Whether you’re getting ready for summer or you’ve just decided that now is the time to get serious about creating your ultimate physique, making the commitment to give your best is the first big step in achieving success. Next comes the serious work. The time in the gym has to be invested, the effort has to be high every time you train, and consistency is key to reaching those goals.
Part of that consistency includes eliminating excuses such as lack of time. Doing separate weight training and cardio sessions would be best, but that may not be an option for everyone reading this. Careers, family commitments, time for the community, and other factors may limit the time you have available. The best advice that could be given here is the following. Don’t focus on having the most time. Focus on making the most out of the time you have.
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Why Use Weights and Cardio at the Same Time?
If you’re someone who has to put in the work around a work schedule, then this could be the plan for you. It will not be easy, but the effort and consistency will be worth it. These workouts will incorporate multiple principles in maximizing workout intensity.
What you’ll notice right off the bat is that you’re going to be doing supersets. For the training rookies out there, supersets involve doing two exercises in a row without rest in between. You perform the first movement, then go right into the second. After you finish the second, you then get to take a brief rest.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Instead of performing two weight training exercises, you’ll do one weight training movement for a recommended rep range followed by an aerobic activity for a set amount of time.
The Objective: Fat Loss
Something should be made clear here. No, you won’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time with this workout. Strength shouldn’t be the goal either. The objective is fat loss and making the most out of the time you can spend in the gym.
This type of training incorporates one of the principles of High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts alternate brief amounts of high-intense effort with periods of rest or low activity. The result is the heart rate going up considerably. You could also notice an increase in the number of calories you burn. As long as your nutrition plan is on point, you should see noticeable fat loss with this program. Don’t be surprised if you got a good pump from these workouts as well.
6 Week Weights and Cardio Superset Workout
The workouts that are below are recommended movements. In most cases, the two exercises are paired together because they focus on similar areas. That won’t happen in all cases. If the exercises listed here aren’t available to you, feel free to call an audible and make a switch. As long as you honor the rep schemes and time limits, you’re good to go.
If you have options that you feel would be even better, then by all means include them. Some of those choices may be machines like the endless rope, Jacob’s Ladder, hand bikes, and the step mill. These would all be superior choices if you have access to them.
For those of you that are training at home, any option you have available is a good one. Jump ropes, kettlebells, running in place, step ups, or even using a handbike will work. Focus on the effort instead of the tools you’re working with.
There should be at least one day of complete rest on this program. A sample training split could look like this:
- Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Day 2 – Cardio & Abs
- Day 3 – Legs
- Day 4 – Rest or Cardio & Abs
- Day 5 – Back, Rear Delts, Biceps
- Day 6 – Cardio & Abs
- Day 7 – Rest
Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
You will notice that the majority of these exercises are free-weight movements. This is so the workouts can be done both in the gym and at home. If you don’t have access to machines, do versions with bands.
|1a. Incline Bench Press||3||10-12||–|
|1b. Burpees||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|2a. Dumbbell Fly||3||10-12||–|
|2b. Shadow Boxing Drill||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|3a. Standing Barbell Press||3||10-12||–|
|3b. Battle Rope||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|4a. Seated Lateral Raise||3||10-12||–|
|4b. Kettlebell Swings||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|5a. Tricep Rope Pushdown||3||10-12||–|
|5b. Running in Place||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
Day 3 – Legs
Keep in mind that the biggest muscles in the body are in the legs, so this is going to be the most taxing workout. You will very likely need a day off after this one. Plan accordingly. If you need to substitute movements, make sure that they are lifts that you can do safely. Barbell squats are not recommended for this program. If you can’t do a lying leg curl, standing leg curls with ankle weights or bands would be a good substitute.
|1a. Goblet Squat||3||10-12||–|
|1b. Step Ups||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|2a. Leg Press||3||10-12||–|
|2b. Jump Rope||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|3a. Stiff Leg Deadlift||3||10-12||–|
|3b. Jumping Jacks||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|4a. Lying Leg Curl||3||10-12||–|
|4b. Mountain Climbers||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|5a. Seated Calf Raise||3||10-12||–|
|5b. Stationary Bike||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
Day 5 – Back, Rear Delts, Biceps
Pull ups don’t have to be done with bodyweight. Using an assistant in the gym or bands at home certainly is acceptable. Ultimately, pulldowns on a machine or with bands are acceptable if you have no other options. If you don’t have access to a rowing machine, choose a cardio-type movement that you can do.
|1a. Pull Up||3||10-12||–|
|1b. Rowing Machine||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|2a. T-Bar Row||3||10-12||–|
|2b. Battle Rope Slams||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|3a. Face Pulls||3||10-12||–|
|3b. Battle Rope||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|4a. Hammer Curl||3||10-12||–|
|4b. Shadow Boxing||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
|5a. Two Arm Cable Curl||3||10-12||–|
|5b. Burpees||3||30-45 sec||45-60 sec|
What About Abs?
This workout plan has three scheduled days of training. In between those days, you can and should focus on doing some form of cardio and train abs afterward. Even if you can do a 20 minute run with a tri-set like the one below, it would get the job done.
How to Improve
As with any sound training program, there should be ways to achieve progress. In this program, the goals for each workout should be to add either one rep or five pounds with each weight training movement. Doing 11 reps instead of 10 is a step in the right direction. If you can do 12 reps with the weight you picked, go up five pounds next time. That is also progress.
There are ways to improve on the cardio activities too. You’ll notice that the time working and rest periods are in ranges. Let’s say you do 30 seconds of burpees with 60 seconds rest. Next time, go for 35 seconds of work with 60 seconds of rest. Once you can achieve 45 seconds of work, cut down the rest time between sets. If you get to the point that you can do 45 seconds of work with only 45 seconds of rest after, then you’ve made great endurance strides.