One of the best ways to get in shape involves cardio machines like treadmills, elliptical trainers, and rowers that get your heart rate up and then keep it there. Not only do these machines provide an excellent cardio workout, but they also work the muscles in your upper and lower body at the same time.
In this post, I'm going to show you how to show you four cardio machines that (with slight adjustments) can exercise both the upper and lower body muscles. However, let's first go over what upper and lower body muscles are and why they are important.
What are upper and lower body muscles
While your core muscles stabilize your body, it’s your arm, leg, back, abdominal, chest and shoulder muscles that do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to exercise. The upper body includes your shoulders, arms, chest and back while lower body muscle areas include hips, thighs and legs. Using both parts of your body at once means you can effectively burn more calories in less time; but which cardio machine burns upper and lower body muscles best? Don't worry, I'll cover that in just a moment.
What are upper muscles important for?
There are several different kinds of muscles. The ones we're concerned with here are called proximal muscles - those that move bones in our arms, legs, shoulders, etc. Some of these muscles help us run fast and walk briskly. Others help us remain upright when we're moving around quickly (the core muscles) or when we're standing still (the postural-supportive muscles).
What are lower muscles important for?
Our lower body muscles are vitally important to us. They not only help us stand up, walk around, dance, climb stairs—they also support our vital organs and protect our bones. If your lower body muscles aren't strong enough to do all that, it's just not a good day.
Which cardio machines that burn upper and lower body muscles
1. The rowing machine
What’s unique about rowing is that it works out both upper and lower body muscles simultaneously, as opposed to some cardio machines which work out only one or two muscle groups. This exercise can also be done on a rowing machine, a piece of cardio equipment that you sit in with long handles attached for each arm. By pulling down on these handles (and by leaning back at an angle), you row yourself forward much as if you were using oars to propel a boat across water. This cardiovascular workout can strengthen your upper and lower body while increasing your stamina, so you’ll be able to keep up with an intense activity like hiking or tennis without getting tired easily.
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2. The elliptical trainer
Exercising on an elliptical trainer involves moving your arms and legs while you remain in a fixed position. By doing so, you work your upper body as well as your lower body to get a full-body workout. An elliptical machine is particularly beneficial for those who can’t manage intense exercise or have joint problems that make it difficult to move their legs. However, if you plan to use one of these machines for just ten to fifteen minutes, start off with low resistance levels. As time passes, increase them progressively until you get a good rhythm going. Once you do, don’t forget to move your upper body as well when exercising on an elliptical trainer because doing so will ensure both proper posture and form.
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3. The treadmill
Whether you’re walking or running, you’ll engage your lower body, especially your thighs. The treadmill is mostly good for using your lower body but you can also engage your arms by moving the along your body. Alternatively, you can also add dumbbells into each arm and do bicep curls as you're walking. Any resistance on your arms will also exercise some parts of your upper body.
You can also increase resistance by applying incline on the treadmill. If it is high enough, you can hold onto the handlebars which can also work on your arms, shoulders and back. If you’re looking to get one for your house, check out this highly rated one with over 23,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
4. The exercise bike
The exercise bike is an ideal tool for engaging both your upper and lower body. If you’re looking to burn fat but want a total-body workout, try out a bike. When on an exercise bike, you’ll engage your quadriceps and hamstrings, glutes and calves. The upper-body muscles that come into play include triceps and deltoids (shoulders). This type of combination makes sense given how many people commute to work while riding bikes—and who also sit at their desks for hours on end during their working days.
Some stationary bikes also have rotatable handlebars which means you can exercise both upper and lower body muscles. Here’s one on Amazon that will get you started at home.
Should I add weight lifting to my routine?
Getting in shape requires not only cardio, but also strength training. Unfortunately, most people approach weightlifting with fear because they think of bulking up. However, if you learn proper form for weight lifting exercises and continue to push yourself hard during each set, you can make your body leaner without making it bulky. To lose weight quickly without adding muscle mass to your frame, try including several days of weight lifting into your routine each week. For example, try doing one day focused on upper-body exercises like bench presses or shoulder raises; then follow that up with a lower-body exercise day like squats or lunges.
Are you looking for a cardio machine that burns fat in both your upper and lower body at once? Do you want to stay within a budget of $500 or less while getting an effective, multi-muscle workout device? If so, consider investing in a cross trainer. They are often used as exercise machines in gym settings but can also be purchased individually.
Aside from this, I hope that you’ve enjoyed my article and you’re ready to start burning muscles in your upper and lower body. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.