The following equipment-free exercises (all you need is a sturdy bench, chair or similar surface that you can step up onto) combine both strength and cardio exercise and come together to create a truly intense total-body workout. They will get your heart rate up and put your muscles to work so that you can build strength, stamina and speed while also generating a big calorie burn. Just remember, you only need to perform high-intensity workouts just one or two times a week, and make sure to allow for at least 24 hours of recovery between intense workout sessions. For this workout, perform each move for the recommended amount of repetitions and repeat the entire series of exercises three times, with one minute of rest between each round.
Start standing tall with your feet hip-width distance apart and your core engaged. Leading with your right leg, jump into a lunge position. (Make sure both knees form 90-degree angles upon landing, with your forward knee landing directly above the ankle.) Immediately after landing jump back up and alternate your legs so that next time you land your feet have switched positions (left in front, right in back). Repeat this sequence for 20 reps (one jump equals one rep).
Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. When you’re ready to begin, reach your arms straight up above your head as you jump up off the ground as high as you can. When you land, immediately crouch down and place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Quickly thrust your feet back behind you so that you land in a high-plank position. (To make the exercise more advanced you can add a push-up at this point.) From here, immediately jump your feet back in towards your chest and then quickly jump back up as high as you can, reaching your hands above your head again. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. See also: How to Do a Burpee.
Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands firmly on the ground so that they are a little bit wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Your fingers should face forward but you can angle your hands inward slightly if the position feels better for your wrists. When you’re ready come up off of your knees by tucking your toes under and raising yourself up to a high-plank position. Be sure to keep a neutral spine and your neck straight by looking slightly ahead. Keep your core tight by drawing your belly button into your spine. When you’re ready, slowly bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor while simultaneously drawing your right knee towards your right elbow. Pause for a beat before slowly pushing yourself back up and returning to the starting position. Repeat, alternating between your right and left leg, for 10 to 15 reps.
Start standing tall with your feet hip-width distance apart and your core engaged. Squat back as if you were preparing to sit down into a chair. Focus on sitting back into your heels. Be sure that your knees stay in line with your ankles. Once you’ve assumed squat position, quickly push through your feet and jump up as high as you can. Land lightly and quickly re-assume the squat position, jumping up and down at a quick pace for 10 to 20 reps.
Begin in downward facing dog with your feet and hands on the ground and your hips up in the air. Slowly walk your hands out and away from your feet until you’ve assumed the high-plank position (pictured here). Perform a push-up. When you’ve returned to the push-up starting position (high-plank), concentrate on keeping your legs straight as you slowly start to walk your hands back towards your feet until you return to the downward facing dog position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Stand in front of a bench, sturdy chair or anything solid that you can safely step on. Step your right foot up onto the structure and then slowly draw your left knee up towards your chest while focusing on keeping your core tight. Pause for a beat before slowly lowering your left leg back towards the floor and then stepping your right foot down as well. Repeat for 20 reps, alternating between leading with your right and left leg. (Dumbbells are optional.)
Start in a high-plank position. Keep your core tight and a neutral spine as you lower down onto your right forearm and then your left. Pause for a beat before lifting up back into high-plank position, first with your left arm and then your right. This entire sequence counts as one repetition. Perform 10 to 15 reps.
Start standing tall with your feet a few inches wider than hip-width distance apart and your feet pointed slightly outward. Keep your core engaged as you squat down and then quickly push through your feet to jump up as high as you can. Land lightly and quickly reassume the sumo squat position, jumping up and down at a quick pace for 10 to 20 reps.
Start on all fours in high-plank position. Keeping a neutral spine and with your core engaged and upper-body stabilized, alternate between quickly drawing your right and left knee towards your chest. Perform the movement for 30 to 60 seconds.
Start standing tall with your feet about hip-width distance apart. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, that your core is tight (draw your bellybutton into your spine) and that your spine is neutral (keep your shoulders relaxed and draw your shoulder blades back and down). Look straight ahead to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine. Take a big step forward with your left foot, and lower your right knee towards the floor, creating a 90-degree angle with both your right and left knee. Push through your legs to lift your right leg off the ground, stepping it forward so that it lands next to your left and you’ve returned to the starting position. Repeat the movement, leading with your right leg this time and then perform 10 to 15 reps, moving forward as you alternate between leading with your right and left leg.