In the 10+ years I have spent in gyms, I’ve found that the most popular form of cardiovascular endurance is the treadmill/elliptical. Occasionally, I’ll see a brave soul on the rowing machine or stair stepper (go you!). Instead of the status quo, I propose we bring to the table a chapter from the book of Strongmen.
Have you ever caught a glimpse of the World’s Strongest Man show? (Check this out) These behemoths aren’t just 350+lbs and ridiculously muscular, they can actually run quite fast. This is simply due to the fact that they regularly train a combination of slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II) muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers help you dominate events where endurance is needed (e.g. distance running, swimming) whereas fast twitch fibers help you generate a lot of force in a short amount of time (e.g. powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting). An easy way to remember the difference is that Fast twitch Fibers Fatigue Faster. As you can imagine, strongman training such as pulling semi-trucks, throwing kegs and deadlifting cars would require a mix of both. Now I’m not proposing you start deadlifting cars (like some people here) as a regular part of your training but I will advise you to slowly start adding more feasible strongman style exercises. For instance, sleds as well as farmer’s walks are two very common forms of strongman cardio. These two events not only burn a lot more calories than traditional cardio that is performed on machines but it also significantly improves metabolic conditioning. Note: Be careful not to overdo it as the nervous system does get taxed by these exercises quite a bit. However, with proper programming as well as nutritional intake, it would certainly benefit you to add strongman training to at least one session a week.
In conclusion, whether you’re looking to improve upon your aesthetics, train for a race, or would just like to be able to drink another glass of wine/beer without worrying about the extra calories, look towards strongman style training as an alternative to bunny cardio.