How to balance strength and cardio workouts with this weekly workout plan (2023)

To reap the benefits of regular exercise, such as B. reducing the risk of heart disease,lift your spirits, and Helping you fall asleep: You should find a balanced exercise routine that you can stick to. But how does one do it?

The key is to challenge your body and engage your mind by adding multiple forms of exercise like weightlifting, cardio, and stretching, Courtney Wyckoff, CPT, corrective exercise specialist and founder, an online fitness program aimed at momsHealth.

While workouts should be tailored to your fitness level and personal goals, theAmerican College of Sports Medicine(ACSM) recommends that people get at least 30 minutes of moderate cardio five days a weekÖat least 20 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity three days a week. Additionally, ACSM guidelines state that you must obtain two complete bodiesweight trainingtraining per week.

Don't worry if you're not sure how to break it down - we'll take care of it. This is an example of a weekly exercise program that meets all ACSM criteria, designed byjacklyn romano, CPT, personal trainer with private studio in Oceanview, NJ, andSharon Gam, Ph.D., CSCS, a fitness and health coach in Lake Mary, Florida.

Romano and Gam created this seven-day exercise program that will help you establish a regular exercise routine. Here's what each day on the show means:

  • Montag: Cardio
  • Tuesday: lower body
  • Wednesday: Upper body and core
  • Thursday: Active rest and recreation
  • Friday: Lower body focus on glutes
  • Saturday: upper body
  • Sunday: rest and relaxation

Montag: Cardio

What better way to start the week than with a heart-pounding cardio workout? Aim for 45 minutesaerobic activitylike running, biking, or hiking, says Gam. This should be done at a comfortable pace, which means you can talk during the exercise but still work up a sweat.

More specifically, your heart rate should be between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate, dependingCenters for Disease Control and Prevention(CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION). A good rule of thumb to find your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 175 beats per minute (bpm). Therefore, you should aim for a heart rate between 112 beats per minute and 133 beats per minute during this workout.

However, if you don't have a heart rate monitor, Romano recommends exercising at a pace that's challenging for you: "Use your full potential or try to be as fast as the person next to you [on the treadmill] to become better than anyone else." , so keep sweating and moving.

Steady-state cardio, also known as resistance training, improves endurance of the heart, lungs and circulatory system, says Gam. How? By training your body to transport oxygen and nutrients to make your muscles work more efficiently while transporting waste products to your likingAmerican Council on Exercise(IN). As a result, these exercises become easier over time (which is why you'll want to gradually increase the tempo) and reduce your risk of various diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetesAmerican Heart Association (AHA).

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Many people, especially women, avoid lifting weights for fear of looking bulky, Romano says. Not only is this false (it takes years of training and following a strict nutritional plan to achieve bodybuilder status), but it discredits all the vital health benefits of strength training; In accordance withAmerican Cancer SocietyBuilding muscle increases bone density and keeps joints flexible. It can even manage and treat conditions like depression, obesity, and back pain, according to the ACSM website.

Because strength training is so important to overall health, Romano recommends all of his clients complete four sessions per week, whether they are new to fitness or avid gym goers. She breaks these sessions down by muscle group: two days a week for the upper body and two days a week for the lower body. For each of these four exercises, do the same exercises week after week.

"It's called progressive overload, where you do the same exercises every week but challenge yourself with heavier weights or higher reps," says Romano. "Essentially, that's how you build muscle and shape your body."

Your first session of the week focuses on your musclesslow body- like your hamstrings, glutes and quads - with four compound lifts. Compound lifts are exercises that work multiple muscle groups. "That's why deadlifts are one of the best exercises for the body because it works your lower body, upper body and abs," explains Romano. "Offers more bang for your buck."

She suggests doing 10 reps for three sets (with a one-minute rest between each set) of the following exercises:

  • Squats:Lower yourself as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your feet flat on the floor. Push back to stand up.
  • Own weight:Place your feet shoulder-width apart, push your buttocks back, bend your knees slightly, and lean forward (keep your back straight) to grab a barbell or pair of dumbbells in your hands. Lift the weights by pushing your hips forward while keeping your back straight. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the floor.
  • hip thrusts:Sit on the floor with your shoulders on a sturdy bench or chair behind you. Keeping your feet on the floor, push your hips up and squeeze your butt until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Lower your hips to the floor.
  • lunges: Stand in a split stance with one foot a few feet in front of the other. Keeping your torso straight, bend your knees until your back knee is a few inches off the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Push through your heels to return to the starting position. Perform this movement on both sides.

Beginners should perfect their form before adding weight to avoid injury. But as long as you're comfortable with the movements, add enough weight so that your last few reps get your muscles on fire and your heart pumping.

A quick note: before you start weight training, it's important to warm up for 10-15 minutes to avoid injury. Romano suggests performing dynamic stretches (think high knees and glute kicks) to get blood flowing to your muscles and move your joints through their full range of motion.

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This no-gym HIIT workout gets the job done in 10 minutes

Wednesday: Upper body and core

The best part about breaking up training by muscle groups? Your legs, which are likely to feel it, will get a break as we focus on the arms today.

When you're done warming up, you'll work your biceps, triceps, and chest muscles with three different movements:

  • bicep thread: Hold a dumbbell in each hand (or hold a barbell with both hands), rest your elbows at your sides while your forearms are straight, parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows to bring the weight onto your shoulders, then return to the starting position.
  • Trizeps-Dip:Sit on a chair or bench and hold the edge close to your hips. Push your butt out of the chair and lower yourself so your elbows are bent at a 45 or 90 degree angle. Push yourself back to the starting position.
  • chest pressure:Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and a dumbbell in each hand (or hold a barbell with both). Keeping your arms perpendicular to your body and your palms facing forward, straighten your elbows and push the weight up. Lower the weight to return to the starting position.

Perform 10 reps of each exercise for three sets with one minute rest between each set.

Romano recommends ending this session with a quick oneBasicThe racetrack. He likes to pick a few of his favorite moves, like planks, push-ups, or Russian twists, and hold each one for 30 seconds with a 10-15 second rest. Repeat the exercises until you reach 10 or 15 minutes.

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You're likely to wake up sore, so take a rest day and give your body a chance to recover and recharge, says Gam. The reason your muscles hurt is because weight training causes tiny micro-tears in the muscle fibersACSM🇧🇷 While this may sound alarming, it's actually a good thing: it means your muscles are stronger than before.

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"Without [a rest day] you're going to damage muscle and connective tissue like tendons and ligaments."Erin Mahoney, certified personal trainer and founder of EMAC CertificationsHealth.This increases the risk of injury and also prevents the muscles from getting stronger.

Unless you're too sore or tired, Gam recommends getting some exercise on your days off, too. It could be an activity like walking or stretching that relieves muscle tension after a workout.

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Friday: Lower body focus on glutes

After your day off, get ready to tighten your leg muscles again, this time focusing on your glutes (aka your butt). To start this workout, Romano recommends warming up your butt at fiveResistance band exercises- like squats, tape bridges, and clams - for three rounds.

"When you're just starting out, you're going to be using muscles that you probably haven't activated or used in a long time," she says. "So starting with bands, walking, or dynamic stretching helps wake up these muscles and reduces injury."

Once your butt is on fire, move on to strength training. Romano recommends 10 reps for three sets of hinge movements, like deadlifts, hip thrusts, and single-leg hip thrusts that target the glutes and hamstrings.

While increasing strength is an obvious benefit of weight training, strength exercises offer many benefits beyond your back.

For example, a 2020 study published inPrevention of chronic diseasesIt followed more than 70,000 people free of major chronic diseases for 13 years and found that engaging in muscle-strengthening activity for two or more hours per week was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, independent of aerobic activity.

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Plus, building your strength makes everyday tasks like climbing stairs or opening a pickle jar easier. "When you start your fitness journey, it's great to see the results, but it's those little things that really make you feel good," says Romano. "It's not always about looks."

For the last workout of the week, Romano recommends focusing on your back and shoulders. Just like the day before, you should warm up your muscles before jumping into the weights. Romano suggests doing three sets of 10 reps each.lizardsand pull-ups (inclined push-ups and assisted pull-ups are good options until you build more strength).

You'll then complete five weighted exercises for, you guessed it, 10 reps for three sets. These exercises include:

  • hold shoulder: While seated or standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing out, and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Push the dumbbells up until your arms are straight and the dumbbells are touching above your head. Slowly lower your back to the starting position.
  • lift sideways: Standing or sitting with a dumbbell in each hand and arms at your sides, tighten your core and slowly raise the dumbbells out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the starting position.
  • fly backwards: Feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bent at the waist, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Raise both arms to the side and bring your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position
  • One-arm dumbbell row: Put one hand under your shoulder, arm outstretched, on a bench. Place the appropriate knee on the bench, keeping the other leg out to the side and foot flat on the floor. With a dumbbell in your other hand, raise your elbow to the side until it's parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat on the other side.
  • Side pull down: Using a cable machine, grasp the bar with palms facing out and shoulder-width apart. Make sure you're sitting on a bench or kneeling on the floor. Then pull the bar up toward your chest before slowly returning to the starting position.

Want to know why Romano limits himself to 10 reps on each of these exercises? In her opinion, it's the ideal width for beginners: if you go too far, you can affect your form, and if you fall, you won't be as comfortable with the movement. The key, however, is to increase your weight if an exercise feels too easy for you to keep challenging your muscles.

Sunday: Rest and relaxation day

Celebrate your hard work week by giving your body time to recover. As before, there are things you can dolight yogaor stretch to prevent your muscles from becoming too tight and sore. While flexibility is keyinjury preventionBy preventing back pain and maintaining joint mobility, many people often skimp on their stretching exercises, according to the CDC.

However, it's also okay to take a whole day off! Whether reading a book on the couch or watching Netflix, both active and very relaxed days off have their place in our weekly routine. The most important thing is that you listen to your body.

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While this sample weekly exercise plan can be a good place to start to vary your workouts, the best way to make exercise a habit is to find something you enjoy.

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"If you focus too much on the 'recipe,' you run the risk of not even liking what you're cooking, so to speak," says Mahoney. "People need to develop long-term habits that they enjoy or they develop problematic relationships with health, exercise and diet."


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