Cardio + upper body workouts are an excellent combo!
I love lifting weights, but I often find that upper body workouts don't elevate my heart rate enough to get a really good burn. Pairing traditional cardio moves with each strength exercise is a great way to work the upper body and break a sweat. This low impact cardio upper body workout is a great way for both beginners and workout veterans to strength train!
I wanted to keep this workout low impact because frankly, high impact is not in the cards for me right now at 7 months pregnant! To those who run and continue their high impact workouts at this point in pregnancy - I salute you! But it ain't me.
Whether you're looking for a good prenatal workout or you're just beginning to dip your toes into an exercise routine, this cardio upper body workout is a great place to start. Plus, this workout requires very little equipment aside from a set of dumbbells. I use adjustable weights (which I'll link below), but even if all you have is a set of 5-lb dumbbells in your basement, you can still get a great workout in!
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Equipment for This Workout
For all of my weightlifting workouts, I use Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells. I'll be honest - these are on the spendy side as far as workout equipment goes. But if you're ready to invest, I couldn't recommend these more! It's nice to be able to adjust to the weight that suits your strength level without having to own a collection of dumbbells. Plus, they're still so much cheaper than a yearly gym membership - and you'll never have to share them with a random stranger!
Additionally, I used a yoga mat for this workout - the one I've linked has great reviews on Amazon! You can choose from a variety of colors, and it's slip-resistant. If you don't already have a yoga mat, this would be another (much cheaper!) investment for your home gym.
This cardio upper body workout is performed in an AB/AB format. That means you'll complete round one of the cardio exercise, then a round of the upper body exercise, and then repeat the entire group before moving on.
Complete 60 seconds of each cardio exercise, followed by ten reps of each strength exercise, and then repeat each group. Take breaks between each set as needed to catch your breath, but try not to wait so long that your heart rate drops significantly between sets. In all, this workout should only take you about 25 minutes to complete.
As always, make sure you get a good warmup and cooldown in. For this particular workout, I'd suggest a warmup of arm swings, side steps, and low-impact versions of traditional cardio moves such as jumping jacks or high knees. As for a cooldown, focus on stretching out the upper body muscles with overhead tricep stretches, arm cross stretches, and wall chest stretches.
For a quick demonstration of how to complete each exercise, watch the video below. Otherwise, feel free to print out this workout for your use at home or at the gym!
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