Who said it'd be impossible to get in a great cardio workout on the gym (or living room!) floor? Performing higher-intensity bodyweight exercises can be effective way to build strength while also raising the heart rate. To kill two birds with one stone, leave the running sneaks and swimming goggles behind, and give these 35 cardio-based strength exercises a go!
1. Power skip. Skipping isn't just for kids. Raise the right knee up towards the hip while reaching your left arm overhead. Land on the ball of your left foot, and then alternate the skipping motion with the opposite arm and leg. Shoot for 10-15 skips as high as you can go.
2. Stair climb. Think of stairs as the cardio equipment in any building. For a great way to get the heart rate up, briskly walk up and down a stairway until you start to sweat. To avoid any dizzy spells, make sure to travel the whole stairwell to limit the amount of turn-arounds. Pro-tip: Skip the elevator when going to work and sneak in a workout before getting into the office!
3. Inchworm. It really is a Bug's Life. Stand tall, and bend over until your fingertips are on the floor. Next, walk the hands forward while keeping the legs straight until you've reached a traditional push-up position. Finish off the move by taking tiny steps to get your feet back up to your hands. Repeat for 4-6 reps.
4. High knees. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Raise up your right knee as high as it'll go, and then place the leg back down. Alternate legs and start picking up the pace. Try this jig for 30 seconds straight.
5. Butt kicks. These will literally kick your butt -- in a good way. Jog in place while kicking your heels back towards your glutes. Make sure the movement is being driven from your hamstrings (not just your feet kicking up dust). Keep it up for a minute straight while picking up the pace!
6. Tuck jump. It's time to catch some air. Stand up tall with the knees slightly bent and jump up -- bringing the knees into the chest and extending the arms straight out in front of the body. Lower the arms when you hit the floor. Aim for 8-10 reps.
7. Basic burpee. This move is something we all love to hate. Start in a low squat position with your hands on the floor. Then, kick your feet back to a push-up position and quickly return to the squat position. Last step? Jump up as high as possible before squatting down again and jumping back into the next push-up position. Shoot for 10 strong reps.
8. Push-up burpee. This move is just like the basic burpee that's a bit more advanced. Begin like normal, but once you reach the push-up position, actually do the push-up before coming back up to the squat. Shoot for 8-10 of these bad boys.
9. Lateral step over. Find a bench and stand to its side with the right leg closer to the bench. Lift your right knee up and bring the leg over the bench, not stepping on it. Then lift your left leg to meet the right, bringing the feet together before moving back -- left leg first this time. Go to step city for 15-20 reps.
10. Lunge jump. The only thing more fun than a lunge is catching some air in between. Start standing with the feet together and lunge the right foot forward, bending the knee about 90-degrees. Then it gets fun: Jump straight up, and while in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the left foot forward. Try for 8-10 reps (or as many as you can do with good form).
11. Squat jump. Perform a normal bodyweight squat (keeping the heels on the ground while bending the hips and knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor). Jump up immediately at the bottom of the squat and extend your arms overhead. Aim for 10-15 reps.
12. Box jump. Stand in front of a sturdy box that's just high enough so you can land on top with enough effort (but without missing your target!). With feet shoulder-width apart, bend the knees and then explode up onto the box. Secure your landing and then step back down and repeat for 6-10 reps.
Arms And Core
13. Jumping Jack planks. There are planks, and then there are planks with pop! Start in a traditional plank (shoulders over the wrists and the body in one straight line), but keep the feet together. Then, simply do jumping jacks with the legs, moving them out to the sides, then back together. Aim for 12-15 hops (out and in is one!).
14. Flutter kick. Time to kick up the cardio -- literally. Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended. Then, lift your heels off the floor (about six inches) and begin kicking up and down. Try to keep this up for a minute, and remember to keep the core engaged!
15. Bicycle. Lie down on your back with knees in towards your chest and hands behind your head. Bring your right elbow towards the left knee while the right leg simultaneously straightens. Alternate sides just like you're pedaling on a bike and pedal out for 30 reps.
Ready to get moving? Combine your favorite moves and create a 30-minute circuit to meet the American Heart Association's recommended amount of daily cardiovascular exercise.
Have a favorite cardio move we missed? Tell us your routine in the comments below.