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10 Best At-Home Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

Sometimes, the most effective workouts happen right in the comfort of your own home.
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Let's be honest: It can be incredibly frustrating when life throws unexpected hurdles in the way of your weight-loss goals. But fear not, because your journey to a healthier you doesn't have to be derailed by a busy schedule or the absence of a gym membership. Sometimes, the most effective workouts happen right in the comfort of your own home. That's why I've crafted a selection of the 10 best at-home cardio exercises for weight loss.

This comes with a caveat: I'm not one to limit exercises by labeling them strictly as "cardio." It's all about the method behind the movement, whether it's through EMOMs, AMRAPS, HIIT sessions, or other creative workout styles. These methods can transform any exercise into a fat-burning powerhouse. Sure, classics like the treadmill, rower, and stationary bike have their place in the lineup for torching fat, and you'll find them on this list. But what about the other exercises? Well, you'll just have to keep reading to discover those gems!

Treadmill Workouts

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Steady-state treadmill workouts are research-backed and have stood the test of time. Why? Because they're effective. You can opt for a steady jogging pace, accumulating distance over time, or toss on a weighted vest and knock out walking intervals. If you don't have a treadmill at home, get some fresh air by following the guidelines below.

Aim to accumulate 20 to 30 minutes at a steady pace. Otherwise, perform one to two sets of eight to 12 rounds of two minutes of moderate intensity with one minute of low intensity. Allow yourself to recover for two to three minutes between sets.

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Stationary Bike Workouts

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Stationary bike workouts are a stellar option for achieving weight-loss goals right at home. By pedaling away on a stationary bike, you engage large muscle groups like your legs, glutes, and core, effectively burning calories and shedding excess fat.

These workouts are convenient and highly customizable, allowing you to adjust resistance levels and intensity to suit your fitness level and goals. Plus, cycling is low-impact, making it gentle on your joints while delivering a high-impact calorie burn. If you have other pieces of cardio equipment, feel free to substitute!

Aim to accumulate 20 to 30 minutes at a steady pace. Otherwise, perform one to two sets of eight to 12 rounds of two minutes of moderate-intensity with one minute of low intensity. Allow yourself to recover for two to three minutes between sets.

Squat Jumps

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Explosive squat jumps are a dynamic addition to intermediate weight loss workouts, providing a powerful fusion of strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Integrating plyometric movements like squat jumps can boost your heart rate, incinerate calories, enhance power and agility, and cultivate lean muscle mass.

Start in a hip-width stance with your toes slightly turned out. Lower into a quarter squat position as you reach your arms down to your sides. Then, explosively jump upward, extending your hips and legs fully as you quickly get your arms overhead. Land softly, and immediately return to the squat position for the next repetition.

Perform three to four sets of 12 to 20 reps with 60 seconds of rest between sets. I also love pairing squat jumps in an EMOM format when I'm in a crunch. Aim to perform five to eight reps within each minute for five to 10 rounds. After completing your reps, rest for the remainder of the minute before starting the next round.

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Cross-body Mountain Climbers

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Cross-body mountain climbers are a potent exercise for trimming and sculpting your physique. They elevate your calorie-burning heart rate and simultaneously engage multiple muscle groups.

As you drive your knees toward your chest in a plank position, you're not just working your core; you're also activating your shoulders, arms, and legs. The result? A full-body workout that boosts metabolism, strengthens your core, and helps you achieve a leaner, more toned appearance.

To execute cross-body mountain climbers, start in a high plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your body straight. Engage your core, and bring your right knee toward your left elbow, then quickly switch legs, bringing your left knee toward your right elbow. Alternate legs in a smooth, controlled motion, maintaining a steady pace.

Complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

Renegade Rows

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In addition to being a staple exercise for building a six-pack, renegade rows are a secret weapon for weight loss. This exercise provides a full-body workout that torches calories and develops lean muscle mass by combining strength and stability in a single movement.

As you row weights while holding a plank position, your core muscles kick into high gear to maintain stability and prevent rotation. This engagement strengthens your abs and engages your back, shoulders, and arms, making it a highly effective exercise for sculpting a leaner physique.

Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders, gripping dumbbells. Lift one hand, pulling your elbow to the ceiling in a strong rowing motion while balancing on the other arm. Alternate sides, maintaining stability and squeezing your core. Make sure to use non-rounded dumbbells for a stable surface.

Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets, or opt for intervals of 30 seconds of work paired with 30 seconds of rest.

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Pendulum Lunges

As dynamic of an exercise as they come, pendulum lunges strengthen your lower body and rev up your metabolism. By combining elements of reverse and forward lunges, pendulum lunges offer a comprehensive leg workout that targets multiple muscle groups and challenges your stability and coordination. Get ready to feel the burn as you engage your legs and push your body to new limits.

Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your right foot, keeping the left knee above the ankle. Keep the right knee slightly above the ground. Next, push off the ground with your right foot and bring the right leg through into a forward lunge without touching the ground. Continue the pendulum-like motion with the right leg for the prescribed reps or time, and then repeat with the left leg.

Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets. Note that your "eight to 12 reps per side" is 16 to 24 total reps of work, increasing the intensity of this lunge variation. Pendulum lunges are a viable option for tossing into HIIT workouts!

Med Ball Slams

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Med ball slams are a game-changer for at-home weight-loss workouts. These explosive movements target your abs—especially the rectus abdominis—and supercharge your strength, power, and endurance while igniting your metabolism.

With each slam, you amplify your effort, cranking up the intensity of your workout and turbocharging your potential for shedding pounds. The key? Stay dialed in on every repetition, ensuring each slam is executed with precision and purpose to unlock the full benefits of this dynamic exercise. Disclaimer: Use med balls that do not bounce!

Stand tall, holding a non-bouncing med ball. Engage your abs while raising the ball overhead until your arms extend. Slam the ball before you with power, engaging your abs further as you crunch down. Repeat for your preferred number of sets and reps or a set duration.

Intervals work best for med ball slams. Perform five to 10 rounds of 15 seconds of slams, paired with 15 seconds of rest.

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Deadlifts

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Barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and even sandbags are great for varying your deadlift workouts. You name it, you can deadlift it!

Deadlifts are the best full-body exercise for forming muscle mass, boosting strength, and incinerating calories. There's the traditional variation, but don't shy away from a suitcase, sumo, or straight-leg deadlifts to keep your workouts fresh and fun.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips and knees, lowering your body, and grip the weight with your hands, keeping your back straight, chest up, and shins vertical. Engage your core and drive through your heels as you lift the weight, extending your hips and knees simultaneously. Keep the weight close to your body, and stand tall at the top with your hips fully extended and shoulders back. Lower the weight by reversing the movement, hinging at the hips, and bending your knees until the weight returns to the floor.

Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps with a 60-second rest period between sets, or use an EMOM-style workout. To follow this workout, set a timer for 10 minutes. Start by performing five to eight reps of your chosen exercise every minute on the minute (EMOM), then rest for the remainder of each minute.

Plank with Hip Dips

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Spice up your at-home ab workouts with plank hip dips. These are a game-changer for interval workouts, activating multiple core muscles at once while adding a twist of movement. While the plank position targets the entire core, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, incorporating hip dips takes things up a notch.

Begin in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your body straight from your head to your heels. Engage your core and, without rotating your torso, lower one hip toward the ground, then return to the plank position before repeating on the other side. Alternate hip dips while maintaining a stable plank.

Opt for shorter intervals with 20 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest, or push yourself with a 40-second work interval followed by 20 seconds of rest. Aim to complete 5 to 10 rounds of your chosen interval structure.

Standing Chops

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Standing chops, whether executed with a dumbbell, kettlebell, weight plates, or simply bodyweight, can help you achieve those at-home workouts geared toward weight loss. This exercise brings unmatched intensity to your core training by activating your trunk in a dynamic rotational pattern, engaging abdominal and back muscles for stability and strength. Whether using dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, or med balls, you can vary the resistance and position to keep your routine fresh and challenging.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and staggered, holding a weight at one hip. If the weight starts on your right hip, step your left foot forward, and vice versa. Next, execute a diagonal chopping motion, lifting the weight from your hip to the opposite shoulder while rotating your torso and squeezing the abs. Maintain a slight bend in your arms as you repeat the chopping motion for the prescribed reps. Repeat the chop on the other side. Focus on engaging the core, exhale during the lift, and inhale during the return. Keep a slight squat position and maintain proper form to avoid injury.

Complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets. Otherwise, mix things up and use standing chops as a core-focused exercise in your HIIT workout.

Jarrod Nobbe
Jarrod Nobbe is a USAW National Coach, Sports Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, and writer, and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 12 years. Read more about Jarrod
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