The classic cardio versus weightlifting debate seems never ending. Which is better for fat loss? Which is best for overall health? Which should I use if I want to get a great looking body on the beach this summer? These are some of the constant questions we’ve asked in the past, and that we get from our friends and family very often. The quick answer is a combination of both, but we know not everyone has access to strength equipment or cardio machines. The good news is you don’t need either! In this post we’ll cover a few options you have for getting strength and cardio workouts at home – no gym membership required.
One of the best side effects of having a few workout ideas for outside of the gym is knowing what to do while traveling, as well. No one wants to spend their vacation inside of a local LA Fitness. When you’re in a beautiful location, bring your workouts outdoors. These strength and cardio workouts at home can also work for “at hotel,” or “at beach house” – anywhere you want, you can get a great workout in. You just need a few pieces of portable equipment and some imagination!
Strength and Cardio Workouts at Home | Equipment
To really develop strength, you’re going to need to have a little bit of equipment. Not a full on at-home gym with a squat rack, barbells, bumper plates, and kettlebells, but more than just your body. It can be as simple as a pull up bar, or as complex as a home gym package from Rogue Fitness. Below are our three favorite pieces of equipment for developing strength at home or on the road.
Wooden olympic rings
If there is going to be just one piece of equipment you will own, make it Olympic rings. They increase the muscle building benefits of all your body weight exercises – and have you seen gymnasts? Those people are incredible athletes and they spend a lot of time on rings. Seems that we should, too.
A few great movements to do on Olympic rings include:
- Pull Ups or Ring Rows (depending on your ability level)
- Ring Push Ups (make them higher to make it easier, lower to make it harder)
- Ring Dips (use your legs to support if needed)
Basically, if the movement can be done on a TRX system, it can be done with Olympic rings.
Our Choice: Titan Olympic Rings (Amazon)
The only trick to using the kettlebell for strength workouts at home is that you have to be wise about what size you buy. If you get too heavy of a bell, you’ll have trouble maintaining good form throughout the movements. However, go too light and you’ll be bored by the kettlebell too quickly. As a general recommendation, a 53 or 35 pound kettlebell works well for most men, and a 35 or 26 pound bell works well for most women. A few great kettlebell movements include:
- Kettlebell Swing
- Goblet Squat
- Kettlebell Clean and Jerk
Our Choice: Rep Fitness 35 Pound Kettlebell
The weighted vest is a favorite of CrossFitters everywhere, especially for the Hero WOD, Murph, done every year on Memorial Day weekend. The thing which makes Murph particularly challenging? The weighted vest. While it is weighted and therefore will build muscle, the weighted vest also increases your cardio ability exponentially. Imagine getting used to running while wearing twenty pounds or more and then taking that vest off and running – you’re going to feel a lot faster and move much easier.
When using a weighted vest, start slow and build up. Stick to fairly simple movements such as:
- 400m or less runs
- Air Squats
As you get more advanced, include longer runs such as one-half or one mile runs and pull ups.
Our Choice: Condor Sentry Plate Carrier
The best way to do strength and cardio workouts at home
Trick title: there is not a single “best way” to do strength and cardio workouts – even in a gym. Let’s stop making things overly complicated. Here is how you get in better shape: move something heavy and get your heart rate elevated on a consistent basis. For more great ideas on how to take your workout from the gym to WHEREVER you are, check out this awesome guide from our friends over at Groom and Style: No-Gym Workout Methods! They have tons of great infographics that make all this information simple and easy to remember!