The HIIT Squad

More fat loss in less time. Why high-intensity interval cardio should be your new (and only) method of cardio.
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CARDIO MACHINE BREAKDOWN

RECUMBENT BIKE

FAT BURNING ★★

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“You’re not going to be dripping sweat unless you really ratchet up the resistance. This is certainly not the best technique for fat loss.”

REHABILITATION ★★★★★

“Great for rehabilitation — especially if you’re coming back from a knee injury — because it’s low impact. It keeps the blood flowing to aid in recovery from injuries. A great starting point and a stepping stone to getting back on the fat-burning track.”

DIFFICULTY ★

“It’s very comfortable, but it won’t do much in terms of burning fat. Real easy to read and carry on a conversation when you’re doing this.”

STEPMILL

FAT BURNING ★★★★★

“The Grand Pooh-Bah of cardio, this one is a ball buster. This is the revolving stairs, which is not to be confused with the stepper. Expect a puddle of sweat underneath you after you’re through. It’s a forced step that activates a lot of different muscles — quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips. The maximum fat-burning cardio machine available.”

REHABILITATION ★

“Not good. I do not recommend using this machine for rehabilitation purposes.”

DIFFICULTY ★★★★★

“The most difficult machine. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these in your gym, use it — but be ready to work hard.”

ELLIPTICAL

FAT BURNING ★★★★½

“You’re also using your upper body, and the more muscles you recruit, the more bodyfat you’re going to burn. Without using your arms, it drops down to four stars. If you have a choice, always take the machine with the handles. You’ll burn more fat, and it’s the only cardio that involves your upper body.”

REHABILITATION ★★

“This machine utilizes the most muscle groups, so if you have an injury anywhere, you’re probably going to feel it when using this. For rehabilitation purposes, it could exacerbate preexisting conditions.”

DIFFICULTY ★★★★

“The fact that you’re incorporating both your legs and your arms makes this one of the more difficult machines to use.”

STATIONARY BIKE

FAT BURNING ★★★

“It will get you burning more calories, and recruit more quad and hamstring muscle fibers than the recumbent. Going with higher intensity will give you a good pump in the quads.”

REHABILITATION ★★★★

“Another non-weight-bearing machine, so it’s low impact and easier on your joints. Since the recumbent bike puts more pressure on your spine, this can be useful for people with back problems.”

DIFFICULTY ★★★

“Comfort dramatically decreases the longer you’re on the bike.”

TREADMILL

FAT BURNING ★★★½

“A very versatile unit, great for any athlete from beginner to pro — the most versatility of any cardio machine. You can target bodyparts, such as your glutes and hamstrings, by increasing the elevation and speed.”

REHABILITATION ★★★★

“You’re not likely to fall off of this —unless you can’t walk! It’s very low impact and there are several different safety mechanisms.”

DIFFICULTY ★★★½

“It’s comfortable and easy to manipulate the level of difficulty and intensity. If you pick one machine for a home gym, this is the one to have. It’s the best of all worlds.”

STEPPER

FAT BURNING ★★★ to ★★★★

“A middle-of-the-road machine. The range for fat burning depends on the tension and the length of your steps.”

REHABILITATION ★★

“Again, it depends somewhat on the length of your steps — shorter is better if you’re recovering from injury. But as you get tired, it’s tougher to control, so there is a little risk involved.”

DIFFICULTY ★★★

“This one falls in the middle in terms of degree of difficulty.” FLEX

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