Many times it’s impossible to get outside for a run our outdoor workout (due to the weather, your schedule, or if you have a new baby like me) and you can’t get to the gym – but, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in a good cardio workout in your living room! Below are some of my favorite go-to options for cardio when I really want to sweat and I’m frustrated that I can’t leave my house! These are also great options if you are traveling and don’t have access to equipment or a gym. Some require equipment and others just require your body weight. Most of these are great for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or Tabata (20 seconds “on” then 10 seconds rest).
Exercise: Kettlebell Swings
Ketllebell swings are one of my favorites (if done correctly). It works your entire body with emphasis on core and glutes. If you aren’t sure how to use a kettlebell – check out some videos online or ask a trainer at your gym. Start with a KB that is a lower weight (around 10-15lb depending on your fitness level) and work up to a heavier one.
The Workout: KB swings will get your heart rate up fast – so use them as part of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. I would do timed swings (vs. reps) and then mix in strength training. Do 30-60 seconds of KB swings and then 30-60 seconds of strength training like pushups, squats or shoulder presses with the KB.
Exercise: Jump Rope
I love the jumprope because I feel like it’s equivalent to going for a hard run or even doing sprints if you jump really fast or do “double unders”. You can start by just doing a basic jump with 2 feet or you can try new moves like skipping (alternate feet), jumping side to side, doing high knees, etc.
The Workout: You can do jumprope intervals alone for just cardio or you can mix in some strength training in between sets. Vary the pace of your jumping depending on how long your interval is. For instance, if you want to jump for 1 minute you may want to do a medium pace but if you just want to do 20-30 seconds at at time go for fast intervals or sprints.
Burpees are a full body exercise that gets your heart rate up fast and is considered more of a high intensity interval (vs. say jumping rope for a steady 2 minutes).
The Workout: These are best done as intervals since you probably won’t be able to do more than 30-60 seconds at a time, especially if you are going fast! You can add your own twist to them (like adding a pushup or even a tuck jump at the end) but I like basic burpees where you place your hands on the ground, jump back to a high plank, jump your feet back in to your hands and then jump up in the air. Think: Down (place hands down while you are in a squat), Out (jump feet out), In (jump feet back in) and Up.
Exercise: Plyometric Jumps (Jump squats, jump lunges, high knees, etc)
The best part about plyometrics (or “plyos”) is that you don’t need any equipment! My favorites are basic jump squats, jump lunges and high knees.
The Workout: These are also pretty high intensity so do them as part of an interval workout or you can do them Tabata style by doing a 4 minute workout at a time (for the entire 4 minutes do 20 seconds “on” and 10 seconds “off” or rest).
Exercise: Run stairs, lunge stairs or do hops up the stairs (either squat hops or bunny hops with legs straight)
If you have access to stairs – you can use them for a great cardio workout! Even if you just have a small flight in your house – you can still jog or walk fast and just do a bunch of laps. Instead of counting steps – do it based on time.
The Workout: You can use stairs as intervalsÂ if you are sprinting or going fast or you can jog at a steady pace for 5-10minutes at a time. You can mix things up by doing squat hops (like “plyo” hops) traveling up the stairs (not on the way down!) or even bunny hops with your legs straight. You can always hold on to the railing or wall for balance.