Combine your cardio and strength training with this 2-in-1 walking workout
No time for separate cardio and strength sessions? No problem! This low-impact workout combines the calorie-burning effects of walking with the metabolism-boosting results of strength training in a 2-in-1 workout that’s both efficient and effective. Try this routine (indoors or out) up to four non-consecutive days per week for optimal results.
After completing the warm-up, perform each exercise and its walking interval pair as listed below in a circuit format, or back-to-back with little to no rest in between. Complete the circuit three times in total, finishing with the cooldown only during the final round of the circuit.
Equipment Needed: 1 set of dumbbells, 3-8 pounds, depending on your level. This workout utilizes a higher number of reps, so choose a weight that will fatigue your muscles within 20 reps.
In place (or if you have room, traveling), repeat one minute of each of the following exercises (you’ll also use these moves during the walking intervals during the circuit):
Walking: Move at a brisk pace, swing arms naturally and maintain good posture, keeping abs drawn into spine.
High-knee Marches: Alternate lifting one knee up towards the hip as both arms reach overhead, drawing abs deeper into spine as the knee lifts. Lower arms by the sides as you step your foot down; repeat on the opposite side.
Side-to-Side Step: Take a wide step to the right and bring the left foot in to meet right. Immediately repeat on the opposite side, moving at a brisk pace and letting arms move naturally.
Once the warm-up is complete, carefully grab dumbbells (bend knees and use legs and a naturally straight spine to pick them up off the ground) to begin the circuit.
Targets: Thighs, shoulders, core
Stand with feet wider than hips, toes turned slightly out, arms extended towards the floor, weights in front of thighs. Bend knees and lower into a deep plie position, keeping knees pointing over toes and shoulders stacked above hips, reaching dumbbells towards the ground, palms facing in.
Bend elbows and bring weights in towards the body, then extend arms overhead, pressing weights to ceiling. Maintain a deep plie position.
Return to start. Do 20 reps in total.
60-second Walking Interval: Walk (in place or travel) at a brisk pace with hands holding dumbbells (avoid swinging arms while holding weights, as this can cause joint strain) stationary at your hips.
Reps: 20 alternating
Targets: Chest, shoulders, inner thighs
Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent at 90 degrees with arms open to sides of shoulders (upper body should resemble a goal post), holding weights with palms facing forward.
Draw abs in tighter to spine and step right foot into left as elbows come together in front of shoulders, maintaining a 90-degree angle.
That’s one rep. Repeat on opposite side. Do 20 alternating reps.
60-second Walking Interval: High Knee March (in place or travel) at a quick tempo with hands on hips and holding dumbbells.
Rear Row Raise
Reps: 10 on each side
Targets: Back, thighs, glutes
Begin in a split stance with right foot forward and left leg back, left heel lifted; bend knees and sit back into hips, hinging torso forward from hips about 45 degrees. Reach weights towards the floor on either side of the front foot, palms facing in.
Keeping spine naturally straight and abs drawn in tight, bend elbows and pull weights in to body on either side of rib cage, squeezing shoulder blades back and together. As the left knee bends, draw the left foot towards the inside of the right knee, balancing on the right leg.
Return to the start. Do 10 reps on the first side; repeat for 10 more reps on opposite side.
60-second Walking Interval: Perform the Side-to-Side Step quickly with hands on hips holding dumbbells.
Marching Biceps Curl Complex
Targets: Biceps, core muscles
Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, abs tight, with arms extended by sides. Begin marching in place, and, as right knee bends, lift the right foot. Perform a hammer biceps curl by bending the arms and bringing weights in toward the body with palms facing in (elbows remain by sides).
Step the right foot back to the floor as the arms extend back down by your sides.
Lift the left knee up and perform a traditional biceps curl by bending arms and opening forearms out to sides of body, raising weights with palms facing up (elbows remain by sides).
Step the left foot back to the floor as arms extend back down by sides. That’s one rep. Repeat full complex a total of 10 times.
60-second Walking Interval: Walk (in place or travel) at a brisk pace with hands on hips holding dumbbells.
Hamstring Curl And Row
Reps: 20 alternating
Targets: Hamstrings, shoulders, upper back
Stand tall with abs drawn in to spine and feet slightly wider than hips, arms extended in front of legs with palms facing in towards thighs.
Perform a hamstring curl by bending the right knee, bringing the right heel in towards the body. Bend your elbows, pulling the weights up in front of your shoulders as you squeeze the shoulder blades back and together, and the arms move slightly behind body.
Return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat on opposite side. Perform a total of 20 reps, changing legs each time.
60-second Walking Interval: High Knee March (in place or travel) at a quick tempo with hands on hips holding dumbbells.
Targets: Back, thighs, core
Begin with feet wide (about 3 feet apart), toes facing forward and arms by your sides. Shift weight into your left leg as the left knee bends over the toes and hips push back, hinging forward from hips and keeping the spine naturally straight. Bend the left elbow and pulls the weights to the side of your torso as the right arm reaches across the body towards the left foot.
Repeat on opposite side.
That’s one rep. Do 10 reps in total.
60-second Walking Interval: Side-to-Side Step quickly with hands on hips holding dumbbells.
Reps: 10 on each side
Targets: Core muscles in back and abdominals
Note: This exercise set is bodyweight only, so carefully set the dumbbells down on the floor before you begin this last exercise in the circuit.
Begin in a split stance with your left foot forward and right leg back, right heel lifted, with knees slightly bent and arms crossed over chest. Draw abs in tight toward your back, press shoulders down away from ears, and, keeping spine naturally straight, hinge forward from the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor.
Keeping your spine naturally straight, return to the start position.
Balancing on your left leg, slowly lift the right knee up in front of your hip as you twist your torso to the right. Draw your abs in tighter toward the spine during the twist.
Return to the start. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps in total; repeat for 10 more reps on the opposite side. Focus on exhaling during the twist and keeping your abs tight to help with balance. Too tough to balance? Try tapping the right toes to the floor near the left foot during the twist to master the movement first.
60-Second Walking Interval: High Knee March (in place or travel) at a quick tempo, extending arms overhead as the knees lift.
Simply walk in place (or travel) at an easy pace for 2-3 minutes to help lower the heart rate. Wind down the session with some gentle, total body stretches—our 6 Seated Yoga Stretches for Walkers and Runners feels great after this routine!
Like this workout? Want a video version of it? Be sure to check out our “30-Minute Tred and Shed” walk included in our “Walk On: 21 Day Weight Loss Plan!” In addition to this cardio strength walk, this DVD set includes a 30-minute low impact HIIT walk, a 30-minute cardio core (standing abs) session plus a 30-minute, recovery day Stride, Stretch and Relax walk for a complete and balanced walking-based weight loss workout program.
Photos by: Vanessa Rogers Photography