Fitness Tips

Do This 3-Move Strength Series Between Cardio Intervals for a Full-Spectrum Workout

Photo: Getty Images/Nastasic
There's a reason why most gyms have TVs attached to their cardio machines: It is really, really easy to get bored when you're doing the same motion, over and over and over again, for thirty minutes straight. And while watching a rerun of a Friends Thanksgiving episode for the 200th time is certainly one way to keep yourself occupied while logging miles on the treadmill or elliptical, distracting yourself by way of strength training intervals is a great way to spice things up and get a better bang for your buck (and more importantly, for your time).

Instead of doing however-many-minutes of cardio and then heading to the floor or bench to build some muscle, you'll actually get more out of both elements of the workout if you intersperse them. This is exactly the principle behind Rumble's new studio, Rumble Training (in San Francisco and New York City), which alternates between treadmill and floor training over the course of a 45-minute class. "Strength and cardio are not enemies and actually help each other—we need both!" says Julia Stern, a coach at Rumble. "When you strength train and activate your core, you’ll actually perform better on the treadmill. When you have cardiovascular endurance, it’ll help you lift the weights. Your body needs both."

In addition to the two modalities building on each other, doing strength training between cardio intervals can help your body recover from the previous interval while prepping it for the next one. Stern is a fan of the full-body series below for checking both boxes (which, FWIW, she put me through in class this morning, and... it was tough):

Holding a dumbbell, start with two reps of each move, and add two reps every set:

  • Reverse lunges
  • Overhead tricep extension
  • Push-ups

"The slow and controlled movement of the reverse lunges gives your muscles a break from the constant drive on the treadmill," she says. And the tricep extensions and push-ups give your legs a rest while you focus on your upper body because, "you can’t run without a strong core and solid posture."  So grab some weights and a space on the floor, and give it a try for yourself. All you need is three minutes, and you'll be good to hop back on the treadmill (or elliptical, or bike, or stair climber) and resume that episode of Friends.

Oh, and here's a refresher on the proper way to do a push-up:

Not a fan of the treadmill? Try this effective full-body cardio machine instead. And if you want to amp up your strength training, give this 8-minute core workout a whirl.

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