Combining Resistance Training with Cardiovascular Training

man holding kettlebells

The standard advice is to do cardio and strength workouts in separate sessions or on alternate days. A sample program would have resistance training workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and cardio training on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can also combine your cardio days with yoga or stretching.  Alternatively, you can do your cardio in the morning and strength training later in the day.

But if you have trouble making time for exercise each day, combining cardio and strength workouts in one session is an option. There have been studies and debate over whether to do cardio first, followed by strength training, or vice versa. There isn’t conclusive evidence for an advantage of one sequence over another, whether your goal is aerobic fitness, fat loss, muscle hypertrophy, or gaining lower body strength. I personally prefer to perform 10-15 min HIIT after resistance training followed by low intensity SPC (Steady Pace Cardio) for 20-30 minutes.

What may have an impact is the amount of cardio you do in combination with your primary goal.

Fat burning:  3 times a week | 45 minutes | 15min HIIT/30 min SPC

Muscle hypertrophy training:   2-3 times a week | 30-45 minutes | 10-15 min HIIT/20-30 min SPC

Strength training: Twice a week | 30 minutes | 10 min HIIT/20 min SPC

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