Health & Fitness

Cross-body punches bring on the cardio without the noise

Try cross-body punches for a cardio workout that can be done anywhere

Every workout arsenal needs a fast-and-easy low-impact cardio movement, perfect for those days when time is short but you still want to work up a sweat. This is also a move you can take on the road. Because there's no noisy jumping around, it's great to do in a hotel room or in a second-floor bedroom. And you don't need special equipment — or any equipment, for that matter, says fitness expert Tosca Reno, author of the book "The Start Here Diet."

Beginners can skip the weights and just go with fists or use a can of soup in each hand. Everyone else should aim for no more than 5-pound weights. (Remember, this is a cardio and toning workout, not a strength workout.)

What it does

This movement kicks up your heart rate as it tones the entire upper body, especially the shoulders, biceps and triceps. It also works out the core and helps cinch in the waist — and everyone wants that.

What to do

Grab some light hand weights, if using. Position yourself with feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent for fluidity. Punch across the body so that your arm extends straight out from the shoulders. Don't overextend. This movement is controlled.

How much

Try these three to four times a week. In the beginning, aim for one set of 10 punches on each side. Work your way up to two to three sets. And then, when you're ready, Reno suggests making your own cardio-and-strength circuits. Example: A set of punches followed by a set of biceps curls and a set of triceps kickbacks. Repeat the circuit three times.

rene.lynch@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter @renelynch

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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