Pop quiz! What type of physical activity strengthens your heart and lungs, improves cognitive performance, helps you maintain a healthy body weight and gives you more energy in your day-to-day life? If you’re thinking cardio exercise, you’ve aced this quiz!
In this workout we’re focusing on vigorous-intensity cardio exercise, performed in a structured manner. You’ll be alternating between short periods of hard effort and rest/recovery (a.k.a. high-intensity interval training, or HIIT). You’ll get a fantastic workout in a short period of time—and without any equipment!
Set a timer for 30-second intervals, with 10 seconds in between (to rest and prepare for the next exercise). Perform this workout as a circuit. Beginners aim for four rounds; pros aim for six rounds.
Muscles worked: Core, shoulders, glutes, quads, hamstrings
- Start in a push-up position, with your hands placed directly under your shoulders. Your head, torso and legs should form a straight line.
- Brace your core (as if you’re about to get punched in the stomach). Bend your right leg so your knee comes close to your elbows, toes off the ground.
- Keeping your upper body in place, jump your right leg back while jumping your left leg forward. Quickly alternate for the duration of the exercise.
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
- Start in a squat position, with knees bent at 90 degrees and hips hinged back behind you.
- Explosively jump into the air as high as you can, and return back to the squat position as you descend. Repeat reps as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.
- Make sure you land softly, absorbing each jump’s impact with the next squat.
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings
- Start with your left foot on a step or bench. Keeping your chest up, push through your left foot and bring your right foot up to lightly touch the bench.
- Lower yourself back to the start position and repeat as quickly as you can with good form. Your left foot will remain on the step for the duration of your set.