Cardio vs. Strength Training: Which Is Better? – Speede Fitness
When trying to lose weight, deciding which workout to do can be daunting and overwhelming. It’s no secret that strength training and cardio-based training are two very popular workouts, and knowing which is best for your workout regimen can be hard.
In this article, we will discuss the difference between strength training and cardio-based training. We will also dive into the benefits both workouts have to offer and how to decide which workout is best for your fitness goals.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training is an anaerobic activity that involves you lifting free weights like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or using a machine like Speede. You may hear some athletes call it weight training, resistance training, or just simply lifting weights.
Because lifting weights is anaerobic, your body will break down glucose for energy without relying on oxygen as cardio does. Therefore, you use more energy in a shorter amount of time when practicing strength training.
Strength training typically requires you to move your body against resistance which helps you build muscle mass and make your muscles stronger. Although you can move your body against gravity by doing bodyweight exercises such as lunges, squats, and push-ups, which are highly effective for building strength.
What Is Cardio Training?
Cardio is an aerobic activity, meaning your body uses oxygen to increase your breathing and heart rate. Cardio is short for “cardiovascular conditioning.”
Running is the most popular form of exercise when it comes to cardio-based training, but there are also other forms of exercise such as cycling, swimming, using the elliptical, or other physical activities that cause your heart rate to increase or you to breathe harder.
Cardiovascular activity can be performed at a low-intensity level, moderate-intensity level, or high-intensity level. There are two different types of aerobic exercises:
- Steady-state cardio - occurs when you keep your heart rate within a steady range for the duration of your workout. Steady-state cardio is often performed in a moderate range.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) - occurs when you combine vigorous aerobic activity with short rest intervals. These workouts are usually performed in shorter durations than steady cardio workouts because it requires you to work at a very high-intensity level with a high heart rate.
What Are the Benefits of Cardio Training?
Health and Wellness
Cardio has many health benefits and helps improve your overall wellness.
Cardio-based training helps improve your cardiovascular system and improves your endurance. When you do cardio-based workouts, your heart rate goes up, which causes you to breathe harder to provide more oxygen for your blood. This process will boost your aerobic capacity and allow your heart and lungs to move more oxygen through your body, improving heart health and building endurance.
Cardio has also been proven to improve other ailments such as blood pressure, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Burns More Calories During Workouts
A big benefit to cardio-based training is that you’ll burn more calories during your workout than you would when weight training. But remember, while you burn more calories during a cardio workout, you burn more calories throughout the day when you perform strength training.
According to experts, your weight will affect how much you burn. For example, a 180-pound male uses more energy to run 3 miles than a 120-pound female. Therefore, the calories burned will be significantly different.
What Are the Benefits of Strength Training?
Build Muscle Mass
If you are wanting to build muscle while still burning calories, then weight training is something you may want to consider for your workout regime. Weight training provides stress to the muscles that causes them to adapt and get stronger.
The same study discussed above showed that while cardio promoted weight loss, strength training had great benefits too. The participants who participated in the resistance training program increased their lean muscle mass.
Burns More Calories Throughout the Day
Strength training helps you burn calories throughout the day versus just during your workout. The reason for this is because of the muscle you are building. When building muscle, you increase your resting metabolism, which means you will continue to burn calories while resting.
Helps Prevent Injury
Strength training increases bone density by building muscle mass. This simply means the overall strength of your bones increases, helping reduce the chances of injuries. As your muscles continue to grow and strengthen, your joints will also improve because of the support that is being provided to them through muscle strength.
Not only does strength training help prevent injury, but it also helps prevent osteoporosis, breaks, and fractures.
Why Choose When You Can Do Both?
Research shows that strength training is actually better "cardio" than traditional cardio workouts. When performing strength training movements, the increased mechanical work of the body works to simulate cardio! That’s because, in order for the muscles to work, certain processes must take place — these include nerve impulses, bloodflow and oxygen transport, and increased heart rate.
Maximally stimulating the muscles is the best way to improve total capacity of the cardiovascular system, rather than just one substrate in the aerobic system.
Speede's Standard Mode offers the health benefits and flexibility of isotonic training, without ever needing to touch a free weight again. Speede uses the latest muscle science to help deliver results in a fraction of the time, with four modes to make the most of every workout:
- Nemesis Mode - which focuses on isokinetic training that offers consistent resistance through the entire movement.
- Eccentric Mode - which provides eccentric-based training that helps build muscle mass.
- Standard Mode - which focuses on isotonic training to help improve strength, power, and agility.
- Recovery Mode - which helps with off-day training to promote muscle growth and rebuilding.
The Bottom Line
The truth is, you don’t have to choose between cardio and strength training. That’s because training on Speede can help you lock in the benefits of both strength training and cardio — building muscle, helping to avoid injuries, and activating your metabolism so your body can burn fat even while you’re resting.
Take a closer look at our machines to learn how Speede can help you achieve your personal fitness goals and get stronger faster.
The (Many) Benefits of a Cardio Workout | Cleveland Clinic
Specific metabolic rates of major organs and tissues across adulthood: evaluation by mechanistic model of resting energy expenditure | PMC (nih.gov)
Weight training: Improve your muscular fitness | Mayo Clinic