Q&A: Ideas for When You Can’t Snag a Cardio Machine?
Written by Michele Vieux

Q: I am writing to ask how I can substitute a row, bike, or Ski Erg when I don’t have the opportunity to use a machine because of the classes. On Tuesday there’s always full booked classes and I risk to be without any machine. The weather doesn’t allow me to run outside (there’s no opportunity to run inside). If I can do something else, can you give a measure responding to calories?

A: This really Depends on your training age and goals. Assuming that you have general health and fitness goals (and not to compete), my suggestion is to determine how long it would take you to do the prescribed exercise, for example, 20 Calorie Assault Bike (90 seconds?), and then choose something (or even a couple of things) to do for that amount of time instead. That way you don’t have to get hung up on making the substitution match up exactly with what you are trying to replace, worry about the number of reps or calories, and you can still make improvements. 

You can approach it in two different ways: 1) As trying to get your heart rate elevated like a run/row/bike would; or, 2) You can use the time to work on a weakness (like gymnastics, for example). 

For anything under 60 seconds of work, just pick one exercise to work on – double-unders, stairs, burpees, box jump-overs, etc. If you’re making up for an 800 meter run, for example, then consider picking a couple of things from the list to do for a minute or two each. 

Make a list of ideas that work well for you so that you are always prepared! Start with adding any of the “Heart Rate Elevators” from the list below plus any that you think of based on your equipment. Then add in a few skill/strength-based ideas based on your weaknesses and goals. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Heart Rate Elevators
Stairs (you only need one set)
Double-Unders
Russian Step-Ups
Facing Line Jumps
Running Man Line Jumps
Lateral Line Jumps
Crisscross Line Jumps
Mountain Climbers
Out and Back Runs/Shuffles (you only need a 10-foot strip)
Box Jumps/Step-Overs
Ball Slams
Rotational Throws

Skill/Strength Based Ideas
Wall Climbs
Dumbbell Man-Makers
Sandbag Cleans
Kettlebell Swings
Farmer/Suitcase/Sandbag Hold or Marching
Banded Marching
Nasal Breathing* 

*You can make any activity harder by nasal breathing only while doing it. So if anything on this list doesn’t seem like it will benefit you enough as far as getting your heart rate elevated, then try doing it while nasal breathing and work on your CO2 tolerance!

What are your go-to subs for cardio when you can’t snag a machine or have a place to run? Share your ideas with your fellow Invicti in the comments section.

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Fritz
Fritz
October 29, 2020 9:53 am

So creative! Thanks for this, Michele.