A cardio workout at home refers to a bodyweight exercise routine that requires minimal equipment, offering a quick and simple way to improve physical fitness. A cardio workout plan at home refers to a structured home-based aerobic exercise program that individuals engage in three to five times per week.
A beginner cardio workout is a low-impact, 10 to 30-minute exercise routine that targets multiple muscle groups including the upper body, legs, and core, focusing on both cardiovascular endurance and muscle engagement. This type of aerobic workout aids in burning fat, enhancing cardiovascular health, and strengthening core and abdominal muscles.
Following a structured cardio workout plan becomes imperative as per the 2022 study by Yasuo Terauchi, from Yokohama City University becasue it provides guidance on the exercise selection, training volume, and exercise progression, which is the key to consistent management of the metabolic syndrome.
Based on a 2021 study by Jonas Alves de Araujo Junior from Sao Paulo State University Julio de Mesquita Filho-Unesp, engaging in regular home-based aerobic exercises can significantly enhance cardiovascular function, as demonstrated by improved cardiovascular test outcomes in patients with sickle cell disease.
A well-structured cardio workout provides a clear roadmap for individuals, outlining what to do when to do it, and how to do it. This eliminates guesswork and can significantly increase adherence to the exercise routine.
This article covers the 5-day beginner cardio workout, focusing on different forms of cardio such as HIIT, low impact, boxing, full body, and core, as listed below.
- Cardio HIIT workout
- Low-impact cardio workout
- Boxing cardio workout
- Full-body cardio workout
- Core and cardio workout
Day 1: Cardio HIIT Workout
This cardio workout is a dynamic blend of bodyweight exercises designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and engage multiple muscle groups. It encompasses seven distinct movements, from the explosive action of squat jumps to the core stability demanded by the plank to alternating toe touch.
The sequence efficiently cycles through exercises that target the legs, core, and upper body, ensuring a full-body workout within a short timeframe. Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds, and for those seeking variations or facing limitations, alternative exercises are provided to ensure inclusivity and adaptability.
This cardio home routine targets a wide range of muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core (including the obliques and rectus abdominis), shoulders, chest, and back.
For beginners, 2-3 rounds are recommended, with a 1-minute rest between rounds. Intermediate individuals can aim for 3-4 rounds, while advanced participants can challenge themselves with 4-5 rounds.
This cardio HIIT workout plan includes alternative exercises to cater to different fitness levels and any potential physical restrictions. This helps to customize the routine according to your comfort and capability.
The following is the exercise selection, including step-by-step instructions.
- Jumping Jacks: Start with your feet together and arms by your side. In one motion, jump your feet out to the side and raise your arms above your head. Immediately reverse the motion to jump back to the starting position.
- Squat Jumps: Begin by doing a regular squat. Engage your core and jump up explosively. On landing, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Burpees: Start in a standing position. Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, placing your body into a plank position. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Jump up from the squat position.
- High Knees: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee towards your chest and quickly place it back on the ground. Follow immediately by driving your left knee towards your chest. Continue the movement, alternating legs and moving at a sprinting or running pace.
- Plank to Alternating Toe Touch: Start in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Engage your core and lift your right hand to touch your left foot. Return to plank position. Lift your left hand to touch your right foot. Return to the plank position and continue alternating.
- Mountain Climbers: Begin in a plank position. Drive your right knee towards your chest. As you put your right foot back, drive your left knee toward your chest. Keep your hips down, and alternate legs quickly.
- Rest or Walk in Place: Take a moment to breathe deeply, hydrate, and prepare for the next exercise. If you prefer not to stay still, keep moving gently by walking in place.
This table shows the cardio HIIT workout routine.
|Jumping Jacks||30 seconds||Side Step Jacks|
|Squat Jumps||30 seconds||Air Squats|
|Burpees||30 seconds||Half Burpees|
|High Knees||30 seconds||March in Place|
|Plank to Alternating Toe Touch||30 seconds||Shoulder Taps|
|Mountain Climbers||30 seconds||Plank Jacks|
|Walk in Place||30 seconds||Standing Side Leg Lifts|
Day 2: Low-Impact Cardio Workout
For your Day 2 low-impact cardio workout, you’ll be engaging in seven different exercises, each lasting 30 seconds. Over the course of this routine, you’ll be targeting various muscles, from your legs to your core and arms.
Start with step-ups, an effective way to activate your leg muscles; if you don’t have a step, you can use a low platform. Follow this with butt kicks to elevate your heart rate and engage your hamstrings. Side leg lifts will target your outer thighs and hips while marching in place focuses on your quads and calves.
To engage your shoulders and upper arms, incorporate arm circles. Finish with standing oblique crunches for core engagement and the boxer shuffle for overall cardiovascular health.
Beginners should aim for 2-3 rounds with a 1-minute rest in between. Those at an intermediate level can target 3-4 rounds, while advanced individuals can push for up to 5 rounds.
- Step-ups: Find a sturdy step or low platform. Place one foot on the step, push through your heel to lift your other foot off the ground, then step back down and alternate feet.
- Butt Kicks: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Jog in place, kicking your heels up towards your glutes with each step.
- Side Leg Lifts: Stand tall with feet together. Keeping your leg straight, lift it out to the side as high as comfortable, then lower back down. Alternate sides.
- March in Place: Stand upright. Lift one knee high, then the other, in a marching motion, engaging your core throughout.
- Arm Circles: Extend your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Create small circles with your arms, first in one direction, then reverse.
- Standing Oblique Crunch: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lift your right leg to the side and try to touch your right knee with your right elbow. Return to starting position and alternate sides.
- Boxer Shuffle: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width. Bounce lightly on the balls of your feet, shifting weight from one foot to the other, mimicking a boxer’s footwork.
This table displays the Low-impact cardio workout regimen.
|Low-impact Cardio Workout||Duration||Alternative Exercise|
|Step-ups||30 seconds||Alternating lunges|
|Butt Kicks||30 seconds||High knee taps|
|Side Leg Lifts||30 seconds||Lateral step-outs|
|March in Place||30 seconds||Spot jogging|
|Arm Circles||30 seconds||Shoulder shrugs|
|Standing Oblique Crunch||30 seconds||Side bends with hands on hips|
|Boxer Shuffle||30 seconds||Sidestep shuffles|
Day 3: Boxing Cardio Workout
In your Day 3 Boxing Cardio Workout, you’ll engage in a series of boxing-inspired exercises to get your heart rate up and muscles activated. Begin with the Jab-Cross Combo, where you’ll alternate between a straight punch and a cross punch for 30 seconds.
Follow this with Uppercuts for another 30 seconds, where you’re targeting an imaginary opponent’s chin. Your next move is Hook Punches, throwing curved punches at head level for 30 seconds. Engage in a Boxer Shuffle for 30 seconds, where you’ll stay light on your feet, alternating punches at an elevated target for 30 seconds.
Finish off with Dodge and Punch and Front Kicks, each lasting 30 seconds, mimicking dodging movements and powerful leg kicks. For each exercise, there are alternative exercises provided in case you need modifications. Complete the sequence for 2-3 rounds to get a full workout, targeting your arms, core, and legs.
And the best part? You don’t need boxing gloves, mitts, or pads for this routine; just determination and enough space. Once you complete one round, which sums up to 3.5 minutes, take 60 seconds of rest. For a full workout, consider repeating this round 3-5 times.
- Jab-Cross Combo: Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other. Extend one arm straight out in a punching motion (jab), then follow with the other arm crossing over your body (cross). Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Uppercuts: With a slight bend in your knees and a tight core, punch upwards from your waist to head height, as if aiming for an opponent’s chin. Alternate hands.
- Hook Punches: Start with elbows bent at 90 degrees. Swing your arm around in a horizontal arc, punching at head level. Alternate hands.
- Boxer Shuffle: Stay light on the balls of your feet and bounce from one foot to the other, mimicking a boxer’s in-ring movement.
- Dodge and Punch: Pretend to dodge an incoming punch by quickly moving to the side, then throw a counterpunch with the opposite hand.
- Front Kicks: Stand tall and lift one leg, extending it out in a kicking motion. Alternate legs.
This table outlines the boxing cardio workout routine for Day 3.
|Jab-Cross Combo||60 seconds||20 seconds||Arm raises to the front and side|
|Uppercuts||60 seconds||20 seconds||Bicep curls without weights|
|Hook Punches||60 seconds||20 seconds||Arm circles|
|Boxer Shuffle||60 seconds||20 seconds||March in place|
|Dodge and Punch||60 seconds||20 seconds||Side step and arm extension|
|Front Kicks||60 seconds||20 seconds||High knees|
Day 4: Full Body Cardio Workout
You’re about to embark on a full-body cardio workout that targets various muscle groups, ensuring a comprehensive exercise experience. You’ll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, and for optimal results, you should complete 5 rounds in total (unless you are ready to push yourself).
Engage your core with the plank, work your legs and glutes with lunges, strengthen your chest and arms with push-ups, and get your heart rate up with star jumps.
Don’t have weights, jumping ropes, or resistance bands? No worries! You won’t need them for this routine, and if some exercises aren’t suitable for you, there are alternative exercises provided.
Below is a handpicked selection of full-body home workout exercises, complete with in-depth instructions.
- Star Jumps: Stand with feet together and arms by your side. Squat down slightly and then explode upwards, jumping and spreading your arms and legs out like a star. Land softly and return to the starting position.
- Push-ups: Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body. Push through your hands to return to the starting position, keeping your body straight throughout.
- Lunges: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward with one foot and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Ensure your front knee is aligned with your ankle, not pushing out over your toes. Push back up and return to the starting position, then switch legs.
- Plank: Begin in a forearm plank position, with elbows directly below shoulders and legs extended straight back. Keep your body straight and tight, engaging your core, glutes, and thighs. Hold this position without letting your hips drop.
- Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back with hands behind your head and legs lifted off the ground. Bring one knee towards your chest while turning the opposite elbow towards that knee. Alternate sides in a pedaling motion, engaging your core throughout.
This table presents the comprehensive routine for a full-body cardio workout consisting of just five exercises.
|Star Jumps||40 seconds||20 seconds||Jumping Jacks|
|Push-ups||40 seconds||20 seconds||Knee Push-ups|
|Lunges||40 seconds||20 seconds||Static Squats|
|Plank||40 seconds||20 seconds||Knee Plank|
|Bicycle Crunches||30 seconds||15 seconds||Leg Raises|
Day 5: Core and Cardio Workout
For your Day 5 workout focusing on core and cardio, you’ll engage in six bodyweight exercises, targeting primarily your abdominal muscles, though other muscle groups will also be activated.
In this cardio routine, you’ll execute each exercise for 30 seconds. Aim to complete 4 rounds in total, ensuring you maintain proper form throughout. While you don’t need any weights for this workout, it’s recommended to have some invigorating exercise music to keep you motivated.
Here’s a brief guide on how to perform each exercise.
- Jumping Jacks: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Jump, spreading your legs and raising your arms above your head, then jump back to the starting position.
- Russian Twists: Sit on the ground with your knees bent. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Twist your torso to the left, then to the right, touching your hands to each side.
- High Knees: Stand tall and rapidly drive your knees towards your chest, alternating legs.
- Plank: Get into a push-up position but rest on your forearms. Keep your body straight from head to heels.
- Leg Raises: Lie flat on your back, hands by your sides. Keeping your legs straight, lift them up and then lower them without touching the ground.
- Sit-ups: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Engage your core and lift your upper body towards your knees.
This table outlines a detailed abs cardio workout routine comprised of six exercises.
|Jumping Jacks||30 seconds||Side-to-Side Hops|
|Russian Twists||30 seconds||Seated Leg Lifts|
|High Knees||30 seconds||Marching in Place|
|Plank||30 seconds||Knee Plank|
|Leg Raises||30 seconds||Knee Tucks|
|Rest||30 seconds||(Rest or Gentle Stretching)|
Remember to rest for 30 seconds between each round or engage in gentle stretching. This allows you to recover and prepare for the next round.
How long should a beginner’s cardio workout last at home?
For beginners, it is advisable to start with shorter workout durations and gradually increase the time as fitness levels improve. It is recommended to begin with 10-15 minutes of cardio exercise and gradually increase the duration to reach the recommended 150 minutes per week. Beginners can start by performing cardio exercises such as walking, cycling, or dancing at a moderate intensity level.
How often should I do cardio at home?
Adults are advised to engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity weekly. For home cardio workouts, it’s essential to find a routine that suits you, either daily or spread throughout the week, while also considering other cardio options and your personal fitness goals.
How can I increase home cardio intensity?
To intensify your home cardio workout, consider integrating High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and plyometrics, both of which involve bursts of high-energy exercises, and gradually increasing the duration of your sessions.
Additionally, utilizing home cardio equipment, engaging in bodyweight exercises targeting large muscle groups, and trying circuit training or online cardio-based classes can amplify the challenge, but always prioritize safety by warming up, cooling down, and staying hydrated.
How should I warm up and cool down at home?
To effectively warm up at home, begin with 5-10 minutes of light aerobic activities like jogging in place or jumping jacks, gradually intensifying while incorporating dynamic stretches targeting major muscle groups.
For cooling down, reduce activity intensity and transition to 5-10 minutes of low-impact exercises, complemented by static stretches held for 15-30 seconds, allowing the body to return to its resting state.