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Cardio. Are you thinking of the treadmill, jogger, or the stepper machine? The cardio sections in our gyms have restricted the cardio options in our minds. Unless you’re a professional runner or really like using these machines, there’s no need why you need to spend time on them.
Experts ensure that performing bodyweight exercises with short periods of rest offers cardiovascular benefits similar to those of running and the like. These exercises can be performed in a gym or at your home. In just 15 minutes, you can cut down on the extra calories while working different parts of your body.
Even with extensive material available online, it is hard to know which exercises suit you. FITCOACH offers training and workout plans through smart instruction videos in HD. The workout recommendations are based on your specific needs and emphasis on form and technique. Get dynamic fitness services for your preferences.
10 Best Bodyweight Cardio Exercises
This intensive bodyweight cardio exercise strengthens all the leg muscles, engages the core, and increases your heart rate in addition to improving coordination and flexibility.
- Start with standing on your feet at hip-width
- Raise your left leg so that the knee almost touches your chest. Keep your back straight
- Raise the right leg as you bring the left leg down. Continue the movement at running or sprinting speed
It’s easy and can be performed in the smallest of places.
This cardio workout benefits the quads, hamstrings, calves, and the core.
- Place a step or a step-high box about 1 foot away from yourself
- Stand with your feet at hip-width
- Step up with the left foot and simultaneously bring the right knee towards your chest (like high knees)
- Bring the right leg down and step down with it from the stepper. Immediately go into another repetition with the same leg
Do 10-15 reps before changing the legs.
This variation of mountain climbers benefits several muscles in addition to increasing the heart rate. Mountain climbers with a twist make you more flexible, agile and increase your aerobic fitness.
- Place a yoga mat on the floor and assume the high plank position. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders
- Bring your right knee toward the left elbow and take it back
- Repeat the same with the other knee
- Doing the movement with both legs makes 1 rep
Do 10-15 reps
Although this exercise can be included in any regime, you can avail the benefits of inchworm exercise by including it in a HIIT workout or an active warm-up. It stabilizes the shoulder and hips muscles along working the glutes and the quadriceps.
- Place your feet at hip-width. Bend at the hips using them as a hinge and place your palms on the floor. You can bend your knees to reach the floor
- Walk forward with your hands until you reach into a high plank position
- Walk back the same way and stand up
- Simultaneously go into another rep
Do 10-15 reps
The Lateral plank walk is another great bodyweight cardio exercise – it defines your shoulders and deltoids along with challenging the core.
- Assume the plank position on a yoga mat. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders and keep your body straight
- Cross your right hand across the left as you move your left foot towards the left (or vice-versa)
- Bring your left hand across from the right so that you reach back in the high plank position
- Next, go back in the opposite direction to reach the starting point in a similar manner
You can simply move your right hand toward the right instead of crossing it across the left. Complete 10-15 reps in each direction
Plank jack benefits are even better than those of the extended plank. Plank jacks are good for the entire body and raise heart rate quite effectively.
- Start in the high plank position with your wrists directly under the shoulders and the feet together
- Just like in a jumping jack, jump and position your legs wide and then bring them back together
- Keep your pelvis steady and don’t let your buttocks stick out toward the ceiling
Do 25-30 reps
One of the best bodyweight cardiovascular workouts, the jumping lunge benefits the quads, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. It improves the lower-body strength improving your stability, and coordination.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder-width
- Jump with your left leg forward and the right back to land into a lunge position. You should stop in a position where your knees are bent at 90 degrees
- Keep your chest straight
- Jump again and switch the position of your legs in midair to land in the lunge position with the other foot forward
Do 15 repetitions
Also known as quick feet, this exercise is great for speed resistance training. It increases your speed and agility in addition to increasing your heart rate. Fast feet is one of the best bodyweight cardio exercises. It burns a lot of calories and works your lower body quite well.
- Position your feet at shoulder width and slightly bend your knees to assume an athletic position
- Quickly lift your left foot 1-2 inches off the ground and place it back and do the same with the right foot without any delay
Do 15-20 repetitions
This exercise strengthens the legs, which improves stability and balance. Primarily, it focuses on the glutes and quads and most importantly improves knee strength.
- Place your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width and keep your arms at your sides
- Lift your right leg behind the left at an angle in a reverse lunge position. The right knee will be at a 90-degree position
- To make momentum, swing your arms as you would while skating
- Leap with your left leg and switch sides as in a skating motion. Arms will alternate as you switch sides
Complete 15 reps (both directions)
Burpee is one of the best exercises that use the body as equipment to work virtually every muscle. Bodyweight cardio exercise burpee benefits the shoulders, chest, quads, abs, inner thighs, triceps, and buttocks along with others. It builds muscles and burns lots of calories.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder-width with your arms at your sides
- Push your hips back as you bend your knees to lower into a squat position
- Simultaneously, place your hands in front of you on the floor and shift your weight onto them
- Jump your feet back to assume a high plank position; your body should be straight and your palms should be directly under your shoulders
- Don’t let your back sag or your butt stick up
- Jump your feet back to where they were when you did a squat
- Jump in the air as you stand up with your hands straight and stretching toward the ceiling
- Go into the squat as soon as you land and do another rep
Do 10-12 reps. You can do a pushup after going into the high plank position to increase the intensity.
Doing these exercises within 15-20 minutes for a few weeks can significantly increase your strength, lower weight, and improve your coordination and body functions.