Alternate Weights And Cardio – Best Approach

December 6, 2021 0 Comments


This article will explore how to alternate weights and cardio in your training programme. Everyone knows both weight training and cardio are essential when it comes to building your best body. Lifting weights will add lean muscle and the cardio will help to burn fat and improve heart health. When combined they will yield the best results for a lean and muscular physique.

However there any many questions that people have with regards to programming in these training modalities. Should you incorporate cardio into your weight training workouts? How do you programme in both? This article will endeavour to clear up a lot of the confusion that is out there.

Alternating Weights And Cardio

What I feel is the best approach when it comes to programming in weights and cardio is to alternate them. One day you would do your normal weight training workout, the next day you would do cardio. You would keep alternating the two modalities in this fashion. The benefit of this is that even on your off days from the gym you are still getting the benefits of daily exercise. The benefits of cardio are not only improved heart health and circulation but also improvements in mood and energy. Also the cardio on off days serves as an active recovery workout. When you are in the gym you are breaking down muscle tissue and entering into a catabolic state as a result. It is only when you are resting and recovering that you are building the muscles back up bigger and stronger. The cardio assists in this recovery process by pumping blood to the muscles in your body.

It is important to do low impact cardio activities on off days – things like walking, low impact cycling, etc. In my case my preferred activity on off days is to do an hour walk in my local park. This is an activity that I enjoy and it compliments my weight training workouts by aiding in recovery between workouts.

walking in the park

Doing Cardio In Your Weight Workouts

The other main confusion that many people have surrounds doing cardio in their weight training workouts. Many people are unsure whether they should incorporate cardio into their weight sessions. Some do it at the end of their workouts, others at the start. In my case I do incorporate cardio into my weight workouts, this is to make use of the cardio equipment at my gym. I generally either use the Concept 2 rower or the stationary bike. It is low impact and I do the cardio at the start of my workouts.

It takes about 10-15 minutes and it is intended to be a warm up for my muscles as well as for the heart health benefits. Therefore I would advise adding cardio into your weight workouts. The only caveat being to ensure that it is for a low duration and low impact as well. For the concept 2 rower I would use that at the end of my workouts, but the stationary bike at the start. This is mainly due to the fact that the rower is slightly more taxing on the entire body and better as a finisher.


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Does Cardio Hinder Your Muscle Gains?

This question is another loaded one and it ties into this article very well. Many bodybuilders are scared of cardio as they feel it will hinder their muscle and strength gains. I can relate well to this, when I was younger I believed that cardio would interfere with and hinder my weight training efforts. I believed that it would cause me to look less muscular and that I would lose strength.

However this concern was unfounded. The reality is that low impact cardio will only benefit you in your training when it is programmed in the correct way. The correct way would be to alternate between weight training and lower impact cardio on consecutive days. Doing the low impact cardio will not hinder your muscle gains in any way, as I discussed earlier it will actually serve you to improve your muscle recovery. Also, going for walks has been shown to be great for people who suffer from lower back pain.

The only time cardio can and will hinder muscle growth and interfere with your workouts is if you do excessive cardio or very high intensity cardio often. This will result in insufficient recovery time for your muscles and therefore cause a big decline in performances in your weight training sessions.

It’s very important as well that you fuel your body with the right nutrients in the right quantities to ensure that you don’t hinder your bodybuilding efforts. If you do this then you will give your muscles the nutrients they need to recover and build back up again bigger and stronger.


To conclude, in this article I have explained how to alternate weights and cardio and how this is the best approach when it comes to maximising your efforts of building a lean and muscular physique. In addition you will benefit from the improved heart health and circulation, improved recovery and higher work capacity in your gym workouts.

Many people get confused when it comes to programming in cardio and weight training workouts. They believe that cardio will interfere too much with their training or they are unsure how to combine these two training modalities. I hope I have gone a long way in my article of clearing up all the confusion that pertains to this topic.

If you have any questions about anything I have written in this article, please leave me a comment below. I would love to answer your questions and interact with you. Likewise, please let me know how you programme cardio and weight training in your regiment. Do you do things in a similar way or differently? As always stay safe, be healthy and be happy. Enjoy your training! Enjoying your training is always the most important factor when it comes to making progress over the long term. If you don’t train for the long term then any results you have will always be temporary.

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