I used to LOVE cardio . . . and then I had a baby . . . LOL.
The truth is I do still love Cardio workouts – I just do different kinds of cardio now – it’s more low impact. L
ow impact cardio equipment is essential for many of us (pregnancy, postpartum recovery, injury recovery, aging) and so good for ALL of us.
Moreover, many of us get addicted to a certain kind of cardio – where are all my runners at? Our bodies are just like our brains – they get bored. Sometimes you need to switch things up to see results. Part of the problem is that many cardio machines (and workouts) focus primarily on lower body and work in the sagittal plane (moving forward and back), which can overwork certain muscle groups and leave others left behind, so today I’m sharing three of my favorite low-impact cardio machines that will help you mix it up, fight boredom, and give you results.
I first started using the Concept 2 Rower after I had my first baby and was searching for more low-impact cardio options. The rower is a seated cardio burner and a great cross-trainer. It’s ideal for keeping our joints healthy and strong because it works through such a wide range of motion. You push with your lower body (Your legs bend and extend with each stroke.) and then pull, or “row,” with your upper body – so it’s a complete body workout. That means more bang for your buck!
When you’re seated in the rower there is a calibrator right in front of you that tracks your time, so you can set goals and work to beat them. For instance, right now I’ve been working on rowing 1000 meters in under 5 minutes. It’s taken me a few months, but I finally hit 4:30 the other week!
I also love the rower because I can change it up and row in different ways – overhand, underhand, or mixed grip. I even pull on the angle sometimes to hit up my obliques more. By the way – that’s my crazy way of not getting bored. Those are not “official” rowing techniques
I use it in a variety of ways:
a. Cardio workout for the day – I’ll shoot for 5000 meters.
b. Use it as a warm-up at the beginning of a workout – 500/1000 meters.
c. Work it into a circuit – 15 pushups, 20 alternating side lunges, 1000 meters on the Concept 2 Rower.
Not only has the rower helped chisel my back and legs, but the rhythm of the rower helps me relax and just focus on the work (I sometimes don’t even need headphones when I row – just determination!).
2. Jacob’s Ladder
This total body climbing treadmill is one of my favorites because it offers you an amazing cardio workout in a short period of time. The only way I’ve worked out on Jacob’s Ladder is in a circuit (30 squats, 20 tricep dips, 60 seconds on Jacob’s Ladder – repeat 4 times) – it’s that intense. You strap yourself in for safety and start climbing! It’s self-paced so the faster you go, the faster it goes and in order to stop, you just slow down. The more muscle groups you use when you are working out, the more calories you burn, so like the Concept 2 Rower, Jacob’s Ladder incorporates both the upper and lower body for a maximum cardio burn. An added bonus is that Jacob’s Ladder is self-powered, so you don’t need an outlet for it!
3. Helix Lateral Trainer
If you can find this in a gym near you (or better yet invest in one yourself), it is a great way to create some balance in your cardio routines. For the most part, the cardio equipment we use in the gym utilizes the sagittal plane of motion (think front to back motion), such as the treadmill, bike, elliptical, and even Jacob’s ladder and the Concept 2 Rower. The Helix Lateral Trainer moves in the frontal plane so it really focuses on your inner and outer thighs (and glutes too). So for all of you who are constantly complaining about your saddlebags, this is the piece of equipment for you. When I lived in NYC I used the Helix several times a week. Not only did it keep my legs sculpted and lean, but my legs felt better and more balanced.
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