How to Keep Your Heart Rate High When Doing Strength Exercises

Resistance Training Can Be Cardio Too!

You’re cranking on your bike in a Spin Sculpt Fusion class, your heart rate is finally into that sweet spot, and the trainer says “Hop off. We’re hitting the floor.” And boom, your heart rate drops. You know you’re still getting the benefits of strength training exercises, but your calorie burn rate goes down down down because the decreased heart rate. 

Well, if calorie burn is your goal, Cat Kom and Trainer Miriam (shall we call her the Energizer Bunny of Studio SWEAT? Maybe!) are here with some tips to keep your heart rate up WHILE you’re down… on the floor.

How to stay in the “Cardio Zone”

  1. Move Fast. You don’t have to follow the trainer’s speed. Like, if you’re doing lateral lunges or bicep curls, speed them up. BUT… don’t sacrifice quality over quantity. Go faster while maintaining proper form. If your form is breaking down, slow it down.
  2. Play with Elevation. Strange but true fact: your heart rate is often dependent on how close you are to the ground. If you’re in a supine (face up) position on the floor, your heart rate will drop fairly quickly. This even happens on the bike – when you do jumps, you’re switching elevation and your heart rate will increase. So if your goal is to keep your heart rate up and burn calories, don’t spend too much time on your back. How? It’s always ok to modify to a tougher option. If you’re doing core on the ground, switch it to a burpee.
  3. Make it a Compound Movement. Doing lunges? Add on an upper-body movement like reaching your arms up over your head with each lunge. If your workout has you doing squats, add some curls. You’re adding another muscle group and your heart starts sending blood all over the body (increasing circulation), and your heart rate climbs.
  4. Incorporate Big Body Movements. The further your arms and legs are from the center of your body, the harder you’re working. If you’re doing a bicep curl or a tricep extension, maybe take your arm all the way up, or kick all the way back. If you’re working your legs with a hamstring curl, add a full leg extension.
  5. Grab Heavier Weights. Your heart will respond to lifting heavy weights – heavy enough that you’re feeling it. So try increasing your weights. Don’t be satisfied with easy or mediocre. Of course, be sure to be safe when you do this. Again, poor quality and form will lead to injury. So push yourself up to (not beyond) your limit.

For those body-sculpting, fat-torching workouts where we burn a ton of calories, even on the floor, check out Studio SWEAT and Studio SWEAT onDemand!