Skip The Treadmill And Improve Your Cardio Fitness With This Challenging Equipment-Free HIIT Session Instead

Woman performing mountain climber exercise at home
(Image credit: miljko / Getty Images)

You might assume that equipment-free workouts are less challenging than routines with weights, but bodyweight sessions can be just as hard. Not only can they boost your fitness and build muscle, they can help to improve your coordination, power and speed. That’s especially helpful if you play sport, or take part in CrossFit or HYROX.

Personal trainer Ella-Mae Rayner has shared a routine on Instagram that will leave even the fittest of people breathless and sweaty.

It’s made up of eight bodyweight exercises, including some well-known movements such as the star jump and burpee. It’s a great way to work on your cardio fitness at the gym if you’ve had your fill of treadmill workouts, or as a way to work out from home equipment-free.

Take a look at Rayner's Instagram Reel below where she demonstrates each move.

Do each exercise for 45 seconds and then rest for 15 seconds. Complete the circuit four times in total, with one minute of rest between each round. You might be surprised how quickly this workout will get you out of breath, but remember it’s 35 minutes long so find a steady pace and try stick to it throughout.

The plyometric exercises such as the jump squat and jump lunge in this routine require a pop of power and speed, and these moves can help to strengthen your bones and joints, too. 

They are high-impact though, so take it slow if you’re just starting to exercise or coming back from a break. You can always remove the jumps from each exercise, performing unweighted squats and lunges instead, then progressing to the harder variations as your fitness increases.

If that’s still too hard, try this beginner HIIT workout instead.

Need help choosing? Our guide to the best gym trainers can help.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.