Cardio Exercises Without Machines

When most people think of cardio, they immediately think of spending 45 minutes on the elliptical or the treadmill. What most people don’t know is that with just a proper pair of sneakers and a little room to move, you can get a highly effective and complete cardio workout. 

These exercises can be easily done in your home and do not require any special equipment or expertise. Anyone from a total beginner to a seasoned fitness-junkie can benefit from the exercises presented in this article. 

The key aspect in all of them, as in any cardio workout, is to raise the heart rate and heat up the entire body, making it sweat. When you sweat your body is telling you that it is burning calories and working those muscles.

If you perform any of these and do not sweat, try to add more intensity or reduce your rest periods to ensure that they are being effective. In most of the exercises you will find variations that either add or reduce intensity depending on your strength, endurance, and fitness experience.

So set aside one hour of your time, find a proper space, get some water, put on those sneakers, and get ready to sweat.


Key Takeaways

  • Cardio workouts can be done at home without any special equipment, making them accessible to beginners and fitness enthusiasts alike.
  • Jump rope is a high-intensity exercise that can burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness. It can be modified for intensity and doesn't require an actual rope.
  • Squat jumps, lunge jumps, burpees, and mountain climbers are compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, provide a cardio challenge, and can be adjusted for intensity. They engage the legs, core, and upper body, making them effective for calorie burning and muscle engagement.


Best Cardio Exercises without Machines

Jump Rope

This is a high-intensity cardio exercise that can burn up to 220 calories in just 20 minutes. The premise is easy: simply grab any rope with one hand on each end and swing it repeatedly around you while jumping on it.

Don’t worry if you have no rope, simply pretend that you do and jump. Since this is a high-intensity exercise you must take precautions to avoid injuries, go slow at first, and start adding more speed and intensity as you feel more comfortable. Also, do not jump high, only enough for the rope to go through.

Jumping Jacks

This is also a high-intensity exercise that can burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes, plus, it does not require any special skill. To perform a jumping jack simply stand up and start jumping in the same place. The key is to open and close your feet on every jump and at the same time bring your arms together and clap above your head.

Squat Jumps

Squats are one of the most complete core and leg exercises out there, and adding this jumping variation makes it even more intense and perfect for cardio. What you want to do is get into your regular squat position, back and chest straight, head facing front, and chin up. Begin to drop letting your hips and butt go back as you bend your knees.

When you have reached your limit, jump explosively in the air keeping the correct posture. Be sure to bring the force for the jump from your feet and also to lift your feet completely off the floor.

Lunge Jumps

Lunges are very similar to squats but they are designed to target only one leg at a time. To perform it, stand up straight, keep your hands on your hips, and take one step forward with one foot and one step backward with the other foot.

Then, bring your body down allowing both knees to bend being careful that your front knee does not bend past 90 degrees. Now, jump into the air as high as you can. You can keep your hands at your hips or bring them over your head to add a little more intensity.

Try landing as softly as you can, absorbing all the force in your muscles instead of your joints, this way you will prevent injuries. After you completed your desired reps, switch your feet positioning, and do it again to avoid muscular imbalances.


This exercise combines a super intense calorie-burning cardio with arm, leg, and core muscle engagement. Begin by standing up with your feet directly below your hips.

Now drop your upper body placing both fully stretched arms in front of you while at the same time you take one jump backward with your feet. You should end up in a high plank position. At this point you must maintain a straight body, as if you had to draw a straight line from your shoulders, passing through your hips and ending in your heels.

Then, quickly jump forward with your feet so that your knees are under your chest. Finally, jump all the way up with your entire body, moving your arms above your head as if you were doing a jumping jack.

Repeat as many times as you can, and prepare to feel the burn.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers are very good exercises not only for cardio but also for overall core strengthening. You are basically running without moving.

To begin, position yourself in a high plank position: keep your wrists below your shoulders and your body completely straight from your neck to your heels. Now bring one knee up until it is almost touching your chest and back. Then, do it with the other one.

Try to do it fast to increase that heart rate and burn more calories. If you want, you can switch them up by placing small towels under each foot and slide them forward, this way you reduce friction and work your abs a little more.

Jogging in Place

This one is a pretty self-explanatory exercise. Just like outdoor jogging, this will also get your heart rate up and make you sweat. Ideally, you should begin with an easy, slow jog that will gradually increase in intensity as your body heats up.

Try to get your entire body involved and working, do this by moving your arms in any direction you want and tightening your core and squeezing your abs. If you get bored you can mix it up and add a little more intensity by switching into knee-ups, where you raise one knee at a time as high as you can, or by launching your feet back until your heels hit your glutes.

A simple, yet effective way to get your body working.

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