The Best Total-body Cardio Workout

Running On Steps

A trainer to Hollywood celebrities, Ramona Braganza had to invent a system that would both get her clients ripped in short order and keep them engaged in their workouts. Her solution mixes cardio with body-weight circuits and core training for a three-pronged gut attack. 

How it works

Dubbed “321,” as in three cardio intervals, two circuits, and one core exercise, it’s not as easy as it sounds, even if the session does take only 20 minutes of your time. Follow the steps in order and keep your water handy.


There are three bouts of cardio (Cardio 1, 2, and3), two circuits, and one core move. For the circuits, complete the exercises in succession and then rest 30 seconds before repeating once more.

The workout

Cardio 1

Circuit 1

A. Overhead Lunge
Reps: 10 (each side) Rest: 0 sec.
Raise your arms overhead and step forward with your right leg. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your rear knee nearly touches the floor.

B. Skydiver Lunge
Reps: 12 Rest: 0 sec.
Get on the floor in the bottom of a pushup position. Push yourself up, then lower back down to rest your belly on the floor. Now raise your arms and legs up off the floor so you look like a skydiver in free fall. Place your hands and feet back down and push yourself back up. That’s one rep.

C. Glute Bridge
Reps: 12 Rest: 30 sec.
Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent 90 degrees and heels on the floor. Extend your arms by your sides. Squeeze your glutes and push your heels into the floor to raise your hips until your torso and thighs form a line. Lower your hips until they’re just above the floor.

Cardio 2

Shadowbox for two minutes. Throw punches with both hands, keep your guard up, and practice shuffling your feet forward, back, and side to side.

Circuit 2

A. Sumo Squat
Reps: 15 Rest: 0 sec.
Stand with feet outside shoulder width and turn your toes out 45 degrees. Raise your arms up for balance. As you squat down, push your knees out and then drive your heels into the floor as you come up.

B. Pike Pushup

Reps: 12 Rest: 0 sec.
Get into pushup position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Push your body backward so your hips rise in the air and your torso points toward the floor. Keeping your legs straight, lower your body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor, and then press up.

C. Frog Thrust
Reps: 10 Rest: 30 sec.
Get into pushup position with feet wide apart. Hop your feet up to the outside of your hands so you look like you’re about to leapfrog. Then hop them back again. That’s one rep.

Cardio 3

Go to a staircase and sprint or jog up it. Walk back down. Repeat for two minutes and mix it up—try skipping steps or hopping up the stairs.


Plank/Side Plank Combo

Get into pushup position and then lower your forearms to the floor. Hold 15 seconds, and then rotate your body to your right, resting on your left forearm and stacking your feet so your whole body faces 90 degrees to the floor. Hold 15 seconds. Rotate back to the floor and hold 15 seconds. Rotate to your left and hold the side plank again. Keep your hips elevated the whole time.

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