Cardio vs Weights- What Form Of Exercise Is Best?

cardio vs weights

Cardio Vs weight training is a hot debate in the health industry, with arguments for both sides being equally convincing.  

There are countless articles and studies claiming to prove that one form of exercise is better than the other, so where does the truth lie? Surely there is a way to reach a definitive answer and finish the discussion once and for all.  

Unfortunately, there is no way to say for certain which is 'best,' as there are too many factors that come into play.  

Your body weight, gender, genetics, and the intensity in which you perform your sessions will greatly affect the effectiveness of your workouts.  

It is also important to note that cardio and weightlifting are better for achieving different results (in theory). 

Traditional forms of cardio: jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. tend to be 'best' for building cardiovascular endurance and efficiency.

Whereas weight lifting, on the other hand, is usually used for building muscle, strength, and power.           

Benefits Of Cardio Exercise  

how many calories does weightlifting burn

Cardiovascular exercise is incredibly beneficial for overall health and fitness. Through performing cardio (elevating your heart rate), you can improve the efficiency that your body processes oxygen and emits carbon dioxide.  

Cardio leads to higher lung capacity, a lower resting heart rate, and more efficient oxygen conversion.  

In terms of fitness and real-world application, cardio will:

  • Help you to burn calories and fat.  
  • Increases lung capacity and improves the respiratory system as a whole.  
  • Make the heart stronger/more efficient.  
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and improve sleep quality.   


Benefits Of Doing Weights.  

Be it lifting traditional dumbells or your own body weight; weight training is an effective method for build strength, muscle mass, and explosive power.  

Weightlifting in different ways can have different effects. Performing max effort lifts in the rep range of 1-5 will focus on building strength; 6-12 will build muscle and 13-20+ muscular endurance.  

Weight lifting can also be used as an effective form of cardio, as it elevates the heart rate and is incredibly taxing on the respiratory system.  

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an excellent training method in which weight lifting can effectively take part in a 'cardio-focused' workout.  

cardio exercises for weight loss

The benefits of weight lifting:  

  • Improved strength.
  • Increased muscle mass and size.  
  • Improved muscle endurance and flexibility.  
  • Increased levels of testosterone.  
  • Higher sex drive.  
  • Better sleep quality.  
  • Reduced stress and anxiety. 

Which Burns More Calories.  

When people discuss which form of exercise (weight lifting or cardio) is better, they are usually searching for the answer to which burns more calories.  

Again this is an almost impossible question to answer because either can be performed at varying levels of intensity and time.  

If you running for an hour allows you to burn 300 calories; you can also effectively lift weights for an hour and burn 300 calories. Calories burnt depends entirely on energy output.  

Doing 20 minutes of high-intensity weight lifting can burn more calories than an hour-long jog; and on the other side of the coin, 20 minutes of sprinting can burn more calories than an hour of slow-paced weight lifting.  

When it comes to burning calories through exercise, the intensity is more important than what kind of exercise you chose to do.    

Cardio Vs Weights For Weightloss.  

Similarly to the question "which form of exercise burns more calories?", the answer to "which is better for weight loss?" Is the same.

Whichever one you perform more intensely or for longer will result in more weight loss.   

To improve weight loss results, however, you can manipulate how you perform your exercises to increase their overall effectiveness.  

Cardio exercises for weight loss.  

While any form of cardio can be useful for losing weight, some can be more efficient in terms of calories burnt per hour.  

  • Rowing on a rowing machine at a moderate pace will burn around 850 calories per hour.
  • Swimming front crawl will burn around 600 calories per hour, and if swimming in open water or against a current, this number can double.  
  • Skipping or 'jumping rope' is one of the most effective forms of cardio and can burn around 1000 calories per hour.  

Weight lifting exercises for weight loss.  

While usually seen as a means to build muscle, weight lifting is also incredibly effective for weight loss.  

Compound workouts, such as squats, deadlifts, and pullups, use multiple muscle groups at once, and as such, are more taxing on the body and cardiovascular system.  

Compound exercises are better for weight loss than 'isolation' exercises such as bicep curls or crunches.  

To further the effectiveness of weight lifting for weight loss, you can implement the HIIT method.  

High-intensity interval training, when performed at maximum effort, can be one of the most efficient forms of weight loss, burning around the same amount of calories in 20 minutes, as low-intensity cardio burns in 1 hour.  

Exercising For Longer-Term Health.  

cardio vs weight training

It is no secret that weight lifting and cardio is beneficial for your fitness levels, but they are also effective methods for promoting long term health.  

Along with a nutritious, well-balanced diet, regularly exercising can allow you to leave a longer, more fulfilled life.

There have been countless studies that support the positive long-term effects of all forms of exercise on both the body and mind.