12-Minute Indoor Cardio Workout

Can’t escape the house or office to get your workout in? We’ve all been there. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to exercise.

The great thing about exercise is that no amount is too small to benefit your health, improve your mood, and encourage a lean body composition. This indoor cardio workout will only take 12 minutes, or 15 if you include the warm-up.

The best part: you can do this calorie-burning cardio workout anywhere, any time.

Another bonus: These exercises are super simple and can be done indoors without equipment or making too much noise! As a new mom, I’m a big fan of workouts I can do in the baby’s room or in the living room without disturbing the baby’s sleep. You can also take this workout outside in the backyard or at the gym after a strength training session.

Instead of jumping on a treadmill or elliptical, we’re going to be using full body calisthenics. You’ll be engaging more muscles, stretching out your tight areas, and pumping up your heart rate for a healthy sweat.

The only equipment you’ll need for this indoor cardio workout is a stopwatch or clock.

Warm-Up

We’ll start with a light, 3-minute warm-up and stretch. If you’re feeling cold or stiff, definitely ease into the workout with this warm-up. Do 1 minute of jogging in place, followed by these 3 leg stretches.

  • Stretch 1: Standing Quads Stretch, 20 seconds each side
  • Stretch 2: Figure 4 Hip Stretch, 20 seconds each side
  • Stretch 3: Standing Hamstring Stretch, 20 seconds each side

12-Minute Cardio Workout

To keep this workout simple, there are 4 bodyweight cardio moves that you’ll repeat on different time intervals.

Mash Potato

This is similar to a jumping jack, but you’re moving in a sagittal plane of motion with your feet and arms alternating positions. Start with your right foot forward and your left fist in the air, then hop and switch so that your left foot is forward and right fist in the air. Continue hopping to alternate sides and speed up as you get more comfortable with the movement.

The Heisman

Imagine yourself on the football field—you need to be able to stop on a dime when shuffling laterally. That’s what we’re doing here. Start in a quarter squat position, knees slightly bent and body leaning forward. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet. Shuffle to one side, about 3 steps, and then stop abruptly, raising your inside knee and switching to shuffle the other direction. The pattern should be 1-2-3-stop, 1-2-3-stop.

Continue alternating side-to-side and speed up as you get more comfortable with the movement. Be careful to not to roll your ankles. If this move is new to you, take it slow and work on form and coordination before speed.

Criss-Cross Jacks

Similar to a jumping jack, you’ll be moving in the frontal plane of motion but instead of feet and hands meeting together in the middle, you’ll take it a bit further and actually cross them.

Start with your feet wide and arms in a Y position, then jump together, crossing your right foot in front of the left, and at the same time crossing your wrists, right in front of left, and then jump apart again. On the next rep, switch the cross. Continue alternating left over right and right over left.

Wall Climbers

Similar to a Mountain Climber, a Wall climber is a less intense version. Instead of putting your hands down on the floor, place them on a wall at about chest height, stepping your feet back so your body is at an angle. Keep your palms planted firmly against the wall and start to jog with a high knee position, simulating a wall climb. Beginners can just alternate knee raises instead of jogging. Make sure to contract and tighten your core during this move to stabilize your shoulders.

Tips:

  • To increase the intensity level of this workout, use full range of motion on all exercises and go as fast as you can.
  • To reduce the intensity, slow down your reps and use partial range of motion, taking longer breaks if needed.

We’ll break this up into 3 chunks of 4 minutes each. You can choose to rest in between, or just keep going to get through the workout faster!

Circuit 1
40 seconds each exercise, 20-second breaks
Repeat each exercise 1 time for a total of 4 minutes

Circuit 2
30 seconds each exercise, 30-second breaks
Repeat each exercise 1 time for a total of 4 minutes

Circuit 3
15 seconds each exercise, 15-second breaks
Repeat each exercise 2 times for a total of 4 minutes

That’s it! You’re done.

Make sure to pace around and catch your breath slowly to cool down before going back to sitting. A gradual cool-down helps you avoid fainting and dizziness, and it also allows any blood that may have pooled in worked muscles to distribute back to your brain and vital organs.

Congratulations on getting your cardio done and taking a big step towards a healthier, leaner body.

I recommend doing cardio similar to this one at least 3 times per week if your goal is optimal health and fat loss.

For serious fat burning results, use this and similar workouts up to 5 times per week, along with strength training workouts.

Click here to see the “Flavor-Pairing” trick that helped me melt away 22 pounds in just 16 days (proven for women only)

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