Mixing cardio and weights for great women’s fitness

Women who want to have toned arms and legs often don’t realize that those things are by-products of being fit. And, a great way to get extremely quick very quickly is to mix weights and cardio into the same workout. Here’s how.

How I mixed cardio and weights

As you might know by now I am a big fan of skipping. It is a great way to train your arms and legs at the same time as well as getting an amazing cardio workout.

One day I decided to make a little circuit out of the skipping session and began mixing in a set of weights every time I made a skipping mistake and stopped the motion. The weights lead to me getting sore and tired arms and thus making more skipping mistakes and thus doing more weights! It was 30 minutes of sheer pain but the results were amazing.

After only three or four of these workouts I found myself able to run further and faster and my muscles (especially my arms) began looking more and more toned.

Why is it so good?

The reason I think this particular circuit worked so well is because it was working almost all the same muscles. For example, when you skip your shoulders get a good workout and then if you head over and do a set of military presses every time you make a skipping mistake you will find that they get sore pretty quickly.

Likewise, skipping works your legs and then doing s set of squats in between will pump your legs beyond belief! It is a great weight loss workout as you are mixing a high heart rate cardio session with a muscle building session – it does wonders for your metabolism.

An example workout Sticking with the skipping rope here are two of my favorite workouts of this style:

1 – Shoulder pump

  • Start with a warm up; light stretches, running, etc.
  • Start skipping at a cracking pace, doing double jumps if you can and keep it up for as long as possible.
  • When the rope hits you or breaks your motion run over to a medium heavy bar bell and pump out as many military presses as you can.
  • Breathe deeply for 10 seconds only.
  • Run back to the skipping rope and repeat the whole thing.

2 – Leg pump

  • Light stretches and running as well as some body weight squats to warm the legs.
  • Same as before, start skipping as fast as you can this time, however, using a high jumping motion or a running motion to really pump the legs.
  • When you stop throw the rope down and do a set of jumping squats until fail.
  • Breathe for 20 seconds (you will need it!).
  • Start again.

** Need some advice? We’ll answer your question for free — check out our Women’s Fitness Forum. **

You could do this with any exercise like crunches, pushups, bench press, etc. but I have found that the legs and the shoulder work best as this is what skipping mainly targets. The leg pump is especially hard and if anyone out there can do 20 minutes of that without stopping write to me and you will forever be my hero!

Warning - Circuits like this one can be extremely hard on your lungs, heart and muscles. Always warm up really well and make sure you are in good health before trying a workout like this. Also, it is a good idea to build up to a workout this full on taking longer breaks and using lighter weights.

About Katie

Katie has transformed her body from a flabby 186lbs, to a fit & toned 124 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Katie joined the Lean Curves team in 2007 and has posted hundreds of articles on fitness, fat loss and healthy eating.


  1. Jane says:

    I tried this workout today and it rocks! My shoulder are so sore! Thanks Rt

  2. RT says:

    Did you beat the 20 minutes for the legs? I bet not! haha. Thanks for letting us know.

  3. Jane says:

    No I didn’t but I will!

  4. Allie says:

    I had to write in because I’ve been made a believer in this method of mixing cardio and weights. It helped me to tone and lose fat quickly. It worked all over, but made a huge difference in my lower body, which was my problem area.

    At first, for my workout I would just bike for 45 mins in the morning at varying intensities. Then, use weights on a different day to tone. Initially I saw a few changes, since I hadn’t been working out consistently in a while, but certainly nothing close to what I’m about to tell you about…

    I switched up my workout. I would warm up on my bike for about 5 minutes with no resistence. Then for 10 mins I would cycle using different intensities.

    For example:
    5 mins warm up (no intensity)

    2 mins on level 2 (as fast as I could)
    2 mins on level 6 (slower)
    2 mins on level 2 (as fast as I could)
    2 mins on level 10 (much slower, oh you should feel the burn)
    2 mins on level 2 (as fast as I could)
    Then I would stop cycling and do 1 superset of the following:
    jumping squats
    Then I would start the cycling again. I would repeat it until I had finished 30 mins of cardio and 3 sets of leg exercises. Then I would cool down and stretch for 5 mins. So my total workout session was about 45 mins.

    I only did it twice a week. Once for my upper body and once for my lower body. Then on the 3rd workout day, I would just do only cardio and stretching.

    You would not believe the change that I saw in my body! In a few weeks and I mean in like 3 weeks, there was an obvious change to my shape. I started to slim down and tone quicker using the same amount of workout time as before. I looked so much better in my clothes, especially the tight jeans that we ladies love to wear…

    I’m telling you ladies, it works, it works, it works!!!!

  5. psychobee says:

    Jane it is a great workout, i have been doing it for years and me too, i have discovered it by accident. Curves is based on this idea and they make a lot of money out of it. You could also use a rebounder or mini trampoline instead of skipping, flay your arms for extra benefits and alternate with weights. easier on the joints.

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