7 Best Cardio Workouts That Build Strength Without Bulk

Best Cardio Workouts– Are you one of those that avoid cardio workouts because you don’t want to be overly built? It will surprise you to know that there are workouts that do not make you look bulky.

These exercises are essential for healthy living.  A lot of women run away from cardio workouts because of the fear of developing massive muscles all over. The bulk is the bulging muscle that makes you look overly muscular just as it is with heavy weight carriers, boxers, and wrestlers.

The best kind of cardio exercises are compound exercises, which involve multiple joints and more than one muscle group. “They improve coordination and elevate the heart rate quicker—plus they allow a person to get a full-body workout in less time and mirror real-life movements,” says Sarah Gawron, an AFAA-certified trainer at Epic Hybrid Training and Solace in New York City.

According to the Women’s Heart Foundation, high levels of estrogen make it very difficult for women to become overly muscular.



When women workout, the changes in their muscles are related to tone, strength, and endurance rather than size. The resulting look is firm, feminine toning, not massive masculine muscles.

So ditch your usual jog and DIY a circuit from the cardio exercises below—Gawron recommends choosing six to eight and resting for 30 seconds between each. You’ll feel your heart start pounding, and the Benefits will follow fast.




Importance Of Best Cardio Workouts For Women to build their strength.


Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is live an active life.

Engaging in cardio workouts enhances your general wellbeing leaving you as young as ever. Some of the significant benefits of strength building workouts are listed below.

  • Development of healthy bones: The workouts that help to build strength are beneficial for the development of stronger bones.
  • Strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis weakens bone and increases the risk of bones breaking
  • These workouts help maintain healthy bone mass and density. As a result of specific hormonal changes that women experience as they get older, they naturally lose bone density, putting them at increased risk for developing osteoporosis.
  • Weight loss: A regular strength training program helps you increase lean body fat and burn calories more efficiently which can result in healthy weight loss. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight, and it can increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Strength training is vital for weight loss because muscle helps you burn more calories. A regular exercise helps you reduce body fat, tone muscles and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss.
  • Bulk-free cardio exercises improve your insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering your risk of most chronic diseases.
  • Cardio workouts reduce perimenopausal symptoms in women, such as anxiety and depression, mood swings, irregular periods, weight gain and brain fog, in part by increasing the production of testosterone.
  • Fitness exercises lower inflammation, a hallmark of the most chronic disease, especially heart disease and cancer.



7 Best Cardio Workouts To Build Strength

Doing non-weight bearing cardio exercises alone won’t help you lose weight. Remember that diet plays a bigger role in weight loss. Chances are you won’t be able to do all the exercises below but I’m confident you’ll find at least 5 exercises you can do.



1. Opposite Arm & Leg Lift




This is one of the best cardio workouts which strengthens your upper body, lower body, biceps, triceps, shoulders, upper and lower back, glutes.

How To:

  • Kneel on the floor in a quadruped position(get down on all fours) with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Stretch your right arm forward.
  • At the same time, stretch your left leg back.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then release and repeat using the left arm and right leg (this is one rep).
  • You can do 10 to 15 reps.


2. One-Leg Rear-Delt Raise


The rear delt raise, also known as the rear deltoid raise, or rear shoulder raise is an exercise in weight training. This movement is commonly done using dumbbells to add resistance to the weight of the arms. It is an excellent cardio workout to strengthen your core, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, hamstrings, glutes.

How To:

  • Hold 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand/palms facing in.
  • Bend forward at the waist.
  • Let arms hang while lifting left leg back so it’s in line with your torso.
  • Flex shoulder muscles and raise weights out to sides until arms are parallel to floor (as shown).
  • Lower arms. Do 15 reps; switch legs, and repeat.


3. Twisting Knee Plank




The plank is an excellent fitness exercise you can do for your core because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture. It strengthens your upper and lower body, arms, shoulders, abdominals, obliques, and butt.

How To:

  • Begin in a plank position.
  • Make sure your hands are directly on your shoulders, and your legs are squeezed together. Create one long line from your heels all the way to the crown of your head.
  • Hold this basic plank for 10 to 20 seconds to warm up your core before twisting.
  • Bend your knees, allowing them to hover over the ground slightly.
  • Straighten your lower back by pulling your abs in, in preparation to start the twist.
  • Twist your knees to the right, initiating the movement from your obliques.
  • Return to the center, then twist to the left. Do this ten times on each side.
  • Extend your knees and hold it for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Lift your knees up and twist to the right, center, then left. Do this ten times on each side.


4. Chair Twist


The chair twist is one of the famous poses of yoga exercise. It builds your stamina without leaving you with massive muscles. The chair twist strengthens and grounds your legs and hips, brings length and lightness to your spine, expands your chest.

How To:

  • Stand with your feet together, with your big toes touching.
  • Inhale and raise your arms above your head, perpendicular to the floor.
  • Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get. Your knees will project out slightly over your feet, and your torso will form an approximate right angle over your thighs. This is Chair Pose.
  • Rotate torso to right and secure left elbow on outside of right knee.
  • Hold for three breaths; return to starting position. Repeat on the left side; that’s one rep. Do three reps.



  • Don’t let one knee slide in front of the other.
  • Learn to stabilize your pelvis and lower back with the symmetry, allowing for a more in-depth and pain-free twist.


Related:  Best Yoga Exercises For Weight Loss


5. Kneeling Glute Toner




As simple as this cardio workout is, it is a serious exercise for strength-building.  It strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs, abdominals.

How to:

  • Kneel with knees hip-width apart.
  • Hold the back of a chair; tighten abs, tuck pelvis.
  • Slide left foot back, lift knee and toes off the floor;
  • Press straight back with foot (knee bent) 20 reps.
  • Keeping knee behind hip and pelvis tucked, turn out leg slightly (toe to 8 on the clock);
  • Lift toes 20 reps. Rotate thigh out; press foot back 20 reps.
  • Lift leg diagonally to side 20 reps. Switch legs; repeat series.


6. Dancing Half-moon Kick


This exercise works to strengthen your obliques, hips, back, butt, and arms.

How To:

  • Begin in a straddle stance with your knees bent and feet wide, and your toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Shift your weight onto your right leg while straightening your left leg.
  • Round your arms, as if holding a giant ball, and bend sideways from the waist over your bent knee.


Related: Best Yoga Exercises for Six Pack Abs


7. Quadriceps Stretch

This is an entirely versatile workout with different variations. It can be done while standing, kneeling or lying. It helps to strengthen the lower body, hips, legs, butt, thighs.


i. Quadriceps Stretch in Standing




How To:

  • Stand beside a chair or countertop to hold on with one hand if necessary to balance.
  • Reach down and grab your right ankle. You can use the hand on the same side or the opposite side.
  • Straighten your back, lift your chest up and pull your ankle back and up slowly.
  • Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Do same for the other leg.


ii. Quadriceps Stretch While Kneeling


How To:

  • Kneel on your right knee and put your left foot in front of you such that your left knee is at 90 degrees.
  • Grab your right foot behind you.
  • Pull your right foot up to your buttocks.
  • Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat same for the other leg.


iii. Quadriceps Stretch in Side Lying




If you have trouble with balancing on one leg, it is possible to do this stretch by lying on one side.

How To:

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Grab your right ankle behind you.
  • Pull your ankle up behind you.
  • Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat the same process for the other leg.


  • To pull back the leg, most people find using the opposite hand most comfortable because it allows the hip to stay in a comfortable position. If you are unable to reach your ankle, you can loop a belt or towel around your right ankle and pull on that.
  • Do not allow your back arch.



Nearly everyone, regardless of age and gender, will benefit from strength training. It promotes fat loss, helps maintain healthy bone mass and prevents age-related muscle loss.

Don’t shy away from cardio workouts because you are scared of bulking up. Kick start your early morning cardio workouts now for a healthier life.

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