Health & Wellness

No gym, no problem: At-home cardio that really works

Courtesy of Urban Jungle / Today
At-Home Cardio That Really Works

You don't need a gym or any fancy equipment to get your heart rate up and start burning off serious calories. All you need to do is follow this workout, created exclusively for iVillage by Urban Jungle's Chief Instructor Joshua Votaw. He even shows you how to modify each move to make it easier or harder, to meet your ability. After warming up, begin by doing four sets of each exercise (for a total of 40 reps). Start increasing your sets over time to work up to 10.


March in place, pulling up your knee to the opposite arm (1 minute). Next, add a little movement by jumping with a real or imaginary rope (1 minute). Lastly, add in 'straight arms-straight legs' jump—moving the right side and left side of your body like a pair of scissors (1 minute).

Speed skaters


Stand on your right leg, knee bent at 45 degrees, and suspended your left leg in the air behind body, keeping your back and head straight. Hop to switch legs, rocking back on your heel and stick the glutes out to take pressure off knees when your land. As you get more comfortable and find balance, speed up the cadence so you are moving as fast as you can from side to side while maintaining proper form and balance. Every time you land on your right foot it will count as 1 repetition.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier just step from side to side instead of hopping. To make this exercise harder, bend the knee to go even lower (the lower you go the more you are working). You can also add some weights in each hand to tone the arms and engage the core even more!

Full plank, knees to elbows


Start out in the pushup position, eyes looking straight down, with feet together; butt down and core up. Next, slightly turn your body to the left as you bring your left knee up to your elbow from the side and then switch sides. Pick up the pace to spend very little time in the full plank position for the transition between legs. Every time the right knee comes up to right elbow we will count that as 1 repetition.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier simply slow down the cadence and focus on the side crunch. To make this exercise more challenging and get the heart rate up keep that cadence high and work it nonstop.

Force multiplier squats


This move is the opposite of a squat jump—instead of jumping up, you'll be jumping down to multiply the force of your body weight resistance as you go into the squat position. Start with feet together, legs straight and arms straight up in the air. With a hopping motion, spread your feet just wider than your shoulders as you go into a squat, lowering your arms and attempting to get you’re your thighs parallel to the floor. Be sure to sit back on your heels and stick your glutes out. To come back up to the start position, hop as you put your feet back together and stand straight up to complete one repetition.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier step out to the right or left as you squat taking the jumping portion out. To make it harder, hold a medicine ball or weight in your hands which adds to the resistance. The farther away the weight (straighter the arms stay) the more difficult this exercise will be.

Sprint to a squat thrust


Start by sprinting in place for 3-5 seconds, pumping those arms and legs as fast as you can, and then add in a squat thrust. This is where you go immediately from the sprint position to a squat position, placing your hands flat on the ground and then thrust both legs back so you are in a pushup position. (Hint: the wider the legs are the easier this motion will be). Bring your legs back into a squat position, with legs apart and stand back up. Resume sprinting again and repeat process. Every squat thrust completed is 1 rep.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier, walk in place instead of sprinting. To make the squat thrust easier, you can step one leg back at a time instead of thrusting them both back together. To make it more difficult add in a pushup and/or a jump as you come up from the squat.

Half plank


Start out in the full plank (pushup) position, supporting yourself with your hands. Then drop down onto your forearms—keep your elbows below the shoulders and eyes down so your head is in alignment with you back. Keep your glutes down and core up so there is no significant rise or dip through your back and legs. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Give yourself a 30 second break immediately after this exercise to lower your heart rate a bit before you start another round of the cardio-blast workout.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier, drop to knees keep the back and glutes in alignment. To make more difficult try lifting one leg straight off floor as well as opposite arm. Keep the body balanced and straight from forward to back and side to side. You can also add more time onto this exercise to increase the core portion and recovery time. Work toward doing a full 5 minute set, broken up by 30 second intervals

Cool down
After completing 4 sets of the previous specified exercises and you are dripped in sweat with your heart racing it’s time to cool down and congratulate yourself for such a great workout doing 100 repetitions of all the previous exercises!! You can walk in place shaking out your arms and legs for a couple of minutes. When you can talk and breath normal again you are cooled down.

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A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.