A Trainer’s Favorite At-Home, No-Machine Cardio Workouts

Fitness Women's Health

When we think of cardio options, two things typically come to mind: outdoor running and cardio equipment.

So what are you supposed to do if you hate running? Or the weather’s not agreeing with your outdoor workout plan?

Or what do you do if you have zero cardio equipment in sight? (Or the only option is a broken cycling machine that now serves as a laundry rack.)

Indoor cardio to the rescue!

There are quite a few ways to get an awesome cardio workout in the comfort of your own home. Some of my favorite options that will help you break a sweat and increase your heart rate:

Kickboxing. There are so many good online kickboxing classes and the best part is you usually don’t need any equipment. My very favorite kickboxing classes are the ones in the TurboFire collection by Chalene Johnson (they also provide a modifier with low-impact options), but you can find other options on YouTube (just be sure to choose a workout that gives clear directions on proper form).

Dance cardio.  Amanda Kloots is one of my go-tos and I also LOVE the Fitness Marshall’s classes on YouTube. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a dancer, you’d be surprised that these routines are easy to follow.

Home bootcamp-style workouts. Bodyweight workouts can increase your heart rate and double as both a strength and cardio workout. There are several channels on YouTube that can help, like the Fitness Blender’s channel, or my own, Fitnessista. You can also DIY by mixing and matching your favorite bodyweight exercises to create your own workout.

Below are some exercises to choose from (you can find more online). Try 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest, aiming for a total workout of at least 15-20 minutes (if you’re new to exercise, you may need to start with a goal of 5-10 minutes and work up from there). And, as always, modify as needed!

  • Squats (can be done holding a weight at your chest or bodyweight only)
  • Push-up (modify by placing your hands on the wall or a sturdy countertop)
  • Walking lunges
  • High knees (run or march in place, bringing your knees up towards your chest and keeping your core pulled in)
  • Triceps dips (if these are too much for your shoulders or wrists, you can do bent-over triceps extensions holding a pair of dumbbells)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Wall sit (Stand against a wall and come into a squat so your legs are at a 90 degree angle and your back is flat against the wall. Keep your core pulled in, breathe, and hold for 30 seconds)
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers

Grab a jump rope! A jump rope is inexpensive and takes up very little space, making it an ideal fitness tool. I like to jump rope for 20 seconds, take a break for 20 seconds (march in place), and repeat until I’ve hit 15 minutes total. From here, you can gradually increase the amount of time that you’re jumping.

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