In our recent Blog on the “SLOW vs FAST debate”, we recommended the idea of mixing weights sessions with cardio training. The simplest way to do this is by warming up and warming down on cardio equipment. Alternating your weights sets with 45 second – 2 minute intervals of cardio-based bodyweight exercise is another interesting and effective way to achieve this.
Here’s a few of our favourite cardio-based bodyweight exercises:
1. High Knee Jog
This is essentially jogging on the spot, however you must bring your knees up to your hip-line each time you raise them alternately. Try this for 45 seconds to 1 minute and then move on to your next exercise.
2. Mountain Climbers
Start down on your hands and knees, and bring the right foot forward to the chest while the left leg remains straight.
Engaging the core, quickly switch legs, and keep this rhythm going for 15-20 reps.
3. Shadow boxing
Boxing is one of the best forms of cardio exercise around, and it also has the benefit of toning your arms! Ideally, it’s best to do this in front of a mirror but it’s not essential.
To shadow box, simply punch the air in the front of you (go left hand then right hand, or use a mixture of combinations if you know any) for 45 seconds to 2 minutes. You can even grab some 1-3kg dumbbells and punch the air with these in each hand to add some more resistance. It doesn’t matter if your technique isn’t all that great – it’s just a simple way to get your heart rate up before you move on to your next exercise!
4. Jumping Squats
They’re fairly self-explanatory, and 20-30 of these never gets easy! Start by completing a basic squat (keeping the heels on the ground while bending the hips and knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor), and then jump as you come up, reaching your arms above your head then re-squatting as you land. Repeat the squat-to-jump movement 20-30 times and then move on. This is particularly challenging to throw in between a set on a leg machine or squat rack!
5. Flutter Kick
This exercise is high-cardio and a great challenge for your abs and core muscles! Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended. Then, lift your heels off the floor (about 10 centimetres) and begin kicking up and down.
Try to keep this up for a minute, and remember to keep the core engaged! If you have lower back problems, or you experience pain in the back after only a few flutter kicks, this exercise may not be suitable for you.
The above 5 exercises are just a few of the thousands of ideas out there when it comes to cardio-based bodyweight exercises.
We’d love to hear from our Lifespan Blog readers about your exercise ideas too!