Get Your Heart Pumping With These Cardio Intensive Workouts!

By Lindsey Johnson

A comprehensive workout routine includes 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and at least two days per week of resistance training that works all major muscle groups. If that sounds like too much, cut the time and increase the intensity. Working at vigorous intensity for 75 to 150 minutes per week achieves the same effect as longer time with lesser intensity, per the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. If you’re short on time, pick up the pace with these high intensity cardio workouts! They are guaranteed to get the heart pumping and the sweat dripping!


HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This kind of training involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or lower intensity exercise. HIIT workouts typically last ten to thirty minutes in total duration, with intense spurts often lasting less than a minute. According to Healthline, HIIT is effective for burning extra calories and increasing metabolism for hours after exercise. It can also reduce blood pressure and heart rate, increase oxygen consumption, reduce blood sugar. And HIIT can help you lose fat and potentially gain muscle.

Example HIIT Workout:

Pick a movement (running, rowing, stationary bike) and push as hard as you can for fifteen to thirty seconds. Then slow down the activity to a slow to moderate pace for two minutes. Repeat intervals for ten to thirty minutes. Active work and recovery times will vary depending on the intensity of the exercise selected.


EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute. There is a certain number of repetitions of a movement that must be performed every minute. In the remaining time, the participant rests. The goal is to finish within forty seconds, allowing for a twenty second rest period before starting again at the next minute. For example, if the workout was ten pushups, after you complete the ten pushups, you rest until the next minute, when you start the ten pushups again. EMOMs are another great way to incorporate short bursts of high intensity to keep you moving.

Example EMOM Workout:

EMOMs may also incorporate several different movements. For example, a fifteen minute EMOM with minute one is ten pushups, minute two is fifteen squats, minute three is fifteen sit-ups, minute four is ten lunges, and minute five is five pull-ups. Then repeat that set three times.


AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds or Reps as Possible. In an AMRAP, the clock is set for a designated amount of time and participants complete the prescribed workout as many times as they can within the designated time period. An AMRAP is designed to keep the body moving for the entire period, without built-in rest or recovery periods like the other types of workouts. AMRAPs can vary in length from three minutes to forty minutes, though the most common is under twenty minutes of sustained activity.

Example AMRAP Workout:

In fifteen minutes, complete as many rounds and reps as possible of a 200 meter run, 15 burpees, 20 jumping lunges and 25 jump ropes.


Tabata was discovered by a Japanese scientist named Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers who compared two exercise groups, one at a moderate intensity and one at a higher intensity. They found the high intensity group increased both their aerobic and anaerobic capacity by greater percentages and thus the Tabata program was accepted as an effective workout program.

Tabata is similar to HIIT training in that it also includes a period of intense activity lasting twenty seconds, followed by ten seconds of rest. This is repeated for eight rounds for a total of four minutes. Each four minute segment is a complete Tabata. Tabata workouts can be as short as four minutes or can include multiple movements and last twenty to thirty minutes with alternating periods of intense work and rest.

Example Tabata Workout:

Complete a twenty minute Tabata using five different exercises, each one repeating four times. Examples include push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, squats, lunges, jumping jacks and jumping rope.

HIIT, Tabata, EMOM and AMRAP workouts are all great ways to keep you moving through a workout. This can be particularly helpful for those who get bored on the treadmill or are looking to shorten their workout time while achieving the same results. With any workout program, consult your provider for clearance. Because these workouts are demanding on the heart, take particular caution if you have a history of cardiac issues, are pregnant or early postpartum or have other physical limitations.

Now that you know the lingo and how to maximize workout time and results with bursts of high intensity, what workout will you do tomorrow?

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