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The Best Cardio Machine Workout

Blast away calories and improve endurance with this routine for treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and rowers.

When you’re bored of the treadmill, don’t stop doing cardio. If you take advantage of all the cardio machines at your gym, none of them will seem like drudgery. This routine mixes equipment to keep your heart pounding and your mind focused.


We’ve made a circuit of all the best cardio machines—the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, and rower. Spend a minute on each and gauge your intensity by how hard they feel. You’ll work as hard as you ever did on any one machine before, but you won’t notice it. This 30-minute workout will be over in no time.

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Spend one minute on each piece of equipment and repeat for rounds. Gauge your intensity with the rating of perceived exertion (RPE)—a simple 1 to 10 scale where “1” is relaxed and “10” is all-out effort. Rest only as long as it takes to transition between stations. Specific RPEs have been set for you for each round, but the machines are interchangeable. So if you can’t do the exercises in the order shown, don’t worry about it. Just hit the right RPE on each machine in turn.

Jog on the treadmill at an RPE of 3 for two minutes.


Round 1
One minute each at an RPE of 5; rest three minutes.

Round 2
One minute each at an RPE of 8; rest three minutes.

Round 3
One minute each at an RPE of 8 for the elliptical and rower, and 10 for the bike and treadmill.

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Use any one of the machines at an RPE of 3–5 for 10 minutes.


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