How to Do Cardio and Resistance Training at the Same Time:


Every gym-goer runs into the inevitable problem of not knowing what type of training to stick to. They are a cardio junkie that has heard that they should incorporate strength training into their routine to reduce their risk of injury but now they fear adding too much extra muscle mass that will slow them down. On the other side of the spectrum is the gym bro/powerlifter that heard that he needs to incorporate cardio in order to improve his recovery time due to the cardiovascular benefits but now they fear that they are going to lose all their hard-earned muscle. These two polar problems are well supported, and they should be a cause for concern. However, there are clever ways to train to attain the maximum benefit with minimal risk. I have split up the advice into their two separate camps:

Cardio Junkies:

You are all about the rubber hitting the road whether it is your running shoes or your bicycle’s tires. Due to this, you are not looking to become the next Mr. Olympia, in fact, you don’t even care too much about aesthetic muscles. Due to this the only practical benefit that you could have to gain from weightlifting would be the strengthening of your joints and tendons. Luckily for you, the threshold to attain this benefit for an endurance athlete is quite low. You have to still train weights with intention but there’s no need to min-max your process (in fact this would be counterproductive). Here’s what your training routine could look like:


Mon: Normal endurance training (Cycling, Running, Squash, etc.)

Tues: Hamstrings + Glutes

Wed: Rest

Thur: Normal endurance training (Cycling, Running, Squash, etc.)

Fri: Normal endurance training (Cycling, Running, Squash, etc.)

Sat: Quads + Calves

Sun: Rest

Now this routine should be easy enough to do within a week and the resistance training shouldn’t be too heavy and should primarily focus on lighter weights for more reps. Weightlifting is focused more on the lower body, as that would have the best functional benefit for most cardio-based sports. (Except for maybe rowing, but I assume they lift weights anyway for the power benefit.)

Gym Bros:

Sorry powerlifters if I lumped you into this category. You are all about lifting big, eating big, and getting big. If those are your 3 primary goals then the idea of cardio is almost like a cardinal sin! However, having a better cardiovascular system will help improve recovery times which will allow you to get more volume within a week and we all know that volume turns into gains. Here’s what your training routine could look like:


Mon: Standard heavy lifting routine

Tue: Plyometric box jumps + Battle ropes

Wed: Standard heavy lifting routine

Thurs: Standard heavy lifting routine

Fri: Standard heavy lifting routine

Sat: Light explosive lifting routine with a 5km run

Sun: Rest

As you can see, the sanctity of your lifting routine has been maintained, there are just 2 little add-ons that could help you put in more reps on the days you do lift and eventually lead you to lift heavier weight sooner and gain muscle quicker.


Both routines will not lead you to become too bulky or to lose muscle. The extra exercise prescribed is a very subtle change that could improve the experience of your main focus. Give it a try for a week or two and assess how you feel, I can guarantee you that you will notice a difference.

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