Can’t afford to go to a gym or buy expensive fitness equipment? Want to stay fit but don’t have the time? Just do your cardio exercises at home! They are fun, simple to do, and cost next to nothing.
Regular activities like walking, dancing, and running are all excellent cardio exercises, but there are many more types of workouts you can do from the comfort of your home. That’s why we reached out to 39 fitness trainers and asked them:
What Are Your Three Favorite Cardio Exercises to Do at Home?
We received a variety of answers describing different fun and healthy activities that you can do at home. Keep reading to see what they are.
Over the course of my career, I have used a variety of “home workouts” to help me stay in shape while traveling, when the gym is closed, and when I’m simply looking to get in an extra workout without going anywhere.
1. Tabata Air Squats
The Tabata interval protocol involves 8 rounds of 20-seconds of maximum effort exertion, followed by 10-seconds of rest. In 4-minutes you can burn a ton of calories with this workout!
Although you can do this with a lot of different exercises, I like to do Tabata Air Squats at home the best because you don’t need any equipment, and it is an easy exercise to learn that people can do without hurting themselves.
2. Every Minute on the Minute (E.M.O.M) Push-Ups
Every Minute on the Minute workouts are another great home workout. However, I like to do this workout with pushups when I’m at home.
The concept is easy, you pick a number of “reps” you want to do, and the amount of time. For example, you might do 10-pushups “Every Minute, on the Minute” for 10-minutes, so you will do a total of 100 pushups in 10 minutes. This is a great home workout that is easily scalable as well.
The last workout I do at home often is yoga. I don’t have any specific yoga workout to tell you to do, but I use a variety of YouTube/ downloadable yoga videos. Nearly everyone can fit a yoga mat in their house, and it is one of the healthiest forms of exercise.
There are quicker forms of Yoga which are more of a cardio workout and burn more calories (Vinyasa) and there are slower versions for more stretching (Hatha). The more yoga you do, the better your body will feel!
Phil Catudal – Trained By Phil
1. Stairs, stairs, stairs!!
I’ll bet you didn’t know that if you have a flight of stairs anywhere near you, you basically have a full gym. You can run up, walk down and repeat for interval sprints and mix it up with lunges, jumps, and toe-taps. Do 30 second bursts and you’ll be burning! If you want to tone your upper body muscles simultaneously you can even add incline and decline pushups on the stairs as well!
2. Mountain climbers and high knees
On the floor in a high plank position, bring knees in 1 at a time (like you’re leaning forward climbing a mountain) to your chest and back to the floor. I like to do these for 30 seconds at a moderate pace, focusing on the stretch and full range of motion, then stand up and go immediately go into high knees at maximum effort for 30 seconds. Do that a few times. Oh, you’ll know it’s working!
3. Calisthenic cardio – use your body
I like to make cardio out of bodyweight exercises. 2 birds with 1 stone.
Mariah Heller – 10 Minute Fit
“Cardio” is MUCH more versatile than many people think. As a trainer of several years, I often see people fall into the trap of believing that cardio means ONLY running, biking, or other endurance activities.
Fun fact: MOST movements that you do can be turned into cardio if you just shake them up a little bit (for example – try doing three straight minutes of squats or, better yet, jump squats).
Here are my favorite exercises that I recommend to my clients on my at-home programs:
1. Jumping jacks
Jumping jacks are a classic, simple cardiovascular exercise that can be done with no equipment and very little space.
In the jumping jack, you begin with your feet together and hands by your sides. You then jump the feet apart as you raise your arms, and jump everything back together to the starting position. Try doing 3-5 sets of 50-100 jumping jacks with 30 seconds of rest in between.
2. Mountain climbers
Mountain climbers are a fantastic exercise because they mix the heart rate elevation of cardio with the shoulder and core stability of a plank.
In a mountain climber, start in a high plank on your hands, and lift one knee to your chest at a time, switching the feet quickly each rep. Try doing mountain climbers for 30 seconds “on”/15 seconds “off” for 8-10 sets.
Lunges are one of my favorite and most diverse exercises. In a lunge, you can mix the elements of lower body strength with cardiovascular endurance and coordination/stability.
There are many ways to do a lunge, but one variation is the reverse lunge – where you start with your feet under your hips, take a long step back with one leg, bend BOTH legs and travel straight down, driving through your front heel. Return your leg back to neutral and switch sides.
For some extra spice, try jump lunges rather than regular lunges! Try doing lunges, as many reps as possible in 5 minutes.
Lyn Lindbergh – Couch To Active
As a fitness professional, I find myself frustrated by other fitness professionals who make it seem as if in order to exercise you need to be doing the perfect workout, in the perfect clothes, with the perfect music and protein shake. This isn’t even remotely true. The more I integrate exercise with life, the happier I am. Here’s what I love to do.
1. Anything in front of the TV
I know fitness experts aren’t supposed to admit they watch TV while exercising, but I believe this better-than-our-clients sentiment isn’t helpful.
2. Picking apples in the fall
Unfortunately, this is a once-a-year exercise I do, but climbing up and down the ladder and walking baskets of apples back to the shed really is a great workout. I’m always thinking outside the box for unique ways to get in a little cardio.
3. Dog walking
Yes, walking is excellent exercise. Most of the time I just put on any walking shoes that will work and head out the door. I don’t need to be decked out in spandex to get the benefits, and my little Nanu loves the time with me.
It’s real, and it really works!
Bart Wolbers – Nature Builds Health
With home workouts, the goal is to “keep it stupid simple” (KISS).
During home workouts, I’d use many exercises in a row, as a circuit, to make yourself exhausted quickly.
I pick a couple of exercises from the following categories:
3. heavy bag;
4. gymnastic rings;
5. TRX bands;
6. battling ropes;
7. other small appliance that can be used.
For example, you would use pushups and planking from category 1, kettlebell rows and swings from category 2, a round of boxing from category 3, L-sits on the gymnastic rings on category 4.
Over time, you can mix these workouts up – the potential is endless. For the second workout, do a round of battling ropes from category 6, do TRX pushups and rows from category 5, choose burpees and jumping jacks from category 1, etcetera. The possibilities are limitless.
In fact, all described appliances don’t take much room while allowing for endless variation.
Beth Vazquez – Recess & Results
For me, cardio must be FUN! I always tell the people I work with that the best kind of cardio (and any exercise) is the kind you enjoy and thus will continue doing! There are so many options… no one needs to settle for a boring treadmill.
1. Dance (freestyle) with the kids.
Turn on your favorite music and let loose!! Not only does dancing have amazing cardiovascular benefits, research shows it is an instant mood and energy booster. It is great for all ages and all you really is yourself.
2. Tag (in the backyard).
Talk about a workout!! Grab your family or a few friends and bring out the child in you! Did you know TAG literally stands for “touch and go”??
3. Jump rope.
Maximum benefits in minimal time. Quick, efficient, and effective. It doesn’t take long to see and feel results and it is easy to do at home, indoors or out, with your favorite music is blasting.
KJ Landis – Superior Self
I have a small apartment and when space is limited I have to be creative! My clients also live in limited spaces so we are like-minded in getting it done in small areas.
First of all, I crank up the music and dance around the apartment. That’s cardio and I make sure to do it for about an hour with a cool down too.
Next up, I like teaching my private clients Pilates. When I add in lots of planks and push-ups, the cardio is built into the efforts.
The third cardio exercise I do at home is cleaning vigorously! I keep on moving until I sweat! And always put the music on, something that reminds one of the disco days!
As a yoga teacher of nearly 20 years, I understand the importance of balance and the need of cardio is essential.
My 3 favorite cardio exercises to do at home are:
1. Chair Power Run
Place your hands on the mouth of a chair and step back into a plank. Keeping a brisk pace for one minute (or try 50 strides) run in place. Work to bring your knees into your chest as best as you can for bonus core work.
2. Pretend Jump Rope
Standing and holding your pretend jump rope begin to bounce in place like you were briskly jumping rope. Move the pretend rope as quickly as possible. Try to do this for one minute.
3. A 5 Minute Walk and Talk
We all take phone calls, start walking every time you have a phone call. Do stairs as quickly as you can almost to the point of being out of breath. Walk outside, walk backward, lunge walk. Get creative. But get up and walk and talk.
Catherine Chan – Fit In
My top cardio exercise for home is to swing around a kettlebell for 45 minutes. I go with a light one, and just do swings or long-cycle, switching hands every 20reps. I love it because it helps improve strength, as well, especially core and including all those little stabilizer muscles. I work up quite the sweat at it and have found that I can improve my running endurance by swinging the bells on a regular basis.
I’d say my second favorite is to get on the treadmill, crank up the incline and just WALK for a while. I usually put on a podcast or listen to an audiobook while I’m walking, so it’s a great time for me to get in my “learning hour” for the day. Working the treadmill at an incline really gets my heart pumping as if I’m climbing a mountain, but without the same stress on my knees as when I run.
3. Quick Workout
Finally, if I’m in a pinch, I’ll do a 7-minute workout, and I’ll just change up the options depending on the day and how I’m feeling. Sometimes that’s all it takes, especially after a tough leg day the day before!
One of my favorite things to do is to come up with fun ways to work out at home with minimal to no equipment. I am a mom of two, and I am always looking for quick, effective ways to work out while still being at home with my children. Here are my three favorite cardio exercises to do at home.
1. Run the stairs
I love doing this. It is a great way to get results in fast. I usually create a circuit workout with my basement staircase. Here is an example: Sprint up and down the staircase x 2 minutes, rest for 1 minute. Repeat that 4-5 times depending on how much time you have and your fitness level. This is about a 15-minute workout and has the potential to be very intense.
2. Jump Rope
This is such a great way to burn calories and increase your cardiovascular fitness level. You can time this activity or you can challenge yourself to hit a certain number of jumps.
3. Body weight circuit
Cardio does not always have to be running or riding a bike. It can also include a circuit workout that allows little to no rest. Here is a great example: 3 rounds of the following exercises- 15 burpees, 20 squats, 30 mountain climbers. Repeat this 3 times, with 30 seconds rest in between rounds.
These are all quick and easy ways to incorporate cardio into your workouts while at home.
Andy – Laseripl.net
I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to go to gym, but likes to be fit. For me, it’s fun and easy, to do my workout at home. In order to get better results, I like combining cardio with weight training.
1. Press jacks
One of my favorite exercises is doing a set of 3 of press jacks. I start with 60 seconds with a break of 15 seconds, and I build up to 180 seconds. This cardio set is quite challenging because I add to the jacks, a weight of 4 kg.
After that, I go for the squat reach. This means I do a normal squat, with a dumbbell which weights 5 kg. To get my heart pumping, I lift the dumbbell up as I go up on my tip toes, as well. This second exercise I do it for 3 reps, as well, each time adding 5 more squats.
3. Press lunge
For the days when I want to engage my glutes and leg muscle, I always do press lunge. Again, by adding a weight, you get better and faster results. I do a lunge, while doing an arc with my arms with a 2kg dumbbell. If you are a beginner, better to do it without a weight.
By doing this exercises on a regular basis, you too will get a healthy and toned body, in the comfort of your own home.
Rachel Fiske – Smart Healthy Living
The beauty about exercise if that there’s no need to join a gym if you’d rather not, and you can get a great workout from the comfort of your own home. My top pick for a quick, efficient and effective cardio workout is HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
1. Interval training
Interval training has many evidence-based benefits and it can be adapted for just about every fitness level.
Interval training simply means that, depending on your fitness level, you are working hard (a 9 or 10 on a 1-10 scale of effort).
Another great advantage is you can design your interval training around what types of exercises you enjoy, for example, you can do step-ups on a chair, jumping (or regular) squats, burpees, or maybe at this point simply walking up a hill in your neighborhood on a nice day brings your intensity level to a 9.
2. Fitness video
My second favorite workout is fitness videos, as there are many great options these days on youtube. Choose from a circuit style bodyweight workout that gets in both cardio and strength, a Zumba routine or power yoga. Fitness Blender is one of my favorites.
Last but certainly not least, dance! When was the last time you went out dancing? Dancing is a serious calorie-burner and is good for the soul. Put on your favorite playlist and just let go. You’ll probably have so much fun you won’t even believe you exercised, but you did!
Alex Robles – White Coat Trainer
My 3 favorite cardio exercises to do at home are the following
This is an exercise that combines a squat with an overhead shoulder press. It is best done with external resistance such as dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a resistance band.
You hold the weight up at your shoulders, squat down, and as you come back up you immediately press the weights overhead. You continue doing this at a fast pace, serving as a cardio exercise.
2. Kettlebell Swings
Similarly, you can use a kettlebell (or dumbbell) and perform swings at a moderately fast pace.
However, It is important to use good form the entire time by keeping your back straight and activating your glute muscles.
Burpees is the last home cardio exercise that we do. It is extremely tiring and will get you out of breath quickly.
Just like kettlebell swings, do not rush through this exercise. Perform every rep with attention to technique. The only problem with this exercise is that we just have to be careful to not make too much noise for our neighbors.
Krissi Williford – Xcite Fitness
My three favorite cardio exercises to do at home are sprints, circuits, and crawling.
Although some of these will also give you strength and resistance training, your heart and breath rate will increase which is what gives you a cardiovascular benefit. As you improve in the skill and strength of some of the movements you will be able to perform them faster and/or add more movements. I guarantee that you will not get bored with this type of cardio exercise.
1. Sprints are great for being outside in nature while you exercise. They are also great if you are short on time but want to get in a quick workout. This is how you do it:
Sprint as fast/hard as you can for as long as you can – walk back then repeat for a number of reps. You can use a timer to track the time it takes you to sprint the distance. When you slow by 10 seconds or more it is time to stop. Always work to keep the same time for each sprint and work to keep the same time for more sprints in the next session.
2. Circuits of body weight exercises are excellent if you need to work inside. Body weight movements are great. Everyone can do them, they can easily be modified at home, and they take no extra equipment. This is how you do it:
Pick 5-10 bodyweight exercises like squats, jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups, and broad Jumps then do rounds of the exercises at high reps (15-20), resting as little as possible. Start with 3-5 rounds and work up from there. You can always add more exercises and/or more rounds as your fitness level improves.
3. Crawling is both challenging and great for your body. As you move into adulthood you don’t move in these patterns as much as when you were a child. Your body forgets how to do this, which is why it is challenging as an adult. These movement patterns are important for maintaining balance and coordination as you get older so don’t be afraid to try them. If you have children be sure to get them involved.. They will love this and it will motivate you to keep going when it gets challenging. This is how you do it:
Choose exercises like: Duck walks, bunny hops, crab crawls, scorpion walks, lateral bear crawls, alligator pushups, gorilla walks, and inchworms. Do as many as you can of each and then move to the next exercise. Do rounds of all the exercises like a circuit. Start with 3-5 rounds and work up from there as your fitness level improves.
Choose different patterns of movement when you are building your workout, something for each of: forward, backward, side to side, rotation, rolling, and crawling.
Ines Schuber – Fit On Veggies
Contrary to what most of us may believe, we don’t need fancy machines, treadmills or to run outdoor to get your cardio in! I do most of my workouts from home and even more so in winter when I used to live in Montreal where it was -40C outside! During this time and to this date my favorite at home exercises are:
I do a little HIIT session 30 sec on/30 sec rest for 10min. I know, I know burpees are hated by most people and truly I hated them as well, but once I fit them more often in my workouts I began to get better at it and not hate them so much! What’s good with this exercise is that you work your cardio and your strength at the same time!
2. Jump rope
This can easily get boring so what I recommend is to try new tricks and master a new one each time you do a session. Like that you won’t even notice you’re working out!
3. Run up stairs
I like to run up fast and go back down slowly for 20 to 30 times depending on the hight of the stairs. If you don’t have any stairs at home, you can walk or jump up and down on a steady chair put against a wall!
My three favorite cardio exercise to do at home are:
1. Popsicle circuit training
I have popsicle sticks from a craft store that I write different exercises on such as jump squats, burpees, push-ups, etc. (You can get these at craft stores.) I created about 25 different exercises. I mix them up, pick one do it for 60 seconds, take a 10-20 second break, then pick another popsicle stick and do the next exercise. I keep going until I’ve completed a 20- to 30-minute workout. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and keep things interesting. The time flies by!
2. Walk on the treadmill or outside
I like to walk slowly (4 mph) on an incline of 10 for some good steady-state cardio. The incline provides a great range of motion to really work your legs and butt. The other option is to walk outside or hit the nearest track. You’ll want to incorporate hills to get the same effect as the incline.
3. Dance party
Put on your favorite tunes and do some serious dancing. Let loose and dance up a storm. It’s a fun way to burn calories and get your cardio in. Spotify offers some great mixes or you can create your own depending upon what genre you most enjoy.
If you are looking for some great cardiovascular exercises to do at home and you do not have access to cardio equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, or stair climber – here are three of my personal favorites to do at home.
1. Jumping Jacks
3. Jog in Place
These are 3 very simple exercises that can really get your heart rate going and can be done individually or combined into a circuit cardio routine for people looking to take it to the next level.
I always suggest wearing a heart rate monitor during cardiovascular activity to keep track of your HR during the exercise and ensure that you are working within range to achieve your goal.
Remember, if you are looking to burn fat you want to keep your HR within 60-75% of max HR.
Alexandra Tran – Schimiggy
There are many HIIT tutorials online with each teacher bringing their expertise to their instruction videos. I highly recommend getting a thick yoga mat and indoor training shoes if you plan to do HIIT at home. I also recommend doing hit 2-3 times per week for 30-45 minutes per session.
2. Power yoga
Yoga is great for building strength and flexibility. I highly recommend Alo Yoga Moves or YogaWorks.. They have monthly subscriptions and are much cheaper than a yoga studio. Alo Yoga also offers HIIT classes.
3. Jumping Jacks and Jump Rope
Easy to do anywhere and anytime. I do them while I am waiting for something to cook in the kitchen or while I’m watching TV.
Morgan Balavage – Splendid Yoga
These are my favorite cardio moves you can do anywhere:
Do a round of 20 seconds as hard as you can go, 10 seconds off, 2 minutes rounds of each set (so 2 sets each)
Plank Jacks (in a high push-up plank position, jump your legs apart and together, or step them out and back)
Knee-ups (running in place, lift your knees up above your hips)
Butt-kickers (running in place, kick your butt with your heels)
Spin squats (same, but you spin a quarter, half, or full rotation).
Brad Walker – Stretch Coach
My first choice for cardio when I’m at home (or when it’s too wet to go outside) are callisthenic-type exercises done as a circuit.
I’ll throw together jumping jacks, skipping, burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, side-to-side jumps, Thera-Band exercises and any other bodyweight type of exercise I can think of. I’ll keep the intensity high and the rest in between exercises short, which really gets the heart rate up and the lungs burning.
If I’m looking for something a little less intense, but still great for cardio, I’ll jump on the wind trainer (or stationary bike). Wind trainers (sometimes called turbo trainers) allow you to connect the back wheel of your own bicycle to a frame that lifts the wheel off the ground and provides resistance as you pedal.
There’s so much I love about a wind trainer workout: you can vary the intensity of the resistance; you can do interval trainer or just ride at a steady pace, and you can do it in front of the TV.
There are even websites like zwift.com that allow you to race your friends, or people from the other side of the world, in virtual group rides and training sessions.
For an easy cardio session, you can’t go past a good old fashion stretching. Mix it up with a combination of both static and dynamic stretches to get the heart rate up a little. This is also a great session to help with recovery and work out some of those knots and tight spots that we all get from working out regularly.
Ashlee Van Buskirk – Whole Intent
There are some great cardio exercises you can do from the comfort of your living room or your backyard. Here are just a few of my favorites:
It’s better for the backyard, but jump-rope is a fantastic aerobic exercise. It’s a great way to improve your endurance, your heart health, and your coordination skills as well. Plus, if you’re looking to build up your calf muscles, this is the perfect exercise to do so. Set a time limit goal (e.g., 10 minutes), and just start jumping! Try to jump all the way to the end.
These are not the most challenging exercises, but you can do them just about anywhere! The whole exercise, when done correctly, can work most of your muscles, from the push up to the extended jump. It’s great for raising your heart rate and breaking a sweat.
3. Side Skaters
It may be a simple exercise, but it can be a great aerobic workout. This exercise improves your leg strength and coordination simultaneously. And, you can throw in some great variations for a better cardio workout. Again, start out with a timed goal (5 minutes), and see if you can skate all the way to the final second.
Jason Hughes – Vegan Liftz
I live in a pretty small apartment, so I like to find ways to save space when I’m working out at home. That means I have to keep it pretty simple!
It’s simple, but it’s effective. I have a jump rope at home and whenever I want to sneak a bit of cardio into my day, I’ll skip for 5-10 minutes while watching TV or listening to music. It’s a bit noisy for the people who live beneath me, so I have to bear that in mind.
2. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a really easy way to get your blood pumping without hopping on a treadmill. Just like with the skipping, I like doing them while watching TV or listening to music. I usually only do them for 2-5 minutes.
I set up a punching bag in the corner of my apartment which I ferociously attack when I’m feeling angry, fit, or both! Kickboxing is great, because it uses all 4 of your limbs and helps to relieve stress.
In an ideal world, I’d have space for a treadmill, but c’est la vie!
Kathy Glabicky – Tread Tabata
I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises that you can do at home and get up your heart rate up. Here are three of my favorites:
Hand release push up to 4 fast mountain climbers (start on the stomach – push to high plank and bust out 4 fast mountain climbers)
Walking plank to a half burpee – start low plank walk up to high plank, then do half burpee by softly jumping knees in and out
Low plank hops – stay in low plank and keep feet together and do tiny jumps off ground – gets the heart rate up and targets your core!
Amanda Kostro Miller – Smart Healthy Living
Whether you’re simply not a gym person or don’t have time to fit in a gym workout, that’s no reason to skip a great workout. Some of my most successful clients work from the comfort of their own home, cardio included!
My three favorite cardio modalities to do at home include jump rope, HIIT and online fitness videos.
Starting with online resources, YouTube is flooded with great cardio options, everything from power yoga to Zumba to bodyweight circuits that get the heart rate up. The beauty here is that you won’t get bored and can continue to challenge your body with new options, and can get in your exercise rain or shine. Some personal favorites are Gaia power yoga and Fitness Blender cardio/strength circuit training.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and can be modified for every fitness level. It simply means alternating between all-out (just about max) effort and periods of rest. For example, you might try 30 seconds of burpees followed by a 30-second rest, and repeat this 10 times. If burpees are too intense, try step-ups, jumping jacks or any other movement that increases your heart rate.
Jump rope is an oldie but a goodie and works on multiple levels. You’ll majorly sweat, but you’ll also strengthen your leg muscles, improve coordination and decrease the risk of injury, and it might even boost cognitive function! Jump ropes are incredibly portable, so you can bring this with you while you travel, too.
Brian Kiselstein – Think Healthy FITNESS
My favorite cardio exercises to do at home are:
Kickboxing is not only a high-energy demanding exercise, but it is also excellent for core and strength development. Kickboxing burns an average of 750 calories per hour, and it can literally be done anywhere. If you don’t have a bag, no problem! Just grab some weights or ankle weights, and incorporate some shadow boxing/kickboxing into the mix!
2. Jump Rope
Jump roping helps develop stability, coordination, balance, and of course, it burns a ton of calories. You can burn an average of 200-300 calories from just one 15-minute session!
3. Elliptical (HIIT)
Incorporating high-intensity intervals into your elliptical workout routine can be great for improving your overall strength and conditioning. The best part, it’s extremely low impact, unlike the treadmill or running outside on the hard pavement. On average, you can burn anywhere from 250-300 calories from one 30-minute session.
Jon White – Jon W Sports Injury
1. Skipping with a rope.
I always like my workouts to improve more than just my cardio fitness. This is why I love skipping. Not only does it improve your stamina, but it also improves your coordination rhythm and agility. This makes it perfect for dancers, gymnasts and anyone who plays ball sports.
2. Squat Jumps
Again this improves your lower body strength more than anything else, but I would class it as a cardio workout too given how tiring it is. Try doing 30 of these in a row and tell me that your heart is not racing. I recommend these because it stretches out your hips, glutes and hamstrings as well as providing you with a cardio workout. It’s a perfect warm-up exercise.
3. Mountain climbers
Mountain climbers involve being in a slightly raised press up position and bringing each knee to your chest in turn. As well as being a real cardio workout it is great for strengthening your core. As the core is a weak spot for so many people mountain climbers are an excellent addition to a home workout.
My three favorite cardio workouts to do at home are:
1. Mountain climbers
Working your upper body, lower body, and core simultaneously, mountain climbers are a great exercise to increase your cardiovascular endurance at home. It is an intense but low impact exercise that can be scaled to suit every fitness level. As an at-home personal trainer, this is my probably favorite home cardio exercise!
2. Jumping Jack variations
Jumping Jacks is another full body exercise that can be done anytime and anywhere with absolutely no equipment! The standard version involves a jump, but again, this can be scaled to suit every fitness level. To make it harder, do Star Jumps or Squat Jacks. To make it easier, skip the jump and step your feet out to the sides as you lift your arms.
This intense full body exercise truly tests your cardio, muscle strength and your ability to push through the pain. Do something as simple as 100 burpees For Time or 10 burpees Every Minute On The Minute for 5-10 minutes and you’ve had an amazing full body cardio workout.
If you happen to have a piece of equipment at home such as a stationary exercise bike or a treadmill – that would be my go-to equipment first. I lost 4 stone in 4 months using mine on my health & weightless body with the goal to get my body moving!
I found so much time to watch TV at home, but complains about not being able to exercise, so I shifted my backside from the coach to the bike, and watched tv from there – even if it was a leisurely paddle, there is no excuse if you have equipment at home, you can’t run away from it – no pun intended!
Even if you managed 20, 35. 45 mins every day or second day, it makes you feel good, and that’s what counts, as when you feel good you stick at it.
But if you have no fancy big equipment, get yourself a skipping rope to skip with 2 minutes on, 30 seconds rest, for 15-30 mins a day, combined with Jumping jacks that will get your heart rate up, and along with Burpees – neither need any form of equipment but you!
And hey if you want to chuck in some hand weights in-between sets, grab the old cans of beans from the back of the cupboard and put them to good use!
Connor Sellers – Total Shape
1. Skipping rope
My favorite cardio exercise that I love to do at home is skipping rope. If you aren’t out of breath when jumping rope, you’re moving to slow. Start by performing a circuit workout where you first perform 10 regular jumps, followed by 10 jumps using only your right leg, followed up by 10 jumps using only your left leg, and finally perform 10 more regular jumps. Repeat this circuit 6 times resting for 45 seconds in-between each round.
2. Jump squat
After jumping rope, my next favorite exercise to perform at home for my cardiovascular health is the jump squat. I love any squat variation due to the fact that it recruits several different muscles to execute correctly. This is great to both burn a ton of calories and pack on some aesthetic muscle. To perform a jump squat workout, do 4 sets of 12-15 reps, resting for 30 seconds after each set.
Lastly, my third favorite at home cardio exercise is the push up. There are many variations, however, I’ve found that the regular push up is perfect for burning fat and increasing your heart rate. Perform 4 sets until failure, resting for 2 minutes after each set. If it becomes to difficult, make it easier on yourself by keeping your knees on the ground.
As a martial artist, boxer certified personal trainer, and creator of JBFit5, I love doing cardio that isn’t traditional, meaning something like running. I lean more toward cardio that works the entire body, get the heart rate going, burns more calories and provides a full-body workout.
For me, I love training with kettlebells. This is cardio that includes strength training. Just 30 minutes will have your heart pumping and you’ll work up a good sweat. Another favorite of mine is burpees. Yes everyone hates to do this exercise, but again it works the entire body because you go from a standing position to a plank position, back to standing in quick movements.
To make it harder, add in a push-up when in the plank position or add jumping jacks.
My third favorite is doing alternating jumping lunges. It’s great for slimming legs and shaping butts.
Anne Appleby – Yoga Force
I have been teaching yoga for more than two decades to Celebs, CEOs, and star Athletes.
I have three go-to’s to do at home:
1. Power yoga on the YogaForce A-Line Mat for excellent body alignment.
2. Fake jump roping
3. Jump squats.
A combination of these things for an hour a day keeps one in great shape. Drinking lots of water and healthy eating is also a must to keep you feeling your best.
Omega Zumpano – Omega Fit Life
If you only have 20 or 30 minutes to spare you need exercises that you can do quickly and easily, here are 3 simple at-home cardio exercises that I have in my arsenal to make fitness convenient!
1. Prisoner squat
A prisoner squat is an all around good way to warm up your joints for at home cardio. When doing a prisoner squat, the most important part is to get your booty back as if you’re sitting in a chair.
Lunges are a great way to increase your heart rate and tone up your glutes! The great thing about lunges is that you can do them in a variety of ways. You can lunge to the side, frontward, backward or even across your body.
Want to create tone in your legs? Jumps are a great way to get those summer legs. Much like lunges, you can do jumps in a variety of ways. While you can perform a standard jump, you can also jump to the side or even try a single leg hop.
All this variety provides your body with the intensity it needs to stay fit, tone up and help you feel and look healthy this summer.
Tom Biggart – EBM Fitness Solutions
Here are 3 of my go-to options.
1. Jump rope
Jump for 30 seconds. Rest for 15s. Repeat until you see stars.
2. High-rep steps back lunges
Performing 15-20 reps on each leg with impeccable form will burn the legs and get the heart rate going.
3. Slider mountain climbers
These are like regular mountain climbers, only better. There is less pounding on the lower body and more core activation. Just grab some sliders from a local hardware store and get to work.
Sunny Akhigbe – Sunny Biggy Fitness
Cardio is an easy way to work out at home or on the go with little to no need for equipment. A few great ways to get the heart rate up at home are:
1. Burpees work a range of muscle groups including arms, back, chest, legs, and the core. It is a great high-intensity workout that spikes the heart rate and promotes fat loss.
2. Jumping Rope can be done with or without an actual rope, the same effects can be achieved by just going through the motions. This workout boosts fat burning and increases muscle engagement. It also helps with mental clarity as the coordination works both the left and right side of the brain.
3. Squats variations work the quads, hamstrings, and calves. These variations also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building, improving muscle mass.
Lyndsey Clabby – myMindBodyBaby
My three favorite cardio exercises to do at home are by far: burpees, mountain climbers and jump squats. Why? Together, they make a killer workout. But each on its own can get your heart pumping while working your major muscle groups. Win-win!
1. Burpees. These are the perfect functional fitness move – they work abs, quads, arms, back, chest, and glutes. Almost a total body workout – in one sweet move.
2. Mountain climbers also work a number of muscles– and joints – all at once: glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves with the running motion, your abs as you hold yourself stead – plus your back, shoulders, and chest as you maintain a plank-like position with your upper body. And of course – all while elevating your heart rate.
3. Jump squats. This one is really focusing on the big muscles in your legs, while the jumping motion helps increase your heart rate.
I love these three exercises together for a simple, equipment free workout. Move through each of these exercises 12-15 times, running through the full set 3-4times. Plus each of these can be modified in a number of different ways to accommodate for all fitness levels and a variety of physical constraints or injuries.
Alysa Boan – Fitness Trainer
Cardio exercises are not only great for your cardiovascular system, weight loss, and overall body health and function but you can do most of them anywhere with little to no equipment!
A few of my absolute favorite exercises to do at home are stairs sprints (if you don’t have close access to stairs just do flat sprints), mountain climbers parallel and cross body, and jumping jacks.
Running stairs is a great cardiovascular exercise but it also challenges your balance while strengthening your stabilizer and core muscles.
While mountain climbers and jumping jacks are great total body exercises targeting the upper body, lower body, and abdominal muscles!
Caleb Gray Bphty – Click Physiotherapy
It’s hard to choose just three exercises for cardiovascular fitness. But if I had to choose, these are three that I would recommend in order of preference:
This exercise begins in standing. Then you place your hands on the ground and jump your feet back into a pushup position. From here complete a pushup. After this, hop your feet forward and finally jump into the air with hands above you. This exercise will work both upper and lower limbs and get the heart rate pumping! Recommendation to begin is 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
2. Stationary cycling
Yes, you do need a stationary bike for this, but I love this exercise as it’s very low impact. I often prescribe this for clients with lower limb injuries as it will get your heart pumping and strengthen your legs with minimal loading of the joints. Start with 20 minutes and build from there.
All you need is a skipping rope and a little coordination, and you have a high-intensity exercise perfect for getting the heart rate up. This exercise is great for people with little time because as little as three sets of two minutes will be enough to build a good sweat!
Michelle Thielen – Yoga Faith
1. Short bouts of sprinting upstairs can break up sitting time or doing so during the commercial breaks of your show.
1b. if no stairs – jump rope or ski jumps side to side
2. Lunges, modified or jumps in between switching sides (increases cardio quickly!)
3. Burpees or Modified with no jumping, both are great for strengthening and toning, as well as cardiovascular.
Katrina Stewardson – KGS Health and Fitness
1. HiiT Workouts
I love the fast-paced nature of HiiT workouts. They take limited time to complete but leave you feeling pumped and exhilarated from the endorphins released into your body (and let’s be fair, a touch sweaty!!).
HiiT Workouts are fab workouts that keep you engaged, and motivated. They never become dull, or monotonous because you can literally switch up your routine EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT! If you do not enjoy one particular exercise, swap it for the one you do.
2. Burpee with Push Up
They can be exhausting and take your breath away. But, they are a great full-body cardio workout. The burpee with push up works your entire body. If done correctly, you will be working your core, abs, glutes, legs, and arms, all at the same time. Burpees elevate your heart rate too, helping to burn stubborn fat away.
Don’t underestimate the power of a skipping rope! The cardio workout you get from skipping is immense. Your heart rate is elevated, and you will be really torching those calories within just a few minutes. Skipping is great for improving coordination too.
Bec Gibbs – Rec Xpress 24/7 Fitness
Can be done pretty much anywhere that has a flat surface. Great way to burn calories and really gets your heart rate up. Lots of variations can be used to mix up the exercise such as single-leg, high knees & crossing the feet and is a great addition to any home circuit or interval training at home.
They are a killer but just like skipping they burn loads of calories as they use lots of different muscle groups by essentially doing 3 movements (squats, push up & plyometric jump) in the one exercise.
3. Mountain Climbers
These increase your heart rate while increasing your upper body strength and working your core. You can also include different variations to mix it up like including a push up every 20 reps or bringing your knee across your body to work your obliques.
Rachel MacPherson – Radical Strength.ca
My top three favorite cardio exercises to do at home are:
1. Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell swings are a huge metabolism booster because they engage the whole body and you hinge and swing the kettlebell. Your core and glutes are especially worked and your cardiovascular system will be put to the test. Try doing 10-15 swings at a time, take a 2-minute break and try another set. Aim for 3 – 5 sets.
2. Burpees with jump squats
Try doing burpees with a push-up at the bottom and a jump squat at the top! After the jump squat, go directly back into the push-up position. This exercise will scorch calories and work your entire body. See how many you can complete in 10 minutes! Make sure to keep an eye on your heart rate, pace yourself, and take breaks when needed but try to push yourself enough in order to really get your heart pumping.
3. Jump rope + lunges + push ups + crunches
Try this chain HIIT sequence. a) Jump rope for 60 seconds, then switch to lunges for 30 seconds. b) Jump rope for 60 seconds, then switch to push-ups for 30 seconds c) Jump rope for 60 seconds, then switch to crunches for 30 seconds. Repeat this circuit 3-5 times, resting at the end for 2-3 minutes if you need to.
My favorite way to do cardio at home would be to pair a few bodyweight movements together and move through them as fast as possible. I would do a circuit of:
- burpees x 10 – alternating forward lunges x 10 each
- pushups x 6 – alternating lateral lunges x 10 each
- sit ups x 15 for five rounds
As long as I am moving fast, this is cardio. Or I may do as many rounds of that as possible in 15 minutes.
Burpees are a really good cardiovascular exercise because they involve the entire body.
I also really like mountain climbers for cardio. For those, you begin with your wrists, elbows, and shoulders stacked and your body flat like in a plank. Then you bring your knees toward your nose, alternating quickly as if you were running. This also involves your entire body but requires no equipment.
Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this roundup! If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends and followers on social media.