Spending hours on the treadmill every week can be a boring way to get your cardio workouts in; adding dumbbells to your cardio routine is a fun way to burn more calories, increase your metabolism and break the monotony of your old routine. You'll also get quicker body-changing results by combining your cardio workout with a strength component. Here are three highly effective cardio workouts that use dumbbells that you can incorporate in an exercise routine.
1. Dumbbell Boxing Intervals
This workout gives fast results because it pushes you to your limits. Even better, it helps you keep losing weight after you're done exercising. Your metabolism will be elevated for up to three days after you finish one of these workouts. Use a light set of dumbbells; using ones that are too heavy for you to use continuously will cut the workout short. For 30 seconds, box as intensely as you can with your dumbbells in your hands. After 30 seconds, take a one-minute break, and then do another 30 second boxing session. Follow with another one minute break. If you are able to do this workout for ten or fifteen minutes, you'll feel like your arms are going to fall off and your heart is pumping fast, but you'll also notice huge results if you keep it up regularly.
2. Peripheral Heart Action Circuit
The peripheral heart action circuit workout is a big challenge for your cardiovascular system. It involves switching between upper and lower body dumbbell exercises without long breaks in between. This forces the blood to pump from your upper body to your lower body and back to your upper body, giving your heart a workout of its own.
To do this workout, have an alternating set of four exercises. Have the first and third be upper body workouts using dumbbells and the second and fourth be lower body strength exercises. You'll want to do 12 to 15 reps of each one and then repeat. Take a short break before either repeating the circuit again or starting a new circuit of four alternating upper and lower body lifts.
3. Descending Sets Workout
Descending sets push your muscles to their limits and provide cardio exercise by making you move quickly. Because this particular workout is so physically challenging, it's not recommended for beginners. To start, use the heaviest dumbbells you can safely use to do a lift and do as many as you can until you reach the point at which you physically cannot do anymore. Quickly shift down to a lower set of dumbbells and repeat the same exercise until you reach muscle exhaustion again. Repeat if you wish and are physically able. This is best done with the supervision of a personal trainer to avoid over training your muscles. Furthermore, this should not be done for long periods of time—simply until you reach muscular failure.