You can fit in this quick cardio routine anytime, anywhere–you don’t even need shoes!
Stay Fit On the Fly
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On the road? Take your workout to go! This time- and space-saving barefoot cardio workout will have you torching fat wherever life takes you.
Workout details: After a 3-minute warm-up (marching in place, side-to-side step touches, arm circles, or gentle jogging to get your blood flowing), do each exercise in the circuit back-to-back with little or no rest in between moves. Complete 2-4 rounds total, depending on how much time you have. Do this cardio routine up to four days a week, alternating it with this total-body toning plan for a complete, travel-friendly strength and cardio routine.
You’ll need: A medium-sized pillow.
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Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes and knees slightly turned out. Bend both elbows in by your sides, hands in fists by your chin. Punch your right arm up and to the left, then quickly bend it back in as you punch your left arm up and to the right. Bring your left arm back in and quickly punch your right arm down as you bend your knees out over your toes, lowering your body as you strike. Repeat with the left. Immediately straighten your legs as you repeat the upward punch on your right arm. Continue this sequence as many times as you can for 1 minute.
Form tip: Avoid locking your elbows as you punch, and be sure to pull your arm back in to your start position as quickly as you punch it out.
Jump Rope with Knee Lift
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Stand with your feet together as if you were holding a jump rope (if you have one handy, feel free to use a real one!). Jump once in place, and then bring your right knee up in front of your hip as you hop again. Jump again with feet together, then hop and lift your right knee out to the side of your hip. Jump again with feet together and repeat the pattern with your left leg. Keep switching sides, jumping in place for 1 minute.
Form tip: Land lightly on the balls of your feet to avoid making too much noise or straining your feet.
Toe Touch Jacks
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Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides. Bend your knees and squat down, reaching your fingertips down to your feet (if you can, touch your toes). Quickly jump up and open arms and legs, landing in a traditional jumping jack position. Jump feet together and land in a squat. Repeat as many times as you can for 1 minute.
Form tip: When you land in your squat, bend your knees and push your hips back to keep your knees behind or in line with your toes.
Pillow Plank Jumps
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Grab a pillow and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Lower into a squat and place the pillow on the floor under your chest (arms are fully extended, fingertips facing out). Shift your weight into your arms, brace your abs in tight, and jump both legs back, landing in a full plank position. Quickly jump your feet back in to your squat poistion. Repeat, jumping from the plank to the squat position, as many times as you can for 1 minute.
Form tip: The pillow provides a little cushion to your wrists, while the slightly unstable surface makes it more challenging for your core muscles. Be sure to keep your shoulders in line with your hands during the entire movement.
Power Squat Jump
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Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, holding the sides of the pillow. Bend your knees and jump up, swinging the pillow up overhead as you leave the floor. Land in a deep squat and chop your arms down, pressing pillow down to the floor (if you can get low enough, try to touch the floor with your pillow). Repeat as many times as you can for 1 minute.
Form tip: Focus on using the muscles in your feet as much as you can during this exercise. Try to jump up by pushing through the balls of your feet and then land softly, rolling through toe-ball-heel.
Pillow Climber Cross
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Still holding the sides of the pillow, lower into a squat and place the pillow on the floor under your chest (arms are fully extended, fingertips facing out). Walk both legs back to a full plank position. Brace your abs in tight and bend your left knee across to your right elbow, then quickly jump off your right foot and switch legs, bringing your right knee to your left elbow. Repeat as quickly as you can for 1 minute.
Form tip: As with the pillow plank jumps, be sure to keep your shoulders over your hands during this exercise, and try not to raise your hips as you twist.
After your last round, wrap up your workout with a few minutes of walking in place to lower your heart rate and catch your breath. If you have time, grab a towel from the bathroom and try a few of these stretches.
Photos by: Vanessa Rogers Photography