Is anyone else's week flying by as fast as mine is? I can't believe it's already Wednesday. For those of you who are American and celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, happy thanksgiving! I hope you'll be spending time with family and friends. Enjoy the short work week!
For today's post I thought I'd share an upper body and cardio workout. I love to make them work double duty, so adding in a few cardio bursts throughout the strength training seemed like a great idea. Of course you'll want to start and end this workout with a warm up and cool down. For each strength exercise, perform 3 sets of 10 reps before moving onto the next one. When you come to 5 minutes of cardio, do whatever form you want to (treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc.) for all three, or do a different one for each of the 3 cardio sections.
Below I've listed descriptions of each of the strength moves just in case you're not familiar with them.
Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.
Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.
Sit at a cable row machine with your feet centered on the foot platform and sitting on the bench so that you have a slight bend in your knees. Lean forward to grasp the handles of the cable and lean back to a standard sitting position. Start with your arms extended, and slowly bring them towards your abdomen, using your back muscles. Once your elbows have reached 90 degrees, extend your arms back out.
With a dumbbell in each hand, flex at the ankles, knees, and hips so that your torso is leaning forward slightly. Bring your arms close to your body with your elbows back slightly. Start with your forearm in a 90 degree angle to your upper arm and slowly extend your forearm until your entire arm is straight and your triceps muscles are contracted. Slowly reverse the movement so that your arm is once again at a 90 degree angle.
Lateral shoulder raise
With your arms down at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand, slowly raise your hands away from your body to the side, keeping your arm straight at the elbow. Once your hands reach shoulder level, slowly lower them back down to your sides.
Lat pull down
Sitting at a lat pulldown, adjust the leg pads to make sure it's at the appropriate height. Stand up to grasp the bar with both hands and then sit back down, sliding your legs under the leg pads. Start with your arms fully extended and leaning back just slightly. Bring your hands down to your collar bone slowly and then entend them back out to the starting position.
Bent over rows
With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing each other) bend forward slightly at the hips so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, letting your arms hang straight down and keeping your back in a neutral position. Bring both dumbbells up towards your armpits while contracting your shoulder blades towards each other (kind of like pinching your shoulder blades together). Move dumbbells back towards starting position.
Dumbbell bench press
With a pair of dumbbells sit on a bench, and slowly lay down. Bring the dumbbells straight over your shoulders with your arms extended. Slowly bring them down to your torso and then up back to the starting position.
Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.
As always, check with your doctor before beginning to workout. Modify this workout as needed for your body.