Who needs to spend hours on the boring treadmill when you can get your heart-pumping cardio on in less than 20 minutes? Maximize your time and see results faster with these 18 incredibly effective bodyweight moves.
Perform each move according to the time allotted; rest for 20 seconds between each move.
Beginners: Perform all 18 moves 1x.
Intermediate: Perform all 18 moves 2x.
Advanced: Perform all 18 moves 3x.
Throw on your favorite fitness gear, grab your smartphone to time the moves (a girl's gotta look cute when working up a sweat, right?) and let's get started! Note: these moves are INTENSE, listen to your body and take the modification when needed.
Start off with this core-tightening move! Keep your shoulders and wrists aligned and switch feet as fast as you can without slouching.
Step 1: Begin in high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels.
Step 2: With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest, with the toes just off the ground. Return to your basic plank. Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward. Keep alternating legs and pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.
Who said a workout can't be fun? You might feel a little silly performing these jumps, but it's a killer lower body move.
Step 1: Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width distance apart. Lower into a squat; extend your arms between your legs and let your fingertips lightly touch the ground (make certain to keep your chest lifted and knees behind your toes).
Step 2: Jump up explosively, while simultaneously stretching your arms up towards the ceiling and tapping your heels together.
Step 3: As soon as you land, perform another jump, keeping up the momentum. That’s one rep. Modification (Beginner): Decrease your range of motion on both the jump and the drop. Hop rather than jump and squat rather than touch the floor.
You'll really feel the burn in your thighs with this one. It combines strength and cardio; what more could you ask for?
Step 1: Begin in the lunge position. Place your feet far enough away form each other to create 90-degree bends in both knees. The front knee should not pass over the front toes. The back knee, ideally, should touch or be a few inches from the ground. Chest is lifted.
Step 2: Power yourself out of the lunge by squeezing your glutes and core. Use your arms to help with propulsion, and make sure both feet leave the ground at the same time. Land in your lunge with the opposite leg forward with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. The chest stays lifted. That is one rep. Modification (Beginner): Remove jump and perform an basic alternating lunge.
This little exercise is mighty! Go as quickly as you can, but keep your core engaged to stabilize your body.
Step 1: Start in high plank position, but with knees bent.
Step 2: Keeping arms locked, knees bent and legs together throughout, propel legs up and over to right side of side of your mat.
Step 3: Then explode to the left side of your mat for one rep. Continue exploding up and over to each side for the allotted time. Modification (Beginner): Instead of hopping from side to side, just step, one leg at a time at a challenging pace.
Your heart will be pumping hard after this one! You'll feel it in your core and lower body as you get those knees up high.
Step 1: Stand tall with your core pulled in and your shoulders back. Places your hands out at hip height to help gauge your performance. Keep this posture and raise one knee up to the hips or higher, keeping the other leg bent and ready to follow. Quickly alternate knees, leaning back with a strong core to help drive them toward the chest. Repeat for allotted time. Modification (Beginner): March in place. Modification (Advanced): Travel with it; put hands up overhead to utilize your core.
Fly through the air (a little) with this controlled move. The key to this exercise is sinking low into your squat each time you land and exploding with your thighs when you jump!
Step 1: Stand with legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower into a squat.
Step 2: Jump upward, extending the legs, while simultaneously rotating 180 degrees to the other side.
Step 3: Complete the back and forth squat-to-rotational jump position for the instructed amount of time. Modification (Beginner): Instead of jumping side to side, turn 180 degrees by stepping with one foot at a time to the other side, then lower into the squat.
The dreaded burpees will kick your butt, but you'll see results fast! Add a pushup at the bottom of the move if you're up for a real challenge.
Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
Step 2: Bend your knees and squat down, placing your hands firmly on the floor.
Step 3: Jump your feet back to come into a high plank with straight arms and legs.
Step 4: Jump both feet forward to your hands.
Step 5: From your crouching position, jump up with hands above your head. That is one rep. Repeat for the allotted time. Modification (Beginner): On step #3, step legs back individually and/or remove the jump at the end. Modification (Advanced): Add a pushup at the end of step #3.
Let your tummy do the work with this move. Keep your abs engaged and use them to control every movement.
Step 1: To begin, lie on your back with arms at your sides and palms facing down. Lift your butt and lower back up in the air so that the bottoms of your feet are facing the ceiling.
Step 2: In one fluid motion, lower your back and legs and transition to your feet while jumping in the air as high as you can with arms extended straight overhead. That is one rep.
Show your fast feet, girl! This move may seem easy, but it'll get your heart pumping quickly!
Step 1: Get into a defensive position with a wide stance and arms tucked into the body. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet and jump over to one side. Keep your form nice and tight.
Step 2: Shift your weight over to the other leg. Make sure your knees remain slightly bent the entire time so you can safely and quickly get side to side. Stay low!
Love football? Try our Football Cardio Rush Workout — guaranteed to make you work up a sweat...and burn some serious fat!
This total body torcher looks simple, but it'll leave you sore! You'll feel the burn in your triceps, core and thighs.
Step 1: Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on floor, palms behind you and your fingertips pointed toward your heels. Keeping hands and feet planted, raise your hips off the floor and alternate, kicking left leg and right leg as high and as fast as you can.
Step 2: A kick with your right leg and a kick with your left leg counts as one rep. Continue to alternate legs for allotted time. Modification (Beginner): Bring down your speed and/or remove the jump.
Skaters will leave you with sweat pouring and your blood flowing. It's a pretty fun move to try, too!
Step 1: Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides.
Step 2: Bring one leg behind your other and tap that foot to the outside of your stabilizing leg.
Step 3: Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg to starting position while simultaneously bringing the front leg behind in a skating motion. That is one rep. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater. Modification (Beginner): Remove the jump as you switch feet.
You've got this move down! If staying in place is boring, build a track path (more like an obstacle course) throughout your home.
Step 1: Keeping your back straight, chest up and head forward move your arms in rhythm with your legs. Breath in through you noes and out through your mouth. Sprint in place as fast as you can for 60 seconds. Modification (Beginner): Reduce your pace to a march, focusing on raising your knees as high as you can. Modification (Advanced): If you can, add light ankle weights or hold light dumbbells.
For an intense cardio move that really targets your quads and glutes, try prisoner jacks. Sounds easy; it's not. Remember to stay low to really maximize the burn on this move.
Step 1: Stand with your feet close together, hands behind your head, and lower down into a narrow squat so that your weight shifts back to your heels.
Step 2: Staying low, but with your chest up, push off your heels and jump your feet wide, landing in a wide squat position. Jump back to the start position. Continue jumping your feet out and in with a squat as fast as you can.
Work your core and quads with this jump. This will help your agility and strength in ways you didn't even know existed.
Step 1: Begin with the feet hip-width apart and come into a forward fold. Bend the knees as needed. Make fists with your hands and place them on the ground in front of one foot. Drop the head.
Step 2: Put all the weight in your hands as you jump the feet up and over to the side – make sure if you had placed your hands in front of your left foot, you jump up and over to your left side. Stay low.
Step 3: With the chest still dropped, swing the arms between the legs. Immediately place the fists in front of your other foot and repeat the move in the opposite direction. If this is to intense on your back, lift the chest and increase the bend in your knees. Modification (Beginner): Use a bench to place your hands on instead of the floor.
Channel your inner cheerleader and see how long you can last performing tuck jumps!
Step 1: Stand with feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in your knees, elbows resting at waist with forearms extending straight forward, perpendicular to the ground. Bend your knees and sit back into a half squat.
Step 2: Explode up into a jump, tucking your knees so your quads (ultimately) hit your forearms. Land softly with a slight bend in the knee (don’t land heel first), and repeat movement for instructed amount of time.
Work your inner thighs with this lunge variation. It looks like a slow-moving exercise, but you'll feel the burn with every rep.
Step 1: Stand straight with your feet facing forward.
Step 2: Step out and cross your lead foot in front of your back foot. This should look like a curtsy. Make sure your knee stays behind your toes.
Step 3: Pause in the lunge and then push yourself back to starting position. Repeat with alternating legs.
You're almost done! Keep that heart pumpin' with another football-inspired drill.
Step 1: Start in a standing position with your knees slightly bent. Lift your bent right leg up. Quickly hop to the right, while lifting your bent left knee up to hip height. Hop to the left, lifting your right knee to hip height. That is one rep. Continue alternating legs.
Because jumping jacks are so last year. Mix it up and finish strong with good form on your cross jacks.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and extend your arms straight out to either side with palms facing down. This is the starting position.
Step 2: Jump, and cross your right arm over your left and your right foot over your left.
Step 3: Jump back to the starting position, then cross with the opposite arm and foot. This counts as one rep.
You did it! Incorporate this cardio workout into your weekly routine, about 2-3x per week along with strength work to see results. Don't forget to fuel your body with delicious high protein foods and drink plenty of water. Check out 10 Delicious High-Protein, Low-Carb Recipes and 15 Detox Water Recipes for Weight Loss.
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