Often I get asked, “Is it better to do strength or cardio training? How many days of each should I do?”
But workouts aren’t necessarily only one or the other. Strength workouts can have cardio elements and cardio workouts can have strength elements.
Yes, you can focus purely on one or the other, but there is a huge gray area in the middle where your workouts can be a little of both.
Where you can build strength as you improve your conditioning!
That is why I love workouts that use weights BUT also get your blood pumping with full-body movements and very limited, if any, rest intervals.
That is why I love the 7s workout below!
The lower reps in this workout allow you to use heavier weights, which, combined with limited rest and full-body exercises, really gets you breathing hard and your blood pumping!
So if you’re ready for a workout that is both strength and cardio, try the 7s Blast below!
The 7s Strength-Cardio Blast
You will complete 7 rounds of 7 reps of each of the 7 move below. Choose weights that challenge you and barely allow you to complete the 7 reps. Better to have to rest or put down the weight briefly toward the end than to be able to easily complete the 7 reps in a row just to get done faster. Time how long the workout takes you and try to beat that time next time. It is a combination of trying to rest as little as possible while also choosing weights that really challenge you!
7 reps Goblet Squats
7 reps Pull Ups
7 reps Kettlebell Swings
7 reps Burpees (with push up)
7 reps Knees to Elbows
7 reps Wall Ball
7 reps Sit Ups
Record your weights and times to try to beat next time! It is great to include this workout in your routine for 3 weeks straight so you can see improvement before switching things up!
For more about each move and modifications, check out the exercise descriptions below!
Goblet Squats – To do the Goblet Squat with a kettlebell, take one kettlebell and turn it upside down, holding it on the bell. Set your feet between hip-width and shoulder-width apart. Keeping the kettlebell in at your chest, draw your belly button in toward your spine and sit your butt back. Squat down and keep your chest up and don’t let your back round forward. Sink your butt down as low as you can, keeping your heels on the ground. Try to touch your elbows to your knees, but not at the expense of really leaning forward or rounding over. Then, driving through your heels, come back to standing. Do not lean or rock forward as you stand up. Come all the way up and squeeze your glutes at the top then sink back down. If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can sub in a dumbbell. You can also do a Barbell Front Squat if preferred.
Pull Ups – To do a Basic Pull Up, stand with a pull up bar overhead and in front of you. Grab the bar with your palms facing away and about shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your body hanging straight down. Press your chest out and even lean back ever so slightly. Then pull your chin up above the bar, leading with your chest. Drive your elbows down as you lead with your chest. Once you get your chin above the bar, lower back down, fully extending your arms. Try not to swing a ton or kick. Repeat, pulling yourself back up to the bar, leading with your chest. Beginners can do foot-assisted pull ups, jumping pull ups or, if needed, Inverted Rows. Do not sub in lat pull down because it won’t get your core working the same as the others will.
Kettlebell Swings – To do the Kettlebell Swing, set the kettlebell (or bell) down on the ground and slightly in front of you in between your feet. Hinge over, bending your knees slightly and pushing your butt back as you lean forward. Keep your back flat and then reach your arms out and place both hands on the handle, tilting the bell back toward you. Hike the kettlebell back between your legs like you would a football. Pull it back and up between your legs toward your butt. To power the bell out, forward and up, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward as you stand up nice and tall. Pop your hips forward and propel the kettlebell up off your hips. Do not worry about how high the bell goes. Squeeze your glutes as you stand tall. Then wait to hinge back over as the bell comes back down. Your forearms need to connect with your hips before you hinge back over and bring the bell back down and through your legs. Do not lean forward and hinge over before the kettlebell comes back down. You want to hinge in response to the kettlebell not before. And you do not want to turn it into a squat. You want to hinge at the hips and push your butt back and soften your knees. Then squeeze your glutes again and thrust the kettlebell back up as you come back up to standing. You can also use a dumbbell or even sub in a band hinge instead.
Burpees – To do the Basic Burpee, start standing with your feet together. Then bend over and place your hands on the ground as you jump your feet back into a high plank or top of a push up position. From that high plank position, perform a push up, dropping your chest down to the ground. Then push back up to the plank position and jump your feet into your hands. Come back to standing and jump up off the ground before repeating the movement. If you can’t perform a full push up, you may drop to your knees for the push up or stick with the Beginner variation. If you want to get more of a cardio workout, you will want to keep the movement quick so skip the push up if you can’t do a full one. If you want more of an upper body workout while still getting your blood pumping, put in the push up even if you have to do it from your knees and it slows you down. Beginners can put their hands to a bench instead of going all the way down to the ground. They can also take out the push up or do the push up from their knees.
Knees to Elbows – To do the Hanging Knees To Elbows, hang from the bar with your palms facing away. Then pull down on the bar and draw your shoulder blades down and back as you tuck your knees up toward your elbows. You should really feel your lats engage as you bring your knees up toward your elbows. Then slowly lower your legs back down. Beginners may not be able to raise their knees all the way up to their elbows and that is ok to start. Just focus on engaging the lats!
Wall Ball – To do Wall Ball, hold a med ball in both hands at your chest and stand with your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. You can stand facing a way to throw up at or you can simply throw up toward the ceiling.
Then squat down with the ball at your chest. As you explode up out of the squat, press the ball from your chest throwing it as high up as you can. It is ok to explode out of the squat and jump as you throw the ball from your chest up as high as possible. Make sure that as you throw you extend your body and your arms up toward the ball. Then catch the ball either straight off the throw or after a bounce on the ground and sink right back into the squat and repeat. Do not round forward as you sink into the squat while holding the ball at your chest. This also doesn’t have to be a squat where you sink your butt all the way to the ground, but you do want to make sure to sit your butt back and down. Throw the ball as high as you can. Add weight if you can easily throw it super high or as high as your space allows!
Sit Ups –To do the Full Sit Up, you can do a variation where you reach up overhead as you sit up or you can reach toward your toes. Reaching toward your toes can help if you struggle to roll up and keep your abs engaged and working. To do the Full Sit Up (with a reach toward the toes), lie back on the ground with your legs out straight and your arms overhead. You can also reach your arms up toward the ceiling if you want to limit the assistance you get from “swinging” your arms. Then roll to sit up, first lifting your shoulder blades then the rest of your spine and finally your low back. As you “roll” up, reach your hands forward and toward your feet. Then lie back down, reaching your arms back overhead. Repeat, sitting back up. If you struggle to sit up, you can hold light weights in your hands. The weights actually can make it easier.