Guys have been running to shed body fat since the dawn of fitness (and also through that regrettable singlet-wearing phase in the early 1980s). But most humans would agree that pounding away on the treadmill for hours each week borders on cruel and unusual. More recently, the focus has been on high-intensity interval training, which has cut down on how long one must endure this ritual. But can you lean out sans stride if you’re so inclined? We say yes. Here are a few of our favorite ways to create a calorie deficit and/or spike your metabolism without running.
1. LIFT HEAVIER
One of the first methods lifters use when trying to lose fat is to drop the weight a bit and knock out higher-rep sets. But lifting heavier may be better for your overall body composition. A Norwegian study found that subjects who trained with their six-rep max had their metabolisms elevated higher and for longer than a group using 12 reps. Plus, heavier training tends to result in higher levels of fat-fighting hormones like testosterone and growth hormone.
2. BATTLE THOSE ROPES
You can dismiss battling ropes as gimmicky if you want, but you’d be foolish to do so. These crude, heavy implements are a ton of fun and have been shown to elicit benefits similar to other high-intensity activities such as sprinting or cycling. The Norwegian study had participants flurrying through punishing 15-second bursts with 45-second rest periods. Get a set of your own at powerropes.com.
3. ROW, ROW, ROW THAT MACHINE
Ever seen a Concept2 or ergo rower? If you own one of these sleek rowers or have access to one, you need to be on it. Constantly. Done right, rowing works nearly every major muscle group in your body in a way that’s far more stimulating than a conveyor-belt cardio session. You can actually work on power and strength development in one workout while also rowing fat right off your midsection. You can pick a single, high-pace session or divide your work up into a few all-out intervals for max results.
4. KILL IT WITH KETTLEBELLS
Kettlebell swings are a great way to build strength and mobility in the hips. But an interval-style kettlebell workout also can be a boon for fat burning. In one study, researchers had subjects perform a dozen 30-second bouts of kettlebell swings, each followed by 30 seconds of rest. They found that the sweat-drenched participants enjoyed an immediate surge in testosterone (14 percent) and that growth-hormone levels peaked at 21 times above normal 15 minutes after the workout. And all of it achieved with absolutely no running.
5. JUMP ROPE
Need a cool way to exercise practically anywhere? Grab a jump rope. Hit the rope for 20 minutes and you could scorch nearly 300 calories, Eye of the Tiger running on repeat in your brain box the entire time. The rope also helps to build coordination, agility and timing while giving your calves a nice pump in the process.