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Cardio workout: get your heart rate up by making your dumbbells work overtime

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Trainer Janine George demonstrates how to use dumbbells to get your heart rate up in this cardio workout. 

Newsflash: there’s more to dumbbells than just using them to build strength and muscle. When used in tandem with higher reps and sets, they also act as a form of cardio by increasing your heart rate.

“When using dumbbells for cardio, go with a lighter weight so that you can complete more reps than you would with heavier weights,” suggests fitness trainer Emma Obayuvana from our Strong Women Collective. “This allows you to move faster, thus making your strength session an aerobic workout. Your body will take in more oxygen for increased energy and lung capacity, plus improve heart health while strengthening your vascular system.”

In this AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workout demonstrated by trainer Janine George, you’ll be doing exactly that: raising your pulse and gaining muscle endurance. It looks like yesterday’s HIIT has got some fierce competition.

SINGLE ARM SNATCHES

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Cardio workout: Fitness trainer Janine George demonstrates single arm dumbbell snatches in this quick eight minute AMRAP workout
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and place it in front of your body with your palms facing in towards your body.
  3. Bend your knees slightly. 
  4. Straighten your legs and rise onto the balls of your feet as you bend the elbow to pull the dumbbell up your body, until it is all the way overhead with your arm straight up towards the sky.
  5. Make sure that your chest is open and body remains upright as you perform the move.

Do 8 reps on each arm

THRUSTERS

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Cardio workout: Fitness trainer Janine George demonstrates dumbbell thrusters in this quick eight minute AMRAP workout
  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with both weights resting at shoulder height – palms turned in to face each other.
  2. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, inhale as you bend your knees to lower into a squat.
  3. Exhale to push up out of the squat, at the same time pressing the arms up (straight above your head)
  4. Finish in a standing position with the dumbbells extended overhead. 
  5. Lower the arms back to the starting position (with weights at shoulder height) as you bend the knees again. 

Do 10 reps 

POWER CLEANS

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Cardio workout: Fitness trainer Janine George demonstrates dumbbell power cleans in this quick eight minute AMRAP workout
  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Place the dumbbells at shoulder height. 
  3. Bend your knees and extend the arms towards the ground so that the dumbbells tap the floor (or as close as you can get the weights to the floor).
  4. Press through the heels to lift your body up out of the squat, straightening the legs and bouncing onto your tip toes.
  5. At the same time, as you are lifting your body out of the squat, lift the dumbbells up the body and bend the elbows so they return to shoulder height. 

Do 10 reps. Then, do as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the entire 3 exercise set for a total of 8 minutes. 

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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