Ironically, when most people hear the word cardio, they run a mile! We all know it can be difficult to keep motivation going, especially when heading out to the gym isn’t an option. Not everyone enjoys running and not everyone owns a bike or a jump rope. Luckily, not all cardio workouts require expensive equipment. Below is a list of five exercises that can be all used in your workout to get your heart rate elevated and include more cardiovascular activity in your life. Each one can be found in our Fitness Buddy App.
Burpees are the number one at-home cardio exercise, and for good reason. With fast alternation of jumping high, reaching the floor, jumping your legs back, and repeating, they involve almost every muscle in your body, meaning your heart rate is pushed further and even more blood gets pumping. Burpees can also be modified for all athletic levels. Instead of jumping back into a plank, try stepping back to make it easier. On the other hand, if the standard burpee is too easy, try adding a push up to increase the difficulty.
When done correctly, tuck jumps can get your heart rate racing in no time. This explosive movement involves keeping your chest lifted, your back flat, and jumping off the ground as soon as your feet hit the floor from the previous jump. Focus on those strong leg muscles to bring your knees up high and squeeze that core!
Plyo Push Ups
The term ‘plyo’, short for plyometric, refers to powerful movements like tuck jumps and burpees. These intense movements focus on the rate at which weight is moved rather than the amount of weight in a motion, and hence, a quicker rate means more power.
A plyometric push up with lots of power in the manoeuvre results in your hands leaving the ground, which can definitely get your heart rate pumping! If your goal is to do more reps at a time, try finding an elevated surface, like a table or a chair, to press off. That’ll make things a little easier for the extended duration of time, yet still keep the element of challenge to your workout.
Step ups are an excellent way to elevate your heart rate. They’re the perfect solution for those days when burpees or explosive push ups just aren’t floating your boat. By simply stepping up onto a raised surface and stepping down again, this exercise has a much lower physical impact on your joints. It’s easier to monitor your heart rate while stepping than with the previous exercises mentioned, and the flexibility of step ups means you can choose the height of your step based on what you have access to. Knee high steps will really push you, but lower steps still count as cardio, as long as your heart rate is elevated.
Powerlifting incorporates weights into your cardio session, and not only does it get your heart rate pumping, but can also help develop muscular definition and power.
By using a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, plates, or whatever relatively heavy object you can find lying around the house, the typical movements include swings and cleans which utilize the muscles as a driving force for the motion of the weight.
These exercises are more for the intermediate to advanced gym-goers, but there’s nothing stopping beginners starting with small weights too. Remember: the faster you move, the greater the power.
Creating your workout
Now we’ve listed a handful of great options, you’ll want to know how to use and combine these for your cardio sessions at home. 20 minutes of slow step ups as part of a LISS workout sounds rather dull though, right? Try mixing it up by adding these into your existing workout.
Say your favourite routine at home includes squats, push ups, and dips. Instead, you could start the circuit with one minute of burpees, then alternate each element until you’ve completed one set of each exercise. Rest for one minute, then start again. This is an excellent method of strength training as well as getting that heart rate up.
A HIIT session is another way to include these heart rate elevators into your exercise routine. Start by doing two minutes of step ups at a comfortable pace, then jump into one full minute of burpees. Immediately start back into another two minutes of step ups and repeat the process five times, or as many as you can. Sound too easy? Try mixing up another two types of at home cardio and see how it goes. Good luck!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
Main Photo Credit: Gorodenkoff/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: antoniodiaz/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Maridav/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/shutterstock.com