Best Leg Exercises Infographic

Dumbbell routines are a great way to build muscle and lose weight, but did you know that you can increase the effectiveness of your workout by pairing your dumbbell workout with a piece of cardio fitness equipment?

It’s true!  Depending on your fitness goals, there are several ways to use cardio equipment to help you achieve a better, more well-rounded routine and give your heart and lungs a much-needed workout.

Using Dumbbells to Gain Muscle

If the reason you bought your dumbbell set was to gain muscle, you’ll want to make sure to balance muscle exercises with cardio.  Even though cardio isn’t as useful for building muscles, it’s great for your cardiovascular system, which ultimately means you’ll have more endurance for your favorite sport.

When trying to gain muscle, limit your cardio workouts to about three times a week.  For the rest of the week, rotate muscle groups so you don’t exhaust any single group.  Your cardio days can be a great way to rest your upper body after strenuous dumbbell workouts.

Using Dumbbells to Lose Fat

Persistent fat often responds well to weight-training alone, but you can do even better at shedding those pounds if you’re doing intervals or rotating with cardio.  Some exercisers have been experimenting with carrying dumbbells as they walk hoping to kill two birds with one stone, but this practice is an invitation for disaster.

When you carry extra weight in your hands during cardio exercise, you increase your risk of tearing a muscle in your shoulder or injuring the joints.  Besides, the gain is minimal — you only burn an extra five to eight calories per mile for every 10 pounds you’re carrying.  So, instead of risking your body like that, you should simply incorporate time on a treadmill, elliptical or treadclimber into your regular weight training routine.

If a typical cardio-weight rotation isn’t working for you, interval training may help.  During interval training, you push your body as hard as you can for very short time periods, then rest and repeat.  Cardio equipment is great for interval training, since most units have built-in heart rate sensors that can tell you exactly when you’re in the red zone (85 percent or more of your heart’s maximum rate).

When interval training, the goal is to just hit that red zone repeatedly, with a rest until you’re back in the green zone (65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate).  As counterintuitive as it sounds, interval training is the fastest way to shred fat — and a cardio machine can help by providing you with a consistent surface and constant feedback to prevent injuries common on pavement or gym floors caused by trips and falls.

Before you add a cardio machine to your exercise routine, though, make sure you check out online reviews for the best match.  If you want more information on Bowflex Treadclimbers, click here, or take a look at Bowflex Max Trainer reviews.

Best Leg Exercises Infographic

Best Leg Exercises Infographic

Image Source: Decibel Nutrition