Thinking you have to be on a cardio machine to get your aerobic activity? Think not.
Cardio short for cardiovascular fitness is anything that elevates your heart rate up to 50% of your maximum heart rate.
This only means that even if you don’t enjoy running or don’t have time for a 30-min elliptical session, you are not out of options.
While many cardio equipments crowd the market space and you may be tempted to get your hands on one, the best thing for your cardio is your body itself.
Yes, that’s right. You can get an amazing and effective cardio session with just your body weight.
Here are 5 best high intensity cardio exercises you can do with your own bodyweight at the comfort of your home.
None of them requires any other fitness tool, so you can get started today (except for Jump Rope).
Some of them are old-school exercises you probably have heard and tried before, but don’t lose your hope!
The secret to an effective calorie and fat burning cardio workout is in its intensity and training method.
Let’s look at each of our five top cardio bodyweight exercises a bit closer. Find their benefits and learn how-tos.
#1: Jump Rope
Don’t let its old school flayer fool you. Jump rope works every inch on your body and tones your arms and legs. It also helps strengthen your hear and lungs.
It’s great at burning calories. According to WebMD, “You’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope.”
Quite amazing for a simple piece of equipment you can get for under $20 on amazon.
How to do it:
- Grip the handles with your thumbs and index finger, with a comfortable, but firm grip.
- Jump 1 to 2 inches of the floor, giving rope just enough space to slip under your feet. This will decrease the impact on your joint. Only the balls of your feet should touch the floor.
- Workout Options:
#2: Laterral Box Shuffle
Lateral box shuffle is a great body weight cardio workout that works the muscles on your adductors (inner thighs), butts, hips while conditioning the heart and lungs.
Lateral Box Shuffles can be performed as a dynamic warm-up for 1 to 2 sets prior to more demanding exercises.
How to do it:
- Stand with your inner leg on the box and the outer leg about 1-2 feet away from the box. Get into a half squat position where your knees are bent and torso leaned forward slightly.
- Jump to the side so that your outer leg lands on the box and the inner foot lands on the floor.
- Jump to the other side and continue to jump shuffle for 30 to 60 seconds. Start with 30 seconds and lengthen the duration as your fitness level advances.
#3: Jumping Jack
Jumping Jack is a fun and easy way to torch calories and increase your muscle tone. Because it’s weight free, you can virtually do it anywhere.
It is also a practical calisthenics exercise that you can do as part of your warm up before your workout routine, or done more rigorously, it can be a stand alone aerobic exercise to burn calories and lose weight.
How to do it:
- Stand straight with your arms to your sides. Tighten abs.
- Jump up and spread your legs apart while raising your arms up over your head until your hands clap together.
- Your feet should be wider than a hip width apart. Jump again to bring your legs and arms back to the starting position. Repeat for 60 second.
#4: Split Squat Jump
In fact, each of our leg takes up to 18% of our total body weight. That’s that’s 36% for both legs! Because of the size of the leg muscles, it takes more energy to move them. This makes Split Squat Jump type of multi movement cardio a very efficient calorie burning exercise that’s effective in creating lean, sculpted sexy legs.
How to do it:
- Standing in a split position with your right leg forward and left leg back. Bent both arms and pulled back.
- Prepare to jump by learning froward at the hips and get into a squat position. Tighten abs.
- Jump vertically into the air by swinging your arms up. In the air, both your legs should be extended.
- Land softly on the mid-foot, then the heels. Get into the starting position and repeat for 10 times before switching sides.
#5: Runnning In Place
Running in Place can increase your heart rate up to 180 beats per minute which stimulates blood flow to working muscle tissues.
Fastening your running speed can also intensify the exercise and burn more calories as it increases your heart rate and your body’s demand for oxygen increases.
For maximum fat burning, we recommend running rigorously for a set duration of 30-60 seconds
How to do it:
- Start by standing tall with your back straight and arms on your side. Lift your right knee and foot while lifting opposite arm.
- Bring your foot down to the ground and generate double foot contact as your opposite foot begin to lift off the ground.
- Toes pull toward the chins as foot is coming up. Press your foot to the ground and fully extend your bottom hip.
Other Cardio Options
Although we presented our five best bodyweight cardio options for your weight loss and calorie burn, there are countless other activities that count as cardio.
Again, cardio is anything that brings up your heart rate up to 50% of your maximum heart rate.
This qualifies anything from sex, walking up the stairs, and shoving snow as a legitimate cardio exercise.
What differenciates effective and ineffective cardio is the intensity it is perfomed at. Imagine the difference you’d feel walking up the stairs and running up the stairs.