Machine-less Cardio

It’s been crazy busy around here with things picking up at our gym, our wedding anniversary, our first weekend away in awhile and CJ’s baptism/birthday. As you can imagine some things have had to take a back seat over the last few months. For example, my house is not even close to as clean as I would like it and our dinners have been far from gourmet, but I have refused to let fitness take a back seat. Sometimes I cut back a bit or keep my workouts shorter (and more efficient), but training keeps me grounded and even when I’m stressed or feeling really short on time I find that I’m much more productive with a quick workout under my belt.

My beloved Arc Trainer (photo can be seen in my working out with injuries post) is gone. My husband said it was a little ridiculous for us to have an expensive cardio machine in our house now that we are not training people here anymore. I begrudgingly admitted that he was probably right, although I did love using it when I was too tired to do anything else, especially during my pregnancy. Although we own a gym that is only 5 minutes from our house, I usually exercise in the morning while my son is still sleeping.

So what’s a girl to do with no cardio machines and a sleeping baby upstairs? I’m sure this will shock you all, but I usually turn to kettlebells!

Simple Kettlebell Workout

Here’s one of my simple (yet, not easy) conditioning workouts. Repeat each round below for 5 minutes. You’ll do 100 swings and 50 snatches in just 15 minutes (and that doesn’t include the jump rope and burpees). I usually use a 32K for two hand swings, a 24K or 20K for one hand swings and a 16K for snatches.

Round 1

  • Heavy two hand kettlebell swings – 5 swings every 30 seconds
    note: this ends up being 50 swings in 5 minutes

Round 2

  • Heavy one hand kettlebell swings – 5 swings every 30 seconds (R for 5 during the first 30 seconds and L for 5 during the second 30 seconds)
    note: this ends up being 50 swings in 5 minutes

Round 3

  • Kettlebell Snatches – 5 snatches every 30 seconds (R for 5 during the first 30 seconds and L for 5 during the second 30 seconds)
    note: this ends up being 50 snatches in 5 minutes or 100 snatches in 10!

Round 4

  • Jump rope 30/30 (can progress to 40/20)
  • Burpees 30/30 (can progress to 40/20)

Mix it up!

  • Make it longer if it’s solely a conditioning day (do each round for 7-10 minutes)
  • Once you have done it a few times, try for 6 swings/snatches every 30 seconds
  • Use lighter kettlebells and complete 7-10 swings/snatches every 30 seconds
  • Stick with all swings
  • Stick with all snatches
  • Stick with just one size kettlebell and  really focus on technique
  • Alternate swings and snatches every minute


You get the idea…

As a side note I went to the awesome Athleta (@athleta_BUR) Grand Opening last Tuesday night at the Burlington Mall (remember when I trained these great ladies?). I need to go back and do some real shopping when it’s a bit less crowded, but I did score this awesome (super comfortable) new shirt.

Seamless tank from Athleta

What’s your favorite go-to conditioning workout (besides running)?


  1. What an awesome workout idea! Sounds super intense and sweatastic (the best combo!).

  2. That’s great that you have a good alternative. I would’ve been a bit sad to get rid of something I enjoyed even if it was the most logical thing to do. I don’t own a kettlebell but when I want to get my heart rate up at home I try some quick circuits as well.

  3. I just tried the arc trainer at my new gym the other day and wondered what trainers actually thought of it. Sounds like, as with most cardio machines, you just need to ramp up the intensity to get a good workout!

    If I need some cardio and I need it fast, I do this little circuit 3-5x:
    10 burpees (w/ push up)
    15 kettlebell swings
    20 bodyweight squats
    (no rest)
    Makes my heart rate soar!

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