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Low-Impact Cardio Blast

This low-impact, high-intensity workout is for the intermediate/advanced exerciser looking for a workout that's tough on the heart, but easy on the joints.  This is a circuit-style workout, taking you through a series of cardio moves, each performed for about one minute with little or no rest between exercises.

How To

  • Complete all the exercises for a 12-minute workout or go through the circuit two or more times for a longer workout. 
  • Modify according to your fitness level
  • Monitor your intensity and keep your RPE between 5 and 8 or 9.
  • Always see your doctor if you have any injuries, illnesses or health conditions.
Exercise Picture
Warm up
Warm up for 2 or more minutes with light cardio, such as step touches (as shown).  Really use your arms to get your heart rate going.
csteptouch.jpg  csteptouch2.jpg

Side Lunge with Windmill Arms
Stand with legs wide, arms straight out to the sides and parallel to the floor.  Bend the right knee into a side lunge and bring the left arm down towards the foot.  Repeat on the other side, lunging from side to side and bringing opposite arm towards foot.  The faster you go and the lower you lunge, the harder it is.  Repeat for 1 minute.

cwindmill1.jpg  cwindmill2.jpg

Knee Lifts with Med Ball
Hold a light medicine ball or weight straight up overhead.  Lift the right knee up to waist level while bringing the arms down, touching the weight to the knee.  Return to start and repeat on the left side.  Alternate knees and repeat for 1 minute.  
kneeupsmedball1.JPG kneeupsmedball2.JPG

Front Kick with Squat
Stand with feet together.  Bring the right knee up and extend the leg in a front kick (don't lock the knee!).  Lower down into a low squat (knees behind toes) and then kick with the left leg.  Repeat (right kick, squat, left kick) for 1 minute.

Diagonal Knee Smash
Shift your weight to the right foot and take the left leg straight out to the side, toe lightly resting on the floor and arms extended up and to the right of the body.  Bring the left knee up and across the body while bringing the arms down and towards the left with a torso twist.  Take the left foot down, tapping the floor and continue with the knee lift and arm smash for one minute, going as fast as you can.  Repeat on the other side for one minute.
kneesmash1.JPG kneesmash2.JPG (73906 bytes)
Side Lunge with Punch
Begin in standing position and turn to the right, stepping the left foot straight back and bending the right knee into a lunge while punching with the left arm.  Step the left foot back to start and repeat on the other side, lunging to the left and punching with the right hand.  Move as quickly as you can while keeping good form and repeat, alternating sides for one minute.
lungepunch1.JPG lungepunch2.JPG

Side Knee Lift and Kick
Shift the weight to the right leg and take the left arm straight up.  Bring the left knee up to hip level while taking the left elbow down towards the knee, squeezing the waist.  Lower the leg, shift your weight to the left leg and kick to the side with the right leg.  Repeat the knee lift, side kick for one minute then switch to the other side and repeat the same thing for one minute.

kneesidekick1.JPG kneesidekick2.JPG
Front Kick and Low Lunge
Bring the right knee up and extend the leg in a snapping front kick without locking or hyperextending the knee.  Bring the leg back and, keeping your balance on the left leg, immediately take the right leg back behind you in a lunge while touching the floor with your fingertips. Repeat the kick and low lunge sequence for one minute and repeat the sequence on the other side for one minute.
frontkicklunge1.JPG (72285 bytes)

March in Place
Use this as a cool down or a transition for repeating the entire circuit.

Stop here for a 12-minute workout or repeat the circuit one or more times for a longer workout. 

Related Video
Quick and Effective Cardio Workout for Heart Health
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