It’s good to work toward a well-balanced body. It keeps you strong, fit and looking good. But sometimes it can be challenging to fit in separate exercises for each part of the body. If you work out your arms and legs at the same time, in addition to saving time, you’ll be improving your coordination, engaging more muscles, and burning calories. Here are 7 great combo exercises that you can add to your arms and legs workout.
1. Jumping Jacks with Overhead Dumbbell Press
This is a simple exercise for arms and legs that also can double as cardio.
- Get a light pair of dumbbells (between 3 and 5 pounds), and hold one in each hand.
- Move your legs as though you were doing normal jumping jacks.
- However, your arm position will be a little different.
- At the bottom, hold your hands, palms out, just slightly above your shoulders.
- As you jump your feet out to the sides, press your arms up and slightly out so that your limbs make an X-shape.
- Lower the dumbbells as you jump your feet back together.
This is one repetition. Try doing 3 sets of 15 reps. Or for an extra challenge, you can set a Tabata timer and perform this exercise for 8 sets of 20 seconds each, separated by 10 seconds of rest.
2. Squat Thrust and Press
The squat thrust and press isn’t just a great exercise for your arms and legs: it’s a pretty darn good full body exercise.
- To perform this exercise, get a pair of dumbbells (significantly heavier than you would use for the jumping jacks with overhead dumbbell press).
- Hold them in your hands and get into a high plank position, still holding the weights (for this exercise, it will be easier if your weights have edges than if they’re entirely circular).
- Jump or step your feet forward to meet your hands, assuming a deep, squatting position.
- Make sure that your knees remain behind your toes, that your core is tight, and that you keep a flat back.
- Rise to a standing position, curl the weights up to your shoulders, and press them over your head in a shoulder press.
- Return the weights to shoulder-height, then lower the weights the rest of the way by uncurling your arms.
- Squat down, replace the weights on the ground and jump your feet back into a high plank to complete one repetition.
This is a very difficult exercise and is in itself a workout for the arms and legs, to say nothing of the core. Be very careful about your technique throughout the movement.
3. Lunge and Curl
- To do this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet at about hip distance apart.
- Step one leg forward and lower into a lunge, bending your legs until your front leg is nearly level with the floor.
- As with the squat, keep your knees behind your toes and in-line with them (not allowing your knees to bow out to either the inside or outside).
- As you lower into the lunge, curl both weights upward by bending your elbows.
Next, step your other foot through and repeat on the other side. Alternately, if you’re short on space, you can step your front foot back, then step the other foot forward.
4. Exercise Machines
If you work out at a gym, there are a number of different exercise machines you can use to perform arm and leg exercises. One common one is an elliptical machine with arm poles. Simply grab on, and you’ll be moving both your arms and legs as the same time. Rowing machines can also be a good option for full body exercise, as can rope trainers.
5. Medicine Ball Throw and Catch
- Start with your feet about hip distance apart.
- Hold a medicine ball in your hands at about chest height.
- Do a deep squat, keeping proper form. As you stand up explosively, throw the ball up into the air above your head.
- When you catch the ball, squat down immediately again.
- This completes one repetition.
6. Bear Crawl
Doing animal-inspired movements like bear crawls can also be great way to get a core, arms and legs workout.
- Get into a plank-like position, with your back flat but your knees bent and nearly touching the ground.
- Walk slowly back and forth, keeping your movements controlled and your core tight.
- You’ll feel the burn everywhere soon enough.
7. Sports and Activities
There are a variety of different activities which can provide an arms and legs workout. For example, swimming is a great activity which works you all over. Similarly, martial arts and yoga will tax both the upper and lower body simultaneously.