You don’t need a treadmill or elliptical machine to get a serious cardio workout. The only equipment this heart-pumping, calorie-torching routine requires: Your body (and maybe a little motivation to go hard!). Take it from Men’s Health fitness director, BJ Gaddour: “All you need is your own body to get in the best shape of your life.”
That’s why Gaddour developed the Bodyweight Burners program, now available at DailyBurn.com. The program helps you blast calories while building strength — all in 30 minutes or less. With a mix of HIIT sequences, core challenges and muscle-sculpting strength moves, you’ll be able to push your body to the max, without a major time commitment. The best part: You don’t even have to leave your living room.
TRY IT NOW: Men’s Health Bodyweight Burners with BJ Gaddour
For a taste of Gaddour’s secret sauce, check out how he remixes the most basic of moves: jumping jacks. They’re one of his favorite bodyweight-only exercises, because they also count as cardio. While you’ve probably warmed up with a set of these plyometric moves before, you haven’t done them like this. As Gaddour says, “start strong; finish stronger” and “set your metabolism ablaze.” We’ll sweat to that!
Bodyweight Burners: 5 HIIT-Style Jumping Jacks
Straight from his Bodyweight Burners program, here are five new twists to the classic move that turn the fat-burning up a notch…or five. Perform each variation for 20 seconds, working at your highest intensity. Then rest for 10 seconds before performing the next one. Repeat the entire sequence for two rounds — or better yet, four rounds — and you’ll get a you-versus-gravity aerobic workout like never before.
WANT MORE? Try BJ Gaddour’s complete program here.
1. Seal Jacks
This one is similar to a regular jumping jack, but quicker — and with more shoulder engagement. Start slow if you need too, then push yourself to the max. If you need a modification, eliminate the jump and step out to the side, one foot at a time. Then continue alternating.
How to: Start with your hands together in front of your torso and feet together (a). Keeping just a slight bend in your elbows and knees, jump your legs apart so they’re a little wider than hip width (b). At the same time, squeeze your shoulder blades together and bring your arms out to the sides and up to shoulder height. Make sure to engage your upper back (c). Return to start and repeat as quickly as possible.
2. Bent-Over Seal Jacks
A bent-over reverse fly with a plyometric twist. You’ll feel the burn in your back muscles, increase mobility in your hips and work your triceps. Be deliberate with your steps and stick each movement so you really feel the burn. Pro tip: You should not only pull your arms apart as you jump your feet wide, but push your arms back together when completing the jack, too. That way you work the front and back of your upper body.
How to: Start standing with feet together. Place hands together in front of you, arms straight (a). Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back flat. (Maintain that flat back throughout the entire exercise.) Bend your knees and elbows slightly (b). Jump your legs apart, a step or two wider than hip-width, as you bring your arms back and up to shoulder height (c). Return to start and repeat as quickly as possible.
3. Cross-Body Jacks
Crossing your arms during this variation helps to stretch the upper back and chest. The lower body rotation also loosens up your hips. While performing the move, remember what Gaddour says: “Make like Peter Pan” and stay light on your feet, keeping your weight in your toes.
How to: Start with your feet wider than hips and arms straight out to the sides, raised between hip and shoulder height (a). Jump and cross your feet, one foot in front of the other. Simultaneously bring your arms together (still held between shoulder and hip height), so they cross at the elbows (b). Return to start, then jump again to bring your legs and arms together. This time cross the opposite arm on top and opposite foot in front (c). Repeat as fast as you can, switching the cross with each jump.
4. Predator Jacks
This killer move mixes seal jacks with squat jumps. In other words, you’ll get seriously sweaty as you sculpt your legs. And don’t worry, it gets your upper body burning, too.
How to: Start with feet together and palms pressed together in front of your waist, elbows straight (a). Jump your feet wide and drop your hips down and back, so you’re in a low squat position. Your feet should be angled slightly outward so you can push your knees out to the sides and drop your butt as close to the ground as you can go. At the same time, bring your arms up and behind you, keeping them as straight as possible (b). Keep your chest up throughout the entire exercise. Return to the start and quickly repeat.
5. Predator Split Jacks
Forget regular forward or backward lunges. These jacks build strength in your lower half, while turning up your heart rate for extra cardio and getting your arms, shoulders and back involved. If the original predator jack was difficult enough, stick to that.
How to: Start with feet and hands together, arms straight out in front of your waist (a). Jump one foot behind you and one in front, bending both knees to 90 degrees. (Make sure you pause and hit a lunge position.) As you move your legs, bring your arms up and behind you, keeping elbows straight (b). Return to start, then jump your legs apart again. This time switch your footing so the opposite leg is in front (c). Jump back to your starting position and repeat, alternating the lunge with each jump. Move as fast as you can without sacrificing form.
For more quick cardio workouts from BJ Gaddour, try his Bodyweight Burners workout program here.
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