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Cardio Strength Training. Quickly Build Lean Muscle, Burn Calories & Lose Fat.

Updated on June 10, 2014
Doing step-ups with a medicine ball.
Doing step-ups with a medicine ball. | Source

Cardio & Strength Training.

Cardio or cardiovascular exercises are exercises that increase your heart rate and breathing. Your heart pumps faster and you breath harder because your body requires more oxygen. If the exercise provides your heart and respiratory system with a good workout then it is a cardio exercise. Running and jumping rope are two of the more popular cardio exercises for weight loss.

When people do strenuous cardio on a regular basis their heart rate and respiratory rate return to normal faster after exercising and the resting rate may decrease. My heart rate is slow because my heart is strong from doing cardio and after doing cardio my heart rate and breathing quickly return to normal.

Strength exercises are exercises that can increase the strength of the muscles that you use to move your body and maintain good posture. Strength training uses increasing amounts of resistance. The exercise should provide enough resistance to strain the muscles. After the muscles are damaged by the exercise they heal and become stronger. When the resistance is no longer enough it should be increased. Bench presses and dumbbell curls are strength exercises.

Burning Calories & Building Muscle

Cardio exercises are good for slimming down and losing weight. Strength exercises are good for bulking up and gaining weight. If you do cardio and strength training then you can lose fat faster and get better results. Lifting weights and building up my upper body means I burn more calories when I do cardio. Muscle helps me get rid of fat.

People that focus on cardio tend to lose muscle. People that focus on strength training often become fat. If you want to quickly lose fat or if you want to be lean and muscular than you should be doing both. Build muscle so you burn more calories throughout the day. When I started biking long distances I lost fat and gained muscle because it required strength and endurance. I was wearing a fairly heavy backpack, biking up hills and sprinting some of the time. It made me leaner and more muscular.

Eating More

Combine cardio exercises with strength training and you may end up burning too many calories for your diet. Burning too many calories can cause you to lose muscle or prevent you from building more muscle. It can also leave you feeling tired and hungry. Think of food as energy. If your appetite increases then eat more food. Just don't overeat and make sure most of the food you eat is healthy. Avoid consuming a lot of empty calories.

Eating more food helps me keep the fat off and the muscle on because it allows me to exercise more. At 135 pounds I burn more calories than people that weigh over 180 pounds. Lean athletic people need more food than people that are not very active. A person that does not eat very much can be 100 pounds overweight. If you are overweight then you may need to eat more food to slim down. If you are underweight you will probably need to eat more to bulk up a little.

People often combine burning more calories with consuming fewer calories. Instead of consuming fewer calories I recommend consuming fewer empty calories. Drink water instead of high calorie drinks and reduce the amount of junk food you eat. Eating less healthy food while exercising more does not usually work. Consuming fewer empty calories and eating more healthy food while being more active does work. It worked for me.

Now that I am leaner, more muscular and more active people keep telling me I eat too much. Don't let other people make you feel guilty for eating a lot because you burn a lot of calories. If I ate less to fit in I would need to exercise less. I would not be able to do things like bike to beaches. Biking to beaches is the reason I started eating more food in the first place.

Adding Resistance to Cardio

They key to strength exercises is resistance and short powerful bursts. Resistance can come from weights, resistance bands, your body weight, wind, water or inclines. Strength workouts should be challenging and short. You should not be able to last very long. Jogging is an endurance exercise. Sprinting is a strength exercise.

Add resistance or explosive power to cardio exercises to make them cardio strength exercises.

Doing exploding push ups with a heavy backpack.
Doing exploding push ups with a heavy backpack. | Source

Adding Speed to Strength Exercises

You can turn strength exercises into cardio strength exercises by doing them faster. Speed up the pace and increase the number of repetitions. You may need to reduce the resistance. The exercise should strain your muscles, speed up your heart rate a lot and causes you to breath heavier. Adding explosive power can add cardio to a lot of strength exercises.

Cardio strength workouts should last at least 10 minutes. Alternating between two or more exercises without taking a break can help you last longer. You can also alternate the intensity. Squats are a strength exercise. Jump squats are a cardio strength exercise because they get your heart rate up.

20 Cardio Strength Exercise Ideas

  1. Walk at a brisk pace through waist deep water.
  2. Sprint up a hill.
  3. Run up and down stairs holding a medicine ball.
  4. Get a chair and do high step-ups while holding dumbbells or a medicine ball.
  5. Do squat jumps while holding dumbbells or a medicine ball.
  6. Do jumping lungeswhile holding dumbbells or a medicine ball.
  7. Do exploding push ups while wearing a weight vest or backpack.
  8. Punch a punching bag with powerful punches.
  9. Bike at a fast pace where there are lots of hills and wear a backpack.
  10. Jump rope with a weighted jump rope or a weight vest.
  11. When using cardio exercise machines or bikes set the resistance to high.
  12. Hike up a large hill or small mountain while wearing a backpack.
  13. Canoe or kayak against the current.
  14. Rollerskate while wearing a weight vest or backpack.
  15. Do burpees with a medcine ball. A combination of jump squats and push ups.
  16. Jump on and off a box or something else that is high and sturdy.
  17. Do exploding push ups to squats. Combine exploding push ups with deep squats.
  18. Do lateral and front hops at a very fast pace. Jump using a lot of power.
  19. Do lying chest tosses at a fast pace using a moderately heavy ball.
  20. Swim as fast as you can for short distances like you are in a race.

© 2014 Michael H

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