Whenever someone talks about doing cardio, the conversation almost always goes to something about how long they were on the treadmill or elliptical. There's usually some grunting about how cardio sucks and how the machine on the left never works right.
But what if I told you that you could do cardio in the comfort of your own home? What if I told you they are mostly low-impact exercises that can be done with no equipment?
Related - 5 Ways to Lose Fat Without Cardio
Cardio doesn't have to be boring. In fact, the reason it sucks is because we make it boring. Who wants to slog around on the treadmill for 20 minutes?
Since this is the worst way to look at fitness and getting into shape, let's look at some cardio-based bodyweight exercises you can do basically anywhere.
These exercises are broken down into three categories: Beginner, intermediate, advanced.
Depending on your physical fitness, you may or may not be able to do some of these exercises... And that's okay.
How to Use This Workout
Depending on your physical fitness level, this workout can be scaled from someone who's never done a push-up all the way up to fitness models.
You can add these to any workout, or use this as a standalone program. I recommend resistance training alongside these bodyweight exercises.
Pick three or four moves from the list and perform them each for 30 to 60 seconds each. Strive to complete two to three rounds, adding more as your fitness levels increase.
20 Cardio-Based Bodyweight Exercises
Check out the list and see which exercises are doable. Bodyweight exercises can be difficult and technical, so take your time to learn new moves; you never know what you may like.
The exercises are going to be broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercises. Don't stress if you can't do anything more than the beginner exercises, your fitness journey is just starting.
Inchworm. Start in a push-up position and inch your hands back towards your feet and stand up. Need an extra challenge? Add a push-up or three before you inch your hands back.
Power Skips. An easier exercise to perform, power skips focus on height, not distance. Instead of skipping forward, raise one knee as you bring up your arms and hop on your foot. Repeat for the other side.
Uppercut/Shadow Boxing. A nice exercise to get some anger out, shadow boxing with uppercuts are a great way to work your core also. Keep your heart rate up as you pretend you are boxing. Add some strong uppercuts and feel your obliques and core get a great workout.
Mountain Climbers. From a plank position, keep your core tight and pull your left knee up to your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat for the other side. The idea here is that you are climbing a mountain, adding in speed when possible.
High Knees. Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, pull your right knee up to your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat for the other side. You are basically running in place and pulling your knees as high as possible.
Plank Jacks. Planks are awesome, why not add in a variation? Get into plank position. Keep your core tight and jump your feet apart and back together as if you were doing a jumping jack.
Jumping Jacks. Jumping jacks simply torches calories. Stand with your feet together and your hands down to your sides. Jump and bring your legs apart as you raise your arms overhead. Jump back to your starting position and repeat.
Long Jumps. Get some explosive power and strengthen your posterior chain with some long jumps. Stand with your feet about hip width and jump forward as far as possible. Turn around and repeat.
Tuck Jumps. Tuck jumps are easy for anyone to do. Stand with your knees slightly bent and jump up as high as possible. As you're going up, raise your knees to your chest as if you're trying to jump over something.
Corkscrews. From plank position, keep your core tight and shift your weight onto your left hand, lift your right hand off the ground, and rotate to the right. Kick your left foot out and tap your foot with your free hand. Return to your starting position and repeat for the other side.
Wide Mountain Climbers. Repeat the same movement as you did for mountain climbers, just take bigger steps. Focus on the stretch and really getting a good contraction as you pull your knees up.
Step-Ups. A great butt and leg builder, step-ups are easy and very low impact. Find something sturdy to step-up on, and step down. Add a challenge and bring your knee up to your chest as you step up.
Burpees. Burpees are an amazing workout... But they suck. Jump up, reaching for the sky and immediately drop to the floor. Kick your feet back and get into a plank position, do a push-up, and quickly jump back up. Repeat until you cannot repeat anymore.
Flutter Kicks. A very easy to pull off exercise, flutter kicks may also be known as scissor kicks. Lie on your back with your arms to your side. Lift your legs about 6 inches from the ground and then flutter kick as if you were swimming. Don't let your legs touch the ground.
Squat Jumps. Another relatively easy to perform exercise, squat jumps build explosiveness and help with mobility issues. Do a perfect deep bodyweight squat and jump as high as possible.
Plyometric Push-Ups. Performing a regular push-up, press as hard as you can do that your hands come off of the ground. Once you get better, try clapping or touching your shoulders as your hands are in the air.
Push-Up With Mountain Climbers. Did you like those mountain climbers earlier? Good. Add a push-up in as you perform mountain climbers.
Donkey Kicks. From a plank position, keep your core tight and hips up. Jump your feet up and try to kick your butt with your heels. Your weight will shift forward onto your hands and shoulders. Extend your legs to land softly and repeat.
Box Jumps. Similar to step-ups and high jumps, box jumps allow you to explode from the ground and use your whole body to generate momentum. Find a suitable surface to jump onto and jump.
Jumping Lunges. Lunges are great, but adding a jump in between switching feet make a huge difference. Complete a regular lunge and jump up and switch your feet midair so that you land with the opposite foot forward.
Wrapping It Up
Bodyweight exercises can be fun and challenging. They can push your body to the limit without using any weight.
Take your time and learn how to properly perform these movements, they will be worth their weight in gold.