This 15 minute cardio circuit workout needs no equipment and can easily be done at home. You don’t just burn calories in a cardio workout – it’s good for heart health too. Regular cardio exercise forces the heart to become bigger and stronger so that it is better at delivering oxygen to the working muscles.
What is circuit training?
Any workout in which a series of exercises are done for a set time is a circuit workout. Gym circuit classes have everyone do a set time on a machine, following which they move round to the next machine. Studio circuit classes have “stations” which are set up around the room. The stations may use a piece of equipment, or just be a body weight or cardio station. In a circuit workout there can be any number of complete circuits, depending on the time available.
If you’re doing a no-equipment circuit at home, obviously you don’t need to have stations around the room. You can just do one exercise for the set time, then change to the next one.
How to do this cardio circuit workout
Please read these exercise safety guidelines before doing this workout.
Although this is intended to be a short workout, it’s important to warm up your muscles and joints. Use this warm up routine.
There are 6 exercises in the circuit.
- Complete 30 seconds of each exercise, with no rest between exercises if possible
- March on the spot for 30 seconds to 1 minute until your heart rate recovers
- Then repeat 2 more times
- Once you’ve completed 3 circuits, do a gentle march on the spot until your heart rate returns to normal
You’ll need some sort of timer, so that you know when your 30 seconds is up. You can use a fitness watch, phone app or ordinary stopwatch.
Cardio circuit workout – the exercises
#1 jog in place
- Keep your shoulders back and abdominal muscles engaged.
- Focus on jogging in a controlled way, don’t land heavily on your feet.
#2 knee lift
- Raise your arms overhead.
- Lower your arms as you lift one knee.
- Raise your arms as you lower the knee.
- Lower your arms as you lift the other knee.
#3 – Lunge pulse
- Bend your front leg to 90º, make sure you can see your foot in front of your knee.
- Slide your back foot out behind you – your weight should be on your toes, with your lower leg nearly parallel to the floor. Your upper leg should be a little off vertical.
- Do small pulses (moving 1-2 inches) in this position for 15 seconds, then swap and do 15 seconds on the other leg.
- Keep your abdominal muscles engaged so that you land on your feet with good control.
- It’s important that you don’t let your knees rotate inwards as you land. To help avoid this, turn your toes outwards slightly as you land.
#5 toe tap behind into knee lift
- To start, take your right leg out behind.
- Tap your toes on the floor behind, then push them off the floor, bringing the knee forwards and up
- Repeat this movement on the right leg for 15 seconds, then swap to the left for 15 seconds
- It’s better if you can do this without support, but if you are wobbling, have a chair by your side to hold on to.
- Bend your knees a little and then reach your arms up as you jump up.
- As your feet touch back down, bend your knees slightly again and repeat.
Once you have done all 3 circuits of these exercises, march on the spot to bring your heart rate back down.
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