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Most Effective Cardio Exercises for Women

October 2, 2018 by

When you think of cardio, you probably think about running or doing the elliptical machine. However, there is more to doing cardio than just doing steady-state endurance workouts like these.

The best type of cardio is compound exercises, which employ many different joints and involve more than one muscle group. These exercises improve coordination and elevate the heart rate quickly and they allow you to get a complete workout in less time and they are more similar to real movements.

It is best to do cardio workouts two to three times a week, and if cardio is new to you, you will feel the changes quickly. After 3-4 weeks, your body will start to adjust to the training and you will be able to see some results.

Instead of doing your typical jog, you can do a circuit of cardio exercises of your choice. It is best to rest for 30 seconds between each circuit and you will continue to feel your heart racing during this time.

Here are some effective ideas for getting your heart rate up.


Cross your right leg behind your left leg and bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle. Extend your left arm out to the side and swing your right arm across your left leg. Take a small, quick hop to the other side, switching the position of your legs and arms to complete one rep. Do 6-8 sets of 8 reps of this exercise to work out your hip abductor muscles and glutes. This move helps you do single-leg explosive movements, and if you are able to do a larger jump when you alternate your legs, you can make it even more of a challenge for your body.


Start by standing up and in one swift motion, sit down onto the floor and lean back, as to roll, and push your hips and heels up towards the ceiling. Roll forward again and return your feet to the ground and stand up to complete one rep. Do 4-5 sets of 10 reps of this move to work on coordination, mobility, and strengthening your core.


Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop your hips down and put your palms on the floor, then jump back and bend your knees and lower your body down to the floor. Then, jump forward back into your original squat position. To make this even more difficult, when you just back up, rotate 180 degrees. Repeat this on the other side to complete one rep and do 6-8 sets of 8 reps. This is a great complete body workout that targets your shoulders, chest, quads, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. If you add in the change in direction, it will help enhance your coordination and spatial awareness.

Lateral Shuffle Taps

Standing with your feet wider than hip distance apart, shuffle your feet a couple paces to one side and bend over to touch the ground. Shuffle back to the other side and touch the ground with your other hand to complete one rep. Continue doing this for 10 sets of 4-5 reps. This speed drill challenges your reaction time and works your lower body.

Bench Runners

Stand in front of a box and put your left foot firmly on top of the box and your right foot on the floor. Quickly tap the box with your left foot before immediately switching feet and tapping the box with your right. Do this 10 times to complete a set and do 4-5 sets to improve your agility and strengthen your legs.

Jump Rope

Do a traditional jump rope movement by keeping your elbows in and maintaining a straight spine. You can also try doing this on different planes by jumping side to side and forward and backward.

Do 6-8 sets of jump roping for 20 seconds each to improve the elasticity and resilience in the muscles in your lower body. Jumping rope also quickly raises your heart rate and when you work on different planes, you will work on your cognitive motor skills as well.

Banded Vertical Jacks

Put a mini band around your legs above your ankles. Jump and slice your legs up and back, while moving your arms in the opposite direction of your legs. Keep as much resistance in the band as you can while maintaining your speed. Do 4-5 sets of 10 reps to work your hamstrings and your gluteus muscles.

If you can’t get to the gym or you dislike the monotony of running, try these cardio workouts to get your heart rate up and stay fit.

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