We have been hammering home this idea of pumping up your heart with cardio this past week. I’m sure it’s been all over your fitness feed through the media due to the heart healthy month.

However, weight training or forms of strength training also provide benefits for the heart. First of all, strength training increases your muscle which burns fat more efficiently. This also increases how many calories you are burning even when you are not working out—your metabolism. However, increasing the metabolic rate helps the heart in other ways as well. According to Discovery Fit & Health, “Metabolic byproducts from muscles (lactic acid, hydrogen ions, carbon dioxide) in the blood stimulate the respiratory centers in the brainstem, which, in turn, further stimulates the respiratory muscles.” (Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D., “How Exercise Works”)

So, a great form of exercise to work both your muscles AND your heart is Plyometrics. This literally means jump training. It explosively stretches and contracts your muscles to create a dynamic workout mainly based on your own body’s resistance. They also mimic motions found in common sports…so they are great for the inner athlete!

Mountain climbers, high knees, squat jumps and even jumping jacks are forms of plyo. These will keep your heart rate up, but will also build muscle. They tend to work larger muscle groups as well, which means more calories burned.

Try this Skinny Mom Workout: