Strength training + cardio – a match made in heaven?

Strength training + cardio – a match made in heaven?

by Natalie L 26 Feb 2020

Keen to lose weight or lean up? There always seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to effective training methods for fat-loss — some people swear by cardiovascular work while others preach strength training. There is solid evidence to prove the efficacy of both of these training methods, but what happens when you put the two together? If you want to make the most out of your training sessions, you should strive to incorporate the both of them into your training regimen. Here’s how this hybrid method can help you:


Why you should try this combination

If you are currently purely focussed on cardiovascular training, adding on some strength-training exercises can have the following benefits. First, building up some of your major muscle groups can provide you with an extra boost when running, thus allowing you to run further and faster. Second, increasing your muscle mass can enhance your metabolic rate and improve insulin sensitivity, allowing you to utilise calories more efficiently. Ultimately, combining the two can help to improve your performance and enhance fat-loss.


On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who swears by strength training alone, adding some cardiovascular work to your routine may be long overdue. Better conditioning equates to improved recovery, between both sets and workouts. It is during the recovery phase that the body undergoes adaptation and change, so you can see how improved cardiovascular fitness can work in the favour of someone looking to melt fat away. On the performance side of things, being diligent with cardiovascular training also means that you won't fatigue as easily. Lastly, it simply is not wise to neglect the most important muscle in your body — the heart. Be sure to train it well, for your heart is meant to last you a lifetime!


How you can combine the two

1. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you are looking for a fast but effective method to combine both cardio and strength training into your schedule, try HIIT! HIIT programmes intense bouts of strength training interspersed with brief rest periods, which pushes your body's ability to sufficiently recover and perform. Done with either bodyweight or loaded exercise, it can give you the best of both worlds.


2. Alternate your workouts

Instead of doing the same old exercise every day or every time you hit the gym, try alternating between cardiovascular and strength training workouts. You could alternate between the two on different gym sessions (to focus on specific modalities during each session) or within the same gym session. The general guideline is to perform your strength work first before your endurance training. If you're going with a day-by-day approach, you can consider going with three days of strength training with two sessions of cardiovascular work placed in between.


Training for strength and cardiovascular fitness are popular choices individually. However, mixing the two can really give some next-level results! If you wish to progress holistically and push your limits, be sure to feature a good balance of both in your training regimen.