It isn’t always easy to find the perfect cardio workout that targets your upper body as much as it targets your lower body. It is difficult, but not impossible. Here are a few tricks and techniques to help you develop your cardio ability and your upper arm strength at the same time.
1) Rowing – The easiest way to practice this on your own is using a rowing machine at your local gym. If you live close to a body of water you can always sign up for a rowing team or just take a kayak or canoe out for a paddle. The key though is to keep up energy and consistent movement. This is easiest with a rowing machine.
2) Arm bike – If you are sidelined due to lower body injury, you may have given the arm bike a try. This nifty little machine will have you tired out in no time, boost your heart rate and help you build up your upper body muscles. Take your time with this one, you may be tempted to start out with a quick pace, but you will tire quickly! Adjust the tension to increase the challenge.
3) Elliptical trainer – Those handles on the elliptical are not just for decoration. Increase the resistance on your elliptical trainer and really get an upper body workout as well. Keep your arms active and moving for your entire workout to get the most from your cardio building and strength building.
4) Swimming – Even if you don’t have the perfect crawl stroke, swimming is a great way to build up your upper body strength while cardio training. You are propelling your body forward using a combination of your arm and leg strength. It may take some practice before you feel comfortable swimming quickly, but this is a cardio arm workout that cannot be beat.
5) Burpees – They have a funny name, but burpees are a quick and easy exercise that will get your pulse up and your arms working. Basically you just start in a standing position, squat down, and then lower to the ground one arm at a time, but keeping your body in plank position. Then push yourself back up again. It may not sound like much, but try repeating this movement for 2 minutes straight.
6) Rock Climbing – If you have a rock wall nearby, climbing is also a great way to build upper body strength while getting a solid cardio workout. Just make sure you keep moving as fast as you can throughout the workout. You don’t even have to climb ‘up’ you can also scale rocks or a wall sideways.