This Full-Body Low-Impact Strength Routine Can Be a Cardio Workout in Disguise

So you want to get your heart pumping, but avoid any high-impact jumping or jolting? Don’t worry, you can still get a powerful heartbeat-raising workout with moves that won’t stress your joints.

Your not-so-secret weapons are two moderate-weight dumbbells. In this new workout from trainer Kat Atienza of Session in Brooklyn, the weights will help you work your lower body, mid section, and upper body without having to worry about high-impact moves like jump squats.

Experts In This Article
  • Kat Atienza, trainer and co-owner of Session in Brooklyn

The weights could give you a cardiovascular workout, too. That’s because lighter weights when done for a higher number of reps can raise your heart rate in a similar way to cardio, as opposed to the type of weight lifting where you’re doing fewer reps of higher weights. Of course, how fast or slow you do your reps is up to you, and depends on how heavy a pair of weights you go for—always remember to go as slow as you need to maintain good form.

The handheld dumbbells have another benefit: As you rack your weights in the front for squats, hold one out for single leg deadlift rows, or hang it by your side in a suitcase grip, you also have to engage your core, arm, and back muscles. So while a move might appear to be working your lower body, your upper body and mid section are at the party, too.

In this 19-minute workout that includes a warmup and a cool down, you’ll do two sets containing three moves each with two rounds of both sets. The warmup will help you rehearse the moves you’ll later do with weights, like hinges and squats, so that your muscles are nice and activated once you start adding the lbs to the moves.

Atienza will guide you throughout it all with cues to ensure good form, such as where your gaze should be or what muscles you should squeeze to help you stabilize. A cool-down stretch will help you feel nice and loose in addition to strong and powerful. That’s less than 20 minutes of time well spent.

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