A Low-Impact Cardio Workout That Goes Easy On Your Joints

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If you’re looking to do a cardio workout at home and don’t have access to equipment like a treadmill or exercise bike, the usual recommendation is to start jumping around. Bodyweight exercises like squat jumpsburpees and jumping jacks will do a great job of raising your heart rate.

However, they are also high-impact exercises. If you’re looking to avoid that, either because you’re nursing an injury or simply don’t want to annoy the neighbours, then try this low-impact cardio workout from personal trainer Cecilia Harris, co-founder of fitness platform Results Wellness Lifestyle. You will need a kettlebell (although a dumbbell will also suffice) and Harris recommends performing it three times a week.

How To Do This Workout

The 20-minute workout is split into four five-minute blocks that each involve doing the same three exercises. However, in each block the amount of time you spend working will increase and your rest period will decrease.

Block 1: Work 20sec, rest 40sec
Block 2: Work 30sec, rest 30sec
Block 3: Work 40sec, rest 20sec
Block 4: Work 45sec, rest 15sec

“Keep in mind that during your rest periods you should be transitioning to the next exercise,” says Harris.

You’ll spend each five-minute block cycling through the exercises below in order, so you’ll perform the kettlebell swing, goblet squat and plank, then go back to the start and do the kettlebell swing and goblet squat again. Then you start the next block and repeat that sequence again.

The Exercises

Kettlebell swing


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“This is the most popular kettlebell exercise,” says Harris. “It’s pretty basic and seems like it wouldn’t be very effective but if you use the right weight it will wear you out quickly! Your shoulders, forearms, legs and core will feel the burn.”

Hold the weight by the handle between your legs, with your arms straight. Brace your core and keep your back straight throughout the move. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forwards at your hips to swing the kettlebell between your legs, then snap your hips back to standing to swing the kettlebell up until it passes shoulder height. Control the descent of the kettlebell and go straight into the next rep.

Goblet squat


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“Hold your kettlebell by the sides of the handle, also known as the horns. If you’re using a dumbbell hold it by one end on the sides,” says Harris.

Bend at the knees and hips to lower, keeping your torso upright and pushing your hips back. Push through your heels to stand back up.

“To make this exercise as effective as possible, you must squat down until your thighs are at least parallel with the floor,” Harris adds. “When you stand back up, flex your quads and squeeze your glutes at the top."



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“Get in a press-up position, holding yourself up with your hands or forearms,” says Harris. “Pull in your stomach and tighten your entire body. Hold this position for the time required.”

Low-Impact Cardio Workout

  • Minute 1: Kettlebell swing – work 20sec, rest 40sec
  • Minute 2: Goblet squat – work 20sec, rest 40sec
  • Minute 3: Plank – work 20sec, rest 40sec
  • Minute 4: Kettlebell swing – work 20sec, rest 40sec
  • Minute 5: Goblet squat – work 20sec, rest 40sec
  • Minute 6: Kettlebell swing – work 30sec, rest 30sec
  • Minute 7: Goblet squat – work 30sec, rest 30sec
  • Minute 8: Plank – work 30sec, rest 30sec
  • Minute 9: Kettlebell swing – work 30sec, rest 30sec
  • Minute 10: Goblet squat – work 30sec, rest 30sec
  • Minute 11: Kettlebell swing – work 40sec, rest 20sec
  • Minute 12: Goblet squat – work 40sec, rest 20sec
  • Minute 13: Plank – work 40sec, rest 20sec
  • Minute 14: Kettlebell swing – work 40sec, rest 20sec
  • Minute 15: Goblet squat – work 40sec, rest 20sec
  • Minute 16: Kettlebell swing – work 45sec, rest 15sec
  • Minute 17: Goblet squat – work 45sec, rest 15sec
  • Minute 18: Plank – work 45sec, rest 15sec
  • Minute 19: Kettlebell swing – work 45sec, rest 15sec
  • Minute 20: Goblet squat – work 45sec, rest 15sec
Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.