Winter Cardio Ideas

"I need to lose weight."

"But baby, it's cold outside."

"Tomorrow's my race."

"But baby, it's cold outside."

All right, I get it; it's not as good a parody as Jimmy Fallon's version.

If you live in an area where it's just too cold this time of year, you probably find cardio hard to do if not impossible. The temperature and precipitation can be awful. If you're taking up cardio as a New Year's resolution, trying to embark on an outdoor campaign could quickly lead to giving up.

I'm particularly frustrated by the weather as a former sprinter; running fast is my cardio of choice. With the holidays long over, however, the weather just isn't manageable for making this happen. If I tried sprinting regularly through February, I'd end up slipping on ice at some point. In fact, even with normal running you'll have to be careful about frozen surfaces.

What you need are cardio solutions that aren't performed outdoors. Heck, some of these methods can be done without even LEAVING your home to go to a gym.

Here are the top 3 forms of cardio I'd recommend for the winter:

1) Burpees

Considering you don't even need equipment for this one, I'm putting it at the top of the list; all it takes is going into your basement or the main room of your apartment.

This is truly a compound movement; other than your back and biceps, it brings in to play every muscle group in your body.

Scott Herman does a nice job of explaining how to perform this movement:

I would perform this as a series of intervals. Do 6-10 burpees, and then rest for 45 - 60 seconds. Repeat this 5+ times and you'll have quite a circuit on your hands.

2) Barbell Complex

This movement can really get your heart racing, and all it takes is a barbell! A barbell complex involves performing a series of compound movements back-to-back and then taking a quick breather to catch your breath. This makes for a great anaerobic workout and can really help you burn some fat.

Here's a basic complex you could try out:

  • Deadlifts
  • Rows
  • Overhead Press
  • Squat
  • Rest 45 - 60 seconds

Repeat this circuit 5 times; if you can eventually perform it 10 times, you have some SERIOUS stamina. More to the point, you should increase the weight once you get to that point.

If you eventually find this workout just not doing it anymore, there are more daring complexes to try.

When doing it for the first time though, I would just use the empty barbell. You can add weight over time, but you need to be careful. This exercise isn't about building maximal strength; it's about getting your heart racing and moving.

3) Elliptical Machine

You probably think this one is a joke.

Well the truth is, many of you might be too banged up for the aforementioned circuits.

If you've slipped a disc or torn a shoulder in the past, there's no way I would recommend a Barbell Complex for you.

Burpees probably won't be beneficial for you if you have preexisting hip injuries.

The Elliptical machine provides an effective cardio workout without putting pressure on any of your joints.

Now, depending on your preference, you could perform this as an interval or just maintain a steady pace for about 30 minutes; this depends on what type of cardio you prefer.


There you go! 3 great ways to stay warm and burn off some fat.

The holiday treats and goodies you had too much of are in the past; use these circuits to trim off that fat for good.