I am definitely a fan of cardio compared to strength training. I feel like people always usually have a preference. Some people would much rather get in the gym and pump some iron, while I would hands down choose a long run every time.
Of course, I know that when I do actually make a concerted effort to regularly strength train, it helps me in my athletic goals. When I was consistently doing 5×5 strong lifts training with my hubby two winters ago, I coincidentally had my best 5K and triathlon season that following spring/summer. One of my goals for this off season is to get back into a more consistent strength training routine.
You certainly don’t have to go to the gym to strength train, though! If you’re not a fan of it, try circuit workouts like this arms, abs & cardio circuit I’m sharing with you today. This is great for someone new or averse to strength training, since it’s an equal mixture of arms & abs along with cardio. You’ll still get your heart-pumping cardio fix, but you’ll also tone up too.
You’ll want to start with a 5 minute warm up of your choice, which can be something simple like a quick walk or a comfortable jog. Then go through each round of the circuit and complete 60 seconds of the two exercises (one strength, one cardio – 2 minutes total per round) and rest for 30-60 seconds (or more if needed) before moving to the next round. You can choose to do the circuit once for a workout of approximately 20-25 minutes, or you can choose to do it twice for a workout of approximately 35-45 minutes.
The only piece of equipment you’ll need for this is a resistance band (or a set of dumbbells). If you have a jump rope, use that for the jump roping section – otherwise just use an imaginary rope. 🙂
Here you go! (be sure to read below the image for links to “how-tos” for each exercise and modification suggestions for each).
Arms, Abs & Cardio Circuit Workout:
If you’re not sure about how to do specific exercises, here are some images or videos of each to help you out:
- Bicep Curl with resistance band
- Forearm Plank
- Tricep Extensions with resistance band
- Bicycle Crunches
- Butt Kicks
- Bent Over Row with resistance band
- Bird Dog
- High Knees – Slow or Fast
- Push-Ups – Regular or Modified
Exercise Specific Modifications:
- Bicep Curl – Use easier resistance band; do one arm at a time leaving more slack on band to make it easier
- Jumping Jacks – Step out instead of jumping
- Forearm Plank – Break 60 seconds into smaller chunks of time; Come onto knees
- Skipping – Go at a slower pace; walk instead
- Tricep Extensions – Use easier resistance band
- Side Shuffles – Go at a slower pace
- Bicycle Crunches – Don’t bring elbow and knee as close together, coming up only slightly
- Butt Kicks – Slower pace – step with each kick rather than dynamic movement
- Bent over row with band – Use easier resistance band
- Jump Rope – Don’t use the rope and just jump in place at a pace right for you; March in place instead
- Bird Dog – Only do an arm or leg at once rather than both
- High Knees – Go slow and step into movement rather than dynamic jogging in movement
- Push-Ups – Modified on knees or against a wall/tree
- Jog – Walk instead
- Can reduce each exercise time from 60 seconds to whatever is reasonable for you
- Can increase rest time between exercises