Top 10 Cardio Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running


We’re not talking a leisurely swim here, but if you choose the right stroke and maintain a high level of intensity, calories burned swimming can be more than running. “Swimming is one of my favorite exercises because it not only involves your entire body but also puts less stress on your joints,” reveals Dempsey Marks, fitness expert and creator of the PreGame Fit fitness and lifestyle program. “

With each stroke you must use your legs, arms, and core just to stay afloat. That is a great start to calorie burn because of muscle recruitment.” Marks recommends the butterfly stroke to maximize calorie burn and says an average 150-person person will burn 400 calories per half hour. A more popular stroke, such as the breast stroke, will burn 375 calories per 30 minutes. To add some resistance, swim in an ocean where a current will make you work harder and up the calorie burn.

2.Kettlebell Swings

These exercises help you burn calories and sculpt a lean figure. They are great for sculpting the glutes and quads while giving your body an overall workout.

TOP TIP: The BodyRock Sandbag is a more cost-effective version of a kettlebell. You can make it whatever weight you want by filling or emptying the internal bags, and it can be used for way more exercises than a traditional kettlebell!

3.Tabata Training

Tabata training is a high-intensity exercise modality that burns a lot of calories in a short period of time. The protocol consists of doing 20 seconds of work at an all-out pace, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You repeat this eight times. Almost any activity can be done in a Tabata-training style. A typical Tabata workout might include four exercises — for example, push-ups, squats, jumping rope and crunches. Although the first round might seem easy, just wait. By round eight, your muscles will be screaming! A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise determined that a typical Tabata workout can burn an average of 15 calories per minute, or 450 calories per half hour (workouts usually don’t last longer than 20 to 30 minutes).

4. Boxing

You don’t have to get in the ring against an opponent to knock out calories with boxing-style workouts. Hit a heavy bag, work with a partner, or just perform punch combos on air to smash through calories — up to 800 per hour, if a study from supplement maker Forza’s claims are correct.

5.Jumping rope

If you’re wondering what activity can burn more calories than running and also make you feel like a kid again, go back to your jumping rope school-days! It’s a simple exercise that burns calories fast and engages the whole body. “The faster you jump, the higher the calorie burn,” says Marks. “An average 150-pound person burns 375 calories per 30 minutes of rope jumping.” This is an exercise that you can incorporate into intensity training by changing the rate of jumping. “Go hard for one minute then back off to a skip,” suggests Marks. “Use this formula to increase the benefits of the workout as well as the calorie burn!”


Burpees are great for reducing excess body fat. The American College of Sports Medicine found that a 180 pound man could burn almost 1.5 calories per burpee. Those numbers only get better when you ramp up the number of burpees you do in a short time. Try for 10 burpees in 60 seconds.

Top Tip: Adding the BodyRock Weighted Vest to your burpees adds 6-10lbs of extra weight to your body, increasing the calorie-burn-rate substantially!

7.Hill Workouts

Whether you’re biking or running, throw some resistance in the mix to significantly boost your calorie burn. “Running up a steep hill recruits more muscle fibers,” says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. “It’s going to be taxing, and it’s going to definitely burn more calories.” In fact, you’ll burn about 10 percent more calories for each degree of incline versus running on a flat surface. That means a 155-pound person running at a five-mph pace will burn 373 calories every half hour at a five-percent grade versus 298 calories at the same speed on a flat surface. Get those glutes firing even more and up your calorie burn at the same time by incorporating more hills into your workout.

8. Agility Ladder

You’ll burn a ton of calories with the short bursts of speed, balance, and coordination it takes to finish a full agility ladder circuit—especially if you run through the drills continuously with limited rest.

But your brain might get the best benefit from this type of cardio exercise. A 2014 study from the Air Force Research Laboratory showed that agility training can improve cognitive performance along with boosting cardio levels. Instead of just plodding mindlessly along on a run, agility drills help you hone your VO2 max, athletic footwork, memory, and concentration.


Schaltze is an advocate of any form of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout to burn more calories than running. “These workouts are short and effective,” she says. “You burn calories, build muscle, and you don’t need any fancy equipment. With any HIIT workout, I like to combine cardio movements with body weight strength movements to ensure the body burns calories not only during the workout but also after.” Schaltze’s advice is start with basic movements, performing them back-to-back with minimal rest. Her 10-minute HIIT workout consists of 50 jumping jacks, 40 alternating side lunges, 30 tricep dips (using a chair), and 20 squats or squat jumps. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do as many rounds as you can in that time.

10. Cross-Country Skiing

Zipping along on skis delivers a better cardio workout compared to running at about the same pace, thanks to the fact that the sport requires you to push with your lower-body and pull with your upper.

In fact, a good cross-country ski session can burn more than 12 calories a minute, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities.

That explains why Nordic Skiers consistently collapse in exhaustion at the finish line of Olympic races. (No fresh snow? Look for the new Concept2 SkiErg machine at your gym.)

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