8 Low-Impact Cardio Moves to Add to Your Workout Routine

This no-jump workout will torch calories while improving your total-body strength.

Your body doesn't have to take a beating in order to get a great cardio workout. Every time you do high-impact moves, like jumping or running, your bones absorb a certain amount of force when you land. With low-impact cardio, you can reduce the amount of shock that your joints take in. Not sure if a move is a high or low-impact move? If it's the latter, you'll always have at least one foot on the ground.

That doesn't mean that low-impact cardio workouts are easier than rounds of burpees or box jumps. "People often mistake low impact for low intensity, when in fact it can be just as effective at elevating the heart rate," says Nora Minno, RD, a NASM-certified trainer for DailyBurn (shown here). In this workout created by Minno, you'll get your heart rate up in two ways: by changing speed and elevating your hands above your heart. Plus, your body weight will put your muscles under tension, which can help build strength and increase muscle tone.

You can easily increase the resistance (via dumbbells, resistance bands, etc.) to continue challenging yourself. Here are the moves that will get your heart pumping and strengthen your entire body.

Lateral Lunge to Reach

Strengthens: glutes, abductors, adductors, and hamstrings

Stand with feet together and hands by sides. Keeping the chest lifted, take a big step to the side with the left leg, sending your butt back, keeping the right leg straight, and bending your left knee to form a 90-degree angle (feet should be facing forward). Reach the right arm to touch the left foot and raise the left arm straight overhead. Push off left foot to return to starting position. Repeat for 22 seconds, then switch sides.

Sumo Squat Touch-Down to Heel Raise

Strengthens: glutes, abductors, adductors, hamstrings, and calves

Start standing with feet a little wider than shoulder--distance apart and toes turned out slightly. Straighten your arms in front of your hips. Keeping chest lifted, core braced, and back straight, bend both knees, send butt back and down, and touch hands to the floor. Press feet into the ground to stand back up, lifting heels off the ground and arms overhead with legs straight. Repeat for 45 seconds.

Plank Walk-Out to Push-Up

Strengthens: shoulders, arms, core, back, and chest

Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and hands by the sides. Fold your torso forward to bring hands to the ground, slightly bending the knees, then walk hands forward into a high plank, stacking shoulders over wrists. Keeping shoulders back and down and tucking pelvis to brace the core, lower chest toward the ground to do a push-up, bending elbows at 45 degrees. Press hands into the ground to push back up into a high plank. Walk hands back toward feet and roll up to standing. Repeat for 45 seconds.


Strengthens: hamstrings, quads, and glutes

Stand in a staggered stance with your right foot forward with a slight bend in the knee and your left foot back on a slight diagonal from your right foot on the ground. Lean torso slightly to the right, hinging forward with a straight spine and braced core to align over the right leg. Raise arms overhead. Simultaneously drive the left knee up and bring hands down to touch (parallel to waist), squeezing abs. Bring your left foot back down to the ground behind you, straightening your leg, and raising your arms overhead. Repeat for about 22 seconds, then switch sides.

Front Kick to Touch Back

Strengthens: hamstrings and glutes

Start standing with feet hip-width apart and hold fists by cheekbones in a guard position. Kick your right leg forward straight out in front of you. Place right foot back down and step left foot back in a low lunge while left-hand touches the ground in front of you and right-hand rest on the back. Repeat for about 22 seconds, then switch sides.

Elevator Plank

Strengthens: shoulders, arms, core, and back

Start in a high plank with shoulders stacked over wrists and legs extended behind you. Tuck pelvis in to brace core and squeeze glutes and quads. Keeping hips lifted and steady, lower right elbow to the ground, followed by the left elbow to get into a forearm plank. Place the right hand on the ground to straighten the elbow, followed by the left hand to get back into a high plank. Keep core tight to avoid dipping the hips to one side as you lower down into a forearm plank and come back up into a high plank. Repeat for 45 seconds.

Russian Twist With Punch

Strengthens: abs, obliques, arms, and shoulders

Sit on the ground with knees bent and feet flat. Lean your torso back about 45 degrees or until you feel abs engaged, then lift your feet off the ground. Without moving the legs, rotate the torso to the right, then punch the left arm to the right. Return to center and rotate torso to the left, then punch right arm to the left. Continue alternating for 45 seconds.


Strengthens: hamstrings, calves, quads, shoulders, and lats

Stand with feet together and come up to balls of feet with heels off the ground and arms overhead. Squeeze fists to create tension in the arms and shoulders. Push hips back, bend knees, and hinging your torso forward until it's almost parallel to the ground, keeping the spine straight and bringing heels to the ground... At the same time, swing your arms down and behind you. Then, thrust your hips forward and swing your arms overhead, coming back to your toes. Repeat for 45 seconds.

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