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9 Best Indoor Exercises That Burn The Most Calories


Most people associate burning calories with Spin Classes or barreling down long and winding trailheads. The truth is, you don’t need to go on multi-mile runs or burn a whole through your wallet on high-intensity cardio classes to burn a ton of fat and get the body you have always dreamed of.

No matter the size of your space, there are definitely exercises that will get you the results you want at little to no cost.

Don’t fall for the Peloton Ads. You don’t need expensive gym equipment like a treadmill, exercise bike or an elliptical to burn a massive amount of calories in the comfort of your home. 


Key Takeaways

  • Effective cardio exercises can be done at home without expensive equipment, such as jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, running up stairs, jumping rope, and more.
  • Cardio exercise offers numerous benefits, including improved sex life, reduced stress, boosted mood, strengthened heart, decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, and the ability to reveal hidden muscles.
  • Guidelines for effective cardio workouts include choosing enjoyable exercises, aiming for at least 20 minutes of cardio, calculating Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), and considering High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for efficient calorie burning.


The Benefits Of Cardio

Health experts recommend getting 75 to 150 minutes of cardio exercise weekly to maintain and optimize your health. Here are some fast facts about cardio: 

  1. Cardio improves your sex life.
  2. Cardio reduces stress and boosts your mood.
  3. Cardio strengthens your heart and reduces your chances of cardiovascular diseases and lowers blood pressure.
  4. If you want a getter body fat ratio to reveal your hidden muscles, cardio is an absolute must.

One of the most beautiful things about cardio is that your body continues to burn calories throughout the day even after you have stopped exercising. One study found that people who exercised using high-intensity cardio burned 190 calories throughout the day following the calories they already burned while exercising. 


How To Make The Most Of Your Cardio Workouts

To make the most of your cardio exercise you will want to follow some simple rules: 

  1. Do something you enjoy or at least something you can tolerate. The battle of attaining a more lean body and sharp mind is won through consistency. You are exponentially more likely to stay consistent if you have fun. 
  2. Do at least 20 minutes of cardio to achieve health and fitness. You can always do more, but we would recommend maxing out at a 60 minute workout. This ensures that you don’t get injured and that the catabolism of the exercise doesn’t start eating away at your hard earned muscles from our strength programs. 
  3. Calculate your Maximum Heart Rate using the Maximum Heart Rate Formula: Maximum Heart Rate Formula= 206.9 - (0.67 x age)
  4. Follow these simple guidelines after you have calculated your MHR: 
  • Sedentary/ Absolute Beginner: 57% to 67% of your Maximum Heart Rate
  • Minimally Active: 64%-74% of your Maximum Heart Rate
  • Somewhat Active: 74% to 84% of your Maximum Heart Rate
  • Regularly Active: 80% to 91`% of your Maximum Heart Rate
  • Very Active: 80% to 95% of your Maximum Heart Rate 

Fat and calories are burned most efficiently when you do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) achieving 85% to 95% of your Maximum Heart Rate. This allows you to burn a massive amount of calories in a short amount of time. Just 25 minutes of HIIT three times per week can set you on a road to a better body and a sharper mind. 


Indoor Exercises That Burn The Most Calories

1. Jumping Jacks

The name origin for the jumping jack is a favourite exercise of the U.S. military and for good reason. Jumping jacks are a total body workout that can be done in even the tightest of spaces. They work your muscles, lungs and heart simultaneously and will ultimately help you run faster and jump higher.

To complete a proper jumping jack:

  1. Stand up straight  with your arms at your sides and the insides of your legs touching.
  2. Bend your knees and launch yourself into the air. 
  3. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your legs shoulder-width apart as you jump. While in the air,  stretch your arms out and over your head so you make the position of an X. 
  4. Jump back to the position you started in.
  5. Repeat

Doing intense jumping jacks for 20 minutes per day can result in the burning of hundreds of calories. 

2. Burpees

Invented by Royal H. Burpee in 1939, burpees are a body weight movement that increase strength and cardiovascular endurance simultaneously. Burpees are commonly used by the U.S. military to test fitness and for good reason-- burpees when done correctly will get you in the best shape of your life. Burpees are a top-notch conditioning tool because they require you to work out on multiple planes and the use of your entire body. 

To complete burpees properly, simply follow these steps: 

  1. Start from a standing position. 
  2.  Squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Make sure that your hands are placed on the outside of your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  3. Next you will want to jump both feet back so your body arrives in the plank position. Try to accomplish this movement in a fluid, controlled manner
  4. Next, in a controller manner, lower your body into a push-up. Make sure your chest and the floor make contact. This depth will allow your full pectoral muscle to become engaged in the movement. 
  • If you are a beginner, you can place your knees on the floor as an easier variation.
  • Next return to a stable plank position by pushing yourself upward from the floor. 
  • Next you will jump your feet forward allowing them to arrive between your hands. 
  • Now jump upwards to the sky. Push powerfully from your legs. You got this. 

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers derive their name from some of the most in-shape athletes on the planet-- climbers. Mountain climbers not only allow you to achieve a high maximum heart rate when done at the proper intensity. They also simultaneously work your core and your quads. If your mission is to get a flat stomach and gain more core-control, make sure that this exercise is in your regime. 

To complete the perfect Mountain Climbers: 

  1. Begin in a plank pose, ensuring that your shoulders are balanced firmly over your hands and your lower body is balanced steadily on your toes. 
  2. Make sure your core is completely engaged and that your back is not arching.
  3. Next bring your right knee forward until it gently touches your chest. Your toes should gently lift forward.
  4. Next you will pull your leg back, putting your body again in the plank position. 
  5. Switch legs and repeat the same movement. 
  6. Ramp up the pace so that it feels like you are running.
  7. Continue for 1 minute.
  8. Rest.
  9. Repeat.

4. Running Up Stairs

If you have a set of stairs in your house, condo or apartment building running up stairs is an incredibly effective way of working your legs and burning some serious calories. Running up stairs is a favourite of athletes of all kinds for a reason. Stair running is plyometric, causing you to exert extreme force quickly. This causes your muscles to work in an explosive manner increasing the strength in your quads, calves and glutes simultaneously. 

How to run up stairs like a pro: 

  1. Before running up a set of stairs you will want to make sure you are properly warmed up. Before beginning speed walk on a flat surface to get your juices flowing and your muscles working. 
  2. Begin by walking up the stairs one at a time. Repeat this for 4 rounds. 
  3. Next begin jogging up the stairs. Make sure you keep your eyes looking ahead of you. Don’t make the beginners mistake of looking at your feet. Centre your body weight ad trust your movement. 
  4. When you feel ready, you can begin running. When running, start by taking it two steps at a time to reduce your likelihood of tripping. When you feel like you have this under control, shift gears and take it one step at a time.
  5. When you reach the top of the stairs you can walk down. However, when you reach the bottom you should turn around and explode back up to the top.
  6. Repeat for 20 minutes.

5. Jumping Rope

There is a reason why jumping rope is a favourite cardiovascular exercise among boxers. Jumping rope not only increases endurance, but it greatly improves agility and footwork. Science shows that jumping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises and can actually burn well north of 1000 calories per hour. Jumping rope happens to be our cardio workout of choice because of its sheer effectiveness and benefits to your athleticism. 

Here are the simple steps to jumping rope like a world class athlete:

  1. When preparing for your first jump make sure to keep your feet close together. This will allow you to take advantage of the longest part of the rope and will reduce your likelihood of tripping over the rope and ruining your flow. 
  2. When jumping, you will want to land as softly and controlled as possible. Imaging your feet are feathers. Make sure to land on the midsoles of your feet to minimize the impact on your joints.
  3. A pro tip is to make sure your legs are never fully straightened, but rather slightly bent. This will allow you to use your legs the same way a car uses shocks.
  4. Maintain a good posture and a neutral spine.
  5. Don’t jump too high. Lifting your feet 1 inch off the ground is more than enough to give the rope clearance. 
  6. Make sure that your shoulders are pulled back.
  7. Keep your elbows tucked to your sides.
  8. Your hands should be at the midpoint of your body.
  9. When turning the rope, make sure the torque is coming from your wrists and not from your shoulders or elbows. By perfecting this technique you will achieve a fluid movement and unlock faster speeds.

When you feel comfortable with the basic movements of jumping rope try challenging yourself with more advanced techniques such as the side-swing, the boxer step or the alternate foot step. If you master these moves you are sure to turn some heads. 

6. High Knees

High knees is a simple, but incredibly effective high-intensity cardio workout. The beautiful thing about this workout is that it requires absolutely no equipment and can be done in even the tightest spaces. Mastering this workout will allow you to never permit yourself to give excuses for why you aren’t fit and happy. This exercise activates your core and strengthens your legs simultaneously. Not only that, but it also increases agility, improves coordination and has some major benefits for your hips. 

Performing this exercise is relatively simple:

  1. Place your feet the width of your hips apart.
  2. Lift on of your knees until it gently touches your chest.
  3. Switch to the other leg.
  4. Ramp up your speed until you are sprinting.

7. Jump Squats

Jump squats are a favourite workout of basketball players because they increase your vertical jump and get you lean all at once. If you’re looking to build your leg strength and burn a massive amount of calories in limited space, jump squats are for you. 

To perform quality jump squats follow these steps:

  1. Stand upright with your shoulders pulled back in proper posture.
  2. Use your hips like hinges and lower your body until your thighs are level with the ground.
  3. Make sure your butt is pushed back.
  4. In a fluid movement, press your feet toward the earth and jump upward towards the sky. Try to launch as high as you possibly can. 
  5. When you land, brace yourself by bending your knees to a 45 degree angle
  6. Immediately lower yourself and repeat the movement until failure.

8. Box Steps

Box steps are an amazing way to increase the strength of your abs, burn calories and inch your way closer to a flat stomach. Many people when doing box steps make the mistake of adding weight. This puts undue stress on your joints. You’ll get more out of Box Steps by using your own bodyweight. If you do eventually want to add weight, its best to use a weighted vest to keep your bodyweight centered. 

To perform box steps properly do this: 

  1. Find a box or step height that makes you feel comfortable. Your goal will be to increase the height of this step or box in small increments over time. Remember, form is the most important thing. 
  2. Pre-load your glutes and hamstrings by slightly leaning onto your supporting leg before lifting the other.
  3. Create a 90 degree angle with your knees and hips as you lift your other hanging leg.
  4. Make sure that the majority of your weight is  supported by your midsole. This will reduce the amount of stress being put on your joints. 
  5. Raise yourself to the top of the step using your supporting leg. Make sure to achieve a strong, balanced posture.
  6. Begin lowering yourself, making sure the movement takes 3 to 5 seconds. Do not allow yourself to drop down. The name of the game here is control. 
  7. Repeat ten times on the same side.
  8. Switch sides and repeat these steps. 

9. Lateral Hops

Lateral Hops are a great workout to do in minimal space. Lateral hops are a perfect way to increase your ability to make quick direction changes if you are a football, soccer, basketball player. This exercise is also highly recommended for tennis players, squash players, rugby players or basically any sport that requires you shifting your direction in order to out move the other players. 

To perform a lateral hop, these are the steps to perfection:

  1. Raise your left foot slightly off the ground allowing your weight to balance on your right foot. 
  2. Make an imaginary line on the ground in your mind.
  3. When you feel strong and stable hop across the line onto your left foot.
  4. Repeat the same motion with the other foot until you are hopping back and forth across the imaginary line between both feet.
  5. Repeat until failure.

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