The more muscles we work, the more benefits we can get when we have limited time to work out. If you work multiple muscle groups and get your heart rate up at the same time, your body will feel the heat and you’ll get more results. If you’re ready to supercharge your workouts and burn more calories, try these combo exercises. Be ready to sweat!
Burpee with a Tuck Jump
This combo exercise will have you sucking air quickly and leave you with an afterburn. By itself, a burpee is already a challenging exercise, but when you add a tuck jump, it takes the exercise to a whole new level. Burpees and tuck jumps are explosive, plyometric moves that will help build lower body strength and power. Here’s how to do this powerful combo:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on the floor in front of you and kick your legs back behind you.
- Jump your feet forward and underneath your body.
- Without pausing, jump up and drive your knees toward your chest.
- Pause for a second after landing and repeat.
This combo works almost every muscle, your shoulders, arms, chest and your lower body as well as your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Plus, you’re strengthening your core each time you do a tuck jump.
- To make it harder: Add a push-up after kicking your legs behind you during the burpee.
- To make it easier: Do a jump squat instead of a tuck jump.
What happens when you combine a plank with a jumping jack? You build core strength while conditioning your heart. With this exercise, you get the core-strengthening benefits of a plank and raise your heart rate at the same time. Plus, you don’t need special equipment to do it. Here’s how to do it:
- Get into a plank position.
- Tighten your abs and jump both feet out to each side as if doing a jumping jack in a supine position.
- Jump your feet back together.
- Continue jumping your feet out and back together while holding the plank position.
- Don’t pause when kicking your feet apart and back together. Keep the movement fluid.
This combo exercise turns a plank into cardio. You can even do an exercise like this between strength-training exercises to keep your heart rate up.
- To make it harder: Do plank jacks on your forearms rather than your hands.
- To make it easier: Place your hands on a low platform while doing the exercise.
Push-ups with Side Planks
Push-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises for your upper body, but you’ll get more benefits by adding side planks. The concept is simple. After each push-up, do a side plank, changing sides after each push-up. Here’s how to do it:
- Adopt a push-up position.
- Lower your body toward the floor as if doing a push-up.
- As you come up from the push-up, shift your weight on to one side of your body as you raise the arm on that side toward the ceiling.
- With your arm pointing toward the ceiling and your body straight, hold the side plank for a few seconds.
- Slowly lower your arm toward the floor and into a push-up position.
- Repeat the push-up and side plank on the other side.
- Alternate between sides.
You get the upper body benefits of push-ups, but the side plank adds a balance challenge. As you know, it’s also a kick-butt exercise for strengthening your core. The combination of push-up and side plank is also a powerful combo for strengthening your wrists, arms, and shoulders. With the push-up, your chest also gets in on the action.
To make it harder: Add a leg lift to side planks. Raise the top leg toward the ceiling.
To make it easier. Do side planks from your knees, with your knees on the floor and legs bent behind you.
Plank Jacks with Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers alone elevate your heart rate enough to give cardiovascular benefits, but you can make this exercise even more challenging by adding plank jacks. Here’s how to do it:
- Get into a plank position.
- Raise one knee toward your chest.
- Without pausing, bring the right leg back to the starting position as you bring your left knee toward your chest to complete a mountain climber.
- Do five mountain climbers in a row.
- Then do five plank jacks.
- Keep alternating back and forth as you feel your heart rate rise and the sweat roll off!
This combination exercise will quickly elevate your heart rate. Almost every muscle will feel the challenge, especially your core and the muscles in your legs. This combo also qualifies as cardio.
- To make it harder: Pick up the speed!
- To make it easier: Place your hands on a low platform when doing the exercise.
Inch Worms with Tuck Jumps
Inch worms alone won’t raise your heart rate, but when you add tuck jumps, the combo will quickly increase your heart rate and breathing rate. Plus, it’s an exercise you can do almost anywhere. Inch worms alone aren’t challenging enough to build significant strength. That’s why people do them most often as a warm-up. However, adding a tuck jump adds to the challenge. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your feet around hip-width apart.
- Bend over and place your palms on the ground.
- Slowly walk your hands out in front of you until your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Pause for a second and walk your hands back to the starting position.
- Do a tuck jump.
- Repeat the sequence.
Inchworms alone are a good warm-up and a way to stretch the muscles in your posterior chain, including your calves, glutes, and hamstrings. Adding a tuck jump gives the exercise a cardiovascular component.
- How to make it harder: Do two tuck jumps for every inchworm
- How to make it easier: Substitute jump squats for tuck jumps
The Bottom Line
Now you have five ways to fire up your workout and get better results. These exercises work multiple muscle groups and they boost your heart rate. That’s a winning combination! Enjoy the health and fitness benefits these exercises offer but use good form! The last thing you need is an injury.
- Hopkins Medicine. “3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health”
- Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance Fifth Edition. William D. McArdle BS M.Ed PhD (Author), Frank I. Katch