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A home cardio workout that’s safe for your knees

UR

2 min read

Five exercises that will get your heart rate up—without a single jump

Pilates expert Vesna Jacob is a big advocate for using any means to stay active. Even though you don’t need any equipment, this workout is challenging enough to make you break into a sweat. Slow and in control, that’s the kind of movement that this Pilates workout demands. To get the most from this steady-state cardio, you can do this cardio at home with no equipment and repeat the circuit. Complete as many reps you can of each exercise, before going to the next one.

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No-Jump Exercises by Vesna Jacob
All four back and forth

Vesna Jacob

Start on all fours, with knee just a few inches off the ground and gently move back and forth. This is a great exercise to increase strength, and shoulder and hip mobility. Do 5 reps.

All four knee to arm

All four knee to arm exercise
All four knee to arm

Get into all fours. Bring one knee to the same arm, gently first with one side and then move to the other side. Make the movement slow and controlled; avoid sinking into your shoulder blades. Breathe through the exercise. Repeat 10 times.

All four twist

All four twist exercise

Rotate the entire body, focusing on driving through the hips to reach opposite knee to the opposite elbow. This is great for core strength. Do 10 reps.

Knee to the chest

Knee to the chest exercise
Knee to the chest

Start from the push-up or high plank position. Without moving the rest of the body bring the knee to the chest. When done faster this is called mountain climber, but in this variation the movement is slow. Do 10 reps.

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Bend knees exercise

Bend knees, lift one leg up all the way to the ceiling, toes pointed. Just move the upper body up and down. Focus on the core muscles and don’t stress your neck and shoulders. Repeat 5 times with each leg.

Clockwork

Clockwork kneeling position exercise
Clockwork

Start from the kneeling position. Take one leg forward and then to the side. Imagine you are stomping on number 12 and 9 or 3 (depending on which leg you start with) on the clock. This is a great exercise for hip mobility, strengthening your legs as well as core strength. Repeat 5 on each side.

Mermaid

Mermaid exercise

This is one my favorite exercise and the most elegant one in Pilates. We start from the knee, by pushing of the ground, and stabalising the shoulder, and extend the arm up and over to get a good stretch on one side of the body while engaging the core muscles. Repeat three to five times on the other side.

Pilates trainer Vesna Jacob has worked with athletes like Gautam Gambir. She is also the author of two books, Work It Out Without A WorkoutandFit To Fight.