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Low-Impact Cardio Challenge

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. The key to making this workout challenging is to do the exercises as fast as you can while keeping good form. Some exercises include a kettlebell. If you've never tried kettlebells, familiarize yourself with the basics, use a light kettlebell or use a dumbbell.

Precautions

See your doctor if you have any medical injuries, illnesses or conditions.

Equipment Needed

A light and medium kettlebell or dumbbells, a medicine ball and an exercise mat

How To

  • Complete each exercise as shown, moving as quickly as you can while keeping good form
  • Rest between exercises if necessary, but try to keep the rests short
  • Skip any exercise that causes pain or discomfort
Exercise Picture
Warm up - Step Touch
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

Warm up - 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.

 

Warm up - 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

Bear Crawls
Squat down to the floor and walk your hands out until you're in a plank position. Do a pushup on the knees or toes and then walk the hands back to a squat and stand up. *Optional:  Add a jump at the end for more intensity.  Repeat for 60 seconds.

Bear Crawl Exercise
Kettlebell Swings
Hold a kettlebell in both hands with legs hip-width apart. Squat, taking the weight between the legs, while keeping the back straight.  At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back and thrust up through the hips to bring the weight up to chest level.  Repeat for 60 seconds. 
Front Kick Plank
Kick with right foot and then swing the right leg back to the floor, taking your hands to the floor.  Take the left foot next to the right into a plank, hold briefly and then step the left leg forward again.  Stand up, kicking with your right foot again and step back into your plank.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
 
Rest:  March in place for 15-30 seconds  
Kettlebell Single Arm Overhead Swing
Squat and swing a kettlebell down between the knees.  Thrust the hips forward, using the power of your lower body to swing the kettlebell overhead, arm straight.  Swing the weight back down and repeat for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Squat with Med Ball Toss
Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball.   Squat as low as you can (knees behind toes and abs contracted) and touch the ball to the floor.  Press through the heels to press back up while tossing the weight up and overhead.  Repeat for 60 seconds.
squattoss2.jpg (6862 bytes)  squattoss.jpg (4431 bytes)

Kettlebell Lateral Step Swing
Hold a ketllebell in both hands with legs hip-width apart and step to the left into a squat, swinging the weight between the legs.   Use the power of the hips to swing the weight to shoulder level as you step the right foot next to the left. Step to the left again and squat, swinging the weight between the legs.  Swing the weight all the way overhead as you step the feet together.   Repeat the series to the right, alternating sides for  60 seconds.

Rest:  March in place for 15-30 seconds  

Rear Lunge with Med Ball Touch
Hold a medicine ball overhead and step back into a straight leg lunge with the right leg.  Swing the leg up into a kick while touching the toe with the medicine ball.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Alternating Kettlebell Swings 
Hold a kettlebell in the right hand, feet hip-width apart.  Squat down and swing the weight down and back between the knees, keeping the torso upright and the abs braced.  Thrust the hips up as you swing the kettlebell to shoulder level. At the top of the movement, switch hands, grabbing the kettlebell with the left hand.  Continue swinging and exchanging the weight from one hand to the other for 60 seconds.
Rest:  March in place for 15-30 seconds  
Squat Circle Medicine Ball
Stand holding a medicine ball near the right hip.  Step out with the left leg into a squat as you circle the ball all the way around until it's next to the right hip again.  Step back, circling the ball back and repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
 
Kettlebell Swings
Hold a kettlebell in both hands with legs hip-width apart. Squat, taking the weight between the legs, while keeping the back straight.  At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back and thrust up through the hips to bring the weight up to chest level.  Repeat for 60 seconds.
Rest:  March in place to cool down for 3-5 minutes  
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