Today I want to cover the most effective cardio home workouts that I’ve come across in my quest for simple and minimalist fitness techniques.
I used to think that it was impossible to achieve my fitness goals without shelling out $50-$150 a month on a gym membership, but in my attempts to cut all unnecessary expenses from my Simpl
e Budget (read how to create a Simple Budget), I realized that I could actually maintain an even higher level of fitness than I could with all the equipment offered with a gym membership.
Many of the machines I used actually did more to hinder my ability than increase it, and in the end I decided that gyms are geared more toward the beach body mentality than a functional one.
So with these exercises I’ve been able to cut my monthly gym fee (plus the time and gas spent on travel to the gym), without losing my ability to maintain muscle mass and cardio.
The Home Cardio Workout
Jump Rope: Jumping rope is one of the most intense cardio workouts you can do. There are a number of techniques that enhance your footwork and cardio, but it’s best to start simple (and if your goal is simply cardio, just stick to the basics), and work your way up. Here’s the basic cardio workout.
- Master 2 simple techniques: The basic jump and the figure 8. You should allow yourself a 2 minute break in between.
- Start with the figure 8: 5 minutes.
- Complete the workout with the basic jump: 5 minutes.
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes.
- This is an extremely basic jump rope excercise, and I’d advise that you continue to work your way to more advanced techniques, but this will get you started.
- The two techniques should be done at full capacity – don’t slow down!
- If you’d like to keep your expenses to the bare minimum you can just go through the motions instead of actually using a rope. You may lose out on the hand eye coordination and footwork that the rope forces you to learn, but if cardio is all you’re going for, you don’t really need the rope.
Mountain Climbers: This exercise will put you in a world of hurt, but it’s exactly what you need. This is one of the best cardio routines to get you into MMA fighting shape. Basically, if you’re able to do full capacity (all out) mountain climbers for 3 minutes non-stop, you’ll probably be able to keep up in 1 MMA style 3 minute round.
- Warm up: 1 minute of slow, smooth mountain climbers.
- Round 1 at 50%: 3 minutes
- Round 2 at 75%: 3 minutes
- Round 3 at 100% – Max Effort: 3 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
Tips: This is just a general rule of thumb regarding cardio; this doesn’t apply at all to technique. If you don’t know how to control your breathing, you’ll burn out quickly in an actual fight.
Heavy Bag Routine: One of the best ways to get into fighting cardio shape by far. There’s a plethora of great bag routines online, but this is my favorite so far.
- Shadow boxing warm up: 2 minutes.
- Light round of low impact combos: 3 minutes
- Heavy round max effort: 5 minutes
This is an extremely simple basic heavy bag routine that you can easily increase as you make cardio gains.
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
- If you don’t want to spend money on a bag, make a cheap one by filling a sea bag (heavy duffle bag) with sand.
- Always practice with perfect technique – if you don’t have perfect technique, use youtube to watch someone who does have perfect technique and figure it out before you practice.
- Make sure that you’re breathing properly. If you hold your breath when you strike, you’ll tire quickly – exhale every time you strike, and also read up on more breathing techniques for the best heavy bag workout.
Again, this cardio workout is geared more toward intense, short burst cardio, with a focus revolving around the concept of keeping your body “fighting fit”. The total time spent on this home workout is only 30 minutes, but the results are outstanding!
If your goal is to run a marathon, this may not be your best choice, but I’ve found that this workout keeps you extremely fit, whether your goal is to shred fat, keep your heart healthy, or just maintain a strong level of cardio.
Well that concludes my thoughts on that, I hope this workout will help you the way it helps me!
Thanks for reading, and keep up the good work,