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HOW TO ADD EQUIPMENT TO YOUR WORKOUTS

Because one of the joys of cardio fitness workouts means being able to use different equipment and accessories, we've got a few tips on how to use all those nifty gadgets!

using equipment in your cardio fitness workouts

From skipping ropes to rowers and cross trainers, you can use a huge variety of equipment during your cardio fitness workouts to keep things interesting. Stéphane Guéry has a few clever tips to help you work this equipment into your next workout.

skipping rope

Skipping rope: a key ally

Let's start with the skipping rope, which, for Stéphane, is an excellent ally for cardio fitness. This accessory doesn't take up much space, which means you can take it anywhere. Plus, it lets you work your entire body. “By skipping rope, you'll improve your coordination and proprioception, strengthen your ankles, and more generally, tone up your entire body.” In short, a skipping rope is a great way to get fit - if you use it right, that is (it's not as easy as it looks!). “You have to do it as quickly as possible, without jumping too high off the ground or moving around too much,” says Stéphane. Get skipping! Similarly, an agility ladder - which you place flat on the floor (no climbing necessary!) - can be added to a circuit training routine to help you work on your agility and proprioception.

A treadmill: programme your workout

Don't feel like going out? Weather not so great? Need to stay home with the kids? Various types of equipment, such as treadmills, rowers and exercise bikes, are fantastic options for doing cardio fitness. “Treadmills are a great choice: you can set your speed - for doing fartleks for example - or run on an incline, and you can be very precise in terms of your training plan. Not to mention watch your favourite series at the same time!

Treadmill
bike

On the bike: “Climb the Galibier at home”

There are different kinds of exercise bikes so you can find exactly what you need. “indoor exercise bikes have the advantage of being easy on the joints (contrary to running) but still get your heart pumping,” says Stéphane. “For someone carrying a few extra pounds or who's just getting back into sport and wants to get fit, they're perfect. An exercise bike is also good for those recovering from an injury.” Other types of bikes, like studio bikes, offer faster pedalling speeds. “You can adjust the resistance on the wheel to increase the difficulty. It's like climbing the Galibier mountain pass in your own living room! These types of bikes are much sportier and give you a more intense workout.

Rowing doesn't have to feel like a chore…

… Especially if you're doing it right. Rowers are another type of machine that goes hand in hand with fitness because they let you work several muscle groups all at once. “To row properly, it's important not to go too fast and to break down the movements - just like you would in a boat. Open your shoulders up and back before you come forward again.

Rower
stepper

The stepper: not so antiquated!

Although it may not be as popular today, a stepper doesn't take up much space and lets you work out at different intensity levels. “You can opt for a really high resistance, which will work your calf muscles much harder. Or, you can lower the resistance to 'walk' as fast as possible. This technique works your cardio harder and is what I recommend. It's an excellent exercise,” says Stéphane.

 Get advice to maximise your workout

You can use a wide range of equipment for your cardio fitness workouts to ease back into sport, maintain your progress or get even fitter. But it's important to use everything properly! Taking a few minutes to watch tutorials or scheduling a session with a trainer at the gym will help you use the machines in the right way to make the most of your workouts.

What are your favourite accessories and equipment to work out with? What would you suggest for those who want to start doing cardio fitness or get new equipment? Let us know!