8 Week Cardio Workout Plan For gym Goers with Free PDF

If you’re looking for an interesting and effective cardio gym workout plan that keeps you motivated, enhances your fitness level, and helps you get in shape, you can check out this 8 week cardio workout plan.

From treadmill and dumbbell to elliptical cross trainer and plyometric, I’ve included various workouts in this program to make it interesting, effective, and challenging for you.

Doing cardio helps you lose weight1Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: Midwest Exercise Trial-2 – PMJ Journals (Obesity Silver Spring), improves your cardiovascular health, boosts your muscular strength and endurance, increases longevity, keeps you energized as well as recover your muscles after a strenuous workout session.

Program Summary and Description

Exercise TypeAerobic
Program Duration8 Weeks
Frequency Per Week3 Days a Week
Program GoalEnhance Aerobic Fitness and Weight Loss
Target GenderMale and Female (16-45)
Workout LevelBeginner to Intermediate
Daily Workout Duration30 minutes
Summary of cardio workout plan for gym

Additional Information:

  • Exercises: I’ve included ten different types of workouts in this 8-week cardio workout program.
  • Who can follow this program: Cardio is a simple way to get fit. It helps you burn fat, tone up muscles, and improve your overall health. It is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts, regardless of age group and gender. So anyone who wants to improve their fitness can do this cardio workout plan.
  • Who cannot use this program: Cardio is excellent for all. However, if you’ve injury, cardiovascular related health issues, or if you’re pregnant, you should avoid it. Too much cardio is also bad for those who want to put on lots of muscles. So its best to consult with your doctor and trainer before you start this program.

Related: The Ultimate 6-Week HIIT Workout Plan with Free PDF

The 10 Best Exercises for Cardio Gym Workout Plan

There are many workouts you can do to improve your aerobic fitness, such as running on the treadmill, stationary bicycling, or even bodyweight cardio without equipment. Here I’ve shared the ten exercises you can incorporate into your workout regime.

  1. Treadmill Run
  2. Stationary Bicycling
  3. Elliptical Cross Trainer
  4. Core Workout
  5. Full Body Low-intensity steady state (LISS)
  6. Dumbbell Cardio
  7. Rowing Machine
  8. Jumping Rope
  9. HIIT Cardio
  10. Plyometric Cardio

Exercise #1 – Treadmill Run

Cardio Gym Workout Plan

Running on the treadmill is a great way to get your heart rate up, boost endurance, and burn calories.

The treadmill allows you to adjust the intensity of exercise, so you can run at a pace that’s right for you.

The study suggests that running has beneficial effects on body mass, body fat, heart health, VO2max, and HDL cholesterol in physically inactive adults.2Hespanhol Junior LC, Pillay JD, van Mechelen W, Verhagen E. Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Habitual Running on Indices of Health in Physically Inactive Adults. Sports Med. 2015 Oct;45(10):1455-68. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0359-y. PMID: 26178328; PMCID: PMC4579257.

So, irrespective of your age and fitness level, you can include the treadmill run in your cardio gym workout routine.

Here’s how to complete 10 or 15 minutes of treadmill running.

  • 1-min jog at 40 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR)
  • 2-min run at 60% of your MHR
  • 2-min jog at 40% of your MHR
  • 3-min run at 70% of your MHR
  • 2-min jog at 40% of your MHR
  • 3-min run at 60% of your MHR
  • 2-min jog at 40% of your MHR
  • Estimated Calories Burned: 120-150

How to calculate maximum heart rate? To calculate your heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 30, then your maximum heart rate would be 220-30= 190 beats per minute (bpm). And it means that 40% of your MHR would be 76 bpm, and 70% would be 133 bpm.

Related: HIIT Treadmill Workout for Beginners

Exercise #2 – Stationary Bicycling 

cardio workout plan

Bicycling is another excellent cardio exercise that helps enhance aerobic fitness, strengthen lower body muscles, and improve overall fitness.

It is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts. Whether you want to burn significant calories or just warm yourself up, you can do stationary biking as a cardio exercise for your better health.

Here’s an example of 10-minute bicycling cardio.

DurationIntensity
2-min50% of your MHR
3-min60% of your MHR
2-min50% of your MHR
3-min70% of your MHR

Estimated Calories Burned: 100-120 

Exercise #3 – Elliptical Cross Trainer 

8 Week Cardio Workout Plan

The elliptical cross trainer is one of the excellent machines you can use to do cardio at the gym. It helps develop the lower body muscles, ramp up your endurance and metabolism, and burn decent calories in a quick time.

You can do cardio on the elliptical cross trainer for 10 minutes at your own pace and intensity. 

The faster you do, the more calories you burn and vice versa. 

Approximately 100 to 120 calories you’ll burn in 10 minutes. 

Exercise #4 – Core Workout

If you want to focus on your core muscle particularly, you can perform this workout. The core specific cardio helps strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, improve posture and provide stability to your lower back. as well as improves balance, flexibility, strength and endurance.

Here are some of the examples of 15-minute abdominal workouts you can include in your cardio gym workout program.

Part 1

  1. Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest 
  2. Standard Crunches – 10 reps, 30 seconds rest 
  3. Alternate Heel Taps– 10 reps/side, 30 seconds rest
  4. Reverse Crunches – 10 reps, 45 seconds rest
  5. Forearm Front Plank – 60-sec, 45 seconds rest
  6. Bicycle Crunches – 10 reps, 45 seconds rest
  7. Cross Knee to Elbow Plank– 10 reps/side, 45 seconds rest
  8. Lying Leg Raise – 10 reps/side, 45 seconds rest
  9. Russian Twist– 20 seconds work, 45 seconds rest
  10. Bird Dog Plank – 5 seconds hold each side x 5, 45 seconds rest

Part 2 

  1. Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest 
  2. Reverse Crunch – 30 seconds work, 30 seconds Rest 
  3. Forearm Plank – 45 seconds hold, 15 seconds rest 
  4. Side Plank– 20-sec/side, 30 seconds rest
  5. V-ups Crunches– 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest
  6. Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest 
  7. Knee To Outside Elbow Plank – 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest 
  8. Flutter Kicks – 20 seconds of work, 40 seconds of rest 
  9. Cable Crunches – 10 reps, 45 seconds rest 
  10. High to Low Cable Woodchop – 10 reps/side, 45 seconds rest 

Part 3 

  1. Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest 
  2. Bird Dog – 20 seconds hold each side, then 20 seconds rest. 
  3. Flutter Kicks – 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest 
  4. V Sit Hold – 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest 
  5. Tabletop Crunch – 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest 
  6. Hanging Knee Raise – Do as many reps as possible in two sets 
  7. Side Hip Raise – 20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest 
  8. Crouch Hover Plank – 45 seconds hold, 15 seconds rest 
  9. Extended Plank – 30 seconds hold, 15 seconds rest 
  10. Alternate Heel Taps– 10 reps/side, 30 seconds rest

You can perform them interchangeably on your different training days.

Also check out: Best HIIT Core Workout Routines

Exercise #5 – Full Body Low-intensity steady state (LISS) 

If you want to get the most out of your training, then the low-intensity steady state is a great way to go. It is excellent for people who are new to exercise because it’s easy on the body and doesn’t require any equipment.

The LISS improves cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and endurance., but it won’t burn as many calories as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Related: HIIT vs. LISS

Here’s a 20-30 minute low-intense full-body cardio routine you can incorporate into your 8-week cardio workout plan.

Perform two to three rounds.

ExerciseActivityRest
High Knees20-sec45-sec
Mountain Climbers 20-sec45-sec
Jumping Jacks20-sec45-sec
Pushups10-20 reps45-sec
Jump Squat10 reps45-sec
Crunches10-20 reps45-sec
Burpees 8-12 reps60-sec
Flutter Kicks 20-sec45-sec
Alternate Heel Taps10 reps/side45-sec
Lateral Lunges10 reps/side45-sec
cardio workout routine

Exercise #6 – Dumbbell Cardio

You can also do cardio with dumbbells. Doing cardio with dumbbells helps build and tone muscles while burning significant calories. It may be challenging, but it helps you boost strength, endurance, and power as well as lowers blood sugar and body fat percentage.

Here is an example of 20-minute dumbbell cardio that you can do at the gym or at home.

ExerciseActivityRest
Dumbbell Thrusters10 reps1-min
Dumbbell Push Press10 reps1-min
 Dumbbell Step-up10 reps1-min
Dumbbell Man maker10 reps1-min
Dumbbell Swings10 reps1-min
Squat to Shoulder Press10 reps1-min
Dumbbell Clusters10 reps1-min
Dumbbell Squats10 reps1-min

Exercise #7 – Rowing Machine

Rowing is an excellent cardio exercise to increase cardiovascular endurance and stamina and build muscle mass. It is an effective, low-impact exercise that works your entire body and help you get in shape.

Here’s an example 15-minute rowing workout:

DurationIntensityRest
2-min50% of your MHR1-min
2-min60 % of your MHR1-min
2-min50% of your MHR1-min
2-min70 % of your MHR1-min
2 min50% of your MHR1-min

If you want to do rowing for a longer duration, you can check out this rowing machine HIIT program.

Exercise #8 – Jumping Rope 

Jumping rope is an excellent cardio exercise for the whole body. It burns fat, strengthens your heart and lungs, builds muscle in your legs, arms, and core (your abs), and increases flexibility and coordination while burning calories at an incredible rate. The best thing is you can do it anywhere at any time.

Here’s an example of 10-minute jumping rope workout.

  • 2-minute jumping rope, 1-minute rest
  • 90-seconds jumping rope, 1-minute rest
  • 1-minute rest, 2 minutes rest
  • 2-minute jumping rope, 1-minute rest

Exercise #9 – HIIT Cardio

HIIT Cardio is a type of cardio that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise. The name “High-Intensity Interval Training” (HIIT) describes the way this form of cardio works.

It involves alternating between periods of intense activity and rest, which are known as intervals. These intervals can be anywhere from 10 seconds to several minutes long, depending on how fit you are and your fitness goals.

The goal of HIIT cardio is to burn significant calories in a short duration, improve overall fitness and get you in shape.

Here’s a sample of 20-minute HIIT cardio that you can include in your gym cardio workout plan.

ExerciseActivityRest
Burpees10 reps40 seconds
Mountain climbers20 seconds40 seconds
Jump Squat8-12 reps40 seconds
Pushups12-15 reps40 seconds
Box Jumps8-12 reps40 seconds
Crunches10-15 reps40 seconds
Air Squat15-20 reps60 seconds
Leg Raises8-12 reps40 seconds
High Knees8-12 reps40 seconds
cardio workout plan at the gym

Related: The Best Weekly HIIT Workout Plan For Newbie & Pro

Exercise #10 – Plyometric Cardio

Plyometric cardio involves intense and explosive movements, such as jumping and bounding. It helps increase muscle strength and power, burn fats, as well as improve cardiovascular fitness. It’s also an excellent way to build muscle and improve athletic performance.

However, doing plyometric exercises can be challenging for beginners. So it’s best to start with LISS followed by HIIT and then plyometric jumps if you’re a newbie.

If you feel should try plyometrics, you can start with this 20-minute plyometric cardio.

Round 1ActivityRest
Ankle Hops20-sec40-sec
Squat Jump10 reps30-sec
Jumping Jacks10 reps30-sec
Mountain Climbers20-sec40-sec
Split Jump10 reps30-sec
Skater Jumps10 reps30-sec
Alternating Push Offs10 reps30-sec
Plyo Pushups10 reps30-sec
Vertical Jumps10 reps30-sec
Plyo Lunge10 reps30-sec
Plank Jacks10 reps30-sec
Kneeling Squat Jump10 reps30-sec

The Ultimate 8 Week Cardio Workout Plan For beginners

Week 1

Monday

  • 15 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 10 minutes – Core Workout

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 15 minutes – Full Body Low-intensity steady state (LISS)

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Jumping Rope
  • 15 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Week 2

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 15 minutes – Plyometric Cardio
  • 5 minutes – Core Workout

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 5 minutes – Rowing/Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 10 minutes – Full Body Low-intensity steady state (LISS)

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Jumping Rope
  • 15 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Week 3

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 15 minutes – HIIT Cardio

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 15 minutes – Rowing/Plyometric Cardio
  • 5 minutes – Core Workout

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 20 minutes – LISS

Week 4

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 15 minutes – Core Workout

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 15 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Friday

  • 5 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 15 minutes – HIIT Cardio

Week 5

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 10 minutes – Rowing/Plyometric Cardio
  • 10 minutes – Core Workout

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 15 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Jumping Rope
  • 15 minutes – LISS

Week 6

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 15 minutes – Core Workout

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 10 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 10 minutes – Rowing/Plyometric Cardio

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 20 minutes – HIIT Cardio

Week 7

Monday

  • 5 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 20 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Wednesday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 15 minutes – Core Workout

Friday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 20 minutes – LISS

Week 8

Monday

  • 10 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 15 minutes – Rowing/Plyometric Cardio

Wednesday

  • 5 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Stationary Bicycling
  • 20 minutes – Dumbbell Cardio

Friday

  • 5 minutes – Treadmill
  • 5 minutes – Elliptical Cross Trainer
  • 20 minutes – HIIT Cardio

Gym Cardio Workout Plan PDF

Download this file so you can use it offline.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the best time to do cardio?

The studies have shown that the timing of exercises depends from person to person. The best time is when, when you feel energetic and enjoy the cardio most, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening.

Can you work out on empty stomach?

You can work out in the fasted state as long as you don’t feel faint, woozy, weak, or unsteady during the workout. Working out on an empty stomach may be beneficial for those who want to shed some excess kilos. However, it’s best to have light snacks or pre workout drinks prior to 15-30 minutes of cardio.

can you modify the program?

You can make changes to this program depending on your goal and the exercises you enjoy the most. For example, if you do not have access to the rowing machine, you can perform elliptical cross trainer or stationary bicycling instead.

Can you do weight training with cardio?

You should definitely do weight training with cardio. Aerobic exercises help develop cardiovascular health, VO2 max, endurance, and metabolism, while weight training is great for developing strength and muscle mass. The combination of both will help you achieve your best physique.

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.