7 Upper Body Cardio Workouts

In the quest to reduce hips and thighs and decrease belly fat, sometimes it’s easy to forget about working the upper body into your cardio workouts. Upper body aerobics can help increase metabolism, improve overall health, and, of course, help tone those saggy upper arms. In addition, upper body aerobics can help keep your fitness routine on track if your lower body workout is limited due to injury or other factors.

For an effective upper body cardio workout, try one of these approaches:

1. Rowing Machine

The rowing machine is a classic for a reason–it’s highly effective. When used properly and regularly, a rowing machine will develop biceps and triceps, pectorals, and the upper back. Vigorous work with a rowing machine will burn fat and produce a highly effective cardio workout for the upper body. Be sure to use proper form to prevent injury, and warm up before beginning your workout.

2. Swimming

If you have easy access to a pool or rec center, swimming is a highly effective upper body workout, exercising the arms, chest and upper back. It also has the advantage of being low impact. If you’re suffering from weak legs or a strained hamstring, for example, swimming can also help support the lower body, while enabling you to vigorously exercise the upper body.

3. Upper Body Insertions

Add upper body exercise to your existing workout. If you use a stationary bike, either use the handlebars, if your bike is equipped to add upper body exercise, or work your arms while you bike. Use jumping jack style motions, or try lifting light weights while you bike. Take a similar approach with a treadmill workout, or use power walking techniques or light weights while going on walks around the neighborhood.

4. Hand Cycle

A hand cycle works the upper body, much as a regular bike works the lower part. Small and portable, a hand cycle might be just the answer for convenient upper body aerobic workouts at home, in the office, or whenever you have a few minutes to exercise.

5. Boxing

Cardio boxing provides a great aerobic workout for the upper body. The lower body gets involved, too, but the majority of the workout energy goes to the arms, shoulders, upper back and chest.

6. Weight Lifting

Change your weightlifting routine. Use very light weights and increase repetitions for a highly effective upper body workout that will burn calories and firm those arms. To work effectively as a cardio workout, weight must be decreased dramatically, and the number of repetitions must be increased dramatically.

7. Traditional Exercises

Go traditional! Push ups and pull ups are good upper body exercises that can provide aerobic benefits. Jumping jacks also combine upper body aerobics with a lower body workout. Adding sessions of these traditional exercises can add upper body benefits to your overall workout.

For guidance or additional ideas on how to add upper body aerobics to your workout, consult with a personal trainer or check out local aerobics classes. As always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine to avoid injury or complications involving existing problems or conditions.


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