Ladies, we get you. While some of us have all the time in the world to be spending in the gym, for some of us, that’s a luxury that we just don’t have. In between keeping the home together, managing a crazy work schedule or getting the kiddos ready for school, and everything in between, it’s hard to get away for an hour-long sweat session at your nearby gym. The great news is that you don’t need to go to the gym to get a decent cardio workout in. In fact, there are tons of great exercises you can do at home to get your heart pumping fast and to turn your body into a fat burning machine. Check out our list below for several cardio effective home cardio workouts that will get your heart working hard no matter what your fitness level. Get the most out of these workouts by performing them all together in sequence for a 20-minute total-body high-intensity interval workout.
Build your quad strength and get a cardiovascular work-in at the same time with reverse lunges. To get the most out of your revere lunge, take a big step back with one foot and bend both of your knees down. Hold your position for a few seconds to give your muscles an extra challenge before returning to your upright position. Repeat the action with your other leg to complete one rep. Make sure that you avoid over-extending the knee on your forward leg (it shouldn’t extend beyond your ankle) to prevent knee injuries. It’s also important that your body stays upright during this time so keep your core and chest engaged throughout the exercise.
Sculpt your glutes and legs while raising your heart rate by dropping to the ground for some bridges. Simply lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, plant your feet firmly on the ground with your knees bent, then engage your glutes to lift your hips up off of the ground. Press your feet into the floor for more burn and then slowly lower your hips down to the floor. Remember to keep your neck and back relaxed to ensure that it’s your glutes and hamstrings doing the work. You can make this more challenging by placing weights or dumbbells on your lap. Don’t have any at home? Grab a heavy book or two for the same effect.
There’s no work out that we love to hate as much as the burpee. It’s challenging, works your entire body and will really knock the wind out of you. With that being said, it’s no wonder that the burpee is a go-to for personal trainers, gym enthusiasts and fitness influencers around the globe. To do a burpee, stand straight with your feet parted at hip-width. To drop down into the first position, bend your knees, plant your hands on the ground and jump your feet back so that you land in a plank position. Jump forward again and then stand back up to complete the burpee. Once you’ve got this variation down, you can add a high jump in the beginning and a push up while in plank position to challenge your body further. For this round, try to do as many burpees as you can in a minute.
Here’s another easy home cardio work out that will help you tone up at the same time: mountain climbers. Start with your body in a straight-arm plank, ensuring that your hands are positioned directly below your shoulders. Bear in mind that your body should be forming a straight line from your ankles to your neck. Once you’re in the proper form, lift one foot and bring your knee up to your chest. Return your foot to its original position and do the same with your other foot, making sure to switch from one foot to the other quickly. Try your best to keep your shoulders in the same position and your hips level while performing your reps. Keep it up for a minute. If you need to rest, slow down your pace or take a short 5-second break in between your minute-long set.
In essence, squat jumps seem so simple and yet they’re really great at getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. Squat jumps are great for cardio because it gets your whole body involved and takes a lot of effort. To complete one rep, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend down into a squat, remembering to keep your knees parallel with your ankles, and then jump up with as much explosive force as you can. When you land, try to land as softly as possible and drop immediately into another squat before jumping again. Swing your arms up as you jump to give you more velocity and height as you jump. Engaging your arms in this exercise also means more effort and movement, thus burning more calories. Try to do as many squat jumps as you can in proper form within a minute.
Many people tend to under estimate the strength necessary for yoga. Not only does yoga challenge your balance, it also challenges your strength and flexibility, making it a holistic workout on its own. Adding it to a HIIT circuit is a fantastic way to stretch out your muscles and cool down at the same time. Our favorite poses for this? Warrior II, Downward Dog and Cat-Cows. For this set of exercises in particular, the Warrior II is a great way to end the sequence. To perform Warrior II, get into a lunch position with your lead foot pointing forward and your rear foot pointing out. Bend your lead knee and lower your hips with your arms extended straight out from your shoulders. Go deeper into the stretch by sinking lower into your hips. Hold that pose for five deep breaths before switching your lead legs and going again.