It’s often said that you can’t expect to have really effective workouts at home. Most gurus and fitness ‘experts’ claim that we need a fully-stocked gym if we want to make any progress with our fitness. But things couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as there’s a will, there will always be a way. So if you’re looking for the best cardio workout at home, look no further.
Best Home Cardio Routine
Here is a simple, yet effective home cardio routine that can be done in 20 minutes, and also done in a small amount of space.
This is generally in order of intensity, as you want to do the higher intensity exercise near the end of your workout when you are fully warmed up.
|Warm-up | Walking||2 minutes||Low|
|Jogging in Place||1 minute||Medium|
|Jumping Jacks||1 minute||Medium|
|Slow Sprint||30 seconds||High|
|Quick Walk||3 minutes||Low|
|Slow Sprint||30 seconds||High|
|Cool Down | Walking||2 minutes||Low|
This is a simple, yet effective routine, and will produce your best cardio workout at home.
Space Is Limited – And That’s OK!
You don’t need much room for the best cardio workout at home. You will see, with a little experience, you can do a good cardio workout in a 15ft x 15ft room (small bedroom). You just need a clear path in the center.
It can be done in 10 minutes, and will definitely get your heart racing. And because it starts with low intensity, it will get your blood flowing and muscles warmed up so you’ll greatly reduce your risk of injury.
- Slow Sprint is similar to jogging in place, except with slight forward movement and more intense leg action (think high knees).
- Make sure that you warm-up and cool down to protect your muscles and joints.
- Intensity depends on your current physical condition. Always start very slowly, and progress to a higher intensity.
- When doing a Slow Sprint, you can perform 180 degree (1/2) turns in the corners of your room. Kicking your knees and running in place as you rotate from facing the corner, and then 1/2 turn to face the open space in your room.
The video below demonstrates the “slow sprint” and how a lot of intensity can be generated, including the 180 degree turns in the corners. Kick the legs high and pump your arms with intensity. This increases the intensity of the cardio workout at home.
Training Intensity vs. Training Length: Which Is More Important?
The short answer: They both are. But it primarily depends on your goals.
The longer answer:
If your primary goal is to improve your endurance, then the length of your workouts will be more critical. If your primary goal is to build muscle and grow more athletic, then training intensity should be your priority.
But for the average person who is just looking to tone up and get fit, a healthy balance of the two will deliver the best results. Keep things simple, and you’ll stay on track, improve your health, and look great. Make it complicated, and you’ll lose your motivation when life gets busy.
Cardio Heart Rate? Know Your Training Zones
Cardio heart rate refers to the elevated heartbeat during aerobic activities. This occurs because physical activity increases the need for energy, nutrients, and oxygen, which forces the heart to deliver more blood to our muscles and organs.
Under normal circumstances, our heart rate cruises around 60 to 100 beats per minute. But when doing cardio, it can quickly shoot past 100 beats per minute. (1)
Now, as with most things, more is not necessarily better – we need to keep things within a specific range.
For cardiovascular work, your heart rate should be somewhere between 50 and 85 percent of your max (Max = Men: 220 – age; Women: 226 – age). Keep it around 50 to 55 percent on low-intensity cardio, and 75 to 85 percent if you want to do high-intensity interval training.
So if you’re 35 years old, then your max heart rate (MHR) = 220 – 35 = 185. And if your goal is weight loss, then your typical training range should be 60% of 185, which equal to .60 x 185 = 111. Your average training for a typical workout should yield a heart rate in the range of 111 beats per minute.
So during your training, just use two fingers to check your pulse on your carotid artery, and count the beats for 15 seconds. Multiply times 4, and that is your beats per minute. (2)
How to Design The Best Cardio Workout At Home
Here’s how to create the best cardio workout at home:
Jogging in Place
Don’t have a treadmill? Jog in one place. If you don’t have a treadmill at home, you can jog in one place and you’ll be able to have just as an effective workout. To increase the cardio, really pump your arms for extra effect.
Jumping rope is hands down one of the best cardio workouts you can do at home.
The best part is, you can adjust the intensity on the go and train as hard (or as leisurely) as you feel like. Plus, a high-quality rope doesn’t cost much, and all you need is a bit of space to exercise with it.
Jumping Jacks are a simple movement that is mild cardio, but very good for warming up the muscles. This movement warms up your legs, your ankles, your hips, and your whole body.
Sprint in One Spot
Looking for a quick and effective calorie-blaster? Sprint in one spot.
If you want to have a quick, challenging, and effective workout, all you need to do is sprint in one spot. It’s a bit tricky to learn, and you should start gradually. But, the benefits it offers are well worth it.
Slow Sprint with 180 degree Corner Turns
A slow sprint is where you have the energy exertion of nearly a full sprint, but you cover very little ground (forward movement) because you kick your knees up with intensity. It’s like jogging in place, but doing it with intensity and slight forward movement.
It’s medium to high intensity level. And when you do it at home, you can add to the process by doing 180 degree (1/2) turns in the corners. So it’s perfect for a small space like your living room.
Use Your Home’s Steps Creatively
There are many ways to use your home’s steps for working out. For example, you can walk up and down, or you can jog up and down at a brisk pace. You can also practice your jumping by going back and forth on the first couple of steps.
If you don’t have steps, you can purchase a step platform at a very reasonable price.
Use Your Entire Home Space
To put the cherry on top of the best cardio workout at home, you can use your home space to walk around.
Aim for a pace that allows you to do about 1,200 – 1,500 steps every ten minutes. This is in the range of a quick walk and a slow jog. So in a 30-minute at home workout you can do 3,000 – 4,500 steps, which is a good cardio workout.
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- Gholipour, B. (2018). What Is a Normal Heart Rate? LiveScience.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (n.d.). Checking pulse over the carotid artery. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/checking-pulse-over-the-carotid-artery/img-20006075.