Interval Training Using Weights & Cardio Workout

Go all out. Intervals are way more effective than long, steady cardio.

Go all out. Intervals are way more effective than long, steady cardio.

That woman’s been jogging on the treadmill for almost an hour. Don’t try to compete with her. You can get the same weight loss and fitness benefits with only 15 minutes of interval training, three times each week. Add in a simple weight-training series to your cardio burst/recovery routine to gain lean muscle. The duo will incinerate fat around the clock -- even while you’re sitting on the couch. You’ll spend so little time working on your physique, you may suddenly get the reputation for having an enviable metabolism and good genes.

Perform step-ups. Step-ups provide resistance training for your legs, as well as an interval cardio burst. Stand facing a 6- to 12-inch step and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Place your entire right foot on the bench and use your right butt and thigh muscles to step up. Bend your left knee and bring it up in front of you for balance. Use those same right thigh muscles to lower your left foot back to the floor. Keep your right foot on the bench throughout the entire set. Without resting, switch and do a full set with your left leg.

Walk around for 15 seconds to catch your breath, then immediately sit at the seated row machine. This is a strength-training exercise for your back, and an interval recovery period. Set your weight, grasp the handle and put your feet up on the foot pads. Sit up tall, engage your abs and use your upper-back muscles to pull the handle toward the middle of your chest. Pause, then use your upper-back muscles to slowly move the handle forward until your elbows are straight.

Do a cardio burst for one minute. Sprint on the treadmill, up the resistance and go all out on the elliptical, do mountain climbers or high knees. Any exercise will do, as long as you’re huffing and puffing at an all-out (yet safe) pace.

Perform standing chest presses at the cable machine. This exercise works your chest muscles and gives you a cardio recovery period. Set your weight and adjust the cable arms so they’re parallel with the floor. Grab the handles and face away from the machine. With your feet hip-width apart, stand with one foot in front of the other for stability. Hold the handles at chest height, with your wrists directly in front of your elbows. Stand up tall, engage your core and use your chest muscles to straighten your elbows as you push the handles together in front of your chest. Use the same muscles to return to the start position.

Do another cardio burst for one minute.

Work your abs at the roman chair. Step up on the foot pads, support your weight with your forearms and strongly lift up out of your shoulders. Engage your core, let your legs hang below your body, and then use your abs to bring your knees up toward your chest. Attempt to curl your tailbone off the back pad without using momentum. Slowly lower your legs until your knees are straight.

Do another cardio burst for one minute.

Items you will need

  • Dumbbells
  • 6- to 12-inch step
  • Seated row machine
  • Cable machine
  • Roman chair

Tips

  • Choose a weight that allows you to do a maximum of 10 to 15 repetitions with impeccable form.
  • Complete the workout in order, with no rest between exercises.
  • Pace around for 15 seconds after each cardio burst to regain composure.

Warnings

  • Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you’ve been slacking on your gym visits for a while.
  • Intervals are a high-intensity activity. Stop immediately if you feel dizzy or ill.
 

About the Author

Suzanne Reilley is a fitness professional with a BS in exercise science and more than four years of experience as a full-time ACSM-certified personal trainer. She has been featured in DailyCandy and "The Washington Post," and has taught at Rancho La Puerta, rated Top Destination Spa by "Travel + Leisure."

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images