Rev Up Your Cardio Routine

Our expert shows you the best exercises to help you burn, baby, burn, with tips on how to maximize results and lose weight.

Anyone can pedal away the minutes on an exercise bike — only to end up with the same lack of results. Let's set the record straight: To lose weight, you've got to burn more calories than you take in. So this month resolve to make your workout work for you.

"To keep your calorie-burning high, you have to keep your body guessing," says Jeff Williams, a certified personal trainer for Gold's Gym in Manhattan. "The more you do something, like running on a treadmill, the easier it gets, because your body adapts to the activity." And eventually your body learns how to perform that activity using fewer calories, he says.

UPRIGHT BIKE

Exercise 1

Interval Training

10 to 15 minutes

Adjust the bike's workout setting to Interval Training. This routine will lead you through periods of high and low activity with varying levels of resistance.

Then get into a "spinning" position: butt off the seat, arms braced on the handles, weight forward.

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Exercise 2

Lateral Shoulder Raises

Two sets of 10 to 12 reps

Find a comfortable position so that your knees are just slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest point. Maintain a constant pace as you pedal at a challenging but doable resistance.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight down at your sides, palms facing in.

With elbows slightly bent and abs tight, slowly raise arms outward and away from your body in a wide arc until the dumbbells are at shoulder level and your body looks like a "T." Slowly return to starting position.

Exercise 3

Bicep Curls

Two sets of 10 to 12 reps

Find a comfortable position so that your knees are just slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest point. Maintain a constant pace as you pedal at a challenging but doable resistance.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight down at your sides, palms facing in.

With elbows slightly bent and abs tight, slowly curl both forearms upward until your elbow is bent 90 degrees. Slowly return to starting position.

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Exercise 4

Shoulder Press

Two sets of 10 to 12 reps

Find a comfortable position so that your knees are just slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest point. Maintain a constant pace as you pedal at a challenging but doable resistance.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms raised to the sides and bent 90 degrees, palms forward. (The dumbbells should be about level with your ears.)

Push the weights upward and toward each other until arms are nearly straight, but don't lock elbows. Slowly return to starting position.

Treadmill

Exercise 1

Interval Training With Punches

10 to 15 minutes

Adjust the machine's workout setting to Interval Training. This routine will lead you through periods of high and low activity with varying levels of resistance.

With abs tight, hold your fists in front of you at chin level or slightly below. Your arms should be bent about 90 degrees and held close to your body. Jab forward quickly with one hand, rotating your wrist so that your knuckles face away from your body when your arm is fully extended. Quickly recover by pulling back into the starting position. Alternate hands in a steady rhythm.

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Exercise 2

Side Shuffle

3 to 5 minutes

Adjust the machine's workout setting to a steady but challenging pace between 2 and 4 mph. Once the program has begun, pivot 90 degrees so you face the side rail. Holding a handrail for support, shuffle sideways, leading with the foot closest to the control pad.

Exercise 3

Backward

3 to 5 minutes

From the side-shuffle position, pivot another 90 degrees so your back faces the control pad and walk, jog or run backward. For a bigger challenge, increase the speed by 1 to 2 mph.

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Elliptical

Exercise 1

Interval Training

10 to 15 minutes

Step onto the machine and stand with back straight, arms gripping both handles and feet firmly planted in footholds. Adjust the machine's workout setting to Interval Training. This routine will lead you through periods of high and low activity with varying levels of resistance.

Halfway through the routine, change directions by pedaling backward.

Stair Climber

Exercise 1

Interval Training

10 to 15 minutes

clip_image012Step onto the machine and stand with back straight and hands lightly holding the bars for support. Adjust the machine's workout setting to Interval Training. This routine will lead you through periods of high and low activity with varying levels of resistance.

Exercise 2

Sidestep

3 to 5 minutes

Step onto the machine turned so that you are facing the side rail. Carefully step at a steady but challenging pace, crossing foot over foot as you climb sideways.

Halfway through the routine, pivot 180 degrees and sidestep leading with your opposite foot.

Exercise 3

Leg Flex

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3 to 5 minutes

Step onto the machine and stand with back straight; lightly hold the bars for support. Set the machine for a steady but challenging pace. As you step with your left leg, swing your right leg behind you. Then switch: Step with your right leg and swing your left leg behind you.

Exercise 4

Double Step

3 to 5 minutes

Step onto the machine and stand with back straight; lightly hold the bars for support. Continuing to step at a steady but challenging pace, take stairs two at a time.