9 Workouts More Effective than Running

Alternatives that will build strength, improve stamina and burn major calories

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “cardio?” Is is running?

It wouldn’t be surprising if that was your first thought. Running has become the unofficial go-to cardio workout—great for beginners, it doesn’t require much equipment and, yes, it’s effective. With so many benefits, there couldn’t possibly be a better workout out there, right? Well, there just might be a more effective workout for you. [slideshow:1089]

We’ve said it before and all fitness professionals know this to be true: the best, most effective workout for you is one that you look forward to, or at the very least, one you can stick with over time.

That said, there are workouts that will improve strength, stamina and other skills faster than others. Depending on your goals, some workouts will be a better fit in your routine.

To evaluate the most effective workouts we spoke to Matt Wilpers, a top triathlete coach who has been competing since 2008. He has worked for major fitness companies like Equinox, Reebok Sports Club and The Sports Club LA and NY, among others, and he has also coached two teams, Asphalt Green and Team Lipstick Triathlon. On top of that, Wilpers still finds time to cycle and run competitively, and has competed recetly in both full and half Ironman Triathlons, taking top spots in his age group.

To gauge approximate calorie burn, we used the Health Status Calorie Calculator and measurements of average 25-year-old men and women in the U.S. 

Aqua Jogging

“When it comes to cross-training for the cardiovascular system I send runners to the deep end of the pool for some aqua jogging,” said Wilpers. “It’s fantastic for getting the heart rate up, relatively easy to perform with good technique that closely mimics running, limits impact on the joints and muscles, and the time spent can easily be structured and monitored to work at the athlete's different training intensity zones.” Estimated calorie burn for an hour of aqua jogging is roughly 650 for women and 850 for men and the resistance of the water will provide major strength benefits, as well.

Rock Climbing

While rock climbing might not be the best option for those afraid of heights, it definitely is a killer workout. Climbing will challenge your strength and stamina—maybe even your bravery, too. The average person can burn anywhere from 750 to almost 1,000 calories in an hour at high intensity with minimal rest.

Click here to see more workouts more effective than running.

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