Yes, you need to ride to become a better cyclist. But sometimes the weather sucks, or your bike is in the shop, or you’re on the kind of road trip that involves four wheels instead of two. Womp womp.
Not all cardio is lost, though. There are plenty of at-home cardio exercises that don’t require equipment and that make it easy to spike your heart-rate anytime, anyplace. Plus, there’s even reason to make your Plan B workout your Plan A from time to time: Mixing up your movement patterns can strengthen muscles you don’t normally use, and perhaps to your surprise, offer a greater cardio boost than a moderate cycling workout.
“Mixing up your cardio can strategically target your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, and hip muscles, all crucial muscles that can help your riding,” says Dennys Lozada, NASM-certified personal trainer and trainer at Fhitting Room and EverybodyFights in New York City. Plus, if you go the HIIT route, you can score a serious calorie burn and boost your cardiovascular conditioning, Lozada adds.
That’s where these at-home cardio exercises come in. Lozada included a high-impact workout for max benefits, along with a low-impact version that’s easier on your joints. Both will spike your heart-rate and make you sweat—without even leaving the house.
How to use this list: The exercises below are demonstrated by Lozada himself so you can learn the proper form. If you want to avoid impact, opt for the low-impact routine and follow the instructions below. If impact isn’t an issue, opt for the high-impact routine or combine all the moves and follow the instructions below. These exercises can also be paired with any other cardio machine of your choice—a treadmill, indoor bike, elliptical, etc.—to create one killer at-home cardio workout. An exercise mat is optional.
- At-Home Cardio Workout: Low Impact
- At-Home Cardio Workout: High Impact
- # 1 – Fast Mountain Climbers
- # 2 – Squat Thrust
- # 3 – Jumping Jacks or Star Jumps
- # 4 – Burpee
- # 5 – Rapid Step Ups
- # 6 – High Knees
- # 7 – Buttock Flicks
- # 8 – Jump Squats
- # 9 – Scissor Kicks
- # 10 – Lump Lunges
- # 11 – Tuck Jumps
- # 12 – Side Shuffles
- # 13 – Skaters with Touch Down
- # 14 – Kangaroo
- # 15 – Box Jumps
- # 16 – Flamingo Burpee
- # 17 – Hill Sprints
- Here are a few body weight workout formats you can try:
- ROWING MACHINE INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- AIRDYNE INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- BARBELL COMPLEX INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- BODYWEIGHT CIRCUIT INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- VERSACLIMBER INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- CARDIO BOXING AND CONDITIONING INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
- 1. Split snatches
- 2. Squat Thrust Split Jumps
- 3. Plyometric Woodchopper
- 4. Devil’s Press
- 5. Plank Jack
- 6. Skaters
- 7. Rollbacks
- 8. Burpee 180 Jump
- 9. Lateral Toe Taps
- 10. Mini-Band Frog Jumps
- 11. Lateral Shuffle Taps
- 12. Sit Outs
- 13. Bench Runners
- 14. Jump Rope
- 15. Walking Lunges
- 16. Banded Vertical Jacks
- 17. Fast-Feet Drop
- 18. Jumping Split Squat
- 19. Beast Shoulder Taps
- 20. Mountain Climbers Pushup
- 21. Dumbbell Thrusters
- 22. Dumbbell Squat Cleans
- 23. Dumbbell Seesaw Press
- 24. Pushup Bent-Over Rows
- 25. Broad Jump
- No Equipment Home Cardio Workout
- Plyo Power Knees
- Side to Side Punches
- Power Jacks
- Mummy Kicks
- Suicide Drills
- High Knees
- Sumo Squat Jumps
- Butt Kickers
- Plyo Hook Lunges
- Sumo Squat Punches
- Cardio is really important in your routine
- No, you don’t need fancy equipment to get it done
- 1. Burpees
- 2. Jump Rope
- 3. Jumping Jacks
- 4. Squat Jumps
- 5. Kickboxing
- 6. Dancing
- 7. Running the Stairs
- 8. Jogging in Place
At-Home Cardio Workout: Low Impact
Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat 4 times.
1. Air Squat
Stand with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out, and hands clasped in front of chest. Send hips back to drop down to a squat position. Straighten legs to return to standing, keeping chest lifted and without rounding your back. Repeat.
2. Alternating Reverse Lunge
Start in standing position, with hands clasped in front of chest, then step left leg straight back and drop down to a lunge position, legs bent at 90-degree angles. Push through right heel to return left leg to start. Repeat on other side. Continue to alternate between left and right legs, going as fast as possible.
3. Mountain Climbers
Assume a high plank position, hands beneath shoulders, body forming a straight line parallel to the floor. Drive right knee toward chest. As you return right leg to starting position, drive left knee toward chest. Continue to alternate as fast as possible without stopping.
4. Forearm Plank
Start on all fours then lower onto your forearms and step both feet back into a forearm plank with elbows directly beneath shoulders, and core engaged so body forms a straight line parallel to floor. Hold, activating your core and glutes and keeping back straight.
5. Walking Plank
Start in a high plank position with hands directly beneath shoulders, and core and glutes engaged so body forms a straight line parallel to the floor. Lower each elbow to ground to drop into a forearm plank. “Walk” each hand back up to return to high plank position. Repeat.
At-Home Cardio Workout: High Impact
Perform each exercise for 3o to 60 seconds, followed by 10 to 20 seconds of rest. Repeat 5 times.
1. High Knees
Start standing and hold both hands out, palms down. Drive right knee to right palm. Immediately drive left knee to left palm as you return right leg to starting position. Stay light on your toes and the balls of your feet. Continue to repeat as fast as possible.
2. Alternating Jump Lunge
Start in standing position, then step left leg straight back and lower into a lunge position, legs bent at 90-degree angles. Jump six inches off ground, switching legs in air as you lower back down to lunge position. Continue to alternate between left and right legs as fast as possible. You can pump your arms as if you’re running for extra momentum.
3. Squat Thrust
Start standing then send hips back and lower down into a deep squat with chest lifted, hands on floor between legs, and butt lower than knees. Shift weight to hands then jump feet back behind you to come into a high plank position. Quickly jump feet back to hands to return to a deep squat with chest lifted. Straighten legs to stand. Continue to repeat as fast as possible.
4. Push-Up to Knee Touch
Start in a high plank position with wrists directly under shoulders, core and glutes engaged so body forms a straight line from head to heels. Bend elbows to lower chest to floor to perform a push-up. Press back up to high plank, then bend left knee to touch right palm. Return left foot and right hand to start and repeat the push-up. Touch right knee to left palm. Continue to repeat.
5. Quadruped Hold to Shoulder Tap
Start on all fours with wrists directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips, legs bet to 90 degrees. Using your core, lift knees up to hover about six inches above floor (also called a bear plank). Draw right hand to tap left shoulder. Return right hand to floor, then use left hand to tap right shoulder. Continue to repeat.
Kiera Carter Kiera Carter has a decade’s worth of experience covering fitness, health, and lifestyle topics for national magazines and websites.
If you want to get your heart pumping and increase your lung capacity then cardio based bodyweight exercises are the answer.
The more muscles your can use during an exercise the more demands on energy and the harder the lungs and heart have to work.
The following body weight exercises for cardio require no equipment, they can be performed with your bodyweight only.
Ensure that you have a base level of cardio before performing some of these exercises as the intensity can be very high.
As with all jumping and impact based exercises be careful that you have good joints, ligaments and form before using these exercises.
For maximum results I would recommend an interval style approach to these body weight exercises for cardio so work hard for 20 – 30 seconds and then rest or change exercise.
# 1 – Fast Mountain Climbers
An excellent introduction to bodyweight exercises for cardio.
Tough on the legs as well as the core muscles.
Start in a Push Up position and then alternate jumping one leg forward followed by the other between your hands.
Try to ensure that both feet land at the same time. Work on your timing.
For beginners I will use sliders under the feet to minimalise the impact.
# 2 – Squat Thrust
The Squat Thrust takes the Fast Mountain Climber to the next level.
Rather than jumping and alternating legs you keep both legs together.
Ensure you keep both feet together and knees between your elbows as you jump forwards.
As you jump back brace your core muscles and don’t allow your hips to sag.
This bodyweight exercise will challenge your mobility, leg strength, cardio and abs. Again this body weightexercise can be performed with sliders underneath the feet to eliminate the impact for beginners.
# 3 – Jumping Jacks or Star Jumps
Another classic Cardio based bodyweight exercise.
Start in a standing position and jump both feet outwards, at the same time take the arms out sideways too.
Return both feet to the centre and bring the arms down at the same time.
Try to clap your hands together at the top and then at the bottom. Work on your timing!
# 4 – Burpee
The burpee is very squat heavy exercise so it uses a lot of muscle mass and elevates the heart rate quickly.
From a standing position sit down deep into the squat position and place your hands on the floor.
Next jump both feet back and forwards just like the Squat Thrust.
Finally stand up and push the hips forwards.
Always ensure that you finish standing tall with the buttocks tight.
You can add a jump at the top and push ups at bottom if you wish.
# 5 – Rapid Step Ups
You may remember this one from your school days.
With a bench or step in front of you quickly step up and step down off the bench.
You can overload the one leg by always leading with the same leg or you alternate between sides.
Move as quickly as you can.
You can try 30 seconds of Rapid Step Ups followed by 10 Jump Squats and repeat 3 – 8 times.
# 6 – High Knees
A powerful bodyweight exercise for cardio that gets the heart rate up fast.
From a standing position sprint on the spot lifting the knees as high as possible.
Use the arms at the same time to really pump the body and get momentum.
You will need to ensure that your calf muscles are nice and warm before performing this exercise.
A great exercise for cardio to partner with the burpee, try 20 seconds of high knees followed by 10 burpees for 3-8 rounds.
# 7 – Buttock Flicks
A simple exercise for cardio that is better for beginners or as a recovery exercise.
From a standing position alternatively flick your legs backward to touch your backside.
If you have tight thighs you will notice a slight stretch during this exercise. A great warm up exercise too!
# 8 – Jump Squats
A serious Plyometric exercise that should only be performed when you can perform perfect regular squats.
Very demanding for the legs and buttocks as well as the heart and lungs.
Perform a regular squat ensuing your thighs go down to at least parallel with the floor.
Next explode from the bottom of the Squat and into the air.
Try to jump as high as possible pushing the ground away from you.
Land back down with soft knees and immediately drop back into the squat and repeat.
# 9 – Scissor Kicks
A fast bodyweight exercise that may take a little practice.
Start in a standing position and quickly kick one leg out in front of you followed by the other leg.
Continue to bounce from one leg to the other as you kick the legs out in front of you.
One you get into a good rhythm with the movement it works well. Try not to lean back too far.
# 10 – Lump Lunges
Slightly more difficult that the Jump Squat and requires more skill and timing.
Perform a regular lunge but as you push up from the ground explode into the air and switch legs so you land with the opposite leg forwards and the other backwards.
Drop straight down into the lunge and repeat.
Always ensure that you drop down into a deep lunge for this exercise for maximum benefits.
# 11 – Tuck Jumps
A very advanced body weight exercise for cardio that will have you breathing heavy in no time.
From a standing position jump up into the air and quickly tuck your knees up to your chest before returning your leg back down ready for landing.
You will need to use your arms for momentum to drive you into the air.
Try performing 10 Tuck Jumps followed by 30 seconds of Fast Mountain Climbers, repeat 3-8 rounds.
# 12 – Side Shuffles
A great body weight cardio exercise to introduce some sideways or lateral movement into your workout.
From a standing position shuffle one leg out to the side then quickly replace the leg in the middle with the other leg as you shuffle the other way.
Try to move nice and quickly throughout the exercise and stay on your toes.
# 13 – Skaters with Touch Down
Very similar in movement to the Side Shuffles except this cardio exercise loads each leg a little more and involves the upper body too.
Shuffle out one leg to the side and then take the other leg behind that leg, at the same time touch the floor with the opposite hand to the side you are moving towards.
Quickly switch sides and repeat in the other direction. When performed correctly you should look like a speed skater, minus the skates of course 🙂
# 14 – Kangaroo
A tough exercise for the legs but worth the effort if you have good movement skills.
Start in a deep squat position with the arms hanging down between the legs and your back straight.
Next explode forwards like a Kangaroo.
Continue to bounce forwards like a Kangaroo gaining as much height between jumps as possible.
It is very important that you keep your chest up and a flat back throughout this exercise.
# 15 – Box Jumps
Great for building leg strength but also for working on your cardio.
Find a solid step or box and practice jumping with both feet up and onto the box.
Use your arms to help drive you up.
Once at the top either jump back down and repeat or step down and repeat.
In order to get the most from this exercise you need to perform the movement quickly and the box needs to be at a challenging height.
Don’t perform this cardio exercise when you are too exhausted or you risk tripping or missing the step or box.
# 16 – Flamingo Burpee
A more advanced body weight cardio exercise that overloads the one leg.
Perform a regular Burpee except this time perform the complete exercise standing only on one leg.
You will need to have good single leg strength for this one as well as strong calf muscles.
If you suffer from calf strains or Achilles Tendon issues then this is not the exercise for you.
Try 10 on one leg and then change sides.
# 17 – Hill Sprints
I couldn’t miss off this excellent exercise and probably one of the best Cardio options.
First perform a good warm up and then sprint for 20 – 30 seconds up a hill.
Next walk back down the hill and repeat. Ensure you have a good cardio base before attempting this exercise and then start with 1-3 Sprints and add 1 extra per week for a maximum of 8 Sprints.
If you can sprint for longer that 30 seconds then you are not running hard enough. Watch your hamstrings and calf muscles during this exercise.
All of these body weight cardio exercises are very demanding so start off slow and build up gradually.
Here are a few body weight workout formats you can try:
- Exercise 1 – 30 seconds
- Rest 30 seconds
- Exercise 2 – 30 seconds
- Repeat 3 – 8 circuits
- Exercise 1 – 30 seconds
- Exercise 2 – 30 seconds
- Rest 30 seconds and Repeat 3 – 8 times
- Exercise 1 – 20 reps
- Exercise 2 – 20 reps
- Exercise 3 – 20 reps
- Exercise 4 – 20 reps
- Repeat for 7 Minutes
Have you tried any of these bodyweight exercises for cardio? Let me know more below:
There’s no beating a good weight workout, right? But if you really want to keep your body the healthiest it can be, you’ll want to add in some cardio into the mix, too.
According to a study in BMC Public Health, overweight and obese people who started a 12-week exercise program including both cardio and weight training lost more body fat—including the heart-unhealthy kind that accumulates around the belly—than those who performed only cardio or only strength training.
But the winter can be a rough time for guys looking to get their cardio in. For the casual runner, the cold temps can make pounding the pavement seem super unpalatable. And who can play pickup basketball if the court’s covered in snow and slush?
These weather limitations can make it feel like your only option is to hop on the nearest treadmill, which can feel like an endless way to slog through your workout.
But the good news is, you don’t have to slave away on the dreadmill to knockout your cardio—not when the gym is full of other equipment that can give you an even better workout.
Here, six indoor cardio workouts that will get your heart rate up, scorch some serious calories, and leave your muscles feeling pumped (Want an fat-frying workout you can do right at home? Try The 21-Day Metashred from Men’s Health).
ROWING MACHINE INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
When rowing machines first hit the market decades ago, most hardcore exercisers didn’t even give this piece of equipment a second look. But now, these machines seem to be the cornerstone of most gyms.
The rower gives you an awesome workout that challenges your cardiovascular system, upper body, and legs—essentially giving you a total body workout.
David Otey, C.S.C.S., personal training manager at Equinox Fitness, uses this rowing workout with his clients.
How to do it:
1. Row for 200 meters (m) at a moderate pace for a warmup
2. Row for 250 m at 70 percent effort. Rest two to three times as long as your “work” interval. For instance, if it takes you one minute to row 250 m, your “rest’ period would be two to three minutes.
3. Repeat this six times total.
Related: I Added Rowing to My Workouts. Here’s Why You Should, Too
AIRDYNE INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
If you have access to an Airdyne bike that uses both your arms and legs, hop on and get moving. The goal here is to work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes with a harder resistance, while pumping your arms to increase your overall cardio conditioning.
Here’s one of Otey’s favorite cardio crushers.
How to do it:
1. Pedal for 10 calories with just your arms, followed immediately by 10 calories with your legs, and then 10 calories with your full body.
2. Rest for 90 seconds.
3. Repeat for five times total.
Related: 3 Fat-Destroying Finishers You Can Do At the End Of Every Workout
BARBELL COMPLEX INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
The barbell complex is for the guy who refuses to get on any piece of cardio equipment, period. But beware, this workout is intense.
Otey starts most guys off with 95lbs on the bar, but you can adjust the weight depending on your fitness level. You’ll go directly from one exercise to the next, with no rest until your entire circuit is done.
How to do it:
1. Perform 15 front squats.
2. Perform 15 shoulder presses.
3. Perform 15 bent-over rows
4. Perform 15 Romanian deadlifts
5. Rest for two minutes. Perform five to eight rounds total.
How to Do a Romanian Deadlift:
BODYWEIGHT CIRCUIT INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
Men’s Health training advisor, David Jack, recommends bodyweight circuits for increasing your heart rate and getting a total-body workout.
This type of workout is appropriate for any fitness level since the intensity can be modified to match your cardio level.
However, if you have any upper or lower body joint issues, you may want to swap out a few of these exercises for ones that are lower impact. For example, if you have knee problems, swap out burpees for shadow boxing. Try this circuit from Otey.
How to do it:
1. Perform 20 bodyweight squats.
2. Perform 20 jumping jacks.
3. Perform 20 burpees.
4. Perform 20 pushups.
5. Perform 20 mountain climbers.
6. Rest for two minutes. Do five to eight rounds total.
Related: 12 Pushups That Will Transform Your Chest
VERSACLIMBER INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
If you’ve ever wondered what if feels like to climb a mountain—but you don’t exactly have one at your disposal—then hop on one of these bad boys and start climbing. Known for giving you a sweat slogging cardio workout, the VersaClimber also challenges the muscles of your upper and lower body.
Try this workout designed by Otey.
How to do it:
1. Work for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
2. Work for 50 seconds. Rest for 50 seconds.
3. Work for 55 seconds. Rest for 55 seconds.
4. Work for 60 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds.
5. Work for 60 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
6. Work for 55 seconds. Rest for 50 seconds.
7. Work for 50 seconds. Rest for 55 seconds.
8. Work for 45 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds.
9. Rest for three minutes. Perform three rounds total.
Related: The 5 Best Cardio Machines On the Planet
CARDIO BOXING AND CONDITIONING INDOOR CARDIO WORKOUT
Cardio boxing is an intense, scalable workout that boasts full-body benefits. Boxing moves condition the entire body and provide a complete workout for your cardiovascular system as well as increases your stamina, speed, strength, and coordination.
Ideal for the office worker seeking stress relief at the end of their day or an athlete in need of cross training, cardio boxing and conditioning is a versatile, enjoyable workout. And since you can adjust the intensity of these moves this workout is appropriate for most fitness levels.
Jack uses shadow boxing, line drills, and space agility drills when designing indoor cardio workouts for clients. He also likes incorporating all three into his own workouts. Try his workout below—you won’t rest until all the moves are completed.
How to do it:
1. Shadow box (hook) for three minutes. The hook is a boxing move performed with a bent arm and a rapid rotation of your hips and core.
2. Perform a lateral shuffle for three minutes.
3. Jump rope for three minutes.
4. Rest for two to three minutes. Perform three rounds total.
Related: 6 Things I Learned When I Tried a Boxer’s Workout
Sara Lindberg Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on health and fitness.
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “cardio?” Probably running, maybe the elliptical machine, stationary bike, or even rowing. But there’s so much more to cardiorespiratory training than steady-state endurance workouts—a.k.a. trucking it for the long-haul.
The best kind of cardio happens to be compound exercises, which involve multiple joints and more than one muscle group. “They improve coordination and elevate the heart rate quicker—plus, they allow a person to get a full-body workout in less time while mirroring movements you actually use in real life,” says Sarah Gawron, AFAA-certified trainer at Epic Hybrid Training and Solace in New York City.
A HIIT workout or circuit training sequence can often also burn more calories than steady-state cardio workout, BTW. That’s because they’re performed at a higher intensity, require more energy and oxygen to complete, and, therefore, produce a greater after-burn effect (otherwise known as EPOC). This means you’ll continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after your workout is over.
More Exercises To Try
The real deal-sealer here, though, might just be that you can cut your cardio time in half (from 150 minutes to 75 per week if you’re following the U.S. Department of Health’s physical activity guidelines) by opting to do HIIT or circuit training. That’ll free up more time for fun runs, as well as other types of training like too.
Need help picturing what this type of workout plan might look like? “I recommend doing high-intensity cardio one to three times a week, then complement it with low-impact strength training two to four times a week.” says Kristie Larson, NASM-certified personal trainer at Fithouse and Rise By We.
Now that you’re totally inspired to swap your usual jog for some resistance training, below you’ll find a list of the best cardio exercises—provided by Larson and Gawron. They’re guaranteed to get your heart pounding.
Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: dumbbells, resistance band, mat
Good for: total body
Instructions: For this workout, you’ll complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Choose six to eight moves below and complete the indicated number of reps per set for each without stopping, then rest for 30 seconds between each set. Before starting each new move, rest for 30 seconds.
1. Split snatches
How to: Start in a squat with back flat and parallel to mat, left arm straight and between feet gripping a dumbbell, which is resting on the floor, right arm extended to side at shoulder level for balance. In one explosive movement, keeping dumbbell close to body, lift torso, pull weight overhead until left arm is straight (bicep by ear and palm facing forward), and hop right left forward and left leg back then lower down into a lunge, stopping when both legs form 90-degree angles. Rise up to stand with feet under shoulders without lowering dumbbell. That’s one rep. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 8 reps per side.
2. Squat Thrust Split Jumps
How to: Start standing with feet mat-distance apart. Squat down and place palms flat on mat then jump feet back to land in a high plank position. Hop feet back behind palms and rise to stand, immediately jumping into a split squat with left leg back, right leg forward, and both lower limbs forming 90-degree angles. Jump up and switch legs to land in a split squat with right leg back and left leg forward. Return to start position. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 8 reps.
3. Plyometric Woodchopper
How to: Start standing with feet under shoulders holding one dumbbell with both hands in front of body, arms extended toward floor. Lift right foot up off mat and behind body while bending at elbows to swing weight over left shoulder. Quickly hop from left foot to right while straightening arms and drawing dumbbell diagonally across chest toward right hip, torso and gaze follow weight. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 8 reps per side.
4. Devil’s Press
How to: Start standing with feet wider than mat and arms by sides holding a pair of dumbbells. Squat down and place dumbbells on the floor. Jump feet back into high plank, then hop them forward outside of hands. In one motion, swing weights back between legs, and as they come forward, squeeze glutes, engage abs, lift torso to stand, and press dumbbells overhead until arms are straight, palms facing each other. Lower weights to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 8 reps.
5. Plank Jack
How to: Start in a high plank with a mini resistance band loop around ankles and feet mat-width apart. Hop feet together, then back to starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 8 reps.
How to: Start standing on right foot at far right end of mat with left leg bent, left foot lifted and crossed behind right leg, left arm bent and crossed in front of body, right arm behind back, and torso tilted slightly forward. Hop to left end of mat switching arms and legs to mirror move on opposite side. Hop back to start. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
How to: Start standing at top of mat. Extend arms straight out in front of body, and in one motion, sit down onto floor, roll back onto shoulder blades, pushing arms into mat to help drive hips and heels up towards the ceiling. Use momentum to reverse the motion and return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 10 reps.
8. Burpee 180 Jump
How to: Start standing in middle of mat with feet shoulder-width apart and arms by sides. Complete a burpee by squatting down to place palms flat on mat in front of toes, hopping feet back into a high plank position and lowering body down to floor, then pushing through palms to reverse the movement. As you rise to stand, hop around to face the opposite direction and then perform another burpee. Hop back around to start position. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
9. Lateral Toe Taps
How to: Place a dumbbell on mat in front of feet. Begin with right foot on top of the target, keeping weight in left foot. Quickly switch feet so that left foot is on the target. That’s one rep. Continue alternating feet while lightly tapping toes on the target. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
10. Mini-Band Frog Jumps
How to: Place a mini resistance band around your ankles and start in a deep squat with feet wider than shoulders and toes slightly turned out, arms straight with fingers pointed touching ground between feet. Jump up extended legs to straight but keeping feet wide and tension on band. Land softly back in start position. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
11. Lateral Shuffle Taps
How to: Start in a quarter squat at left end of mat, feet wider than shoulders, shuffle to right end of mat, then touch floor with fingertips of right hand. Shuffle back to start and touch the floor with left hand. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 10 reps.
12. Sit Outs
How to: Start on all fours, knees hovering slightly off the floor, balancing on balls of feet. Pick left hand up off floor while turning torso to left side of mat, kicking right leg under and across body, and rotating left knee toward ceiling, lowering left heel down to mat for support. Reverse movement to return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 10 reps.
13. Bench Runners
How to: Start standing with right toes resting on top of box or step and left foot flat on floor. Quickly switch feet, touching the box with left foot, and then return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 10 reps.
14. Jump Rope
How to: Start with feet together and arms by sides, elbows slightly bent and hands clasped like you’re holding the handles of a jump rope. Keeping elbows close to ribs, start making circles with both forearms in one direction while hopping feet forward, back, and side to side. Complete 6 sets of 20 seconds without stopping.
15. Walking Lunges
How to: Start standing with feet together holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, elbows bent in front of body. Step right foot forward and bend both knees into a lunge, stopping when both legs form 90-degree angles. Press through right heel to stand and step left foot forward, lowering into a lunge. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 12 reps, turning around when you reach the end of your workout space as needed.
16. Banded Vertical Jacks
How to: Place a mini resistance band above ankles and start standing with feet under hips and arms by sides. Jump left leg forward and right leg back a few inches while swinging arms in opposite directions, elbows bent. Reverse the movement. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 10 reps.
17. Fast-Feet Drop
How to: Start in a quarter squat with feet as wide as mat and arms bent, hands in front of chest. Begin moving feet quickly in place, count to five, then squat down, place palms and mat, jump feet back to high plank position and lower body to the floor. Without pausing, quickly jump back up to starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 2 sets of as many reps as possible in 20 seconds.
18. Jumping Split Squat
How to: Start in split squat with torso upright, right leg forward and left leg back, both bent at 90 degrees, left arm bent in front of chest, and right arm extended behind body. Engage abs and drive through right heel to jump up into the air with straight legs, switching arms and leg positions to land softly back into a split squat with left leg and right arm forward this time. Reverse movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 12 reps.
19. Beast Shoulder Taps
How to: Start on all fours with knees hovering slightly off the floor. Keeping hips level, lift right hand off the floor to touch left shoulder. Return to start, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
20. Mountain Climbers Pushup
How to: Start in a high plank. Do one pushup and then pull right knee toward chest, then return to start and repeat with the left, alternating eight times. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of as many reps as possible in 20 seconds.
21. Dumbbell Thrusters
How to: Start standing with feet wider than shoulders and arms overhead, biceps by ears, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower weights to shoulder level as you squat down until thighs are parallel to mat. Reverse movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
22. Dumbbell Squat Cleans
How to: Start standing with feet wider than shoulders and arms by sides holding a dumbbell in each hand. Shrug shoulders and pull weights up to chin level, elbows narrow and bent in front of body, as you lower into a squat until thighs are parallel to floor. Reverse movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 12 reps.
23. Dumbbell Seesaw Press
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells with left arm extended straight overhead, bicep by ear, and right arm bent, elbow narrow and weight at shoulder level. Switch arm positions so right arm is straight overhead and left is bent, then reverse to return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 4 sets of 12 reps.
24. Pushup Bent-Over Rows
How to: Start in a quarter squat with feet hips-distance apart, torso parallel to floor, and harms extending straight toward mat, grazing outside of shins and holding dumbbells, palms facing each other. Lower weights to floor in front of feet, then, keeping grip on dumbbells and wrists straight, jump feet back to high plank position and do a pushup. Hop feet back behind weights and return to start position. Now, pull weights toward ribs, keeping elbows narrow. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 6 to 8 sets of 8 reps.
25. Broad Jump
How to: Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart at back of mat with arms by sides. Lower down into a half squat position, and bend elbows to bring hands to frame face. Swing arms behind body, then use the momentum of swinging them back forward to hop both feet to top of mat. Land softly on balls of heels and jump around to face opposite direction. Do another broad jump. That’s one rep. Complete 6 sets of 8 reps.
Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.
In this 23 minute cardio workout video you can easily get your heart rate up, get a good sweat going, and definitely burn a good number of calories. Though this workout is not as intense as some of our more challenging videos it will definitely leave your muscles shaky and tired by the end.
One of the nice things about this routine is that because all of theses moves are bodyweight driven you don’t need any equipment to get an awesome workout in, and it can be done anywhere you have access to the internet. Also because each exercise is based off of control rather than brute strength, you can easily increase the difficulty by speeding up or slowing down or by adding additional split-second breaks between repetitions.
To increase the difficulty of this routine you can simply modify each exercise to incorporate extra weight in the form of dumbbells, wrist/ankle weights, or a weighted vest. You can also increase your effort level by contracting muscles throughout your body that may not be working for a particular exercise, and by increasing range of motion while moving as quickly as you can while still maintaining control over form. These little changes can all result in a drastic improvement in calories burned and improvement in athletic performance over time.
This complete routine – including its warm up and cool down – takes only 23 minutes to complete but burns an impressive amount of energy. On the low end you can average 7 calories per minute and 11 calories per minute on the high end. This gives you a total burn of 162 to 254 calories for this complete video.
Quick Warm Up
Tabata Style (modified to 30 second active and 10 seconds rest)
Each exercise is done 4 times
- High Knee Freeze
- Walkdown Push Ups + Two Jumping Jacks
- Double Dip Squats
- Stutter Steps (Stationary Runners)
- Stutter Jacks
- Lunge Pulses
Cool Down and Stretch
No Equipment Home Cardio Workout
No gym? No problem! No equipment? Don’t sweat it. I’ve got you covered with this no equipment home cardio workout. All moves you can do in the comfort of your garage or living room, without any fancy ‘stuff’ to get your heart rate up and calories burned!
This little doozy of ano equipment home cardio workout was created out of pure desperation one day. You know what I’m talking about – you’re feeling crazy overwhelmed, there’s like a billion things to do, and you just have to step away from it all or else your head might explode. This may or may not be every other day for me…but like Dory says, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.
But moments like that just reinforce how badly I need to put stuff aside and go sweat. Yes, working out is my stress relief. So once the baby went down for afternoon nap, momma cleared all the toys from the living room and got busy. And you can do the same!
Follow the photos and instruction below for a 20-30 minute cardio workout you can do anywhere, any time, with no equipment needed. And for additional help, see the video at the end of this post for a real-life example of every move in action!
Each exercise will be repeated 50 times. Yep, 50. However, you can ALWAYS modify, starting with 25 and working your way up!
Run in place for one full minute, followed by jumping jacks for one full minute
Plyo Power Knees
Start with your feet spread wide, weight primarily on left leg and arms extended overhead. Next, bring your right knee in towards your chest while bringing your hands down towards the lifted knee, gently tapping your knee. Extend your right leg back to the original position and continue this motion, 50 times on one side, then 50 times on the other.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Lift your right leg and bring your knee in towards your chest, opposite arm bent and directly in front of your chest. Jump over to the other leg and switch hands. Do this quickly and simultaneously for 50 counts (each time your right leg comes up, count that as one).
Side to Side Punches
Stand with your feet wider than hip distance apart and turn your body to the right, putting most of your weight on your right leg. Punch out to the right side with your left arm, then bring your right leg in towards your left as you ‘skip’ up, lifting both arms overhead. Land with most of your weight on you left leg as you punch out with your right arm. Continue to do this back and forth 50 times.
Start in a wide sumo squat, chest up. Bring your hands out to your sides and parallel with your shoulders. Jump up as you bring your feet together and arms overhead, then jump back into the deep sumo squat position. Do 50 repetitions.
Start with your arms extended out in front of your shoulders, palms facing down, one arm stacked over the other. Shuffle one leg out and in front of your body slightly, then quickly switch legs and arms simultaneously. Do 50 mummy kicks (each time your right kicks out, count that as one).
Repeat the warmup (one minute running in place followed by one minute jumping jacks) then repeat that top sequence. After that, complete the warmup again, then proceed to the set below)
Start in a wide stance, weight distributed on your right leg, reaching your left hand near your foot, body angled down. Using your right leg for power, quickly lift your body up and execute a one-step shuffle over to your left as you place all the weight on your left leg and reach with your right hand. Complete 50 total.
Start with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your right leg up and bend your knee, aiming to get your knee parallel with your hip or higher. Jump to switch legs. Do these back and forth, quickly for 50 repetitions (each time your right knee comes in, count that as one).
Sumo Squat Jumps
Start in a wide sumo squat position with your palms together, directly in front of your chest. Bend deeply into the squat, then jump up to your highest position. For an extra challenge, try pressing your feet out even further to the sides as you are in the air. Complete 50 jumps.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, then lift your right foot back towards your booty as if you are trying to kick it. Switch legs and do this quickly for 50 repetitions (each time your right leg kicks your backside, count that as one).
Plyo Hook Lunges
Start with your right leg in front, bent at a 90 degree angle, and left leg behind your body. Swing your left arm around the side of your body and stop in front of your chest, arm bent at a 90 degree angle, executing a hook punch. Power up from your right leg as you jump up and land with the opposite leg in front (left), and hooking with your right arm simultaneously. Do 50 total plyo lunges.
Sumo Squat Punches
Start in a wide sumo squat and bend deeply to reach a challenge point with your lower body. Bring your fists directly in front of your chest, then punch each arm to a 45 degree angle across your body. D0 50 repetitions (each time your right arm punches out, count that as one).
After you’ve completed the entire bottom half of this no equipment home cardio workout, do the warmup again (one minute running and place followed by one minute jumping jacks) then repeat the entire bottom sequence (suicide drills through sumo squat punches).
Here is a video version to follow along!
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Combine this no equipment home cardio workout into your weekly routine along with some weight training like this Garage Total Body Circuit, Quad & Shoulder Scorcher, 8 Moves to Banish Back Fat, and Transform Your Arms in 6 Moves workout, and you’re set!
Love all the cardio and want more of it? Then be sure to also try these cardio workouts you can do at home too! Lower Body Cardio Tabata, 20-Minute Heart Blast HIIT Workout, and this 30 Minute Home HIIT Workout.
Disclaimer: Please note that there is an affiliate link on this no equipment home cardio workout and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through that link. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.
No matter what your exercise of choice is—whether you’re Pilates-forward or prefer to sweat it out in the boxing ring—cardio is an important part of every routine. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any coach or trainer who wouldn’t tell you to make it a priority. If you’re a fan of at-home fitness, however, it can admittedly be challenging to find ways to fit it in, because most of us assume that “cardio” is synonymous with logging miles on a treadmill or a bike.
But contrary to popular belief, at-home cardio can get your heart rate pumping to max capacity without ever having to leave your living room—or put on pants.
Cardio is really important in your routine
First of all, you’re going to want to understand why cardio should be a part of your life. In the same way you prioritize brushing your teeth and washing your face for the sake of a healthy mouth and well-functioning skin, you should also be making time to get your blood pumping for the sake of a healthy heart. “Cardio is by definition exercise of the heart,” says Jaime McFaden, an Aaptiv master trainer, noting that it’s particularly important because it helps to circulate blood throughout our bodies. Our heart, as we all well know, is essentially what keeps us alive (thanks, heart!), and carries nutrients throughout our bodies and brings oxygen to our tissue.
Not only is a good cardio workout getting your heart pumping in the moment, it has further-reaching benefits that can help you over time. “Your heart has to work harder and faster during cardio exercise, and in short, a stronger, healthier heart will increase stamina and endurance with tons of longterm benefits, including reducing anxiety, boosting your mood through endorphins, and helping with sleep,” says Obé trainer Mary Wolff. So basically, no matter what you’re doing on the reg (hi there, yogi friends!) you’re going to want to add some element of cardio to the mix for the the sake of your body and your mind .
No, you don’t need fancy equipment to get it done
While most of us think of cardio as something that requires a lot of space (hey there, marathoners) or some fancy equipment (a la the elliptical or stair master) to get done, that’s not actually the case. In fact, you can get an effective cardio workout with nothing more than your own two feet. Here, McFaden, Wolff, and 305 Fitness trainer Tori Fyock share their favorite at-home cardio moves that require zero equipment—except maybe a towel, because you’ll definitely be sweating.
1. Jumping jacks: An oldie, but a goodie! You’ve likely been doing these since elementary school so you probably know the drill, but as a quick refresher: Stand with your feet together and your hands by your side, and jump your feet out while reaching your arms overhead. Then jump everything back to the start and repeat. If you want a lower-impact version of the move, step your feet in and out instead of jumping.
2. Burpees: Pretty much everyone has a love/hate relationship with burpees, but no one can argue that they’re an effective way to get a burst cardio and strength training in one fell swoop. Start standing, then place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Jump your feet back so that you land in plank position, then jump your feet back up toward your hands. Explode up into the air with a jump, and repeat.
3. High knees: There’s a reason this move has likely been haunting you since middle school gym class. Yes, it sucks. And yes, it will get your heart pumping. Standing with your feet under your hips, push off of your toes and bring one knee to your chest. Then, switch legs, picking up speed your speed to a sprint.
4. Mountain climbers: Think of this move as “high knees, but on the ground,” says McFaden. In a high plank position with your core tight (squeeze!) bring one knee into your chest and switch to the other as quickly as possible.
5. Scissor jumps: Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and squat with your hips down and chest lifted. Jump off the ground, bringing your legs together with one foot crossed in front—or “scissored)”—and land back in squat position. Repeat, alternating which foot you’ve got crossing in the front.
6. Jack-to-tuck jumps: Start standing with your feet under your hips. Hop your feet out to wider stance, and swing your arms out to the side and up overhead jumping jack style. Then, hop your feet back in and jump straight up, driving both of your knees to your chest. Repeat.
7. Broad jump: Stand with your feet under your hips and come into squat with your arms behind you. Then, extend your knees and your hips while simultaneously throwing your arms forward while jumping forward. Land in a squat, then turn around and repeat.
8. Hop over burpee: Think of this one as a burpee with a twist. Stand on one side of a towel (pro tip: towels are the ultimate piece of fitness equipment you’ve already got at your house), and sit back into a small squat. Use your glutes and legs to jump up over the towel, landing in a squat. Bring your hands to the floor, then hop your feet back into a plank, then explode back into a squat position. Repeat.
9. Punching bag: This one will work your arms and your heart at the same time. Imaging you’ve got a punching bag in front of you—”Million Dollar Baby status,” says Fyok—slightly bend your knees into a relaxed sumo squat position. Curl your fingers into fists and punch out in front of you for 20 to 30 seconds.
10. Plank crawlers: There are approximately a zillion different plank iterations out there, but this is one of the hardest. Start in a forearm plank position, and one at a time push up from your elbows onto your hands. Then, go back down, and repeat for 20 to 30 seconds alternating arms. “Engage your core to keep from rocking side to side as you switch arms,” suggests Fyok.
11. Knee pulls: These are like high knees, but without the whole “sprinting” element. Lift your arms into the air, and as you pull them down, lift one knee into your chest. Repeat on the other side. “As you alternate, it will feel like a slight hop from one leg to the next,” says Fyok. If you want something slightly lower impact (which still totally counts!), move slightly slower and forget the hop. Repeat for 20 to 30 seconds.
12. Linebacker: You’ll probably recognize this move from high school football practice—or at least, movies about high school football practice (I love you deeply, Friday Night Lights). Channel a linebacker, and stay on your toes while shuffling your feet as quickly as you can, which will help you build agility and endurance. Repeat for 20-30 seconds.
13. Jump, jump, squat: With this one, it’s all in the name. Start with two jumps in place (you can use your arms to help pump you up), and land in a squat. “As always, keep a slight bend in those knees,” says Fyock, adding that this move is a lot of fun to time with the music of your favorite pump-up song. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
14. Knockout punches: Another boxer inspired move, because clearly these types of fighters know how to get their hearts pumping. Find your relaxed sumo squat, and punch twice to the left with the right arm and twice to the right with the right arm. Repeat for 20 to 30 seconds, and “find the beat with the music and knock ’em dead,” says Fyock.
15. Front kicks: These are similar to “knee pulls,” but instead of lifting your knee up, kick your leg out in front of you, alternating feet If you’re really feeling funky, add some arm movements into the mix, and repeat for 20 to 30 seconds.
Real talk: You can do pretty much any workout at home thanks to the rise of digital fitness. To help get you started, here are some of our favorite Instagram ab workouts that will cost you $0 and are just as good (or dare we say, better?) than a personal trainer.
Cardio workouts are an important component of your health and wellbeing. You do not have to spend hours at the gym to maintain your cardiovascular health and lose weight in the process. You can implement an effective cardio workout at home, even if you do not have a lot of space or equipment to do so.
The first thing you need to know is what is cardio? The basic definition is any exercise that increases your heart rate, which opens up the possibility to much more than just running or brisk walking! The following are a list of some of the best cardio workouts that you can add to your exercise regiment without having to leave your home.
Burpees might be the dread of CrossFit pros, but they do provide a killer cardio workout in a short period of time. You do not need any equipment or a lot of space, making them a great cardio workout at home. To do a burpee, alternate between a plank position and jumping forward in the air. Make sure that your hands are flat on the ground and your back straight. In just 10 minutes, you can burn more than 100 calories. We recommend starting slow and working your way up to 10 minutes or more to avoid injury.
2. Jump Rope
Do you have fond memories of jumping rope as a kid? Well, you can bring that into your workouts by jumping rope at home. Jumping rope is often considered the best cardio workout and is used for cross training by many athletes. You can do it almost anywhere with just a simple jump rope you can buy in many locations, which is why it is a great cardio workout at home. If you jump rope for only 20 minutes, you can burn about 220 calories. Although you might have memories of jumping for long periods of time as a kid with no problem, you also want to work your way up to the full 20 minutes.
3. Jumping Jacks
Another cardio workout at home that might bring you back to your childhood is jumping jacks. Similar to burpees, doing jumping jacks for 10 minutes straight can burn around 100 calories. You can easily integrate jumping jacks into a circuit training that includes some of the other exercises on this page, such as burpees, jumping rope and squat jumps. With no equipment necessary, you can perform jumping jacks anywhere at any time.
4. Squat Jumps
Another great cardio exercise that you can do alone or as part of a cardio circuit is squat jumps. As their name implies, you start out in a squat and then jump up, trying to get as high as possible, and then land back in the squat. It is high impact, especially on your knees, so care is needed when you are a beginner or if you are suffering a knee injury.
Want to feel the burn in a more organized cardio session? Then try kickboxing, the best cardio workout to do at home. Kickboxing is a combination of karate and boxing which is excellent for not only cardio but also strength straining. You can use some equipment, such as a punching bag and exercise video, or you can do it on your own if you already have some skills. In addition to burning around 100 calories per 10 minutes of working out, you also can get rid of your stress and aggression.
Looking to have some fun with your cardio workout at home? Then put on some music and do some dancing. Anything that gets your heart pumping exercises your cardiovascular system, and certain dance moves also help to build muscle. Be sure to have the best men’s workout leggings for those new moves. If you want a more structured lesson, you can find free dance exercise videos to watch: from Latin Dance to Ballet Body Sculpting to Hip Hop.
7. Running the Stairs
Another cardio workout at home is stair running, as long as you have some stairs nearby. Stair workouts help you build strength and power in your lower body and gets the heart rate pumping. Challenge yourself with mini intervals by alternating between a regular stair run and sideways stair run to burn more calories even after your workout. Make sure you have the best workout shoes for men so you can also perform some stair exercises if you have a single stair somewhere, or if you purchase a special stepping stool for exercising like the Tone Fitness Aerobic Stepper or The Step Original Aerobic Platform.
8. Jogging in Place
You do not need to head outside or hit the treadmill to get the benefits of running; simply jogging in place in your home provides many of the same benefits. Of course, you might find it boring to run in place for an extensive length of time. That is why most people incorporate jogging in place with other exercises, such as burpees, jump ropes or strength training for a complete workout.
For an excellent exercise program, mix it up. Include several rounds of some of the above workouts for a solid 20 – 30-minute session that will also burn fat and build muscle. You can find online videos for cardio routines that incorporate many of these exercises to make it easier for you to build your own cardio workout at home. Fitness Blender and POPSUGAR Fitness offer excellent cardio workout videos for free on their YouTube channels.
Exercise is an essential component of your overall health and wellness. Always check with a doctor before doing any intensive exercise, and start off slowly and build up your fitness to reduce the risk of injury. At Meritage Medical Network, we care about your health! That is why our select group of over 700 private practice physicians in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties focus on providing the best healthcare possible. Learn more about maximizing your health by attending one of our Wellness Classes.
Please consult with your physician before going on any new fitness plan.