Most fitness experts will tell you that strength training is one of the most effective ways to shed pounds and develop a toned body. As you work those muscles during your strength training routine, your body naturally elevates your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories even when you're at rest. Even still, some people still find themselves stuck at a certain level when it comes to weight loss.
The good news is that incorporating some quick cardio exercises into your strength training workouts can add that extra boost you need to accelerate your metabolism even more and help you break through a weight loss plateau. So if you're looking for a way to move that stubborn scale and see greater results, try adding these cardio moves into your strength training routine to take your weight loss to the next level.
Love 'em or hate 'em, burpees are one heck of an effective cardio exercise to add to any strength training routine. You can perform them either at the beginning or the end of your workout, or as an active rest between sets.
With feet shoulder-width apart, drop to the floor, extending your feet behind you until you're basically in a push-up position. Now perform said push-up, and as you're lifting your body back up, plant your feet back under you almost in a squatting position. Now jump straight up, reaching your arms to the sky, and then land in the same shoulder-width stance you started with. Perform between 8 to 15 reps between your weight training reps.
2. Mountain Climbers
Starting in a push-up position, keep your hands directly under your chest, placing them about shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be straight, but don't lock your elbows. Lifting your right foot off the floor, pull your knee into your chest as close as you can get it, then return to the starting position and do the same thing with your left leg. Continue alternating your legs, performing as many reps as quickly as you can in a 30- or 60-second time limit. This is another excellent move to perform during active rest periods between sets.
3. High Knees
The movements for this exercise are basically like performing a mountain climber standing up. Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your side. Act like you're running in place, pulling your right knee up to your chest as far as you can, and then alternating and doing the same thing with your left knee. If performing the actual running motion is a little too difficult, try making it more of a march instead. Perform 60-second intervals as an active rest between strength training sets.
4. Long Jump/Jog Back
Standing with your feet about hip-width apart, swing your arms back and bend your knees in order to "load the spring" to make a decent leap forward. Now jump forward a good distance, focusing more on length than height. Try to land as lightly as possible on the balls of your feet to minimize impact. Now jog backwards at a brisk pace until you have returned to your starting position.
When jumping, try to advance as far forward as possible, but don't overdo it to the point of risking injury. Try 30- to 60-second intervals of this exercise as an active rest between your strength training sets, or do 3 or 4 intervals before or after your workout.
If you're tired of seeing the same number when you step on the scale, try adding the above cardio exercises into your strength training workouts. These moves will give your metabolism that extra boost it needs to turn your body into a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine!