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trying to find a good cardio activity, without using legs?

Hi, I'm actually asking this for my wife,she's 41, about 160 lbs and is trying to lose about another 20 lbs. (She's already lost 80!) But she has a pes anserine bursitis in one of her knees and won't be able to do any leg activity for about a month(no running, walking, lunges, no bike, and no swimming). So we've been trying to find a good cardio workout for her using only upper body. She already lifts weight twice a week, one of our ideas was to go lighter on the weights and do it 4-5 times a week as kind of a cardio circuit. Does anyone have any other ideas for this? Our gym doesnt currently have a machine for cardio that doesn't involve legs, so any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks

7 answers

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Any activity that gets her heart rate up for an extended period of time will do, really. If she can find activites that gets her arms up above her heart/head the more challenging it will be for her, thus increasing her heart rate. She can do things at home, or the gym, such as shadow boxing (with weighted gloves for an added challenge), using a hand peddler, or a speed bag will all do the trick. If you are looking to possibly get out, enjoy this early warm weather and still get a great workout in, you could look into renting kayaks. That is a great upper body workout and you are able to get out and enjoy the outdoors! If you are interested in this option, check out Bent River Outfitter in Mankato. Here's to a speedy recovery with progress and motivation intact!

Munch7998 3.6k
5 years ago

You can get a good cardio workout by circuit training! I personally do circuit training on the weight machines a couple times a week, one minute per machine, 3 rounds. It's easy to get your heart rate up very fast if it's done correctly - light weights and fast reps. The weights shouldn't be light enough that you don't feel any resistance, though. By the last round, you should feel your muscles tiring out. Go as fast as you can when doing this; resting for a second or two is something I don't do when I circuit train.

BeachinIt 6.8k
5 years ago

Does your AF have medicine balls that bounce? If so, you can do explosive medicine ball slams to the front in a Tabata type protocol (20 sec. on 10 sec. off) repeat for as long as you can handleWink Kidding... start off with 5-8 sets. Another variation of medicine ball slams you can do is to start with the medicine ball at your left hip, explosively raise it over your left shoulder then over your head and slam on the floor over your right hip, as it rebounds up reverse the motion and go back over your right shoulder, then your head, your left shoulder, then slam down over you left hip. Do this back and forth and it is a great full body workout. You can keep your legs fairly stationary as well.


Jacqui Bliss 25k
5 years ago

I would be cautious about lifting light weights in a cardio manner more than 3x/week unless your repetitions are somewhere in the 30+ repetition range. Lifting too heavy on consecutive days on the same body parts will weaken the body because of the lack of adequate rest. Overtraining will not produce positive results.

What about swimming with no kicking? Use swim fins for the hands and for the legs a leg float. Swimming leg floats are held between the thighs and designed to help develop better upper body swimming technique by forcing the legs to stay still yet providing some needed buoyancy.

5 years ago

Thanks for the ideas, kayaking sounds cool, and thanks for the contact info. The idea of swimming with hand paddles is cool too. I think we'll probably set up an upper body circuit with light weights, not more than 3x a week then incorporate two other days with some different activity, the speed bag idea sounds good too, I've got some bare rafters in the basement that need something hung from them. Thanks for the input folks.

davidphenix 433
5 years ago

boxing on a heavy bag is a fantastic way to improve upper body conditioning.

yours in health & strength...

5 years ago

aquatics is great for anyone with knee problems, i am surprised at the no swimming restriction. why is there no swimming, that is very low impact for the knee... 'excerboxing' with a bag is great upper body cardio (no kicks). rowing machine, good cardio very little knee work needed.

5 years ago

add your answer!

davidphenix member since Mar '11


MemberSt. Peter, MN
4/27/2012 at 7:44 AM
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