6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout
No running, no problem. Try these full-body exercises that challenge your stamina and core strength so you can fit in cardio without putting in major mileage.
This article originally appeared on Life by Daily Burn.
The answer to your boring relationship with cardio: plyometric exercises. The lovechild of speed and strength, these explosive movements allow you to create max force in a short amount of time. So you not only get fit in a flash, but you also crush mega calories — without doing super repetitive movements like running or spinning.
While moves like box jumps fit the bill, you can get extra creative with plyos, too. Enter: Daily Burn’s new Power Cardio program, which features lots of plyo combinations for a killer cardio workout you can do in 30 minutes or less — all while targeting your entire body.
TRY IT NOW: Daily Burn’s Power Cardio Program
“You’re training the fast-twitch muscle fibers,” explains CeCe Marizu, one of the lead Power Cardio trainers. “This gets your heart rate up and works different muscles groups at once, too.”
Sounds like a one-stop shop for training, right? Well, your fitness is about to reach new heights. We pulled six creative, high-energy plyometric exercises, all from the Power Cardio program. We have a feeling you’ll fall (er, jump) for this cardio workout.
6 Plyometric Exercises from Daily Burn’s Power Cardio Workout
Perform each plyometric move below for 30 seconds, taking a 30 second break (or less!) between each to really raise your heart rate. Do as many rounds as possible. Though most of these moves call for a box or med ball, you can easily use only your bodyweight for each of them. Keep in mind that solid form is key, says Marizu. So start out slow (and without equipment) until you get the movements down, then crank your speed up.
1. Squat Jump Tap
Heat things up right out of the gate. Your inner thighs bring your legs together at the top of the movement, as you mimic a basketball shot to get your arms involved.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a med ball with both hands (a). Push your hips back and drop your butt down into a squat, as you touch the floor with the med ball (b). Explode off your feet to jump straight up, pushing the ball up toward the ceiling. At the top, tap your feet together (c). Land softly back on your heels, feet hip-width apart and knees bent (d). Then repeat. Keep your head and eyes up the entire time.
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2. Cross Mountain Climber Mini Thruster
A creative combination exercise that works your entire body, from shoulders to abs to legs. Feel free to skip the box and do this on the floor, just remember: the faster you go (with good form!) the more calories you torch.
How to: Start in a high plank position with both hands on the box and toes on the floor (a). Drive your left knee up toward your right elbow, then quickly return it to plank position (b). Drive your right knee up toward your left elbow, then quickly return it to plank position (c). Repeat one more cross mountain climber on each leg. Try not to pike or drop your hips in the mountain climber (d). Keeping your hands on the box, jump both feet wide to the outsides of the box, pausing in a low squat position (e). Jump your feet back to a plank (f). Repeat from the top.
3. X Skater
Working your body in that side-to-side motion, you’ll target your core, glutes, legs and your arms as you move the med ball to each corner. Try to pick up the pace or step a little wider with each rep.
How to: Start standing, holding a med ball with both hands (a). Push off your left foot to jump to the right side, bringing your left foot behind your right leg. At the same time, push the ball diagonally to the right and overhead (b). Then, drive off your right foot, jumping to the left and swinging your right foot behind your left leg. Simultaneously bring the ball to your chest at the middle of the movement, then diagonally left and overhead (c). Repeat the same skater motion with your feet, back to the right, this time moving the ball diagonally down and to the outside of your right foot (d). Repeat the same skater motion with your feet, jumping to the left again and this time bringing the ball to the outer edge of your left foot (e). Continue with the skaters and keep the movement controlled, yet forceful.
4. Diagonal Lunge A Step
You’ll definitely feel the burn in your legs on this move, but you’ll fire up your abs and arms, too. Get low on each step, then explode up and over the box.
How to: Start on the right side of a plyo box, with your left leg diagonally behind you, right knee bent 90 degrees and your left hand firmly resting on the box, elbow straight (a). Drive off your back left foot to step onto the box and bring your right foot up to join at the top. Arms should come up overhead (b). Hop off the box on the left side, placing your right leg diagonally behind you, left knee bent 90 degrees and right hand firmly resting on the box, elbow straight (c). Repeat to the other side and continue alternating.
Take it back to the fun of recess, with a little more athleticism. Your legs help create the brunt of this forward and backward movement.
How to: Start standing on your right leg (a). Take three hops forward, staying on your right leg (b). On the fourth hop, land on both feet in a squat position (c). Then take three hops backward, still standing on the right leg (d). On the fourth hop, land on both feet in a squat position (e). Repeat the forward and backward hops on your left leg and continue alternating. Hit each step, but don’t stay too long in the static position.
6. Donkey Kick Push-Up
This is a winning move in terms of total-body toughness! You’ll feel this exercise from head to toe — just engage your core as you go.
How to: Start in a strong high plank position with feet together and abs, glutes and legs engaged (a). Hop your feet halfway toward your hands (b). Then, engaging your core even more, hop your feet higher, bend your knees and kick your butt. Shoulders should stay over wrists (c). Land softly back on your toes, halfway back into a plank (d). Jump back to hit that full plank position (e). Perform one push-up, maintaining a straight line from shoulders to ankles and inhaling on the downward motion and exhaling at you push yourself up (f). Repeat from the top.