When it comes to getting an effective cardio workout that burns a lot fat and calories, the specific types of exercises you choose are absolutely critical to your success. Even though LISS cardio (Low Intensity Steady State) like walking on the treadmill or riding the stationary bike is beneficial, this type of training will not burn the same amount of calories and overall body fat that higher intensity exercises will. When you integrate HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training) into your workouts, you will be forcing your body to use something called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which is also referred to as the “Afterburn” effect. This is the holy grail for burning fat and getting lean since you will get a metabolic boost for hours after your workout! Some studies found measurable effects that existed up to 38 hours post-exercise when using EPOC.
The bodyweight cardio workout below uses 7 highly effective fat blasting exercises that you can perform virtually anywhere without the need for any type of expensive gym equipment or bulky machines. Using your own bodyweight allows you to get a great workout in the convenience of your home or even while you’re traveling on the road. All you need is a little space and the desire to get after it!
Exercise #1 – Burpees (20 repetitions)
The first exercise in this bodyweight cardio workout is one of the greatest whole body exercises you can do and it’s called the burpee! This one movement hits all of the major muscle groups in your entire body and it’s excellent for developing strength and muscle tone along with increasing stamina and endurance. The burpee will truly test your level of fitness and it’s one of the core exercises that’s used in popular fitness programs like CrossFit. This amazing bodyweight exercise targets all of the key muscles in your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and abdominals. If you’re looking for one of the best “bang for the buck” exercises then you definitely want to include burpees into your cardio workout!
Exercise #2 – High Knees (60 Seconds)
The second exercise in this workout is high knees and this is an excellent follow-up movement after burpees. High knees targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves along with the core muscles of your abs and lower back. This is similar to running in place but you will be raising your knees much higher toward your chest. This is an excellent exercise for burning calories and working your cardiovascular system which helps to strengthen your heart and lungs while also increasing your endurance.
Exercise #3 – Jump Squats (20 repetitions)
The third exercise in this cardio routine is the jump squat which is very effective for building explosive power in the lower body. It targets the large muscle groups in your legs which are very important for burning calories. When you’re able to recruit larger muscles when training, you will be able to increase the level of intensity which helps to increase your metabolic rate. This is the reason why barbell squats and deadlifts are so effective for building muscle mass and transforming your physique. When performing jump squats, try your best to explode up and jump as high as possible to get the most out of this exercise.
Exercise #4 – Mountain Climbers (60 Seconds)
The fourth exercise in this cardio workout is another very effective movement. Mountain climbers are perfect for helping to tone and strengthen the legs and abdominals while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout. The upper body muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps are also targeted as secondary muscle groups while you stabilize your upper body and perform mountain climbers. Make sure to get your legs up as close to your chest as possible on each repetition to really get the most out of this exercise.
Exercise #5 – Speed Squats (30 repetitions)
Speed squats are the fifth exercise in this cardio routine. It’s important to make sure your form and technique is spot-on with this movement. When you perform the squat portion, try to get your knees to about parallel with the ground in order to maximize the tension on your glutes (butt muscles) and quadriceps. This is a quick and explosive movement so speed is key with this exercise but always make sure you’re under control and balanced at all times.
Exercise #6 – Jumping Lunges (60 Seconds)
The jumping lunge follows up speed squats for the sixth exercise in this series. Your legs should be on fire at this point during the workout but keep going because you’re almost finished! Jumping lunges are excellent for improving agility and endurance while targeting the big muscles of your lower body. Your tempo should be quick but your balance is the key with this movement. Keep your head up with your eyes looking straight to maintain stability.
Exercise #7 – Spiderman Mountain Climbers (20 repetitions)
The final exercise in this bodyweight cardio workout is a killer finishing movement! This exercise is very similar to traditional mountain climbers with a little twist. You will raise each leg up and position it outside of your elbow which resembles the famous “Spiderman” move. This exercise really hits the core muscles of your abdominals and obliques (love handles). It’s also excellent for strengthening your lower back, chest, shoulders, triceps and legs. This is definitely a challenging exercise, so don’t worry if you can only perform a few repetitions. The key with this movement is your technique and overall form so make sure to focus on performing it correctly.
That’s it for the ultimate bodyweight cardio workout! You should be able to get the entire workout routine finished within 25-30 minutes and if you’re able to get to the end of it you should be sweating like crazy and exhausted! Remember that cardio is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to attaining a truly lean and fit physique. Your diet plays an even more important role when your goal is to decrease body fat levels and get shredded! You can review our Nutrition 101 article for in-depth information on specific foods to include in your diet along with a sample meal plan for eating clean. We hope you enjoyed this bodyweight cardio workout and we wish you the best of luck reaching your ultimate fitness and physique goals!