10 Easy At-Home Cardio Exercises, No Equipment Required

Sport & Activity

All you need is a little motivation and time to crush these heart-pumping moves.

Last updated: 28 October 2022
6 min read
10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

Cardio can be a divisive topic. But no matter where you stand on the workout, building your cardiovascular endurance has too many health perks to count.

"It improves your mood, aids in better sleep, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps you maintain a healthy body weight", said Cedrina Calder, M.D., a board-certified preventive medicine physician, health expert and fitness professional based in Nashville, Tennessee.

The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (think: brisk walking) and 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (such as running) weekly. And you don't need a tonne of equipment to get the job done—in fact, you technically don't need any at all.

You also don't have to log major miles on the bike or run for an eternity to get in a good workout. There are plenty of simple and straightforward cardio workouts you can do in the comfort of your home that will get your heart pumping. But before jumping into these moves, check out these expert insights on how to break a sweat with your at-home workout.

RELATED: 10 Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises, According to Experts

Tips on How To Get the Best Cardio Workout at Home

Beau Burgau, C.S.C.S. and founder of Grit Training, recommended combining the moves listed below into a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) circuit to give them true value.

Calder said that HIIT is more time-efficient than steady state cardio. "It allows you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time", she said. "This is helpful for individuals who either don't have the time for longer workouts or just don't enjoy them. High-intensity interval training is also great for increasing your aerobic capacity, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can take in at any given time. Essentially, it's a measure of how efficient your body is at utilising oxygen."

But you have to make sure you're putting in the right amount of effort to reap the benefits of these movements. That can be tricky, however, and Burgau recommended using a metric called Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to calculate how hard you're actually working. Your RPE is measured on a scale of 1 to 10—1 meaning minimal effort and 10 meaning an all-out max effort, Burgau said.

"Not only is this one of the most effective ways to measure the intensity of your exercise, but it also doesn't require any equipment and simply involves listening to your body", he said, adding that the "talk test" can be a great way to indicate where you fall on the scale.

"If you can easily carry a conversation, you're likely between 1 and 3", Burgau said. "If you can still talk but need to pause to catch your breath, you're likely between a 3 and a 5. If you're completely breathless, and can no longer speak, you're likely between 7 and 10".

Based on your fitness level, Burgau recommended selecting 5 to 8 of the movements below and completing them back-to-back for 30 to 60 seconds each. Once you've finished all of the movements, rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds.

Now, here are the 10 cardio exercises Burgau says you can combine into one workout.

  1. 1.Skipping

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Stand tall with your legs zipped together and feet firmly planted on the ground. Extend both arms off to your side, ensuring that they're the same distance apart from your body. Pretend you're holding the ends of a skipping rope in each hand and begin rotating both wrists. Simultaneously start making tiny jumps, roughly 1 to 2 inches off the ground. Maintain a slight bend in the knees and softly land with each jump.

    RELATED: Is Skipping Better Than Running?

  2. 2.Star jumps

    Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Bend your knees and push through the balls of your feet to jump into the air. As you jump out, simultaneously extend your legs to the side so that they're a little wider than your shoulders, then jump back to centre. To modify, drop the jump and simply step your legs to the side. At the same time, extend your arms overhead. Quickly jump or step back to the starting position and repeat.

  3. 3.Squat Jumps

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Plant your heels into the ground as you lower into a squat so that your knees are tracking over your toes. At the bottom of the squat, brace your core and engage your glutes to explosively jump up into the air. Softly land and immediately drop down to a squat. Repeat. To modify, perform regular squats.

  4. 4.Split Squat Jump

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Start in a lunge position with your right leg forwards and your left leg back. Your hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle. Brace your core and jump explosively. Switch legs midair and land in the opposite stance so that your left leg is forwards and your right leg is back. To modify, either start with a smaller jump or skip it all together and drop down into a lunge. Continue alternating both sides with no rest in between.

  5. 5.Lateral Shuffle

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Maintain a slight bend in the knees and keep your chest lifted. Using at least four small and quick shuffle steps, pause and then move to the left until you reach your starting point. Continue repeating the shuffling movement back and forth.

  6. 6.Plank Shoulder Taps

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Assume a high plank position. Engage your quads, keep your core stable and your spine neutral. Bring your right hand to touch your left shoulder, then replace it on the ground and switch with your left hand to touch your right shoulder. Make sure you stabilise your hips so they don't sway side to side. Continue repeating.

  7. 7.Mountain Climbers

    10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

    Assume a high plank or top push-up position. Shoulders should be right over your wrists, core should be stable and spine neutral. Bring your right knee to your chest. Once your right foot meets the left one, switch and bring your left knee to your chest. Pick up the pace and continue alternating.

  8. 8.Burpees

    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Drop down into a squat and hinge forwards to place both hands on the floor while maintaining a flat back. Jump or step both legs back to assume a high plank position. Jump or step both legs forward and return to a squat position. Return to standing position and repeat.

  9. 9.Skaters

    Get into an athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left leg and lower into a partial squat while lifting your right foot off the ground. Bound or step to the right landing on your right foot and cross your left leg behind you. Jump or step to the left pushing off your right leg and landing on your left. Continue alternating.

  10. 10.Butt Kicks

    Stand with feet hip-width apart with arms by your side at a 90-degree angle. Contract your hamstrings and kick your right heel up towards your right glute. Repeat this movement on the left side and continue alternating back and forth.

    Words by Faith Brar

10 Easy At-Home Cardio Workouts, No Equipment Required

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