With a little bit of creativity and room to move around at home, you can craft a worthwhile cardio workout. No equipment is needed to work out in the comfort of your home. With bodyweight exercises, you can burn calories even if you can't get to the gym.
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A cardio workout should be fast-paced. When you take breaks you're giving your heart and lungs time to catch up, which lowers the intensity of your workout. The goal is to put together a workout that's easy to follow so that you don't need to stop frequently.
Luckily, bodyweight exercises are generally easy to learn and safe. There's no extra weight that you have to control or worry about. You don't have to learn how to run on a treadmill or operate any form of cardio equipment. All you need is your body.
The first thing you have to do before designing your workout routine is to pick a place in your house where you have enough room to move around. You should have room to lie down, jump and move side-to-side. Ideally, you should have room for a yoga mat and a three or four feet on either side.
Read more: The 20 Best Body-Weight Exercises
Now that you have a little space for your workout, you can start to put together exercises that work for you. Some of the most classic bodyweight exercises are squats, push-ups, planks and lunges.
If you put these exercises together in a circuit you'll have quick cardio workout. Do one exercise for 30 seconds, then rest 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. After you've done all four, rest for a minute and start the circuit again. Go through the entire circuit three times.
Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and arms stretched out in front of you. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your feet flat on the ground, then stand up.
Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders and feet on the ground. If you struggle with push-ups, put your knees down on the ground. Lower yourself down, maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your feet or knees, until your nose is close to the ground. Then, press back up until your elbows are straight.
Get into a push-up position with your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Hold yourself up with only your feet and forearms touching the ground. Don't let your waist sag down, maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your feet.
Start standing with your hands on your hips or behind your head. Take a big step forward and plant your front foot. Then, lower your back knee down until it's close to the ground. Keep your torso upright and stand up, bringing your back foot up in line with your front foot.
Other than these traditional bodyweight exercises, your home has built-in cardio equipment that you can use to get a good workout. Something as simple as a staircase is just as effective as a fancy treadmill.
You can do stair sprints for as long as you can manage. Sprint up the stairs, one at a time, as fast as you can. Then, walk back down so that you don't trip. Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes or until you're too tired to keep going.
If you're looking for something higher impact, a plyometrics workout is your answer. The only thing you need is your body and room to jump, so don't do this in a room with low ceilings.
Perform each of these jumping exercises for 30 seconds, then take a 30-second break before moving on to the next exercise. You'll need a longer rest period because the exercises are so draining. After completing all three exercises, rest for a minute and then repeat the circuit two more times.
Don't do these exercises if you have back, knee or hip pain. Jumping exercises cause a lot of jarring in these joints and can exacerbate any existing injuries.
Read more: Plyometric Training Exercises
Stand tall with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart like you're about to squat. Squat down low and then jump up as high as you can. Land and immediately drop into a squat position to jump again. Try to jump continuously for the full 30 seconds.
With your hands on your hips, take a big step forward with one foot and plant it. Drop your back knee down into a lunge position. Jump up and switch your legs in mid-air. Land with the opposite foot forward and immediately drop down into a lunge position on that side to jump again. Jump and switch legs continuously for 30 seconds.
Plyometrics exercises are generally more difficult for your upper body because the muscles aren't as big and powerful. Try this push-up variation with a little hop added at the top.
Start in a push-up position on your hands or knees. Drop down into a push-up and push yourself up as powerfully and quickly as possible. Launch your body off of the ground so that you hang in the air momentarily before landing back down on your hands. Then, repeat until 30 seconds is up.