Can weight training be used as a substitute for cardio training?

Wendy Batts
Absolutely! If weight training increases your heart rate and keeps it elevated for the duration, you have gotten your cardio exercise in as well. Often, individuals who want to substitute weight training for cardio perform their resistance training in a circuit, moving from one exercise to another with no rest periods in-between. This will help keep your heart rate elevated which will lead to the same type of benefits as if you were doing low intensity cardio. These benefits include improved levels of strength, increased calorie burn after exercise and increased overall fitness. There is one caveat to this solution however. If you are more advanced, you will need to push yourself harder during your workout because weight training does not have the same cardiovascular benefits as high intensity or long duration aerobic exercise.
Absolutely! Circuit training is actually one of the most beneficial forms of cardiorespiratory training - and one of my personal favorites. Any form of training that increases your heart rate and breathing rate can be used as a form of cardio training. Circuit training involves performing a series of resistance training exercises one after the other with little to no rest between exercises. This type of training has been shown to be just as beneficial as traditional forms of cardio training for improving, or contributing to improved fitness levels.

If you perform your weight training in a circuit style manner, then it can have equal benefits as low intensity cardiorespiratory training. These associated benefits include improved fitness level, production of greater Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), improved levels of strength, and near identical caloric expenditure when compared to brisk walking. In order to implement circuit training into your programming, you will want to perform one set of each of your resistance training exercises in rapid succession, thereby reducing rest and increasing the demand placed on the cardiorespiratory system. An example of circuit training would involve each of the following exercises repeated one set after another for one entire circuit before advancing to the seconds set of the circuit: ball squat curl to press, dumbbell chest press on ball, single leg squats, seated row, and Lunge to balance. However, if you are an experienced or advanced endurance athlete, resistance exercise does not have the same cardiovascular benefits as high intensity or long duration aerobic exercise.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.