Doing Cardio At Home: The Best Routine Exercises
Usually, most of us would rely on going to the gym or exercising outdoors to get our cardio fix in. However, with many people all over the world seeing their movements restricted thanks to the spread of Covid-19, it is now more important than ever for people to find alternatives for doing cardio at home. Many people wrongly assume that all good cardio workouts involve running. Running is a great cardio workout and you can make that work both in an outdoor and indoor environment, but there are many alternatives, especially for exploring cardio exercises at home.
Exercises like burpees, star jumps and skipping are all common cardio exercises that many will be familiar with even without working out at all. But, some of these exercises all involve jumping or impact movements which can be problematic for those who suffer conditions such as joint pain or spinal injuries. We have put together a list of our favourite, low-to-no impact cardio exercises that you can try at home at any time!
Bear Crawl Push-ups
What is it? A heart-rate increasing exercise that builds strength and endurance more effectively than conventional push-ups.
Method: Squat with your hands placed out on the floor just in front of your legs. “Walk” forward on your hands whilst keeping your feet firmly placed, until you reach the push-up position. Perform said push-up, then walk your hands back to their original position and stand up to complete the rep.
Plan: Perform 30-60 seconds of bear crawls in intervals as part of your cardio workout at home with other exercises such as on-the-spot-jogging, star jumps etc.
What is it? Using the push-up position to “run” on the floor by building core strength and endurance as well as raising the heart rate.
Method: Assume the push-up position but with one foot planted further forward so the knee bends. Switch your forward foot backwards and bring the other foot forwards and continue to alternate to simulate “running”. Keep your hands firmly planted to avoid slipping and avoid going to fast if you experience discomfort in your wrists.
Plan: Try performing the exercise at different tempos for one minute each time. Alternate sets between “running” and jumping or skipping your feet instead back and forth.
What is it? Squat, plank and jump, is very much the breakdown of what a burpee is. This is one of the most intense cardio exercises you can perform and is usually reserved for a warm-up for many workouts.
Method: Squat down with your fingers touching the floor. Drop your legs back and place your palms down onto the floor into the plank. Spring up from planking and extend your arms out above your head. Congratulations, that’s rep one!
Plan: You can burn 100 calories in 10 minutes if you can last long enough performing Burpees. Alternatively, break the exercise down into sets of 20-30 and cut out the jumping up from or into the plank as you see fit for your body’s requirements.
What is it? Combining a basic squat with using a kettlebell weight to create a higher-intensity cardio workout using your bodies momentum.
Method: Select a suitable kettlebell weight for your strength level and assume a squat position with the kettlebell dangling between your legs, holding it with both hands. As you rise out of the squat, swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height before bringing it back down again with the next squat. Try to not swing it using your shoulders and focus more on building momentum up from your hips.
Plan: Perform the exercise for 1-minute, to begin with before resting for 30 seconds in between each set. Mix it up by switching the kettlebell between each hand every time your squat back down and increase the tempo, if you want to increase the intensity of the exercise.
What is it? Every workout needs a good warm-up/warm-down and that is a really good starting point for this hip and glute stretching exercise.
Method: Lie down on the floor with your knees apart and your feet flat and close to them. Keep your hands out by your sides with your palms turned downward. Slowly raise your lower back off the floor as high as you can whilst keeping your shoulders down, before bringing it back down again.
Plan: You can incorporate this exercise into the beginning or end of every workout or, perform it in 3 separate sets. Try holding your position after you raise your back for 10 seconds for each rep to increase the intensity of the exercise.
What is it? The classic core workout. Perfect for both low and high-intensity core strengthening and for increasing the heart rate.
Method: Sit on the floor with your knees up and close together and lay your back down. Keep your feet firmly planted and place your hands behind your head. Bring yourself back up and forwards towards your knees, then lean back, slowly bringing your back down to the floor, keeping your back and neck straight. Breathe in as you go down and breathe out as you come back up.
Plan: Try performing 20-30 sit-ups in each set with a 30-second rest in between sets. Aim for 4-5 sets per workout but you can always mix the number ups if you’re aiming for a higher intensity workout and go for faster reps in each set to increase your heart-rate.
What is it? A trapezius strengthening exercise that also helps build and strengthen your lats, abs, biceps and forearms. Whilst you’re planking and trying to lift weights on each arm…
Method: You’ll need a dumbbell or similar weight (or a pair of them if you don’t want to alternate between each arm). Assume a high plank position and grip the weight on the floor in one hand whilst keeping the other on the floor. Lift the weight up to your ribcage and hold, before lowering it back down to the floor and repeat. Switch to your free arm and repeat.
Plan: Perform 10 reps on each arm in three sets and rest between each set for a minute. If you want to increase the intensity/tempo, alternate between arms and switch the weight after each rep.
On The Spot Walking/Jogging
What is it? It does exactly what it says on the tin, walking or jogging in one spot without moving anywhere! The reason we have included walking is that the impact of jogging may not be appropriate for anyone suffering from spinal or joint pain, but the method still applies!
Method: Find an open space in the middle of a room clear of any objects or walls. You might not be moving from your spot but you don’t want a flailing arm to knock anything over if you get too into the exercise! The great thing about walking or running on the spot is that it allows you time to focus on the movement and placement of your legs and feet. Focus on the height of your knee when you raise your foot off the ground. Anticipate the impact of your foot on the floor and try to focus on which part of it comes down first. Walk/jog at a pace that you’re comfortable with for 5-10 minutes.
Plan: Walking/jogging is a great way to start warming up for your cardio routine at home. However, you can split the time 5-10 minutes and break it down into higher intensity sets during your workout as a pseudo-interval training. Quicken your pace and focus on raising your heart rate in shorter bursts before having a break and moving onto your next exercise.
What is it: Essentially a lunge with none of the force or impact you usually see from the movement but, still effective at strengthening leg and core muscles and increasing the heart-rate!
Method: Place your right foot directly forward. Lengthen your stance and bend both of your knees. Move your front knee over your ankle to protect your joints and lower your back knee toward the floor. Lunge as low as you can and then using your left leg, push off your foot to stand back up, keeping your feet in the split-stance.
Plan: Perform ten lunges on one leg before switching to the other. Aim for 3-4 sets and increase your heart rate by trying to hold each lunge for as long as possible before rising again or, alternate between each of your feet after every lunge.
What Is It: An abs-olutley excruciating core and leg strengthening exercise when done right, which will send your heart-rate soaring.
Method: Lay on your back with your arms extended overhead. Engage your abs to crunch up whilst lifting your leg upright at the same time, with your lower back on the ground. Touch both hands to the shin of the lifted leg then, keeping your body tight, try not to drop the leg freely when lowering it back down to the floor. Don’t forget to breathe in when lowering the leg and breathe out when bringing it up.
Plan: Perform 10 reps on each leg in turn in 3-4 sets. Leave a 1-minute rest in between each set or moving on to the next exercise.