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5 Best Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss

A trainer reveals their go-to cardio sessions for melting away extra pounds.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Everyone knows that cardio is a rock-solid way to get your heart pumping and kickstart your weight-loss journey. However, determining which cardio workouts are best for weight loss can be a daunting task if you're just starting on the path to a slimmer waistline. The good news is we're here to help. We chatted with TJ Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who shares his top five cardio workouts for weight loss. These routines are guaranteed to torch calories, shed pounds, and boost your health, regardless of your fitness level.

Cardio exercise can support healthy weight loss in several ways. It increases your heart rate, which boosts your metabolism and burns calories. Torching more calories can help you create a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss. Engaging in regular cardio workouts can also make it easier to participate in other types of physical activity that can aid in weight loss, such as resistance training. Additionally, studies show that regular cardio exercise can improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your energy levels—all of which are critical for staying motivated and committed to your weight-loss goals.

So, if you're ready to switch up your exercise routine and start seeing some real weight-loss results, keep reading for Mentus's five best cardio workouts to help you lose weight once and for all. And when you're finished, check out these 10 Strength Exercises for Beginners To Melt Love Handles.

Workout #1

Complete four rounds of the following:

  • Row machine: 500 meters
  • 15 kettlebell swings
  • 10 kettlebell deadlifts
  • One-minute rest

Row Machine

illustration of man rowing

To use a rowing machine (also called an ergometer), sit on the seat with your feet strapped in, knees bent, and grab the handle. Push through your legs to extend them, then lean back slightly, and pull the handle toward your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement. Return to the starting position with control, and repeat.

Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swings

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell on the floor slightly in front of you. Push your hips back, and bend your knees to reach for the kettlebell, keeping your back flat and your chest up. Grab the kettlebell with both hands, then swing it back between your legs. Drive your hips forward explosively, and swing the kettlebell to chest height while keeping your arms straight. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs.

Kettlebell Deadlifts

kettlebell deadlift

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Squat down, and grab the kettlebell with both hands while keeping your back flat and chest up. Engage your core, and push through your heels to stand up. Keep the kettlebell close to your body. Stand tall at the top of the movement, then lower the kettlebell back to the floor with control.

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Workout #2

Perform four rounds of the following:

  • Run 400 meters (either outdoors or on a treadmill)
  • 10 reverse lunges per leg
  • 20 air squats
  • Run 400m (either outdoors or on a treadmill)
  • One-minute rest

Reverse Lunges

reverse lunge illustration

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step back with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot and lowering your right knee toward the ground. Both knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Push through your left heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Air Squats


Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes turned outward slightly. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back like sitting in a chair. Keep your chest up and your core engaged. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower if possible. Push through your heels to return to the standing position.

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Workout #3

Do 10 rounds of the following:

  • 5 burpees
  • 10 squat jumps
  • 15 lateral pogo hops
  • One-minute rest


burpees demonstration, concept of exercises that destroy your back after 50

From a standing position, squat down and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Jump your feet back into a plank position, then jump or step back to the squat position. Jump up with power and reach your arms overhead.

Squat Jumps

jump squat

Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat position while keeping your chest up and weight on your heels. Next, push through your heels to jump as high as you can. Land softly back into the squat position, and repeat.

Lateral Pogo Hops

Stand with your feet together next to a line or marker on the ground. Keeping your feet together, hop back and forth over the line as quickly as possible, using your ankles to generate the movement. The goal is to stay light on your feet and maintain a quick, rhythmic pace.

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Workout #4

Complete four rounds of the following:

  • Fan bike: 1000 meters
  • Walking lunges: 100 feet
  • Fan bike: 500 meters
  • Farmers carry 100 feet
  • One-minute rest

Fan Bike

air bike

Also known as an assault bike, the fan bike is a stationary exercise bike with handlebars that move back and forth as you pedal. This unique design allows you to engage your upper body, including the arms, core, and shoulders, along with your lower body, while providing a stellar cardio workout.

Walking Lunges

illustration of woman doing walking lunges

Take a big step forward with one leg while lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should come close to or touch the ground. Push off your front foot to return to the starting position and immediately step forward with the opposite leg.

Farmers Carry

illustration of farmer's walk exercise

Hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides with a neutral grip (palms facing inward). Keep your shoulders back and down, and walk the set distance. Make sure the weight you use is challenging but manageable.

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Workout #5

Perform three rounds of the following:

  • Row machine: 500 meters
  • Fan Bike: 500 meters
  • Ski erg: 500 meters
  • One-minute rest

Ski Erg

While the ski erg machine is designed to simulate the motion of cross-country skiing, it can provide one heck of a cardio workout. To begin, grab the handles with an overhand grip, and keep your arms straight. Push your hips back as you lower your chest toward the handles, then pull the handles down toward your hips by bending your elbows and retracting your shoulder blades. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position, reaching your arms tall.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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