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Exercises to Do at Home to Stay Fit and Get Your Heart Rate Up

March 19, 2020

Even if you are stuck at home with limited equipment, there are still plenty of things you can do to exercise, stay in shape, and elevate your heart rate.

By Mike Lombardi

Easy Workouts to Do at Home

During a regular training cycle, the most effective way to reach an athletic goal is to follow a plan that creates a specific stimulus and progressively works toward your desired result. But with all the uncertainty of the current global landscape, many of us are feeling higher levels of stress and daily strain, making now a great time to switch up your approach and focus on the process rather than the end result.

Even if you are stuck at home with limited equipment, there are still plenty of things you can do to exercise, stay in shape, and elevate your heart rate. Here are several simple and quick at-home workout moves to boost your cardiovascular health and keep your muscles toned (click links to watch video demonstrations).

Squat Progression (lower body leg exercises at home)

These are some of the most foundational movements of all humans, and will help build posterior chain and midline strength. To take it to the next level, add in challenging tempos to your progressions, especially if you have limited access to equipment.

  • Air squats to a target (a table, chair, box or medicine ball)
  • Air squats
  • Jumping squats (this will really get your heart rate up quickly!)
  • Goblet squats (with a weighted object like a kettlebell or dumbbell)
  • Front squats (with double kettlebells, double dumbbells, a barbell or sandbag)
  • Thrusters (a front squat + push press over your head–also very good for a quick HR bump)

Push-up Progression (upper body workout at home)

Push ups can be a challenging movement for many, but there are types that fit all fitness and ability levels. Start with the scaled versions and continue to build through to the more difficult iterations. Work towards finding a variation that you can complete 5-8 unbroken reps fairly regularly for 5 sets as a starting place. In general, push-ups tend to bring your HR back down, you will likely experience muscular failure before achieving a long enough duration to keep your HR elevated.

If you can only do two things, a squat progression followed by a push-up progression is a great quick at home workout.

Lunge Progression (movement in different planes)

Lunges can be a perfect combination of building cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength training at home. Adding weighted objects in a variety of positions will tax your body’s core and work to build your stabilizing muscles.

Burpee Progression (full-body workout at home)

As with push ups, there are variations of burpees that fit all skill and fitness levels. They are an outstanding way to get the entire body involved. If you have no equipment at all, try this one: Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes, complete 10 burpees (or the equivalent of 30-35 seconds of reps).


You likely need to get outside for this one, but obviously there’s no equipment necessary. Higher intensity intervals with shorter rest periods will get your HR up in a hurry. A combination of short, intense runs and longer, steady-state runs will help develop different energy systems while providing a nice change of pace.

Jumping (cardio at home)

Continuous jumping is excellent for both spiking your HR (if you’re not proficient at the skill) or getting into a great steady state of cardio, alternative to the norms like running, cycling, rowing, etc. A pattern of high box jumps will burn the legs and the lungs equally, but watch those feet on the edge of the box when you start to get fatigued!

Track your strain (cardiovascular load) and heart rate in real time while you’re exercising with the WHOOP Strain Coach. And with our WHOOP Live feature, you can share your at-home workouts with friends, colleagues and competitors via social media. Use the hashtag #WHOOPLive and tag @whoop when posting. WHOOP members can also join our team At Home Hustle in the WHOOP app (by entering code COMM-ATHOME) to compare data.

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Mike Lombardi

Mike Lombardi is the Strategic Partnerships and Performance Manager at WHOOP where he works with elite athletes, teams, and brands. He spent the last decade in high performance working with athletes from Princeton University and coaching rowers to the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He has also worked with several CrossFit Teams and athletes who have made it to the CrossFit Games.