Weight lifting vs cardio

Many people who thrive on building thick slabs of muscles hate cardio work and many cyclists and middle and long distance runners won’t be spending much time weight-lifting. There is this divide between weight lifting, an anaerobic exercise and cardio-vascular training, an aerobic form of exercising. So which one is the best type of training, weight-lifting or cardio?

Benefiting from each

In order to answer this question, you have to look at their benefits. Weight-lifting and aerobics each have their advantages and lack their counterpart’s advantages.

Aerobic exercises will

  • increase your body’s efficiency at burning oxygen;
  • lower your heart rate;
  • increase your endurance;
  • build more arteries in your muscles.

The latter is particularly beneficial to building muscles because of more blood flowing deep into the muscles. Cardio training targets your slow-twitch muscles, those muscles that perform repetitive actions. Slow-twitch muscles are particularly present in the legs as they are used most of the time.

Lift heavy weights (not moderate) and you will

  • build muscles and become stronger;
  • increase your metabolism, even while resting and sleeping;
  • strengthen your bones, tendons and ligaments.
  • Improve your body shape more than cardio can do and more quickly.

These lists are not covering all the advantages of cardio and weight lifting. Research regularly comes up with new benefits of each, such as fighting specific diseases. Feel free to add your own contribution to the advantages in the comments section.

Making your choice

As you can see, these two types of training don’t share many benefits. It is possible to work on your cardio a little when lifting weights by cutting out the rest time between sets and working quickly. Circuit training does just that – you move quickly from exercise to exercise. However, there is no comparison with long-distance running.

Building muscles won’t allow you to run effortlessly after the bus just as being able to run a marathon won’t help you move heavy furniture around the house. So which one should you pick? The answer should be clear by now: both types of training, aerobic and anaerobic. Their benefits complement and help each other and your body will be the ultimate recipient of that. Would you want to be a puffing bodybuilder or a scrawny kid all bones and tendons?

This doesn’t solve the divide between cardio and weight-lifting. Some people will always prefer one to the other and in fact, will be built more towards one than the other. They will find it hard to incorporate the other type of training in their physical activities. If I had to choose only one, I would go for weight-lifting. Cardio work is boring and I am one of those who are in the muscle-building camp. I am biased after all: this is a weight-training blog!

Which one do you prefer between aerobic and anaerobic exercises? Do you do both?


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