It’s kind of interesting, but I hear all the time that people can’t really do cardio at home.
They have this idea that they either have to go outside and run or have some sort of cardio equipment (like a treadmill or bike) at home to be able to do cardio, especially aerobic endurance, longer duration cardio (jogging).
But that isn’t the case.
There are plenty of ways to get in cardio at home without any equipment. And you don’t just have to do short, intense intervals to make these exercises work. You can work on your aerobic endurance as well!
Here are 5 great Indoor Cardio Options that you can do at home:
1. Towel Taz – One of my favorite ways to do cardio at home because EVERYONE can do it and feel challenged by it. And you don’t need any equipment or really any space to do it!
This move is great to use to do intervals of 30 seconds or longer. If you do 2 minute intervals with shorter rest, you can really build your aerobic endurance.
To do the towel taz, take a bath or beach towel. Hold one corner of the towel in each hand. Move side to side and all around quickly, shaking the towel up and down and forward and back. Your movements should be quick.
2. Plyometrics – Commonly known as jump training. While plyometric training is better for shorter intervals, it is still a great cardio option.
Jump squats, split squat jumps, skater hops…There are a ton of options that allow you to work your legs from every angle.
But what if you are older and/or your knees won’t allow you to jump quickly and explosively off the ground? Plyometric training can be regressed.
For example: With the squat jump, you can start with a quick bodyweight squat. Then you can progress that and do a squat and come up to your toes at the top of the squat instead of exploding off the ground. Next you will just do a very very little jump off the ground, pausing after every rep. Then you will try to get higher and more explosive off the ground, still pausing or going more slowly between reps. Finally you will be as explosive and quick as possible with the jump squat.
Also, plyometric training is about training muscles to be explosive. It isn’t restricted to lower body exercises. Plyo push ups, bobcats, medicine ball throws are all examples of upper body plyos.
Actually bobcats are full body and a great way to develop a mind-body connection.
To do a bobcat, start in the crawling position on your hands and toes. The first level of this move is to just bend your elbows and drop your knees to the ground quickly and explosively. Your goal is to make sure your upper body and lower body move TOGETHER as quickly as possible. Once you start to get everything to move together, you are going to explode off the ground. Go slowly at first, focusing on everything leaving the ground and hitting the ground together. So explode up off your hands and toes and then land on your hands and toes at the same time, staying in that crawling position. As you get more comfortable, start to move as quickly as possible.
This move is super tough. It is hard to get your upper body and lower body to move together quickly!
So this is actually a video that Aaron did. This only shows a little bit of the bobcat while used in knife fighting but it will give you an idea since pictures don’t really cut it. (And actually knife fighting is another option if you have a partner. Just be careful you don’t get to into it if you are in a confined space!)
3. Crawling – Not all cardio has to be done from your feet. Crawling is a great way to get your heart rate up and it can be done as sprints or as longer, slower, endurance cardio. You can do bear crawls or gorilla crawls or even crab walks. There are a ton of different ways to crawl! Crawling is great too because it really is fully body and you don’t need much space to do it. As long as you can take a couple of steps forward and back or even just move in a circle, you are all set!
I mean shoot…you can even crawl like an alligator! Talk about tough on the core and upper body
4. Metabolic Circuit Training – If you do exercises quickly with little or no weight and little to no rest, your heart rate is going to go up.
I mentioned the other day in my Squat Variations post that you could do 5 minutes of bodyweight squats. Trust me, that definitely gets your heart rate up.
You can also do different intervals. Tabata intervals of 20 seconds on/10 seconds off can be great as long as you pick exercises that challenge you within 20 seconds.
For example, while you can use the bodyweight squat when working for 5 minutes, you may want to use a squat jump if only working for 10 seconds.
Metabolic circuits can really use any exercise.
That’s right…Any exercise can be CARDIO. Push ups when done quickly definitely get your heart rate up. Not to mention they kill your upper body!
You can easily choose exercise options that fit the space you have and your current fitness level and turn them into a great cardio circuit. Remember the key here is to move quickly not use the heaviest weight possible.
5. Cone Drills – Cone drills are a great way to improve your mind-body connection AND get your heart rate up.
And you really don’ need much room to do them…or even need cones for that matter. You can use books, pieces of paper, underwear….Really anything to just mark off the spots. Obviously, if you do have a bit more room, it is easier to set them up.
They can be great to do at a park as well!
You can do quick side shuffles to cones. You can go back and forth for time. The shuffles don’t have to be long. Two or three shuffles each way is really all you need!
You can do star drills or even four point drills. Actually there is one four point drill I love to use from my tennis days.
Set up four “cones” in a diamond. Start in the center. Sprint forward to the cone in front of you. Then go back to center. Back pedal to the cone behind you and then come back to center. Side shuffle to one side cone and then go to the other.
You can mix up exactly what direction you go. Try to not just follow the same pattern, but make your movements quick to each cone. Just remember to go back to the center after going out to each cone.
Cone drills are one of my favorite forms of cardio because they really do improve that mind-body connection which is so key for not only athletic performance but also proper functioning in EVERY DAY LIFE!
So there you have it. Five cardio options you can do at home no matter your fitness level. And the best part is – THEY REQUIRE NO EQUIPMENT!
What is your favorite way to do cardio?