Quarantine Cardio Workouts with 8 Simple Body Weight Moves!!

One of the biggest short comings to working out at home, is many of us (myself included!) struggle at times to get the heart rate properly elevated. The bottom line is, it is difficult to get a challenging workout in when you’re out of your ‘element.’ Therefore, unless you have a piece of cardio equipment at home, there’s a decent chance you’re not able to get your heart rate to a level that would constitute true cardiovascular work.

With most of our other daily activities grinding to a halt, it is essential to still have a cardio component to your home-workouts in order to keep the Quarantine weight gain to a minimum. Below I’m going to outline 8 exercises- that are all body weight- and when done to maximum effort, in the combinations I present, will get you feeling like you just did a series of sprints. In order to get the most out of this workout, I would still recommend you downloading a timer app (as I’ve stated previously, my preference is simply the ‘Tabata’ APP).

****Not all of these exercises will be right for everybody. There is a plyometric component that may cause joint discomfort to some. IF you feel any discomfort, immediately regress to the basic strength move- in other words, take the jump or plyometric component out of the move. ****

Parameters:

  • Repeat Sequence for 3 – 6 Rounds
  • Work Time: 20 – 40 seconds (begin with 20, and build up from there)
  • Rest Time: 10 – 20 seconds (always keep the 2:1 work to rest ratio)
  • Rest Between Rounds: 45 – 90 seconds

Exercises:

Ice Skaters

The goal with this one is to get as far as you can side to side. Think about your range of motion like a rainbow though, trying to get “up” as well as “out.” Realistically, if you’re getting yourself outside shoulder-width, and staying relatively low, you’re going to get a great burn in your quads and glutes, and your heart rate is going to spike!

Pushup- Position Spiders

Bring your foot all the way up towards your hand, dig into your hip flexor. Hold for 2 seconds then perform a “full switch” to the opposite side. This gets challenging from a cardio perspective, so if you need to, regress the move and tap your foot in the middle.

Squat Jumps

Try to get to about 90 degrees with your squat, then jump up throwing your arms up with you. The biggest key to this move is the “soft land.” In order to achieve a soft land, you’re focusing entirely on “absorbing the land” through soft hips and soft knees. Especially if you have achy joints, this type of impact may not be right for you. You can try performing it on grass- as I demonstrate in this video- or regress the form to simply “explosive squats.”

Push-up Position Toe to Opposite Hand

Rotate your hips through and kick your toe to your opposite hand. There is a lot going on with this move, where you’re getting a rotational component through your hips, plus some serious shoulder stabilization by holding yourself on one arm. Just make sure with your set-up, that your shoulders are directly overtop your hands- otherwise, you’ll wind up putting a lot of unneeded stress on your shoulders. Also, try to keep the leg that’s “kicking” as straight as you can.

Split Squat Jumps (Left side only)

Perform this exercise with only one side leading the entire set. Make sure you’re achieving full ROM by having your back knee get close to the ground on the descent. Then jump as high as you can throwing your arms up with you. Again, the landing needs to be soft. Focus on soft hips and soft knees, and try to “absorb” the landing. If this move is not right for you, regress to a standard split lunge, with explosive reps for the tempo.

Push-up Position Knee to Opposite Elbow

This move also has a HUGE rotational component to it, but now you’re basically turning into a healthier version of the bicycle crunch (significantly less of an impact on the lower back). As you rotate your hips through, crunch your elbow down slightly and drive your opposite knee up as high as you can. The goal is to touch the elbow to the knee every time. Aside from the tremendous abdominal work, this move is also great for your shoulder stabilizers and overall upper body strength as well!

Split Squat Jumps (Right side only)

Perform this exercise with only one side leading the entire set. Make sure you’re achieving full ROM by having your back knee get close to the ground on the descent. Then jump as high as you can throwing your arms up with you. Again, the landing needs to be soft. Focus on soft hips and soft knees, and try to “absorb” the landing. If this move is not right for you, regress to a standard split lunge, with explosive reps for the tempo.

Bear Crawls (6 steps up & back)

To achieve the proper body position for this move, simply assume a perfect quadruped position (shoulders over top your hands and hips perfectly overtop your knees). Then from there, simply raise your knees just off the ground. Be sure to always maintain a flat back with your butt down any time you’re bear crawling. (6 steps up and back will provide a bit more of a cardio component than my usual prescription of 4). When you’re “stepping,” make sure you’re explosively driving your knee forward, but it should always stay behind your elbow. This will ensure you maintain perfect posture the entire time.

PRO Tips

FIRST and foremost, before you dive headfirst into this workout, make sure you check out my blog from earlier this week to get a nice warm up in. (Click here to view that) Many of these moves are challenging on the hips, adductors and shoulders, so it is imperative you are properly warmed up to avoid injury.

Second, don’t be afraid to play with the tempo of these exercises. For example, cut the set in half and change the tempo for the second half of the set. If your set is 30 seconds long, do the first 15 seconds of reps at a slower tempo, then the second 15 seconds as hard as you possibly can- to the point that you can’t possibly do one more rep when the time is up. This method will allow you to train both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems- similar to sprint intervals with jogs in between.

Third, the exercises are laid out in a way that you can go through the rounds in a “snake style” exercise order. In other words, Round 1 you’d start with Ice Skaters and end with Bear Crawls. Then Round 2, you’d start with Bear Crawls and end with Ice Skaters. With Round 3 beginning with Ice Skaters and finishing with Bear Crawls, etc. etc. This is a great way to break up the monotony of 5 or 6 rounds. It’ll also getting you “feeling” exercises a little different by doing the combinations backwards.

My final piece of advice during these tumultuous times in our society is to get outside and do this workout if you can! I went through this exact workout in the exact location I filmed it, and man did it feel good to be moving around outside!! I understand that not everyone has a yard with proper separation from others, however, even a porch would be great. Try to fill your lungs with some fresh air, and it will do wonders for you mentally as well as physically!

Stay safe and stay tuned for more free workouts coming this week!

Yours in Fitness and Health,

TC

Your Final Reward Will Be Heartache and Tears, If You’ve Cheated the Guy in the Glass. 

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