02-08-2016

Best Dumbbell Exercises

Happy Monday!

Did you all watch the SuperBowl yesterday? What’d you think of the halftime show? I personally loved it, and loved Coldplay, but I keep reading about how people thought they were boring and/or Beyonce was better. I loved the whole thing – very entertaining. Plus, my sister and I will be seeing Coldplay on tour so we thought it was cool :)

Anyway, today marks Day 1 of my 5 Day Fitness Challenge (which you can sign up for here if you haven’t already). The first workout is a leg workout, and I’ll link to it below. First I just wanted to talk about dumbbell only workouts.

My 5 day challenge only uses dumbbells, mainly because it’s easiest for people since most have them. However, I prefer dumbbells over machines or even barbells. Dumbbells work your entire body more because you’re holding one in each hand, so you need to engage your core for exercises. Think about how much harder it is to do a dumbbell chest press than a barbell press. Or a single arm row as opposed to a barbell row. Not saying I don’t like barbells, because they definitely have their place, but dumbbells are #1 for me.

Using dumbbells can also show you if you have any muscle imbalances. For example, when I do dumbbell chest press, I realize that one arm is able to go down lower than the other arm, which points to an imbalance.

Lastly, dumbbells can help build your grip strength. Trying to do walking lunges with less-than-great grip strength is HARD and your forearms will be burning. Using dumbbells for lunges, farmer’s carries, deadlifts, and more can help build your grip strength (which translates well for heavier deadlifts or pull-ups if that’s your goal).

So here are a few of my favorite dumbbell exercises:

The best dumbbell exercises (in my opinion) to build total body strength! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Single-arm row

I love single arm rows. I feel like they really target your back and build strength fast. I like to support myself on a box or bench (as opposed to my knee) to really have a stable base. One tip is to make sure that when you lower the dumbbell, you’re not lowering it all the way down and letting your shoulders relax. You want to SQUEEZE your shoulder blades the entire time. So even when you’re at the lowest point, you’re still squeezing/flexing your shoulder blade/back, and using those muscles to pull it back up, instead of momentum.

single arm rowPhoto source

I also like to stand, like the photo above, as opposed to having one knee on the bench. This way engages more of your core AND your hamstrings and glutes.

Single-leg deadlift

These are killer (and in my workout video). If you have awful balance like I do, it’s even harder. But that’s the best part. It helps you get better at balancing and using your core, which is so important for runners and athletes.

single leg deadliftPhoto source

Start with bodyweight only, and work your way up to holding a dumbbell in each hand. Then work your way to an offset (one dumbbell) with a heavier weight. Your hamstrings will definitely be feeling it the next day!

Skullcrushers

This is an exercise that is definitely more challenging with dumbbells than a barbell. I think it is “easier” to get the weight up with a barbell. This is also a great exercise for building tricep strength, which is important for any pushing exercise (bench press, push-ups, etc.). 

Photo source

Make sure you lower the dumbbell down to the bench (touch the bench by your ears) before going back up. You can also do single arm variations. You want to keep your elbows in and back, kind of on an angle going behind you, not straight up. Your elbows should stay in that position, and only your hands move the weights throughout the motion (not your elbows swaying back and forth).

These are three of my top dumbbell exercises. I am always sore the next day after doing these! 

Here is my first workout of the 5 Day Fit Challenge :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9BuqekuXCw

Make sure to sign up for the challenge so you can be entered to win a PlantFusion prize pack! It’s 5 days of workout videos sent right to your inbox, printables to take to the gym, support and (like I said) a chance to win some free protein powder! Who doesn’t want that?

What are your favorite dumbbell exercises? 

If you could only do ONE exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think I would choose walking lunges…so tough but a total body exercise AND gets the heart rate up!

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12-01-2015

4 Week Holiday Workout Plan!

Okay…my first ebook is done! I created a 4 week workout plan to stay fit during this holiday season. I decided to launch it today because it is Dec. 1 and we have 5 weeks until Dec. 31, so you can start it this week or next week and end 2015 with a bang! Try this 4 week workout plan to stay fit and healthy during the holiday season!

I know many of us, myself included, get to this time of the year and want to just relax, indulge and spend time with family. We say, I’ll start back up in January. Well, why wait until 2016? The workouts I have created will take you 30 minutes. You have 30 minutes in your day to do a workout. Here are the details:

  • Full-body workout
  • Combines upper and lower body exercises to burn more calories and keep your heart rate up
  • Includes a YouTube link where I show you how to do each exercise
  • All you need are dumbbells (and a step – you can use your stairs or a chair)
  • Only 30 minutes!!!

Click Here To Get The Workout!

The 4 weeks are split in half, so for each of the 2 weeks you’re doing a set of 3 workouts. Three workouts for week 1 & 2, and three different workouts for week 3 & 4. It is challenging and also includes a 5 minute “cardio blitz” at the end. If you want to make it more challenging, you can increase the weight you use or add more time to each circuit. Here is an example workout:

A killer 4 week workout plan for the holiday season!

My legs were on fire after filming my YouTube video showing all of the exercises lol…I had a lot of fun creating this and can’t wait to hear your thoughts. If you have any questions please let me know! You can also shoot me an email at patty@reach-yourpeak.com, or tweet me at @pattyrivas13.

Click Here To Get The Workout!

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments! Do you like to stay fit during the holidays? Or do you lack motivation? Let’s get fit before 2016!

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11-25-2015

Hotel Room Workout

Taking a break from my gift guides (actually takes a lot of time to make one of those lol) and writing about a new video on my channel today.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, you can still workout! All you need is a chair. My video is only a minute long, so you can give it a quick view and then start working out!

Hotel Room Workout

I’m all about effective  movements when in a time crunch. You want to focus on exercises that target large muscle groups, which will not only make you stronger, but also help you burn more calories (which is what we need during the holidays, right?).

Repeat the circuit 3-5 times through depending on how much time you have, OR if you have extra time, do the circuit 5 times through, take a 2 minute break, and then here is an add-on (also repeat 3-5 times through):

  • 10 walking lunges
  • 10 inch worms
  • 15 single leg hip raises (each leg 15x)
  • 15 burpees

Let’s do it! Here’s your hotel room workout video:

Let me know if you try it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I want to continue doing more fitness videos…if you have a topic or suggestion definitely leave me a comment! I am always open for ideas on workouts. My sister texted me yesterday asking for an arm workout so perhaps that will be my next one :)

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?

Do you have any fun holiday traditions? We usually go to NYC every year on Christmas day!

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08-12-2015

Why I Love 400 Repeats + Backyard Workout Video

On Monday I had a track workout that might have been the most challenging track workout I’ve ever done. It wasn’t so much that I felt like I was pushing myself to the max (like some workouts where you “go to the well”) but it was just a non-stop workout with minimal break…Thanks Coach Marc!

My mom and I did a 1.5 mile warmup, then 12x400s at 2:05 average per lap with only 25 seconds break in between, THEN 2 more 400s at 1:50ish but with a longer break, then 1 mile cooldown. We were supposed to do 4 total of the 1:50 laps but we only did 2 because I was so beat I couldn’t hold the pace any longer.

Running those 400s at 2:05 was hard I knew I wasn’t running 100% effort. The hard part was that as soon as you finished, you only had 25 seconds before you had to go off again. My sister went to be our official timer :)

I started the first few closer to 2:10, just to get a feel. I have never done 12 400s in a row…let alone with such little break…so I was kind of nervous.

This was the exact workout I needed though after a few iffy weeks of training where I just felt slow and off. I wanted this as a confidence booster. I love 400 repeats and they always make me feel fast and strong. Here are a few reasons you should incorporate them into your training too:

  • Even if you’re marathon training, 400s (or any track workout) will benefit you greatly. It will help improve your speed, strength and leg turnover. With shorter breaks like I did, you’ll challenge yourself to hold a faster than marathon pace pace (did that make sense?) so that your usual marathon pace will then feel “easier” come race day.
  • There are all sorts of variations of 400s you can do based on what you’re training for. Coach Marc is the perfect person to ask about this. You can do faster 400s with more breaks in between, slower 400s with minimal break, or a combination of both. Even many elites do combinations of paces. For example, I’ve seen videos of Brenda Martinez‘s workouts where she’ll do sets of 400s or 800s, then finish with a “tag” aka a 400 at 100% effort. Like I said, it all comes down to what you’re training for.

I slept like a baby Monday night AND last night because this workout really tired me out. No joke, I could have gone to sleep at 8 pm last night if I didn’t have stuff to do.

Anyway, I also put out a new workout video on my YouTube channel today! It’s a workout you can do right in your backyard, and it targets your lower body (with some cardio thrown in). Check it out:

Make sure to make it higher quality on YouTube by clicking 780 or 1080P :)

Let me know if you try it out!

Do you love or hate track workouts? What’s your favorite distance?

If you’re on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel! Will be adding many new videos :)

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07-14-2015

Strength Training Workout For Mud Runs

As I mentioned yesterday, I ran a mud run/obstacle course race this past weekend…and it was awesome! It was the Rugged Maniac in New Jersey, but they have locations all over the country and in Canada as well. If you find one near you, definitely try it out. I’m going to go into a detailed recap later this week and add in reasons why you should do it. I noticed yesterday a lot of you said you’re nervous about injuries…so was I! But still…you should do one ;)

The day after my race I was actually surprised at how sore I was. I consider myself in decent shape, though I know I’ve lost muscle and strength in the past few months. My arms were really sore after the race and my quads. Weird! So today I wanted to share a strength training workout specifically for those who might be training for a mud run.

These races are a lot of pulling yourself up and over things, squatting, crawling, etc. So those are the types of moves I focused on.

Try this workout if you're training for a mud run or obstacle course race!

As always, do A1, A2 first, then move on. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 15 reps. So do A1 15 times, then A2 15 times, then repeat 2 more times before moving on to the B exercises. Okay here we go:

  • A1: Lat pull downs (Reason? Strength for pulling yourself up on obstacles like wall climbs)
  • A2: Push ups (Reason? Chest and shoulder strenght for those barbed wire crawls)
  • B1: Squat hold (Hold for 60 sec. Reason? Some obstacles require you to go through it in a crouched or squatting position…talk about quad burn!)
  • B2: Negative pulls ups (Reason? Monkey bar or rings – where you need to use upper body strength to cross. Negative pull ups help build up strength so you can do unassisted pull ups. Start at the top of the bar, and take 3-5 seconds to lower yourself down SLOWLY. Use a box to boost yourself up to the top of the bar, repeat)
  • C1: Walking lunges (Reason? You need quad and glute strength for all that hill running you’ll be doing!)
  • C2: Inverted row (Reason? More upper body/pull strength)
  • CORE: Planks, walking planks, any type of moving planks. (Reason? A lot of crawling is involved in mud runs, so planks/moving planks are good practice)

I was so tired during the barbed wire crawls because I know my core strength is lacking. I ended up rolling myself under them instead of crawling LOL.

What exercises would you add? 

If injury wasn’t an issue, would you try a mud run? 

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06-10-2015

How To Create a Full Body Workout In 6 Steps

My sister is always asking me what exercise she can do for this or that everytime she goes to the gym. Same with my parents actually, now that I think of it. I don’t mind it at all, but it made me think that perhaps there are many who head to the gym without a clue as to what workout they will do that day. 

So I created 6 steps for you to create a full body workout routine next time you need to strength train. My suggestion is to start the workout with your weakest link (of the major muscle groups). So if you’re deadlift is weak, start with that exercise.

You can follow this template to create 2-3 different workouts for the week, then change it up after 3-4 weeks in order to avoid a plateau.

How To Create a Full Body Workout in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1. Choose a glute/quad dominant exercise

We know that glute strength is key for a strong core (which can help alleviate lower back pain), and is really important for runners. I always start my workouts with a glute exercise. If you’re not sure what you can do besides squats, here are some ideas:

  • Walking lunges
  • Split squats
  • Reverse lunges
  • Front foot elevated split squats
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Sumo squats
  • Kettlebell squats
  • 1.5 squats (Lower down, come up half way, lower down again, stand up to complete the squat. Oh, you’ll feel the burn.)
  • Step-ups
  • Box squats
  • Rear foot elevated split squats (rear foot elevated less than the Bulgarians – that’s the difference between the two.)
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Single leg squats/TRX single leg squats

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend not starting with walking lunges. It can be hard on the knees until you build up that quad strength. This would be my progression with lunges: split squats > weight split squats > front foot elevated split squat > reverse lunges (step back, lower, step forward) > walking lunges > bulgarian split squats.

Step 2. Choose a back exercise

Who doesn’t want a strong back, especially in the summer when you’re tank tops, strapless dresses, etc.? After you complete your first exercise, move quickly into a back exercise.

Once you complete the back exercise, take a 1-2 minute break, then repeat the glute and back exercises again for your chosen amount of sets, before moving on to step 3 and 4.

Here are a few back exercises you can do:

  • Seated row
  • Lat pull down
  • Pull-ups/chin-ups
  • TRX rows
  • TRX assisted pull-ups
  • Dumbell row on a bench (one knee, one arm on a bench)
  • Barbell row
  • Inverted row
  • Cable row
  • T-bar row (Barbell is between your legs. Barbell usually has a piece at the end where it is attached, or you can put it in a corner.
  • Chest supported dumbell row (put your chest on an incline bench, so you’re facing down, and then row with both arms)

I think back exercises are my favorite to do. It’s one of my stronger points and it translates into stronger running (stronger back = stronger arms for that finish line kick).

Step 3. Choose a hamstring dominant exercise

Hamstrings are just as important as glutes! Having strong hamstrings and glutes means better posture, stronger core, and more strength in general. If you’re a runner and can only focus on one thing, make it your glutes and hamstrings! So many runners have weak glutes which can lead to injuries and other issues.

Here are some exercises to choose from:

  • Barbell Romanian deadlift
  • Barbell traditional deadlift
  • Trap bar deadlift
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Hip raises
  • Swiss ball leg curl
  • Single leg hip raises
  • T-bar row
  • Single leg deadlift
  • Walking lunges with large steps
  • Step-ups with a higher box

Step 4. Choose a chest exercise

While I personally focus less on chest exercises (for this reason), it is still important to include them in your routines. I prefer to do overhead presses and other shoulder press exercises as opposed to traditional bench presses.

My posture needs serious work, and tightening up the muscles in my pecs will only exacerbate the problem (pulling shoulders forward), which is why I like to do more back exercises (which help pull the shoulers back). Doing shoulder presses still works some of your chest muscles and also helps build strong and stable shoulder joints. Here’s a great list of exercises for improving your posture. I’ll list shoulder exercises in the next step when I get there.

Here are chest exercises:

  • Barbell bench press
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Decline bench press
  • 1.5 dumbbell press (lower all the way down, lift halfway, lower, lift to the top)
  • Pushups
  • Feet elevated pushups
  • TRX pushups
  • Single arm dumbbell bench press (or incline press)

Step 5. Choose a bicep, tricep and shoulder exercise

If you’re cramped for time, I would say you can skip this step. If you chose challenging enough weights in the previous steps, you will already have worked these muscles anyway. For example, if you did pull-ups you worked your biceps. If you did bench presses you worked your triceps and shoulders. If you did inverted rows, you worked your shoulders.

But when you have enough time, definitely add in these exercises to help build an overall strong body. Remember runners, strong arms = stronger pump = stronger finish at the end of a race!

Here are some ideas:

Biceps

  • Dumbbell bicep curls
  • Barbell bicep curls
  • Zottman curls (instead of palms facing up as you curl, palms are facing down)
  • Single arm dumbbell curls
  • Single arm half-way curls (While one arm is curling, the other arm is holding the dumbbell halfway up, as opposed to holding it up by your shoulder in a resting position)
  • Decline bench bicep curls (sit in a slightly decline bench and do bicep curls)

Triceps

  • Standing tricep extension
  • Flat bench tricep extension (lowering dumbbells by your ears then bringing up). This is my absolute favorite tricep exercise.
  • Tricep rope pull-down
  • Dips
  • Cable overhead tricep extension

Shoulders

Step 6. Choose 2-4 core exercises

Do I even need to talk about how important core exercises are? Here are my go-to exercises:

  • Any plank variation
  • Plank with knee drops
  • Side planks with reach under (with or without dumbbell)
  • Reverse crunches
  • Standing pallof presses
  • Medicine ball twists
  • Leg lifts (same time and/or alternating)
  • Deadbugs

Obviously there are many more exercises for each bodypart, but these are what came to mind of exercises I include in my routine regularly. I’d say my top picks are barbell squats, trap bar deadlift, pull-ups, incline presses, and pallof presses.

In terms of sets, I usually do my workouts as Step 1, Step 2, break, repeat 1 & 2 3-4 times, Step 3, Step 4, break, repeat 4&5 3-4 times, etc.

Let me know if you try creating your own full body routine with this guide! I’d love feedback :)

Do you create your own workouts or follow a routine (either from a personal trainer or website like bodybuilding.com?)

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03-11-2015

Full Body 30 Minute Workout Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted a full body 30 minute workout. It got good feedback, so I wanted to post one more as I continue working on my fitness eBook which will be a 9-12 week program with workouts similar to this. This one is a bit more complicated than the first one in terms of exercises involved, so below the image I will explain each one and put in a video tutorial if needed. Keep reading below for my full instructions:

30 Minute Full Body Workout
 AMRAP means as many rounds as possible. So in the first set of exercises, you’re going through and repeating them until your watch hits 30 minutes. Take a 1-2 minute break, then continue onto the next set of exercises. You should get in 2-3 sets in each group of exercises.

Okay so let’s explain the exercises:

Split squats + overhead press: You’ll be doing 10 split squats per leg, with the dumbbells stacked on your shoulders. As you come up, you will press up. Similar to a squat and press. Here’s my split squat tutorial:

Pushups with shoulder taps: You do a normal pushup, and when you come up you tap each shoulder with the opposite hand. Sounds easy but trust me, it makes this exercise even harder.

Side to side burpees: Usual burpees but instead of jumping straight back, you jump out to one side, jump in and up, then jump out to the other side.

Single leg deadlift + row: This is a typical single leg deadlift with a dumbbell, but when you get into the bottom part of the exercise (when your back leg is up), you will do a single arm row, then come back to standing and repeat. This is a great exercise for runners because you’re working on your hamstring and glute strength AND balance.

Tricep dips with leg raised: You will do 10 tricep dips with one leg raised straight out in front of you, then switch legs and do 10. You can do this on the floor or with your hands behind you on a bench to make it more challenging.

Donkey kicks: Another one that looks easy but is a killer cardio exercise and you’ll feel the shoulder burn! You don’t need to have your arms elevated like she does, but it’s a good modification if you need it to be a bit easier for you. If your wrists are an issue, hold dumbbells in your hands so your wrists are in a more neutral position.

Curtsy lunge + kick: Pretty self explanatory. Do a curtsy lunge then as you come up kick your leg out. Do 10 on each side then switch. You can add weight to this exercise to make it harder.

Half and half bicep curls: Start with the dumbbells up by your shoulders (elbows bent), lower half way, then bring back up. Do this 10 times. THEN, start with the dumbbells down (elbows straight), curl up half way and lower 10 times.

Commando burpees: Normal burpees but when you get down on the ground, you will go from on your hands to plank position, then back up.

Side plank with DB reach under: Get into side plank position, then with the dumbbell, reach under yourself, then bring the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. A bit hard to explain:

Dumbbell pull-over: This is a good lat workout (sides of your back) and a core workout. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle with feet up in the air. As you drop the weight behind you, focus on engaging your core and pressing your lower back into the floor. Here she demonstrates the pull-over portion of the exercise. With your feet elevated it makes it more of a core exercise.

Reverse plank: Instead of facing the floor you’re facing the ceiling. Hold it. You’ll feel it in your hamstrings, glutes and core. Bring it down to your elbows to make it more challenging.

I know that’s a lot of YouTube videos but I wanted to make sure you knew how to do each exercise and it wasn’t confusing! This is a full body workout that will have you sweating for sure…and it’s only 30 minutes! 

If you try it out, please let me know! I loved hearing back from people about their thoughts on the previous workout I posted. Stay tuned for my eBook which will have a workout plan with workouts like these so you can get fit in just 30 minutes per day :)

Do you add in cardio to your strength routines, or do them separately?

What are your favorite cardio exercises in a circuit routine? I love to hate burpees!

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02-04-2015

No Excuses, Full Body 30 Minute Workout

I’ve been experimenting with and creating my own strength workouts lately. I wanted something my mom and I could do 3 times a week for 30 minutes. This will be perfect for when we start running more and don’t feel like spending an hour or more at the gym. I’m planning on creating an ebook of these workouts, along with video how-tos for the exercises. You do a different, full-body workout 3 times per week for 4 weeks before the plan changes. Let me tell ya…I have been feeling sore lately!

This type of workout is different for me because I’ve always focused on lifting heavier and not tracking my rest periods. On upper body days I remember feeling like I hadn’t really worked out at all.

This workout is 30 minutes…which sounds short, but you’ll be dripping in sweat like I have been. You only need a set of dumbbells. You get a 1 minute break in between each group of exercises before moving on to the next. You’ll hit every major muscle group and it includes cardio/plyo moves. 

I’ll explain more below:

30 Minute Total Body Workout
Although I say “AMRAP” I don’t mean that you should be flying through each thing trying to get as many reps as possible. Go through each exercise as you would in any normal workout…the key thing is focusing on your form.

I have been using 10 pound dumbbells for my workouts, though I’d suggest a lighter pair and a heavier pair. For example, you might need heavier weights for DB (dumbbell) squats.

Each week, you should be improving. So the first week I could only do 2 rounds of the first group, then the second week I got 2 rounds + the first exercise done. If you feel you can up your weights the next week, do so. You should be struggling for those last few reps, not blowing through each exercise.

Hmm…trying to think of what else to tell you about this workout…I know once I click publish I’m going to remember stuff!

With 1 minute breaks after each group, it’s a 28 minute workout. If you need longer than a 1 minute break, take it, and see if the following week you can cut down your rest time. 

When I wrote up my workouts, I figured, this won’t be that hard…I’ve lifted with barbells before, psh, lunges with dumbbells is a piece of cake! Nope, I was dripping with sweat and so sore the next day. Having each round be timed is what really challenged me, and has helped me lose 5 lbs in the 2 weeks I’ve been following my plan.

This is an example of what the workouts in my future ebook will be like…now I just have to sit down and write it/create videos! :)

Edited to add: I’m linking this post up to the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. If you have a workout to share, join in!

If you try this, please leave a comment or tweet me with your feedback, I’d love to hear it as I work on creating more workouts.

What’s your favorite way to lift weights? Slow and heavy? Circuit style? Or mix it up?

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01-05-2015

20 Minute Treadmill Workout

Today has not started the way I had intended it to. I was supposed to take a 9:15 am HIIT class at the gym, but then got no sleep last night so decided to let myself sleep in instead. Hence, the late blog post!

Have you ever had those nights where you toss and turn and wake up every hour? They’re the worst. I think it’s because I went to bed earlier last night to start getting my body used to normal schedule again before I start work next Monday. Better now than on Sunday I suppose!

Anyway, I wanted to share a treadmill workout I’ve been doing lately. It can be 20-30 minutes, it really depends on you. It’s a mix of a tempo type run and high intensity intervals.

20 Minute Treadmill Workout
I hate running on the treadmill. I can’t do steady state runs, so I try to create interval workouts in order to pass the time faster. If you want to make this workout longer, you can do a longer warm up run or cool down run (I usually do a cool down jog of about a 1/2 mile), or you can add to the intervals. For example, instead of stopping at 7.2, you could keep going until 8.0. I repeat the yellow portion five times, but you could do more or less depending on how you feel.

If these speeds aren’t right for you, adjust them to whatever level you’re at. Each week, I’ve been adding a little speed, similar to how each week you may add more weight to your lifting routine. I started at 9.0 for the sprints and am now at 9.5!

If you have a treadmill interval workout, please share it with me! Tweet me or leave a comment. I need one that will get me to about 5-6 miles…so I’m open to ideas :)

Do you run on the treadmill in the winter? How do you not get bored??

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12-03-2014

Cardio Acceleration Workout

Yesterday I was going to run on the treadmill then do a strength workout. Well, as I’m driving to the gym I realize I forgot a sports bra. The worst! There’s no way I can run without one, so while my mom ran 2 miles as her warm-up I just foam rolled and did some stretching. I decided to add cardio into my strength workout, and came up with this workout below:

cardio-strength-workout
I wanted to mainly focus on legs, but did some upper body as well with the presses focusing on shoulders and the rows on my back. I’ve never added in cardio while lifting – I typically just like to lift and do cardio separately…boy, was this killer! I was dripping in sweat. 

Doing intervals of cardio in between lifts is called “cardio accelerations.” According to Men’s Fit Club:

A study done at UCLA (University of California) showed that cardio acceleration delivers better blood flow and gives you a much better pump and also has shown to increase the rate of recovery because of the addition nutrients and oxygen pumped into the muscles. 

Cardio acceleration intervals also create that afterburn everyone always talks about. If you’re not keen on doing treadmill intervals or hill sprints as “HIIT,” then this type of workout is perfect for you!

The step-ups were done on a bench with no added weight – just do them as fast as you can. Harder than it sounds! For the last round, where I wrote cardio of your choice, I did stair sprints. 

I think I am going to start doing this type of workout more often, since I think it will have a benefit for me as a runner as well. Not only will I be burning extra calories, I’ll be doing plyometric/explosive type movements as cardio, which will make me a stronger runner.

Have you added in cardio intervals to your strength workouts? What’s your favorite way? I hate mountain climbers!!

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