Cardio and strength training are imperative for anyone looking to improve their fitness and overall health. And, if you work them into your routine in the right way, they are perfect partners!
This can seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people focus solely on toning up their abs or lifting weights without including cardio in their workout routine.
Whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds or tone up, cardio and strength training can help you reach your goals. But there may be times when it’s difficult to fit both into your schedule on the same day. That’s why we’ve created five basic cardio and strength training combinations that will give you all the benefits in less time than if you were to do each separately.
What is cardio?
Cardio is a broad term that encompasses any exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for at least 10 minutes. The most common forms of cardio are walking, running, and swimming, but it can also include activities like cycling, dancing, and even house cleaning.
Cardiovascular exercise helps burn calories and lower body fat, especially belly fat, which reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Cardio also increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, linked to better heart health.
Strength training builds muscle mass and improves metabolism, which boosts calorie burn throughout the day. It also improves balance and coordination, so you don’t fall prey to the common consequences of being sedentary — like osteoporosis or arthritis — as you age.
Why do cardio?
Cardio exercises can help you lose weight, build endurance and improve your overall health.
Lose weight: Cardio helps burn fat, which means you’ll see results in the bathroom mirror. If you want to lose weight, focus on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at least three times a week. HIIT workouts are short but intense — usually 10 minutes or less — and they help boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
Build endurance: Cardio helps increase your endurance, so it will be easier for you to push yourself during other workouts. If you want to run faster or farther or play sports with less rest time between plays, doing cardio is great for building up stamina.
Improve overall health: Cardio exercises raise your heart rate, strengthening your heart muscles by increasing blood flow. You’ll also get a better lung capacity from all that breathing!
What is Strength Training?
Strength training is a type of physical exercise that uses resistance to build the strength and size of your muscles.
Strength training helps your body build muscle, which helps burn calories and fat even when you’re not exercising. It also enables you to gain more control over your body and can help slow down the effects of aging.
Strength training involves three types of movements:
Isometric contraction: you increase your muscle’s strength without changing its length. For example, holding a weight at an arm’s length while keeping it steady is an isometric movement.
Isotonic contraction: you increase or decrease the tension in a muscle without changing its length by moving through a range of motion. For example, doing biceps curls or leg extensions are isotonic movements because they use different parts of the range of motion for each repetition (or set).
Isokinetic contraction: you increase or decrease the tension in a muscle without changing its length by moving at a constant speed through a full range of motion at varying speeds. For example, doing squats at different speeds or using weights attached to an elliptical machine with a forward/reverse function would be considered isokinetic movements.
What are the benefits of strength training?
Strength training is a great way to improve your health and fitness. It helps build muscle mass, which burns more calories during the day, even when you’re not exercising.
Strength training also helps increase bone density, essential for preventing osteoporosis later in life. And it can help improve balance and coordination and reduce the risk of falls by improving strength and stability in your joints.
Strength training is also good for people with chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure because it improves muscle endurance and strength.
It can be as simple as picking up heavy objects at home or work and putting them down again — or lifting weights at the gym. It’s also possible to do strength training exercises without equipment!
How can you combine cardio and strength training into your workout routine?
If you’re trying to lose weight or get fit overall, adding cardio and strength training into your routine is one of the best ways to get there.
Cardiovascular exercise burns fat while increasing muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass helps you burn calories at rest. Strength training builds muscle mass while increasing endurance improves cardiovascular health by getting more oxygen to your muscles during exercise.
By doing cardio and strength training simultaneously, you will burn more calories than if you were to do only one type of workout. This means that you’ll lose more weight faster and see better results from your efforts in less time than if you just did one type of exercise.
There are many ways to combine cardio and strength training into your workout routine.
The following are some examples of how you can combine cardio and strength training exercises:
1. You can use the same muscle groups for cardio and strength training, such as the upper body for cardio and strength training.
2. You can do different exercises for each activity, such as running for cardio and weight lifting for strength training.
3. You can do different activities for each, such as jogging for cardio and lifting weights for strength training.
4. You could even combine all three options above (e.g., jogging on the treadmill while lifting weights).
The benefits of combining cardio and strength training include:
-More calories burned
-More time spent exercising in a shorter period
-Increased fat loss and muscle gain
-Better heart health
Cardio and Strength Training: The Perfect Pair for a Healthier You?
Regarding fitness, there are two schools of thought on how to get in shape. Either you focus on cardio, or you focus on strength training. But what if we told you that these two types of exercise could complement each other? It’s true! A recent study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that when combined, these two activities have an even greater effect on improving metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories).
Cardio is any activity that elevates your heart rate for an extended period—think running, jogging, or cycling. Strength training refers to weightlifting (using dumbbells or kettlebells) or resistance bands that help build muscle mass and give your body more definition by increasing lean muscle tissue while reducing fat mass over time.
Why Do Cardio and Strength in the Same Workout?
- Cardio training increases your heart rate, while strength training increases the size and quality of your muscles.
- Doing both together is more effective than doing either alone because they complement each other. For example, lifting weights helps build muscle mass—a key component of staying fit—but it doesn’t increase metabolism like cardio does; meanwhile, running or cycling for an hour burns calories and keeps metabolism elevated for hours afterward. And since cardio helps burn fat in conjunction with strength training (which builds muscle), you’re burning fat faster than ever before!
Cardio Before or After Strength Training?
In general, there are a few different approaches that you can take when it comes to including cardio and strength training in your routine. Cardio and strength training affect other muscle fibers, so you can’t do them at the same time.
Cardio can be done before or after strength training, on the same day as strength training, on a separate day from strength training, or even at different times during the day.
It is a form of aerobic exercise that uses large muscle groups for extended periods. It’s most effective when done at lower intensities for longer periods.
Strength training is an anaerobic exercise that involves lifting heavy weights (usually in the 1–5 repetition range) with low rest periods.
The type of fuel your body uses during these activities is different. Cardiovascular training relies primarily on stored carbohydrates as its primary energy source. Strength training relies on stored glycogen and fat as its primary fuels.
You should perform cardio before strength training because it requires more energy than strength training, which means your body will have less energy to complete your workout if you do them in the opposite order.
In addition to providing a greater workload, performing cardio before strength training allows you to utilize more oxygen while exercising and recover faster between sets (if you’re doing supersets).
Tips on How to Combine Cardio and Strength
- Cardio should be done first to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the workout.
- Don’t do strength training before you’ve warmed up—it can cause injury.
- You can do cardio and strength training at different times of the day, but if you only have an hour or so a day to work out, it’s best to focus on one or the other during that period.
- Strength training should be done second because it will help cool down your body afterward. If you do cardio first, then strength train right after, it will leave you tired and sweaty—and not in a good way!
Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Strength into One Workout
- Cardio and strength exercises can be combined in a variety of ways.
- You can do cardio and strength exercises back to back with no rest in between. This will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to burning calories quickly and building muscle, but keep in mind that your heart rate will be elevated throughout the entire workout session—so don’t overdo it!
- Strength exercises should always come first because they’re more intense, so you’ll need all your energy before moving on to any cardio activities.
- On separate days is another option: exercising on Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday through Friday, focus on mixing up static movements such as planks with dynamic moves like burpees or jumping jacks. The combination will help balance each muscle group while also encouraging rapid weight loss due mainly to increased metabolism from training every day rather than just three times per week (though some experts disagree).
Cardio and strength training are the perfect match.
Cardio increases your heart rate, improves your endurance, and boosts your metabolism. Strength training builds muscles, which helps you burn more calories—even at rest. Together, they are the perfect match.
Cardio and strength training go hand in hand. When working out, you want to get your heart rate up and break a sweat, which is where cardio comes in. It also helps build endurance, improves your metabolism, and burns calories. Strength training builds muscles, which burns even more calories at rest—meaning you can eat more without gaining weight. Together, these two types of exercise are the perfect match for keeping fit.
When creating an effective workout plan, keeping your body guessing and mind engaged is key. Many people find both cardio and strength training necessary for achieving their goals. However, you don’t have to choose one or the other—you can do both in one convenient workout. Learn why cardio and strength training are so great when to do each activity, tips on combining them into a single workout, and five ways you can combine cardio with strength training today!
FAQ about cardio and strength training
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.