When you reckon of a killer cardio workout, hoofin’ it on the treadmill or cranking out reps on the elliptical might come to mind. But you don’t always need a machine to turn up your heart rate and place calorie-crushing on full blast. Bust out of your typical routine with three new powerful pieces of equipment: an agility ladder, battle ropes and a plyo box.
Each of these 15-minute cardio workouts will challenge your body in new ways, whether that’s with upper body moves or coordination drills (or both!). Designed by Carlos Davila, a trainer at the Fhitting Room in New York City, these routines offer a full serving of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, with a side of strength — and some fun!
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Climb It: Agility Ladder Workout
There’s excellent reason they call it an “agility” ladder. These sports drills will quicken your steps and improve your coordination. “You’ll use quick-twitch muscle fibers [necessary for explosive movements] and get your hip abductor and adductor muscles involved,” says Davila. He even includes an exercise to target your chest, back and arms. So you’ll leave no body part untouched with this quick-paced routine.
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Part 1: Squats + High Knees
How to: Starting at one end of the ladder, perform 10 air squats with feet hip-width apart, dropping down low enough that your hip crease goes below your knees. Then, run with high-knees to the other side of the latter. You should step both feet into each box and pump your arms for power. When you reach the other side, perform nine squats. Then, do high knees back to the start. Repeat until you count down to one air squat, with high knees between each squat set.
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Part 2: Planks + Push-Ups
How to: Get in a forearm plank position at one end of the ladder, with elbows under shoulders and body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds. Then, rise up onto your hands and perform one push-up. One hand should be inside the ladder. (Drop down to your knees for the push-up if you need to.) Go the hand outside the ladder into the same box, then go your other hand to the next box. Continue moving down the ladder as you perform one push-up between each box. When you reach the other end, perform another forearm plank for 30 seconds. Then repeat the push-up walk back down to your starting side. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat from the plank. Do three rounds.
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Part 3: Bounding + Quick Feet
How to: Start at one end of the ladder, feet outside the first box. Push your hips back and drop down into a squat, reaching for the inside of the box with both hands. When you reach the bottom of your squat, explode upward and forward. Try to land your feet outside the ladder and hands inside of the next box. (You should aim for more height and less distance on each squat jump.) When you reach the end of the ladder, do quick feet back to the start by beginning with both feet outside the box. Then tap both feet inside. You’ll do an in-in-out-out sequence until you reach the other end. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for two more rounds.
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