6 Alternatives to Traditional Running and Cardio Equipment Workouts

How to Breathe New Life Into Your Cardio Workout

Despite the reality that treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes are fundamentally boring, cardio equipment does have its place. For instance, sometimes the weather won't permit an outdoor workout, and high-intensity interval training, group fitness classes, and plyometric routines aren't suitable ​for everyone. And frankly, sometimes it's just easier to hop on a piece of equipment and go, biding your time until your requisite 30 minutes of cardio expires. Sure, it may not be as fun as a day at an obstacle course gym, but it can be effective.

That said, even standard cardio workouts could use a shake up every now and then, which is why it's prudent to find alternatives to running and other cardio routines that provide the ease of equipment-based training while infusing them with the fun of a new fitness experience. Whether you discover a new piece of equipment that offers an unusual sweat-inducing workout, or you seek out a new workout designed around a traditional piece of equipment, here are just a few of the ways traditional cardio workouts are becoming more exciting.

1
Group Fitness Classes on Cardio Equipment

AMT Team Fit Class
Precor

If you're a member of a gym, you might be familiar with Precor's AMT Trainers—tall pieces of running equipment that definitely aren't treadmills, but aren't quite ellipticals, either. While the AMT is one of my personal favorite pieces of equipment, it's an unusual-looking machine, and its appearance alone can prevent gym-goers from giving it a try.

Enter: AMT Team Fit classes. This group exercise class is led by a personal trainer, and is held completely on the cardio room floor. The class includes a breadth of training techniques including interval training, strength and balance exercises. The goal is to help participants get the most out of their cardio workout while enjoying the motivational and educational benefits of exercising in a group. 

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2
A Running Workout Without Impact

Zero Runner
Octane

If you're an avid runner, particularly if you're a runner who trains for half marathons, marathons or ultra marathons, you know that pavement pounding (or treadmill pounding) can do a number on your joints. The Octane Zero Runner is the first running machine that enables a completely natural running motion without the impact of a treadmill platform. And no, this isn't just another elliptical —itss unique "joint" structure enables you to maintain a completely natural running stride. 

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3
An Outdoor, Motorless Treadmill

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Incline Strider

The Incline Strider is a motorless treadmill designed specifically for athletes. It has a magnetic fly wheel (much like a group cycling bike) that enables you to increase or decrease resistance with a quick turn of the hand, all while you power the treadmill belt with your own two legs.

The treadmill is also portable (it can be taken outside!), and you can opt for a version with a specially-designed turf belt perfect for athletes who train and compete on turf surfaces. 

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4
Alternatives to the Standard Road Bike

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ElliptiGO. ElliptiGO

You don't have to settle for an indoor workout or a standard road bike when it comes to working your heart and lungs. Go ahead and rack your two-wheeler, because these other pieces of outdoor cardio equipment are ready to take over. Whether you're a fan of the elliptical, stair stepper or treadmill, there's an alternative that's right for you. 

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5
A New Twist on Jumping Rope

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Laura Williams

As the least expensive piece of cardio equipment on this list, the CrossRope jump rope system is also one of the most effective tools for fitting in a cardio. Unlike a standard jump rope, the CrossRope features interchangeable weighted ropes that enable you to increase or decrease the difficulty of your workout as you go. 

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6
Group Cycling, at Home

peloton bike
Peloton

If you're a diehard group cycling fan, but you find it hard to hit the studio, the Peloton bike may be exactly what you've been waiting for. While the bike itself doesn't break many boundaries, its technology does. You can use the Peloton bike to log into live or on-demand cycling classes, all while enjoying the workout from your own home.​

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