Throw Your Hands Way, Way up for an Instant Cardio Boost While You’re Strength Training

Photo: Getty Images/Kike Arnaiz

Cardio and strength training are often placed in two separate boxes. (Even at the gym, the free weights tend to be approximately 1,000 leagues away from the treads, spin bikes, and ellipticals.) However, the two fitness modalities don't have to be two separate entities in your #sweatlife. The trainers at New York City's tough-as-nails fitness studio [solidcore] shared one small (but mighty) tweak that will give any strength training move a cardio edge. No machine required.

During a class on Friday morning, [solidcore] trainer Malia Makaila told one of Well+Good's fitness editors that simply raising your hands over your head is a near instant way to send your heart racing in the best way. And um, wow—what a game-changer.

"Raising your hands above your head causes your heart to work harder to move blood up," explains Jo Gomez, ACSM, [solidcore]'s director of training. "This will cause a slight increase in your heart rate." At the same time, she explains that elevating your hands challenges your balance and forces you to engage your core to stay stable. So really, it's a win, win, win.

Obviously, this hack won't work when you're performing something like a plank or a pull-up. (Although, if you can perform these moves without your hands...please share your secrets.) Instead, try raising both your hands for moves like lunges. Gomez tells me that her personal favorite time to use the simple technique is during squats. Because your hands aren't resting at your chest, you're fighting gravity (and, um, winning). Adding a jump as your legs straighten will demand even more from your heart.

In short, whoever mandated that strength training and cardio needed to be star-crossed lovers just didn't understand that they can totally work in tandem.

Before you start squatting (with your arms in the air!), learn how to do it right with obé trainer Megan Roup.

Not sure if you should do strength training or cardio first? Here's the deal. Plus, five free videos that will teach you how to use the machines at the gym

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