The Best Cardio Exercises You Can Do Right in Your Living Room
Exercising hard enough to raise your heart rate will burn major calories, but not everyone loves to run. Luckily, there are many ways to hit your cardio goals that don't involve miles. These 43 cardio moves will help burn fat and build muscle, no running (or equipment!) required. Note: this is by no means a workout — it's a list of exercises for you to choose from that will get your blood pumping, and that call for minimal space. Use them in your next HIIT session, if you wish!
- Jump your legs out as you bring your hands overhead, then jump back to standing.
- Add in some cross jacks to work your inner thighs. Open your arms out to the sides as you jump your legs wide. Cross your feet as you jump your legs together while crossing your arms in front of your chest.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and extend your arms straight out to either side with palms facing down.
- Jump and cross your right arm over your left and your right foot over your left. Jump your legs to the sides and open your arms, then cross with the opposite arm and foot.
- Keeping your weight on the balls of your feet, scissor your legs front and back.
- This is quick footwork, and it should be light and fast. Pump your arms to keep the speed of your feet up in tempo.
- Run in place while lifting your knees high, to the level of your waist. Engage your abs as the knee comes up.
- Pump your arms to warm up your upper body.
- Bouncing off the balls of your feet, jump your feet wide.
- Hop back to center on your left foot, then jump your feet wide.
- Hop back to center on your right foot, and continue alternating in this pattern.
- Skip in place by hopping on your right leg while bringing the left knee up toward your chest. Engage your abs as the knee comes toward your chest.
- Switch legs, and keep skipping while pumping your arms.
Knees and Toes
- Start with two high knees, bringing your right knee to your left hand, then your left knee to your right hand.
- Now rotate your right knee slightly outward to bring your right ankle to your left hand, then your left ankle to your right hand.
- Continue in this alternating pattern.
Box Toe Touches
- Using a box, step, book, or stool, lightly tap your left toes to the box, then jump to switch feet, bringing the right toes up.
- Continue alternating feet. No box? No worries. Hop from foot to foot, aiming toes onto an imaginary step.
Lateral Bunny Hop
- Make small jumps side to side as if you are jumping over an invisible line.
- Keep your legs as close together as possible, and swing your arms to help you jump.
Side Shuffle With High-Knee Hold
- Take small, quick steps to the side. Try to get in as many steps as possible in the width of your mat.
- When you reach the edge of your mat, pause, bringing your inside knee up to waist level. This small pause works your abs and challenges your balance.
- Start in a shallow squat with your weight on your right foot, and leap sideways as far as you can go to the left, landing on your left foot and bringing the right foot to the left. Immediately reverse directions and jump to the right.
- Continue jumping side to side.
- Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the right, landing on your right leg. Bring your left leg behind you, but don't let your left foot touch the floor. Keeping your chest up, and deepen the bend in your right knee to work your glute muscles even more.
- Reverse direction by jumping to the left and leading with your left leg, allowing your arms to swing to the sides as you jump sideways, landing on your left foot. This completes one rep.
Alternating Lateral Lunge
- Start with your feet directly under your hips. Step your right foot wide to the side, coming into a lunge with your left fingers touching your right foot. Your right knee shouldn't go beyond your right toes.
- Push into your right foot to return to standing, then lunge sideways to the left to complete one rep.
Reverse Lunge and Kick
- Step back with your left foot, coming into a deep lunge and bending both knees to 90 degrees.
- Press the right heel into the ground as you push off with your left foot, kicking your left leg to touch your left toes to your right hand.
- With control, return to the lunge position. This completes one rep. Alternate sides.
Reverse Lunge and Hop
- Come into a lunge with your left leg back. Swing your left leg forward to hop up on your right foot, and land softly back in a lunge.
- Alternate sides.
Split Lunge Jumps
- Stand with your feet together and your knees soft. Jump and come into a lunge with your left leg forward.
- Push off with both feet, jumping them together, then hopping into a lunge with your right leg in front.
- Jump your feet back together to complete one rep.
Squat and Reach
- Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Keeping your weight in your heels, sit back into your deep squat. Make sure your knees do not go beyond your toes.
- Holding your squat, raise both of your arms overhead. Hold this position for a moment, then return to standing while lowering your arms to your sides. This completes one rep.
- Start in a squat with your arms by your sides.
- Swing your arms to the ceiling, and jump.
- Land quietly as you return to the squat position. This completes one rep.
Jump Squat With Heel Click
- Begin with the feet slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees and keep your weight in your heels as you squat.
- Jump up as high as you can, and bring your feet together so they touch.
- Land quietly back into a squat. This makes for one rep.
180 Jump Squat
- Start in a deep squat with your legs a bit wider than your hips and your toes pointed outward. Twist your torso to the right, reaching your right hand to the ceiling and your left hand toward the floor.
- Jump up, spinning to the left 180 degrees (halfway around), bringing both hands overhead. Land softly in a deep squat, twisting your torso to the left with the left hand reaching toward the ceiling and the right hand toward the floor. This completes one rep.
- Reverse directions so you jump, spinning to the right and going back the way you came.
- Repeat, alternating sides.
- Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor.
- Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position.
- Do one basic push-up, bending the elbows and then straightening back to a plank.
- Jump the feet forward to the hands, and come into a squat.
- Do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can.
Sumo Squat and Punch
- Come into a wide sumo squat; punch to the left then right.
- Return to standing and repeat.
Sumo Squat and Side Crunch
- Start in a wide stance with your toes pointed out; bring your hands behind your head with your elbows wide.
- Bend your knees over your toes, coming into a squat with your thighs almost parallel to the floor.
- As you straighten your knees to stand, lift your right knee while bending to the right to bring your right elbow and knee together, doing a side crunch.
- Straighten your spine as you bring your right foot to the floor, and bend both knees, coming into a sumo squat. This completes one rep. Repeat on the other side, and keep alternating.
- Jump your feet wide to the sides with toes pointed outward, bringing hands to knees to increase the stretch of the inner thighs.
- Jump your legs together, crossing your feet.
Single-Leg Touch and Hop
- Begin standing with your weight on your left foot. Keeping your back long, bend your left knee to touch the floor with your right fingers.
- Swing your right leg and left arm forward to return to standing, hopping once the torso is upright. Land with control, then slowly lower your torso, and bend your knee to touch the floor again.
Leg Balance Warrior 3
- Stand on your left foot with your right leg lifted to 90 degrees and your right knee bent.
- Reach your torso forward as you lengthen your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
- Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
- Moving in one piece, bring your right leg forward, and return to standing upright. This completes one rep. Make sure to switch sides.
- Begin with arms up to the right, with your weight more on your right foot, and your left foot slightly up.
- Slice your arms diagonally across your body while bending your knees, pivoting onto your left foot, and bringing the right foot slightly up.
- Return to your starting position. Do the same reps on each side.
- Begin in a plank position. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands, coming into a deep squat and keeping your hands on the floor.
- Jump your feet back to a plank.
- Begin in the plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your body in one straight line, and your feet together.
- Like the motion of jumping jacks, jump your legs wide apart, and then back together to complete a rep. Jump as quickly as you want, but keep your pelvis steady and don't let your booty rise toward the ceiling.
- Start in a traditional plank with your shoulders over your hands and weight in your toes.
- With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest, with the toes just off the ground. Return to your basic plank. Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward.
- Keep switching legs and begin to pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.
- Begin in a full plank on your hands. Lower your right elbow to the mat and then your left, coming into an elbow plank.
- Put your right hand on the mat, and straighten your right elbow. Do the same on the left to return to a full plank.
Plank With Creepy Crawler
- In a plank position, bring your left knee to your left elbow. Then return the left leg back to the plank position. Repeat this action on the right side to complete one rep.
Lateral Plank Walk
- Begin in a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
- Simultaneously cross your right hand toward the left as you step your left foot out to the left. Then simultaneously step your left hand and right foot to the left, returning to the plank position. Your hands move together as your feet step apart. Take two more steps in this direction, keeping your abs pulled toward your spine and your pelvis level. This completes one rep.
- Reverse directions, taking three steps to the right.
Plank With Alternating Shoulder and Knee Tap
- Begin in a plank variation with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Bring your right hand to your left shoulder, then place that hand back on the mat. Bring your left hand to your right shoulder and return it to the mat.
- Bring your right knee and your left hand toward one another under your body. Return to a plank, and switch sides so your left knee meets your right hand.
- This competes one rep.
Plank With Bunny Hop
- Begin in a plank position with your feet touching.
- Pull your abs in and jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Your torso will twist to the right.
- Jump your feet back to plank, to complete one rep.
- Repeat on the other side, and continue alternating sides.
Elbow Plank With Knee Drive
- Start in an elbow plank and bring your right knee into your nose; your pelvis will rise toward the ceiling. Place your right foot back on the ground.
- Alternate sides, bringing your left knee in.
Push-Up and Rotate
- From a plank position, perform a push-up. At the top of the push-up, rotate to the left, coming into a side plank and reaching the right arm to the ceiling.
- Return to the plank position, do another push-up, and rotate into a side plank on the right.
- Start in a plank on your knees. Move your left hand out to the side, then bend both elbows, lowering your torso toward the mat. Straighten your arms to return to a plank. This completes one rep.
- Switch your hands, bringing in the left hand while stepping the right hand wide — try to jump off your hands. Perform a push-up.
- Continue alternating side to side.
- Lie on your right side, with your left hand behind your head and your right hand on the floor.
- Press down into your right hand as you raise your straight legs off the floor, bringing your torso toward your legs.
- Lower yourself back to the floor with control. This completes one rep.
- Do the same reps on both sides.
- Lying on your back, lift your legs and arms up so they are extended toward the ceiling. Lift your upper back off the floor, reaching your hands toward your feet.
- Lower your legs toward the floor while reaching your arms overhead, keeping your shoulders off the mat and lower back pressed into the ground.
- Repeat the crunch motion to complete one rep.
- Lie on your back and lift your upper body off the floor so your shoulder blades hover.
- Lift your right leg off the floor, and bring your left leg to 90 degrees, gently holding the left shin. Keep your upper body lifted as you switch or scissor your legs.
Reverse Plank Bridge
- Begin seated with your hands behind you and with your fingers pointed away from you.
- Press the heels of your feet and the palms of your hands into the ground as you raise your pelvis off the floor until it is in line with your shoulders and knees.
- Lower your pelvis back to the ground to complete one rep.
- Start on all fours, then lift your knees to hover over the floor.
- Lift your left hand and your right foot off the floor, then pivot on your left foot to the left and kick your right leg through, bringing your left arm to your chest.
- Swing your pelvis back and place your left hand and right toes on the floor, returning to the hover position. Reverse directions kicking the left leg to the opposite side.