Recently my shoulders been acting up. Not sure what I did to get it so niggly (yep, going with niggly), but considering it is not new for me to have weird things going on in my shoulders and knees, I am just resting and icing it for now. That being said, I was inspired by a new workout at the gym where I work that was all bodyweight cardio exercises. It was something I could definitely get behind as I do love bodyweight exercises! They are easy to do at home or in a park, and don’t require anything but your body! That being said, I figured I would make a cardio bodyweight workout with a focus on the lower body so demonstrate a type of workout that can be done when resting the upper body. And for those that hate traditional cardio like running, biking, rowing… that type of thing!
If you do have an injury or special considerations, please do modify the exercises to suit your body. And if you are unsure which modifications to do, send me a message or talk to a personal trainer at your local gyms. And if anything does feel more than just exercise uncomfortable, do stop and consider seeking face to face professional advice.
Do 30 reps of each cardio exercise (Odd numbered) and 10 reps of each core exercise (Even numbers). Complete 1-3 rounds, depending on length of workout desired. (And don’t forget to cool down with a few stretches post workout!)
1. Jumping Jacks with foot touches.
2. Twisting Crunch with legs in table top position
3. In Out High Knees
4. Reverse Crunch
5. Squat Jumps
6. Bird Dog
7. Mountain Climbers
8. The 100
1. Jumping Jacks with Foot Touch: Start in standing positions, feet together, arms by your side. Jump your feet out, arms come out to star position, then back to starting position. After two reps of normal jumping jacks, do the foot touches. Bend knees to bring foot closer to torso. Hands touch feet in the same pattern each time: Right hand/Inside of right foot, Right hand/Outside of right foot, Left hand/Outside of left foot, left hand/Inside of left foot. Then two normal jumping jacks. A little complicated to start with, but it will get easier with practice! A favorite of many of my softball teams growing up.
2. Twisting crunch with Legs in Table Top: Start in normal crunch position. Keeping a 90 bend in your knees, left feet off the ground until shins are parallel with the floor. Hold for the duration of the exercise. Place fingers lightly on back of the head, keeping elbows wide. As you crunch, bring right elbow to your left knee. (Be care not to crank on your neck.) Return to start position, then crunch left elbow to right knee.
3. Standing tall, upper body relaxed. Do a high knee as normal (front), then one high knee out to the side (try to go 90 degrees) if possible. Do right front and side the left side front and side, and count it as one rep.
4. Reverse Crunch: Start either lying face up on the floor legs extended or in crunch position. Head stays on the floor the whole time. Hands can either go alongside the body or tucked under the tailbone (coccyx!) or low back. (It is a comfort factor to which position is best for you.) With control, raise legs up (and straighten legs if starting from crunch position) until legs are perpendicular to the floor. The drive heels towards the ceiling as high as you can (not over your head). Slowly lower legs back to starting position.
5. Jump Squat: Feet hip width apart, standing tall. Bend like you were going to sit in a chair aka butt back. Squat down to 90 degrees bend in the knees or as far as comfortable/can keep balance. Hold for a second, then using your legs (quads, hamstrings and gluts) plus through the feet to jump upwards. Try to land softly afterwards.
6. Bird Dog: Start on all fours, hands underneath shoulders, knees under hips. Back should be flat (use a mirror/friend/large book/broom handle to help with this if new to bird dog. If all options unavailable, work to not round the back or push out stomach/stick butt in the air.) Neck should be straight with the spine, so look down at a spot just in front of your hands. Slowly lift right hand off the ground and left knee off the ground. Thinking long, extend your arm till straight and in line with your head, and left leg is straight (off the ground). Think about trying to reach opposite sides of the room without letting your spine move. With control come back to starting position, then extend left arm, right leg. (That is one rep.) If too difficult or lack coordination (or just to plain early in the morning for your thinking cap to be on), do each limb separately.
7. Mountain Climbers: Holding a plank position on the floor (make sure bum isn’t stuck into the air!), alternate bringing knees up to chest. Can be done from elbows or on hands.
8. The 100: The 100 is a pilates move that I find very effective. Start in crunch position, raise your legs up into table top position (same as the Twisting Crunches), peel shoulders and head off the floor until you are looking at your belly button. (Try to imagine you have a tennis ball under your chin to keep your chin up. This stops neck strain.) Push your lower back into the floor/draw your belly button towards the floor (which ever works for you.) Arms are parallel to the floor, palms facing down, at the side of your body. Start pulsing your arms up and down. As you pulse, breathe in for a count of 5 (through the nose) then breath out for a count of 5 (through the mouth). Each set of breathes (in/out) counts as one rep. Don’t rush through the breathing, but make sure you are counting at a moderate pace.
Yes, the descriptions are wordy, but I didn’t get a chance to shot photos for all the exercises. I will try and post photos soon!
Or would people prefer a video/video tutorial instead?
Leave your choice in the comments below!