Welcome back to Game Strength Insider!
Recently, we’ve learned about pure cardio exercises, such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), and not making things more complicated than they need to be. Â You’ve probably noticed that when you’re lifting weights sometimes you get a pretty good cardio workout. That is, certain lifts get your heart pounding and get you sucking air. At some point you’ve probably wondered if this counts as a cardio workout.
Why not? Anything that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time is a cardio workout. And that means that yes… you CAN use certain weight lifting exercises as part of your cardio workout.
The thing is, regular weight lifting doesn’t usually get your heart rate up into the target range. And even if you get your heart rate up momentarily, it will go right back down in between sets. Simply put, you can’t keep your heart rate up if you’re lifting heavy.
The solution? Use light weights or do bodyweight exercises.
You see, with regular lifts you want to perform the exercises fairly slowly so that you really achieve full muscle contraction. If you’re doing lifting for cardio purposes, then you’ll want to perform the exercises more quickly. And you’ll want to use no weight or light weights so that you don’t hurt yourself (since you’re moving fast) and so that you can keep the pace up.
TOP MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES THAT CAN BE ADAPTED INTO A CARDIO WORKOUT
Walking lunges. If we train together, youâll be doing lunges at some point. This is where you take long steps, stretching out your leading leg while bringing the knee of your trailing leg almost to the ground. Do this fairly quickly and your heart will significantly increase.
Box steps/ steps ups. Simply step on and off a chair, bench or a box. Don’t use a stair, because that’s too low. Do something higher, because it will get your heart going. Usually this gets your heart rate up using your bodyweight alone.
Bleacher runs. Running up and down a set of bleachers is challenging all by itself. You can add ankle weights to make your heart rate shoot up even more (burning more calories in the process).
Sled drags. This isn’t an exercise that you typically include in a weight lifting workout, but it is one that incorporates weights. The idea here is to tie a heavy weight around your waist (an old, heavy tire will do) and then run as fast as you can. Most major sporting good retailers will sell sleds made specifically for this purpose. Consider running uphill for this one as well.
Clean and press. This is where you start with a barbell at your feet. Then in one swift movement you reach down to grab it (as if you’re doing toe touches), bring it up to your chest, and then raise it above your head. Be sure to choose the right weight for this – one that gets your heart rate up, yet one that you can complete this exercise quickly and repeatedly. The clean really helps you pack on muscle and releases a ton of growth hormone. This is a favorite among powerlifters.
That’s it for now. This was a quick examination of how to include cardio in your workout plan. Just remember to keep it fun so you stay motivated.