Health Fitness

Use Dumbbell Cardio instead of an aerobic workout

Most athletes wouldn’t even consider using dumbbells for cardio. In fact, most athletes don’t even use weights to a fraction of their full potential. Well, that’s about to change… if you decided to take my advice.

Training programs are traditionally divided into resistance training (such as weight lifting) and cardio (such as jogging, rowing, or cycling). Or these two types of workouts are done on separate days. And without a doubt, most athletes choose aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling and rowing for the cardio part. I don’t see people lifting weights when it comes time for cardio.

Over the past year, most trainers (myself included) have moved away from aerobic exercise in favor of anaerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise is high-intensity exercise for short periods of time, repeated. Think of sprint intervals.

Evidence shows that anaerobic activity is better than aerobic activity for improving endurance, strengthening your heart and lungs, and even burning fat. Not to mention, it helps you become more athletic and preserves your hard-earned muscles. Unfortunately, not many athletes have made the switch because they’ve been programmed to do aerobic training in their “target heart rate zone.”

So it’s no surprise that the jump into dumbbell cardio hasn’t caught on. A dumbbell cardio workout is when you do a series of dumbbell exercises in a circuit with as little rest as possible between exercises. I also call them “dumbbell intervals” because you do an exercise interval, followed by a rest, and then more intervals.

Dumbbell cardio is a better choice for a great cardio (and full-body) workout for many reasons. First, and the simplest reason, is that you don’t need expensive equipment like exercise bikes, rowing machines, or treadmills. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you’re ready to go. This is also great if you’re working out in a crowded gym (yuck!), where the cardio machines are in constant use.

Second, dumbbell cardio gets your heart and breath going by using your WHOLE body, not just one body part like your legs. Your heart has to pump blood to the muscles in your legs, core, and upper body. This prepares the heart for more real-world activities than just jogging.

Third, aerobic exercise works against building your physique. Yes, it burns fat while you do it… but it also tells the body to do whatever it takes to lose weight. This means that your body also sacrifices muscle to reduce weight. On the other hand, the use of dumbbell cardio sends the signal to get rid of fat, but in a way that preserves the muscles of the entire body because they are necessary to complete the workouts.

So, the next time you’re looking for a great cardio workout that will really help you build a lean, high-performance athletic body, skip the cardio machines and grab a pair of dumbbells instead. Also, you may realize how effective dumbbells are as a complete training tool. Try dumbbell cardio instead of boring aerobic exercise.

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