Traditional cardiovascular activities include:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Rope jumping
  • Rowing
  • Boxing
  • Dancing

Also, sports like basketball and tennis certainly have fat burning and cardiovascular benefits.

Weight training is also a form of cardio. Unlike other forms, weight training preserves muscularity and tends to increase our metabolic rate, allowing us to burn calories after our workouts are finished.

There is one important key to using weight training to achieve heart health – we must move quickly from one set to the next, with very little rest time, if any at all.

This necessitates lighter weights or other forms of resistance. We can’t “lift heavy” and also move from one set to the next for long periods of time with no rest. We must choose either heavy weights with rest or lighter weights without rest.


My choice for home workouts had been intense training in short periods of time. My post, “Brief but intense workouts” presents the benefits of this form of working out. This remains my favorite and most effective mode of training.

But the cardio aspect of my fitness plan had become minimal and was lessening daily. I was only taking brief walks, only 10-15 minutes. This was for fresh air and gave me very little heart health benefit. Even 15 minutes was becoming tough to do. Walking on my treadmill without elevation or speed increases was easier to do.

My knees were in bad shape, ravaged by arthritis. My sports medicine doctor was strongly recommending knee replacements. I am now considering this. Reluctantly.

In the interim, I needed to construct a cardio routine that would fit within my lifestyle and yet challenge me. I needed to become winded and sweaty. Then I would know that my heart would have been efficiently exercised.

I was already working out every morning before breakfast, upper body one day, core the next. I am still including my brief walk outside for fresh air and nominal (only) cardio.


My goal was to insert at least one pure cardio workout into my schedule per week. I wanted to keep my workouts at 20-30 minutes. I decided to alternate my upper body workout days, (8 intense sets with heavier resistance) with 18 fast-moving sets with lighter weights and no rest. I would keep my core days without change.

So… I will still be alternating upper body with core, and also alternating upper body/heavy with upper body/light but fast. This will not be the kind of cardio that tends to reduce our muscular strength. On any week when I begin the week with upper body training, I will have two days of cardio within that week.

  • Monday – upper body with heavier weights
  • Tuesday – core
  • Wednesday – upper body as cardio routine
  • Thursday – core
  • Friday – upper body with heavier weights
  • Saturday – core
  • Sunday – upper body as cardio routine


I decided to do 18 sets of upper body resistance exercises as a cardio workout on the days allocated as such. These will be fast sets, often with lengthy reps. My only rest time will be the few seconds necessary to change pieces of equipment. I will use a 15 pound dumbbell, resistance bands and my Bullworker Steel Bow with a light spring. To finish 18 sets in 20-30 minutes will provide the fast-moving (or cardio) aspect of this program. Please note that I am doing upper body parts in sequence of their size – back, then chest, then arms. This is to expend greater energy with larger body parts.

Here is the routine:

For back

  • Resistance band rows – 15 reps

  • Bent over dumbbell rows – 15 reps each arm, 20 pounds. Then repeat the three movements.

For chest –

  • Resistance band chest press, 15 reps

  • Steel Bow chest compression, 20 reps, then repeat both of these two more times

For arms –

  • Dumbbell curl – 15 pounds, 15 reps, each arm, Curls are generally familiar to all and need not be illustrated.
  • Overhead dumbbell triceps extension – 20 pounds, 15 reps, then repeat all three

This completes my 18 sets of fast upper body movements. I will begin this routine tomorrow morning and will expect to finish it in about 20 minutes. Later, I will most likely change some of the component parts as I see the need for variety.


Here are a couple of relevant Amazon selections. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Scroll around from the links shown to see other options:

Here is the link to the Bullworker website, featuring the Steel Bow and several other high quality pieces

Check Dick’s Sporting Goods for all your sporting goods needs. Note the large current discounts on cardio machines.

A couple more options for those who are health-minded:

  • FitTrack – featuring the Dara scale, for feedback on 17 internal body metrics
  • Goli – apple cider vinegar gummies for appetite suppression


My goal today has been to suggest that we can generally work around injuries (or knee issues in my case) to meet our workout needs, if we give it some thought. In doing so, we can still keep our daily involvement to 20-30 minutes.

I formerly played basketball and tennis for years, tennis for at least 50 years. I hope to begin with tennis again after knee replacements, at least doubles. We shall see. I miss sports, since I got a workout while only doing what I enjoyed. In the interim, I am going to get back into cardio to the extent that my knees will permit.

Whatever your set of circumstances, please consider a lifestyle of health and fitness. You will never regret that choice!

Later update – I have completed this “different form of cardio” workout twice now. In both cases, I finished in a bit less than  9.5 minutes. Then I had to catch my breath for another 10 minutes. This really works well and I will keep doing it.

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Be well!


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