15 minute cardio

15 minute cardio workouts for strength trainers and bodybuilders.

If building muscle mass and strength if your main focus, then you won’t want to be spending too much of your weekly training on cardio.

However, keeping your heart strong and maintaining good cardiovascular fitness is important for everyone.

If you spend too long on cardio training then it will mean that your recovery will be effected in terms of your main focus (strength training).

Long cardio sessions will also put your body into a catabolic state, which as any bodybuilder will tell you is no good for building muscle.

This is particularly relevant to bodybuilders who are naturally slim rather than stocky.

For such ‘hard gainers’, it doesn’t take much time spent doing cardio for your body to shift back into a catabolic state.

By keeping your cardio workouts to fifteen minutes once a week, you may not win any local 10km running events, but you will maintain reasonable ‘fitness’ levels and you won’t eat into your muscles or your recovery time too much either.

Try one of these 15 minute cardio workouts once a week – alongside your 3-5 strength based workouts:

1. Timed runs

Nothing fancy about this. ?Use a treadmill or a GPS watch to measure how far you run. ?The aim is just to cover as much distance as you can in fifteen minutes. ?Keep a record of how far you run and aim to beat it the next time. ?Push yourself hard for 3 weekly workouts and then on week 4 have a more gentle run where you don’t worry too much about distance. ?On week 5 go back to trying to beat your personal best distance!

2. Burpees

Start your stopwatch and perform 5 burpees. ?Rest until the 1 minute mark and then perform another 5 burpees. Rest until the 2 minute mark and then perform another 5. ?Keep this going until the fifteen minutes are up! ?On your second week aim for 6 burpees per minute and on the third week aim for 7 per minute. ?Use week 4 as a ‘deload’ week where you go back to 5 per minute, and then aim for 8 per minute in week 5. ?Once you get up to 10-15 burpees per minute you’ll be fit to face anything!

3. Stair runs

Find a suitable set of stairs – the more floors the better! ?Run up and down them as many times as you can in the fifteen minutes. ?As with the timed runs, aim to beat your previous number of stair runs each session, again using week 4 as a bit of a recovery week before going for it again in week 5!


Make sure you mobilise and warm up before each 15 minute cardio workout and spend a few minutes stretching (particularly the hamstrings, quads and calves) afterwards.

Even with a light warm up and cool down, these cardio workouts should only take around 20 minutes in total time!

Good luck and let me know how you get on with building your cardio levels without eating into your hard earned muscle!

Contact us at info@121personaltraining for more great workout ideas and for information about our personal training sessions in SW London.


121personaltraining.com – 15 minute cardio – personal training in SW London.

Written by 

Sam is a Premier Diploma qualified personal trainer in SW London and is the founder of 121personaltraining.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *