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How Strength Training Compliments Your Home Cardio Workouts

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive surge in at-home workout and equipment sales. Peoples' daily gym sessions were traded in for online spin classes. While keeping up with daily cardio, especially in a pandemic, is great, your treadmill is no substitute for strength training. If your primary fitness goal is to increase overall strength, mixing strength training into your cardio routine is a must. 

Advantages of Strength Training

Strength and resistance training builds muscle. Because muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, having more muscle means you can burn calories faster and more efficiently.

Although most people want to lose fat while retaining muscle mass, this can't always be achieved. Whether you're looking to lose weight or bulk up, a consistent strength training regimen will give you a better chance of maintaining muscle while losing weight. 

Before Cardio

You can do a few cardio exercises regardless if you're aiming to build up strength or endurance.

Unweighted Good Mornings

Use your Axle Barbell as a dowel (weighted bar) to perform unweighted good mornings. This exercise provides a nice warm-up and mobility stretch in addition to a strength training component.

  1. Start by standing straight with feet hip-distance apart
  2. Hinge forward from your hips
  3. Push your hips back and keep your knees slightly bent
  4. Lower your torso down until your spine is parallel to the floor and maintain a slight arch in your lower back
  5. Keep your core engaged and finish by lifting your torso back to the starting position

Side Plank Empty Bar Dowel Raise

Use the Axle Barbell again as a dowel (weighted bar). This is an excellent stretch for strengthening the rhomboids and improving shoulder blade stability. 

  1. Start in a side plank position with your palm or elbow supporting your body
  2. Hold the Axle barbell and let it hang down the front of your body
  3. Turn your palm away from your body and keep your elbow bent
  4. Slowly curl the dowel up until it is above your shoulder
  5. Hold this position, then lower the dowel slowly back to the starting position

After Cardio

After your cardio routine, you'll want to engage in mobility training.

Overhead Squats 

Overhead squats promote mobility and opening the chest, especially if you do a lot of running or hunched over cardio exercises.

  1. Begin using your Axle Barbel as a dowel (a weighted bar)
  2. Hold the Axle barbell at shoulder width 
  3. Bring the barbel over your head
  4. Keep your core engaged and elbows extended
  5. Push your hips back, bend your knees and begin to squat slowly 
  6. Go as deep into the squat as you can while keeping your core tight and elbows locked
  7. Engage your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core as you drive through your feet and fully extend your knees and hips, returning to the starting position

Resistance Band Axle Plank Knee Tuck

Great for both core stability, stretching, and mobility.

  1. Place your resistance band on an anchor and attach it to the Axle barbell loaded with plates
  2. Begin in a full plank position with your legs on the barbel
  3. Lift your legs and pull your knees toward your shoulders by rolling the barbell
  4. Push your knees back to starting plank position

If You Like to Cycle

Although cycling is a great aerobic activity, sitting on a bike forces your body into an unnatural position. Think about it, were humans riding bikes 2000 years ago? If you're someone who loves to use a spin bike at home or even go for a bike ride, it's essential to practice strength training to avoid fatigue.

Couch Stretch

  1. Start with one foot on a chair, bench, or a stair behind you. The top of your foot should be facing down
  2. Keep the other leg in front of you in a lunge position
  3. Keeping your back straight, lean forward, and press your hip to the ground
  4. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight
  5. Keeping your torso up, maintain your hips in an open position 
  6. Hold this stretch for 45 seconds and make sure to breathe deeply

Barbell Glute Bridge

The barbell glute bridge targets the lower back, gluteals, hamstrings, and calves. This type of exercise helps to contract and elongate the muscles, combating muscle stiffness due to cycling.

  1. Lay flat on your back and place your Axle barbell where your hips bend
  2. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet flat on the floor
  3. Place your hands around the barbell and use your heels to push your hips upward while holding the barbell
  4. Your shoulders and head should remain flat on the floor, with your body forming a straight line from your shoulders to your hips
  5. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down to the floor
  6. Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of your choice of reps
  7. Rest at least 1 or 2 minutes between sets

Knee Flexion

  1. Sit upright with your thighs supported in a chair
  2. Bend your knee as far back as possible, hold for 10 seconds
  3. Then, straighten your knee and hold for 5-10 seconds
  4. Use a resistance band to create more tension and stretch
  5. Repeat for 5-8 reps on each leg

Torso Twist Using Resistance Band

  1. Anchor the resistance band at chest height
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you
  3. Bend your knees slightly and rotate your torso left
  4. Slowly return to center and rotate right to complete one rep
  5. Repeat for 10 reps

Making Time for Strength Training

It’s essential to keep your body strong and your metabolism revved up. By making time for strength training, you’ll enjoy improved performance during your cardio sessions and a more defined, toned figure.

For more strength training moves that benefit your home cardio workouts, download the Axle App for both iOS and Android.

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