4. Airdyne Bike Sprints

Crazy as it may sound, but Gym Jones manager Rob MacDonald has proved that it's possible to blast 87 calories per minute on a stationary bike. The harder you pedal, the higher the bike’s resistance grows.

Unlike burpees, airdyne bike sprints do not require trainees doing various movements. The only move you have to perform is pedaling. However, it turns out one of the most difficult workouts you will ever do. The piece of equipment is designed to integrate the air resistance and the aerodynamics of the fan. Once you get on the bike and start pedaling, the bike begins to push back. The faster you pedal, the more resistance it generates. When you slow your pace, the pushing force gradually decreases.

Airdyne bike sprints is an ultimate full-body workout. Owing to the pushing and pulling movements of the arms and legs, your heart will be challenged to pump blood to both upper and lower body regions. Doing this routine not only helps sculpt your body, especially gluteal muscles and limps, but only contributes greatly to enhance your metabolism.

Once you start pedaling, remember, do not let yourself be distracted, exert all you have got in 60 seconds. Just 5-10 minutes of Airdyne bike sprints burn much more calories than training hardly without orientation.

Related articleBest Recumbent Exercise Bikes

5. Jump Rope

Jump Rope

Your favorite childhood game turns out to be one of the most efficient ways for sculpting your body. According to ACSM spokesperson Jim White's top choices for calories killer cardio exercises, “When you're jumping like that, it's almost like full sprinting”. Statistics from the Compendium of Physical Activities say that moderate-intensity rope jumping, which is about 100 to 120 skips per minute, burns approximately 13 calories per minute.

The movements may seem too simple, but when you have to perform them for a long period, they are as arduous as any hard gym training programs. A 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes by jumping ropes. But, because it's hard to do for an extended period of time, jumping is often recommended to be done in intervals. You should jump rope vigorously for a few minutes and then recover by jogging in place for a minute or two.

Compared to running, jumping rope not only takes effects on more muscle groups, but also challenges your body balance and coordination, especially in drill practices that require you extra coordinating ability. Jumping intensively surely gets your heart rate up and stimulates your entire body.

The largest potential number of calories one can burn per hour by jumping rope is 802 calories.

6. Fat Tire Biking

Bodybuilders around the world are buzzing about the fast-growing cycling sport, and you should give it a try. Fat-tire biking can help you blast up to 1,500 calories an hour or nearly 25 calories per minute. At present, Mike Curiak is the record holder of the sport for the 1,000-mile Iditasport Impossible fat tire race.

Your task is pedaling the heavy, hard-to-turn monster bikes and tackling all types of terrain. If you have got bored with dull, repetitive exercises at the gym, it’s time for you to make a huge change in your workout routine.

However, you’d better keep it in your mind: the number of calories burnt depends on your fitness and strength. Since fat-tire biking is an outdoor sport that should be played on all types of terrain, there is certain dangers and risks of accident behind such huge advantages the exercise can bring about.

7. Cindy

The name Cindy is put for a combination of exercises, including 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats. Cindy takes effects on different major muscle groups. In fact, any routine that takes you from standing, down to the ground, and back up to standing again is a calorie killer, because it really spikes your heart rate.

According to scientists at Kennesaw State University, the CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD) can blast an average 13 calories per minute.

You should exert yourself to perform as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes to get the best results. You can work in intervals, but the outcome would be not as good as that of all-out working. However, do not suddenly stop.

8. Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing – photo credit: https://www.nationalpark.at

Some people may have wrong assumption that skiing burns fewer calories than running does. However, scientists from all over the world have proved otherwise. Owing to the fact that skiing forces you ta push the lower part of your body and pull with your upper, zipping along on skis delivers a better cardio workout compared to running at about the same pace and same distance.

As the matter of fact, a good cross-country skiing session can burn more than 12 calories a minute, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities. This statistic is approximately 850 calories per hour. That could be the explanation why Nordic Skiers consistently collapse in exhaustion at the finish line of Olympic races.

However, the number of calories burnt depends largely on your experience as a skier and how you take on the workout. If you take it as a game, using only a slow, light effort, it certainly won’t blast nearly as many calories as using a brisk-speed, vigorous effort. You must really challenge yourself. Push yourself harder and you will sure receive better results.

From Pr. Andy Doyle's list of the most effective calorie-burning exercises, we can see that skiing or cross-country skiing takes one of the top places. The professor explains that like running, you're moving your body over the ground when you're cross-country skiing, which automatically makes it intense even though people from afar may look at you and say that you are just standing still on skiing boards. “But now you're using your arms -- poling -- as well as your legs with the skis. If you look at doing that going uphill versus on the flat, then that increases the rate of energy expenditure even further.” That means, obviously, skiing blasts more calories than running. Make use of the weather and go skiing whenever you can is a good way of getting away from the dull gyms with repetitive movements.

9. Tabata Jump Squats

If you have never heard of Tabata, it’s time to take a look. Tabata training is an exercise requiring high intensity that burns a lot of calories in a short period of time. Your task is simply doing 20 seconds of workout at an all-out pace, followed by 10 seconds of recovery and repeat the routine eight times. Almost any activity can be done in a Tabata-training style.

A typical Tabata routine is Tabata jump squats, which includes only two movements: squats and jumping. In a study conducted by Auburn University participants have to do eight rounds of all-out jump squats, following the principle: 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest. On average, all the participants burned 13.4 calories per minute and doubled their post-exercise metabolic rate for at least 30 minutes.

Another research conducted by the American Council on Exercise deduced that typical Tabata workout can burn an average of 15 calories per minute. This statistic is 450 per hour, and the length of working rounds are no more than 20-30 minutes. People may think the exercise is simple to perform, but wait until your muscles have to scream after a few round, you can never look down on such easy movements.

10. Battling Ropes

Battling ropes

Battling ropes may not be the most effective exercise for you to burn calories, but according to a recent College of New Jersey study comparing various workout exercises, it came in first in term of total oxygen consumption, which means a lot of pros for our bodies.

Battling ropes can make you burn 10.5 calories per minutes, a great number compare to that of running.

Looking deeply in advantages, battling ropes will get your heart rate up, boost total oxygen consumption and through that achieve a calorie burn. Battling ropes help sculpt your shoulder muscles, enhance the endurance of your bones and blast stubbornly stored fat.

11. Walk Uphill with a Load

Walk Uphill with a Load

It is not a coincident that many armies around the world take walking uphill while carrying weight a vital part of their training curriculum. Surely, walking on a steep terrain is a big deal, and walking on a steep terrain with a heavy load is arduous. However, if you choose it as a way of working out, you will never have to rush, because only walking at a moderate pace can burn at least 415 calories per hour.

All you need for the cardio exercise is a strong backpack, some rocks and a hill. Stuff rocks in your backpack, put it on and go on your adventure. However, you should choose a reasonable weight of rocks to carry. At first, it may seem light, but when the way gets far and your muscles begin to whine, the heavy load may cause damages to your spine. 10 pounds seem an acceptable weight.

Again, according to our dear ACSM spokesperson Jim White, “Running up a steep hill recruits more muscle fibers, it's going to be taxing, and it's going to definitely burn more calories.” That means a 155 pond man running at five-mph burn 373 calories every 30 minutes. He can burn only 298 calories at the same speed running on a flat terrain.

12. Dancing

Dancing is one of the most popular hobbies across the world. People go dancing to relieve their stress after long working hours, socialize and make new, exciting memories. However, dancing surely burns calories, too. As far as we concern, dancing can blast up to 443 calories an hour! So next time you are in the club, do not just sit and drink, hit the floor! It could be ways more advantageous than you could ever imagine.

From a scientific view, dancing is a great way to rev up your heart, build muscles and get rid of extra store body fat. Of course, the number of calories burnt highly depends on which types of dancing you do enjoy, ballet, hip-hop, Zumba, Tap, club dancing or just Waltz.

13. Rock climbing

Rock climbing

Rock climbing is not only fun, challenging and adventurous but also ramps up your adrenaline, helps sculpt your muscles. Climbing can burn up to 455 calories per hour, and surely when you absorb yourself in such an exciting activity, you will not finish just in one hour only.

When you devote yourself in climbing a rock wall in a gym or outdoor, every muscle in your body, from the tips of your fingers to the ends of your toes is working, even stretching. The activity urges your large muscles such as those of the back and legs exert themselves to push the whole body up, which results in large consumption of energy. Real statistics reveal that a 155-pound person climbing for 30 minutes burns about 409 calories. You’d better climb at a good, steady pace instead of taking long breaks for the best results.

14. Swimming

Swimming in the ocean where you're going against the current -- that would be a really, really intense workout. Swimming in the ocean can burn approximately 680 calories per hour.

Swimming freestyle also helps build up your body, but you should aim for the vigorous pace of 75 yards per minute. This is more than we can expect from a casual swimmer.

While you are swimming, your whole body stretches. Your legs kick, your arms stroke, your core contracts to keep you afloat. The variety of swimming styles affects the number of burnt calories, too. A 155-pound man burns 372 calories in half an hour doing the breast stroke. But that same person doing the butterfly for 30 minutes will burn 409 calories, a more impressive figure.


From all the provided information above, you can easily see that running is not the only choice to achieve a lean, free-of-extra-fat body. You can keep your workout routine casual yet intensive at a gym, or you can go out to take part in some outside sports. The key here is consistency. You have to keep your will, never let your body be lazy and do not indulge yourself ever. Working out every day with a steady intensity is the key to sustainable weight loss and fitness.

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