Four moves to boost your cardio fitness and strengthen your legs without any equipment

Raise your heart rate and challenge your legs with this quick routine

Man doing squat exercise on a yoga mat in pristine living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When you’re busy but still want to keep up with your exercise routine, you need to find workouts that work for you. For most of us, that means tracking down equipment-free, uncomplicated routines.

With that in mind, we’ve found the perfect session from NASM-certified personal trainer Kira Stokes. You won’t need any gym equipment to do it, just a chair or steady surface for some of the movements. 

Watch Kira Stokes’ cardio workout

Stokes sells this workout as “quiet cardio” but with squat jumps and hops you might be thinking, ‘how’? Well, despite these high-impact moves, Stokes explains that if you control the movements from your core and visualize landing on a delicate surface such as glass, you’ll be able to control your jump into a softer landing. Socks and a carpeted floor also help!

The trainer uses an ottoman for support, including for the plank variations and push-ups. Using an elevated surface for these exercises makes them a little bit easier, which is ideal if you’re new to bodyweight workouts and strength training.

Benefits of this workout

The tempo of this workout should raise your heart rate. Do workouts like this regularly, and you will boost your cardiovascular system along with your lung function, making it easier for your body to circulate oxygen. You may find that the workout boosts your leg strength too, as it challenges muscles like your glutes, quads, and calves.

After heavy workouts, giving your body time to recover is important. Try resting for a day and make sure you consume enough protein to help your muscles repair. If you want to top up your protein levels have a look at our guide to the best protein powders for weight loss

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 


Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.