- 11 Best Fat Burning Cardio Workouts for Small Spaces (No Equipment)
- 11 Cardio Exercises For Small Spaces
- THE 20-Minute HOTEL Room Workout
- 10 Quick Exercises You Can DO In Your Hotel Room
- WHY YOU SHOULD WORK OUT IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM
- 33 Cardio-Based Bodyweight Exercises
- The High-Intensity Cardio Workout You Can Do In Your Living Room
- Celebrity Trainer Carlos Leon’s 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout
- Crazy Eights
- The Card Game
11 Best Fat Burning Cardio Workouts for Small Spaces (No Equipment)
Due to my hectic schedule, it’s hard for me to go to the gym. So I do my workouts in the living room of my apartment. I’ll share 11 of my favorite cardio exercises I like doing in the morning to get my heart pumping and break a little sweat before I go to work.
These 11 cardio workouts for small spaces don’t require any equipment so they can be performed anywhere and anytime.
Recommend Workout Video:
Related: 10 Fat Burning Hotel Room Exercises For Beginners (No Equipment)
Table of Contents
11 Cardio Exercises For Small Spaces
These are some of my favorite cardio exercises you can do at home. Doing these exercises consistently at home will go a long way in improving your cardiovascular health, weight loss, body tone, strength, body balance, and flexibility.
So let’s get started!
1. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are also called Star jumps and the side-straddle hop. With the right amount of energy, you can pull off the physical jumping exercise in small spaces. Star jumps reduce calories in the body, relieve stress, and are great for cardiovascular health.
Jumping jacks work the core, hip abductors and adductors, shoulder abductors and adductors, and the calves. The primary target of this workout is the hamstrings and the chest. The exercise is useful for your regular warm-up routine.
Below are the steps of doing a jumping jack;
- Stand with your knees bent and let your hands rest on your thighs.
- Open the legs and the arms to the side, keeping the knees bent.
- The arms come above the head while your legs go wider than the shoulders.
- Go back to the starting position
- To keep yourself engaged in a jumping jack, swap in a squat or a cross jack.
2. Sumo Jump
The Sumo jump is also the sumo squat jump. It is an easy full body workout. You can also do it effectively in places with limited spaces. Some of the sumo jump benefits include; improving balance, weight loss, muscle gain, body strength, and toning.
The Sumo jump builds muscles such as the hamstring muscles, quadriceps, and the calves. The exercise also tones your whole body. Intense jump squats release testosterone and improve muscle mass.
Below is the best way to do a Sumo Jump;
- First, stand with your feet apart at shoulder width and turned out with your hands on your thighs.
- Bend your knees then jump keeping your core engaged.
- Land and lower your body into the initial squat position to complete one sumo jump
- You can repeat the reps in ten sets
3. Imaginary Jump Rope
The imaginary jump rope exercise involves pretending to jump an actual rope. It burns approximately 350 calories in 30 minutes. In case you do not have enough room, you will not achieve significant gains with an actual rope. Using an imaginary rope is also known as ghost jumping. It keeps your heart rate up.
Ghost jumping engages both the upper body and lower body muscles. The calves are the main muscles initiating an imaginary jump. The exercise also activates glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. In the upper body, you tone the abs and shoulder muscles.
With the aid of supportive and comfortable shoes or socks, this is how you do an imaginary jump rope;
- Stand upright
- Extend both your arms to your sides
- Pretend you are holding a jump rope handle on both hands
- Jump by lifting both feet off the ground at the same time
- Do this as many times as you can.
Related: How to Jump Rope Indoors: Everything You Need to Know
4. Jog in Place
Jogging in place is easier compared to an outdoor or treadmill jog. Jogging in place at home is convenient especially when you can’t go outside because of the bad weather.
The exercise aids in weight loss and efficiently burn calories. You can burn more than 500 calories, by exercising for just an hour. For best results when jogging in place, you must ensure it gets your heart pumping.
Jogging in place is one of the best cardio workouts for small spaces. It tones your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes.
Jogging in place is a killer fat burning exercise, which strengthens your core and gives you stability. It also reduces the risk of getting heart disease, obesity, and other chronic illnesses.
Below are the steps of an effective jog in place;
- Start by warming up with a slight jog
- Move your arms
- Lift your knees higher as you proceed
- Slowly increase your speed
- Alternate intensity and recovery periods
5. High Knee Exercise
The high knee workout involves getting into a running motion and lifting your knees high at the same time. You can incorporate the workout into your warm-up or do it as your workout routine.
The workout ensures adequate cardiovascular exercise, generally improves your health, increases your speed, and flexibility. It is a source of strength. It is also easy to perform.
The high knee exercise engages the outer hip areas and the inner thigh. During the workout, your body maintains a balance standing on one leg. In the long run, your calf, hamstrings, quadriceps, and buttock muscles are toned.
The right way to do the high knee exercise in small spaces involves;
- First standing with your feet slightly apart
- Let your arms stay relaxed on your sides
- Lift your left or right knee high first.
- Bring your heel towards your glute keeping your toes up
- Repeat the lifting process by alternating the knees
Related: The Complete Living Room Full Body Workouts (No Equipment)
6. Lateral Shuffle
A lateral shuffle involves the movement of the whole body from side to side. The exercise is common among soccer, basketball, and tennis players.
The lateral shuffle increases your ability to move side to side swiftly. It also boosts the blood flow in the body, keeping your heart healthy. The workout burns calories and increases metabolism. It is efficiently done in small spaces.
The exercise engages the thighs, butt, and hip workouts. The muscles worked include glutes, quadriceps, hip adductors and abductors, calf, hamstrings, and the shin muscles.
Here is how to do a lateral shuffle;
- Stand with your feet wider than your hip width pointing your toes forward
- Bend your knees and hips with your butt sitting back
- Lower your body into a squat position
- Keep your knees at a position over your ankles
- Bend and hold your arms in front of your body
- Take a sideways step to the left then return to the original position
- Repeat the step to the right and then back to the starting position
7. Split Lunge Jump
The split lunge jump is a small space workout that shapes the legs and the butt. The workout gets your heart pumping, and it improves your balance. It keeps your body in a stable position.
The workout makes your legs powerful and aids in weight loss.
The split lungee workout is a great equipment free exercise that works your full body. It tones the trunk, legs, core, hip, butt, and arm muscles. These muscles broadly include the biceps, triceps, shoulder muscles, quadriceps, and calves.
The steps for efficiently doing a split lunge jump are;
- Put one foot forward, bending the leading leg forming a 90-degree position
- Sink your body down and bend the leg behind into a 90-degree position.
- Keep your upper body upright
- Brace your core and explosively push your body off the ground
- Bend the legs such that the leading leg is parallel to the ground
- Go on the next jump and repeat the process severally
Related: 5 Amazing Bedroom Exercises to Lose Belly Fat and drop excess weight
A burpee is a full body workout. It is essential for strength training and aerobic exercises. The burpee is also known as a squat thrust.
Burpees make your body a fat burning platform. Intense burpee workouts burn up to 50% more fat compared to regular workouts. They make you strong, require no equipment, and are good for conditioning.
The workout tones the quads, arms, chest, glutes, abs, and hamstrings.
Below are steps you can use to do a Burpee in a small space;
- Stand upright with your arms on your side and your feet apart
- Lower your body into a squat, push your hips back, and bend your knees
- Kick your feet back
- Do a push-up and ensure your body forms a straight line. Your butt should not stick up neither should your back sag
- Return to squat position
- Explosively jump into the air
- When you land, go into the squats position and get ready for your next rep
9. Plank Jacks
A plank jack is a workout that involves both planks and jumping jacks. They are good for aerobics and warm up. You can easily incorporate this workout into your daily routine, especially if you have limited space.
The muscles that are involved when doing a plank jack include shoulders, biceps, and quadriceps. The plank also targets the core. The exercise improves flexibility, posture, muscle strength, and endurance.
The best way to do a plank jack is;
- Start by getting into a forearm plank position.
- Contract your ab muscles by activating the core such that your whole body is in a straight line
- Keep your upper body as tight as you can
- Jump your feet outward like a normal jumping jack
- Place one foot in and out at a time
- Return your feet to the normal plank position to complete the rep
10. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a full body workout that gets your heart rate accelerated. It fires up nearly every muscle in your body. All you need for this workout is your yoga mat and a comfortable pair of runners.
The exercise challenges your coordination, agility, and balance. It is beneficial as it increases your blood circulation, flexibility, and strength. The workout is also useful for weight loss.
The muscles toned during mountain climbers are quads, triceps, the chest, abdominals, hamstrings, hip abductors, abs, and biceps.
Here are the steps for doing mountain climbers;
- Start in a plank position.
- Keep your abs pulled in to engage the core.
- Remember to keep your body straight.
- Pull one of your knees into the chest and keep your abs in tight
- Quickly change to the other knee as you push your other leg back
- Continue alternating the knees in a running motion
11. Plank to Frog Jump
Last but definitely not the least is the plank to frog jump exercise. It is another interesting workout you can perform in a small space. It is an amazing core body workout that is easy to do but intense at the same time. The exercise elevates your heart rate. If you are a beginner, start small, do not strain yourself. You will get there!
If you want to tone your body, then you need this exercise. It strengthens your leg muscles, glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. The plank to frog jump also melts away unnecessary fats in the tummy and hands.
Here is how to do a plank to frog jump exercise;
- Start in a high plank position.
- Hop forward with both feet.
- Make sure your hands are still on the ground and the feet outside your hands.
- Straighten your feet back to the high plank position.
- Repeat the process for at least 30 seconds.
Best Compact Exercise Equipment
So you’re traveling for work (or fun), and you are still trying to get a good workout in.
Unfortunately most hotel gyms aren’t great: old equipment crammed into a room the size of a closet.
Fortunately, you’re reading Nerd Fitness which means if you have 20 minutes, and a cozy hotel room, you can still get a great workout in!
In today’s guide we’ll cover two big topics:
- The 20 Minute Hotel Room Workout
- 10 Quick Exercises You Can Do in Your Hotel Room
These are the exact type of workouts we build for our 1-on-1 Coaching clients, busy business travelers like you that are trying to get fit even while living out of hotel rooms and airports!
Let’s get into the article.
If you’re prioritizing working out while traveling because you don’t want to lose momentum on your fitness journey, you’ve come to the right place!
THE 20-Minute HOTEL Room Workout
Here is the famous 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout:
#1) Always start with a warm-up (to get your core temperature up and muscles loose):
- Jumping jack: 25 reps
- Bodyweight squats: 15 reps
- Push-ups: 10 reps
- Lunges: 10 reps (each leg)
- Hip raises: 10 reps
Do one exercise right after another – this should take you probably 3-4 minutes.
Next set your watch/laptop for 15 minutes and do as many full circuits as possible in that time frame, using PERFECT FORM for each repetition. Try to move from each exercise to the next without stopping.
I’ve also split the workout into three levels – beginners should start at level 1 until they feel comfortable enough to advance to levels 2 and 3.
LEVEL 1 HOTEL ROOM WORKOUT
- Body Weight Squats: 20 reps(you don’t need a chair like in video, that’s just if you need help)
- Incline Push-Ups: 15 reps (feet on floor, hands on edge of bed or desk)
- One-Arm Luggage Rows: 10 reps (each arm, use your suit case as your weight)
- Reverse Crunches: 10 reps
LEVEL 2 HOTEL ROOM WORKOUT
- Overhead Squats: 25 reps
- Push-Ups: 20 reps
- Inverted Rows: 10 reps(using the desk in your hotel room…just don’t break it!)
- Reverse Crunches: 15 reps
LEVEL 3 HOTEL ROOM WORKOUT
- Jumping Squats: 25 reps
- Decline Push-Ups: 20 reps (feet up on bed or desk chair)
- Inverted Bodyweight Rows: 10 reps (with feet elevated onto desk chair)
- Reverse Crunches: 15 reps
After your workout (you should be sweating like crazy if you did it right), ALWAYS remember to stretch.
Here’s a cool down sequence you can try:
You can also do a FULL Yoga Routine in your bedroom too (this is from our NF Yoga Course):
So, if you can do this workout along with making some healthier nutritious choices on the road, you’re bound to stay fit!
Make sure you check out our “How to Stay in Shape While Travelling” guide for tips on how to stay fit outside of your hotel room too.
10 Quick Exercises You Can DO In Your Hotel Room
Oh, what’s that? You want to do some exercises in your hotel room but you’re not sure what to do?
Whenever I create a workout, I always aim for a complete full body routine that will build muscle, burn fat, and also exercise my your heart.
I hit four types of exercises for my routines:
- Legs – working both the front and back of your legs
- Push – chest, shoulders, triceps
- Pull – back, biceps, forearms
- Core – abs and lower back
So here are the exercises you can do in the comfort of your hotel room while watching guilty pleasure reality shows you’re too embarrassed to watch at home.
Here’s a list of quick exercises you can do in your Hotel Room:
#1) Push-ups (any variation)
#2) Bodyweight Squats
#4) 1-Arm Rows (with suitcase)
#5) Inverted Bodyweight Row (using the desk in the room)
#7) Reverse Crunch
#8) Hip Raises
#9) Burpees (ADVANCED)
# Wall Walks (ADVANCED)
11. Yoga Stretches (bonus!)
WHY YOU SHOULD WORK OUT IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM
Even when I’m living out of hotel rooms, I prioritize working out.
I find that on days when I exercise, I eat better. Something activates in my brain when exercising that says “I’m trying to be healthy, so I’m going to eat healthy.” On days when I don’t exercise at all, I tend to say things like “meh, I’ll do it tomorrow” or ‘it’s only one meal” or “it’s only a few beers.”
That’s why a workout, even if it’s for only 20 minutes, can be very critical while traveling. It really does have a way of stopping you from gorging yourself silly on pizza later. It’ll also help you build momentum.
Speaking of momentum…have you met Jeff?
Jeff is a doctor and start-up founder who travels 2+ weeks out of every month and lives out of hotel rooms too! We helped him lose 30+ pounds and get in the best shape of his life despite the fact he was living out of hotel rooms for the past two years.
Jeff is a proud member of our snazzy 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, and loves the “global accountability” his coach provides.
If you are somebody that can’t seem to stay healthy while traveling, we’d love to help – we’ll build you a program that works at home, and then adjust your workouts to fit into your travel schedule too. We help our clients with expert guidance, support, and accountability.
Interested? Click on the big image below to learn more:
The next time you’re in a hotel room, or any room, try our 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout. If you find even Level 3 too easy, try this one instead. I’ll warn you though, I don’t hold back on this more advanced circuit.
Alright, now I want to hear from you:
Do you spend a lot of time in hotels?
Travel a lot for work?
What are your tips and tricks for staying healthy while living in hotels?
Let us know in the comments!
PS: If you spend your weeks moving from hotel room to hotel room, constantly on the go, there are still some things you can keep constant: your coach!
They can be right there with you, from any part of the world, helping you make sure you hit your fitness goals.
All photo sources can be found right here.
33 Cardio-Based Bodyweight Exercises
14. Long jump with jog back
Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Swing both arms back and bend a little deeper, then swing arms forward. Jump forward as far as possible with both feet, landing lightly on the balls of your feet. As quickly as possible, jog backward to starting place. Repeat.
15. Tuck jump
It’s time to catch some air.
Stand with knees slightly bent and jump up, bringing knees to chest and extending arms out straight in front of chest. Lower arms as you land lightly on the floor.
Start in a high plank position with core tight. Shift your weight onto left hand, lift right hand off the floor, rotate to the right, and kick left foot out to the right. Tap left foot with right hand. Repeat on the other side, moving as quickly as possible.
17. Diver’s push-up
If you’ve done yoga, you’ll recognize this as like a Chaturanga Pose but a little faster.
Start in a Downward-Facing Dog with hands on the floor, hips high, and feet on the floor so you form a triangle.
In a fluid motion, dive your head toward the floor, coming into a low push-up position, and then swoop chest forward and up so you end in an Upward-Facing Dog position. From there, push hips up to return to the starting position.
18. Wide mountain climbers
Start in a high plank position with core tight. Bring right foot forward to the outside of right hand so you’re in a low lunge position.
Jump and switch feet in midair so you land with your left foot to the outside of your left hand and your right foot straight back. Continue to alternate as quickly as possible.
Make it easier: Skip the hop. Instead, step right foot back, then quickly step left foot forward.
19. Invisible jump rope
Hop over an invisible rope (no need to jump more than 1 or 2 inches off the floor) by staying on your toes and pushing off with the balls of your feet. Make quick, small movements with your wrists, as if you’re holding a rope.
20. Hops to push-up
Stand on your right foot with left foot elevated and core tight. Hop 3 times, then bend down and quickly walk hands out so you’re in a high plank position with left foot still off the floor.
Do 3 push-ups, never putting left foot down. Walk hands back and stand up to return to the starting position. Repeat for half the time on one side, then switch sides.
You’ll need a bench or sturdy chair for this move.
Place right foot on the bench. Using your glutes, push up so right leg is straight and left foot is off the floor. Slowly lower, allowing left foot then right foot to come down to the floor. Repeat, focusing on using only your right glutes (don’t push off with your left foot).
22. Classic burpee
It’s the move we love to hate — and our model makes it look so easy!
Stand with feet hip-width apart and core tight. Jump up, then immediately drop to the floor, placing hands on the floor and shooting feet back so you’re in a high plank position. Do a push-up. Quickly jump feet back to hands and, in one movement, stand and jump up to complete 1 rep.
23. Single-leg hop
Stand on right leg, lift left foot off the floor, and brace core. Jump forward 3–5 times, each time landing lightly on the ball of your foot. Switch feet and jump back to the starting position.
Make it harder: Jump in a box formation: forward, side, back, side. Then switch directions before hopping on the other side.
24. Runner’s skip
Start in a low lunge position with right foot forward, left foot back, and fingertips touching the floor for balance. In one smooth movement, bring left foot forward and, as you stand on right foot, continue to lift left knee toward chest and hop up on right foot.
Land lightly on right foot and immediately slide left foot behind you to return to starting position. Repeat for half the time, then switch to the other side.
25. Flutter kick
Lie faceup on your back with navel pulled toward spine. You can slide both hands under the curve of your low back for added support. Using your core, lift both feet 3–4 inches off the floor and kick feet up and down several inches, keeping core engaged throughout.
If you feel any discomfort in your low back, skip this exercise.
26. Sprinter situp
Start in a seated position with legs extended in front of you and arms bent to 90-degree angles (think robot). Lean back slightly as you lift right leg with right knee bent.
Bring left elbow to right knee, engaging obliques as you twist upper torso to the right. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
The High-Intensity Cardio Workout You Can Do In Your Living Room
Can’t make it to the gym? No problem, this 10-minute workout is designed for small spaces. Full of cardio and high-intensity movements, this workout is sure to make you break a sweat and get your daily workout in without ever leaving your apartment or hotel room. Watch the video and follow along with fitness expert Lauren Williams to complete the workout!
RELATED: 25 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Don’t have time to watch? Read the full transcript:
If you don’t have time to get to the gym you can still get in a killer workout at home, even if you don’t have a lot of space. Here’s a 10-minute cardio workout designed specifically for tight spaces.
This is a tabata-style workout, which means that you’re going to do 50 seconds of a move and then have a 10-second transition.
Single leg reach and hop: We’ll start on our lower body with a single-leg reach into a hop. Start by standing on the left leg, and then reach your right leg back keeping it hovering off the ground. Then bring your right leg forward, bring your knee up, and hop. Once you have it, speed it up. Do this for 50 seconds, and then switch legs.
Squat jumps and squat pulse: Get into a squat position and do two pulses, slightly bending the knees. After the second pulse, jump and turn to the other side, landing in a squat position, and do two squat pulses. Get as low as you can on that pulse and then get nice and explosive as you jump up.
RELATED: 6 Ways to Upgrade a Basic Squat
Plank walks and shoulder tap: Start in a forearm plank position. Your hips are in line with your shoulders. Come up to a top plank, and then do a shoulder tap on each side. Return back down to a forearm plank. Repeat this motion. Make sure that you’re alternating the arm you use to get into a top plank and to get back down into a forearm plank so that you’re working both sides of the body.
Donkey kicks with a frogger: up the donkey kick by getting into a plank position, but walking your feet in closer to the hands with the knees slightly bent. Jump off the floor and try to kick your butt. Then, go into a frogger. Bring your right foot to your right hand, and then switch. Bring your left foot to left hand, and then back to the starting position to prepare for the donkey kick. You will feel this in your shoulders and quads, and pretty much everywhere—it’s a good one for a total-body burn.
RELATED: Single-Leg Kick by Tracy Anderson
Beast kick through: Come into the beast pose—knees under hips and a few inches off the ground. Rotate to your left side keeping your left hand on the ground. Bring your left leg out, extend it close to the ground, and pull your right arm back. Come back to center, and then switch sides. Repeat this exercise and speed it up. You’ll be working your shoulders and your core as you hover your leg off the ground.
Repeat these five moves to complete the 10-minute exercise.
Celebrity Trainer Carlos Leon’s 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout
Do these five moves in any hotel room.
Traveling is great for many things: exploring a new destination, tasting unique cuisine, and learning about a culture. Unfortunately, it’s not so great for maintaining a fitness regimen. But, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. So, how can you stay fit while not sacrificing all of that precious sightseeing time on vacation?
I tapped celebrity trainer (and Madonna’s ex) Carlos Leon who started a new gym in Chelsea, New York with Jeff Bell called Belleon Body. Here they offer two signature classes: Belleon Method (a high intensity interval training or HIIT class) and Primal Method (a slower-paced class inspired by animal moves).
“There are a lot of HIIT training classes out there, but our is all about the sequence,” says Leon. “It’s the special sauce. You’re training several muscles all at the same time, so the heart has to shuttle blood from one body part to another. That means you’re burning more calories and toning more efficiently.”
Celebrity trainer Carlos Leon whips people into shape quickly.
The best part: you don’t need weights making it the perfect workout to do on vacation. “We created this class and set of exercises for people who don’t have time,” he adds. “You can get everything you need–cardio and toning–in 20 minutes anywhere in the world. If you stick with this routine, you can come back more fit than before you left.”
Here are 5 moves you can do in a hotel room to get a total body workout.
Note: These exercises can be done in straight sets performing 1 to 3 sets each exercise. As an added bonus and to save you time and burn even more calories, perform each exercise back to back in the sequence listed below.
- Plank ups
From a front plank position on your elbows press up to a pushup position with both arms then return to your elbows. Remember to keep your abs tight and hips down for greater effectiveness. Repeat 10-20 times. You’ll be working your shoulders, triceps and abdominals.
- Pelvic tilts
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tense up your buttock muscles and lift your hips up about 6-8 inches off the floor. Make sure not to overarch your low back. The work is in the gluteal muscles. 10-20 reps. For a variation try doing single leg pelvic tilts. Same exact position except one leg lifts off the ground while the other does the lifting. 10-20 reps as well. This works the buttock muscles.
Take a hip width stance with your feet. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your body as upright as possible begin sitting back with your hips and lower until your they are at knee level. Reach forward with your arms to balance your body then rise back up until standing. Perform 15-30 repetitions. For added challenge and balance rise up onto your toes at the end of the movement. This move works your hips, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles.
- Push ups with trunk rotation
Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and your toes on the floor assuming a standard pushup position keeping abdominals very tight and supporting your body. Lift your left arm toward the ceiling rotating your torso then placing it back down on the floor in the same spot. Next perform a pushup with both arms . Press up then rotate the right arm and trunk to the ceiling lowering to the same hand position and performing a push up. Repeat the series rotating and push ups until you’ve performed 10-20 push ups total. This works your arms shoulders, core and upper back mobility.
- Floor jack or spider
Lying on the floor face down, arms by your sides, legs straight feet together. Tighten your abs, lift your legs, arms and torso off the floor 2-3 inches, spread your legs wide apart working your hip muscles, circle your arms out to the sides and overhead keeping them straight. Next reverse your arm and leg motion returning to the beginning and lower your torso to the floor. Repeat 10-12 times total. This works your hips, shoulders, back muscles and core.
Find more workouts you can do at home at CosmoBody, the new fitness and lifestyle channel.
Of course you know one way to rev up your heart rate in your bedroom. But for those times when you don’t have a, er, gym partner, there are other ways to get a legit cardio workout in a relatively small space. Try all or any combination of these moves below from CosmoBody trainer Astrid McGuire to break a quick sweat and boost your metabolism when you lack the motivation to go to the gym. Stick with each move for 30 to 60 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.
1. Heel Kicks: Bend both elbows to a 90-degree angle. Stand on your right foot as you kick your left heel back toward your butt and bring your right arm forward. Then drive your right elbow backward and bring your left arm forward as you hop to your left foot and kick your right heel back to your butt. Continue to alternate arms and legs.
Where you’ll feel it: Your hips and quads.
2. High Knees: Bend each elbow to a 90-degree angle. Stand on your right foot as you lift your left knee to hip height and bring your right arm forward. Then swing your right arm backward and bring your left arm forward as you hop to your left foot and lift your right knee to hip height. Continue to alternate arms and legs in quick succession.
Where you’ll feel it: Your quads, butt, and core.
3. Alternating Reverse Lunge With Cross-Body Punch: Stand with both feet together and your hands in fists at chest level. Keeping your left knee behind your left toes and your shoulders stacked over your hips, take a large step backward with your right foot and lower down into a reverse lunge. At the same time, twist your upper body toward the left and punch diagonally across your chest with your right fist. Turn back to center and bring your right fist in toward your chest, as you push into your left heel and come up to stand with your feet together. Repeat on the opposite side, this time stepping backward with your left foot, twisting toward the right, and punching diagonally across your chest with your left fist. Turn back to center and come up out of the lunge to complete one rep. Continue to alternate sides, punching toward the front leg’s side.
Where you’ll feel it: Your quads, hamstrings, and butt, plus your core, arms and back.
4. Reverse Lunge Knee Pump: Start with your feet together. Take a large step back with your right foot. Keeping your left knee behind the left toes, bend your front knee and lower your body straight down toward the floor until your front thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. With a soft bend in the elbows, bring both arms straight overhead. From this position, press into your left heel as you straighten your left leg, bring your right knee in toward your chest, and swing both arms down toward your sides. Return to starting position to complete one rep. Continue for up to 60 seconds, then reverse legs and repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Where you’ll feel it: Your butt, quads, hamstrings, arms, and core.
5. Reverse Lunge Cross-Body Punches: Take a large step back with your left foot. Keeping your right knee behind the right toes, bend your front knee and lower your body straight down toward the floor until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Without coming up from this position, make a fist with each hand and bend your elbows to bring your fists up to your chest. Twist to the left as you punch diagonally across your chest with your right hand. Twist back to center and bring your right fist back in to your chest, then twist to the right and punch diagonally across your chest with your left fist. Come back to center to complete one rep. Continue to alternate for up to 60 seconds, then reverse legs and continue to punch with alternating arms for the same amount of time.
Where you’ll feel it: Your butt, quads, hamstrings, core, and back.
6. Sumo Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet wider than shoulders-width apart and point your toes about 45-degrees outward. Keeping your shoulders stacked over your hips, reach both hands down toward the floor as you bend your knees to lower your torso straight down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. From this position, press up through the soles of your feet as you extend your legs and jump straight up. Land lightly with soft knees and your feet in starting position to complete one rep.
Where you’ll feel it: Your butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
7. Plank to Frog Jump: Get into push-up position with your feet about shoulders-width apart and your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Your body should form a straight line between your head and heels. From this position, engage your core and bend your knees to jump both feet up to frame your hands. Press into your palms as you jump back to starting position to complete one rep.
Where you’ll feel it: Your core, back, chest, and legs.
8. Mountain Climbers: Get into push-up position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. From this position, engage your core as you drive your left knee in toward your chest. Place the left foot back on the ground in push-up position, then drive your right knee in toward your chest. Continue to alternate in quick succession.
Where you’ll feel it: Your core, back, chest, and legs.
9. Standing Mountain Climbers: Stand on your right foot as you lift your left knee to hip height and drive your right arm straight up into the air. Then release your right arm and drive your left arm straight up as you hop to your left foot and lift your right knee to hip height. Continue to alternate arms and legs.
Where you’ll feel it: Your legs, butt, and core.
10. Lateral Lunges With High Knee Hop: Stand on your left foot and bring your right knee in toward your chest as you drive your left arm up for balance and drive your right elbow behind you. From this position, step your right foot out to the side and bend your right knee to lower into a side lunge as you drive your right arm forward for balance and bring the left elbow behind you. Press into your right foot as you alternate arms and extend the right leg to lift up out of the lunge. Bring your right knee back in to your chest to complete one rep. Continue lunging to the right for up to 60 seconds, then lunge to the left for the same amount of time.
11. Bob Weave Punch: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart, and bend your knees to lower your torso toward the ground. Make a fist with each hand, and bring both fists in toward your chest. From this position, stand as you lift your right heel off the ground, twist from the waist toward the left, and punch your right first across your chest to punch toward the left. Turn back to center, and bring your right hand and heel back to starting position as you bend both knees and lower down to starting position. Then straighten your legs as you lift your left heel off the ground, twist from the waist toward the right, and drive your left fist across your chest to punch toward the right. Turn back to center to return to starting position and complete one rep.
Where you’ll feel it: Your thighs, butt, core, arms, and back.
12. Alternating Toes Shuffle: Stand with both feet together and bend your knees about 45 degrees. Bend both elbows and bring both hands up near your chest. Keeping your chest high and body low to the ground, lift your right heel up off the ground, as you drive your left hand up. Then release your right heel and lift your left heel up off the ground as you reverse arms, this time driving your right hand forward. Continue to alternate in quick succession.
Where you’ll feel it: Your calves, quads, and core.
13. Knee Drives: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart and your weight in your right foot. Drive both arms straight up over you right shoulder. Engage your core as you bring both arms down toward your left hip, and lift your left knee in toward your chest. Return to starting position to complete one rep. Continue for up to 60 seconds, then repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Where you’ll feel it: Your core, arms, and legs.
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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.
With every January comes the New Year’s gym rush — that means accepting the reality of crowded machines and inevitably lingering around your favorite treadmill before it’s available.
On the days when you’re tight on time, though, you could push your coffee table aside and opt for an at-home cardio workout instead.
If you’re leaning toward option number two, that’s where Nikki Kimbrough, a NASM-certified personal trainer, comes to the rescue. Her fun and challenging under 30 minute cardio sequences will make your workout feel like a game night.
All you need is a deck of cards (yes, really!) and you’re ready to sweat.
Repeat the following high-intensity circuit as many times as you can in four minutes. Rest for one minute before repeating four times altogether.
Beginners, attempt to complete the sequence twice in four minutes. Intermediate-level athletes, try to finish three to four circuits in four minutes. You’ve reached an advanced level if you can push five or more rounds in four minutes.
The Card Game
Each card suit is assigned to an exercise, allowing you to transition quickly between the moves. When you draw a suit, you perform the designated task for the number of reps indicated on the card. This is a continued workout until the deck is finished.
If you’re a beginner, it’s optional to begin with half the deck. Once your fitness level increases, add the other half of the deck.
The Suit Cards
The Face Cards
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Image Source: Getty / LumiNola