Pump up your cardio workout with added weights

February 13, 2014

In today’s busy world, it’s always great when you can make the most of your time by multitasking. This even holds true for your workouts. It’s important to make time for fitness each week, but if you can combine using your home cardio equipment with a little strength training, then you can really kick that physical activity into high gear and see even better results.

Whether you prefer to get your heart rate up using a home treadmill or a home elliptical machine, you know how great it feels to get in a really great workout session in a short amount of time, especially if your schedule is jam packed. Not only does incorporating weight training into your cardio routine give you the benefit of both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, but it increases how many calories you burn and makes your body work harder. This will likely help you achieve your goals even quicker, showing you results to keep you motivated.

According to the Houston Chronicle the American Council on Exercise said you can burn up to 15 percent more calories on a fitness treadmill by simply carrying 1- to 3-pound weights, and adding these could raise your heart rate by 5 to 10 beats per minute.

Incorporating weights into your cardio workout
When you’re ready to add some strength training to your cardio session, there are two options. The first is to work in intervals. Create a program where you switch between running on the treadmill or elliptical machine then perform a strength exercise, alternating between the two intervals for between 30 and 60 minutes.

Warm up:

  • You can start with a slow walk or easy pedaling for a minute or two, then increase the resistance and pedal harder or start to jog for up to five minutes.
  • Next, grab your hand weights and perform various strength exercises including bicep curls, squats, tricep extensions, lunges, chest presses and crunches. Do each exercise for one to two minutes.
  • Alternating between the two will keep your heart rate up, so you’ll get the benefit of a true cardio workout while also feeling the burn of challenging your muscles.

The other option is to complete simple weight exercises while you walk on the treadmill:

  • Start walking at a slow pace with no incline.
  • You can increase your speed some, but balance is key to maintain.
  • Grab your hand weights and give yourself a few seconds to get used to the new sensation of carrying extra pounds as you move. Once you’re comfortable, you can work in some basic upper body strength exercises.
  • When using the dumbbells, be sure to walk at a leisurely pace, then do a cardio bout, setting the weights aside and running or jogging at a steady pace for a few minutes.

Alternating will keep your body challenged throughout the session and make it work harder in a shorter amount of time. Try these simple strength exercises:

Bicep curl: As you walk, hold the weights at your sides with one on each hand. Turn your palms up and lift your hands up to your shoulders, squeezing your bicep, then returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Tricep kickback: Holding one weight in each hand, bend your elbow so the weights start at your shoulders. Lower the weights, pushing your hands slightly behind you until you feel your tricep muscle engage, then return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

Shoulder press: Again start with your elbows bent and the weights near your shoulders. This time, press the weights toward the ceiling, then return to the starting position and continue 10 to 12 more times.