Strength & Cardio Circuit

Happy Workout Wednesday!

Now that my goal race has come and gone I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next. I will be running the Blue Ridge Marathon in April, but between now and when training starts, I have time for a bit of a running break. Not that I’m giving up running or anything silly like that. I plan to keep my running level where I can easily go out and run the lake {a 10 mile loop}. 

But I want to focus on getting stronger. I know my running will improve if I spend more time on strength training. I plan to bring you guys along for the ride!

Today we are trying something a bit different. We will be combining strength and cardio into one awesome, nonstop, heart pumping workout. Sound fun? Thought so!

This workout can be done in a gym where you have access to a treadmill, on the track or somewhere else that you can easily run a half mile and end up back where you started. 

You will also need some hand weights. These will be used in the upper body exercises.

This workout is structured so that you will run for 0.5 miles then complete a series of strength exercises focusing on the upper body, lower body and core. The run / strength circuit will be completed a total of four times.

Since we don’t all run the same pace, we will be using the Rate of Perceived Exertion {RPE} scale to denote how hard you should be running. In general, you want to be working hard during the run intervals, but not at an all out sprint.

Strength & Cardio Circuit, Workout Wednesday, Run, Interval Training, Strength Training, RPE Scale
RPE Scale

Strength & Cardio Circuit, Workout Wednesday, Run, Interval Training, Strength Training

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick description of each strength exercise.

Bicep Curl: Start with your feet approximately hip-width apart, arms at your sides with a hand weight in each hand. Pull the shoulder blades back and down. Slowly bend your elbow bringing the weight toward your shoulders. Straighten your elbows and lower the weights back to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.

Squats: Start with your feet approximately hip-width apart. Hinge slightly at the hips while shifting them back and down. As you lower your hips the knees will bend and start to shift forward. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knee travel past the toes. Return to the start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels.

Plank: Place your forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders and arms parallel to the body. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize the body. Hold the position.

Reverse Fly: Holding hand weights, place feet shoulder-width apart. flex knees and hinge slightly forward at the hips. Keep your back straight. Hold the weights below your chest and keeps are slightly flexed. Raise arms to your sides until the elbows are slightly higher than the shoulders. Keep upper arms perpendicular to the body and elbows pointing up. Lower to original position.

Lunges: Start with your feet together, shoulders back, and core engaged. Step forward landing on the feel first. Shift your body weight onto the lead foot. As you step forward into the lunge, focus on a downward movement of the hips. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your thigh becomes parallel with the floor. Push off with the front leg, engaging your thighs and butt muscles as you return to the standing position. Repeat with the other leg.

Seated Twist: From a seated position, bend your knees, lean back and engage your core muscles. If using a weight, hold it close to your body as you twist to the left, back to the center, then to the right. Keep your ab engaged for the duration. 

Shoulder Press: Stand with feet hip-width apart, weights in each hand. Raise the weights to shoulder height. Rotate your wrists so that the palms are facing forward. Push the weights upward until the tough. Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position.

Boats: Sit with your knee bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold your hands out toward your legs. Lean back while engaging your core and extending your arms straight out. Raise your feet off the ground to form a 90 deg angle. Breath as you hold this position.

Tricep Kickback: Start with a weight in each hand and your palms facing your torso. Keep your back straight. With a slight bend in the knees, hinge forward at the waist. Your upper arms should be close to your torso and parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be pointed towards the floor as your hold the weights. There should be a 90 deg angle between your forearm and upper arm. While keeping your upper arms stationary, use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is full extended. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

Sit-Ups: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, heels about a foot from your butt. Place your hands behind your head. Engage your core muscles as you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the floor. Keep your neck relaxed. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the floor. Slowly lower back to the floor.

“Love the idea of breaking up a #run with strength training! @FitApproach #holidaysweat #thefitlife”

Whew! That was tough. I love the idea of breaking up a run with strength training. What a great way to work the entire body!

If you want to make this workout more challenging you can add multiple rounds of strength training between run intervals, or repeat the entire thing! Send me a quick tweet to let me know what you thought of this workout!

Your turn! Do you prefer to keep your cardio and strength workouts separate? Have you ever used the RPE scale? Which exercises would you do in between run intervals?


This post is linked up with The Fit Foodie Mama for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Jill for Fitness Friday. Make sure to stop by and check them out!

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