How To Tell if It’s Better for You To Split Up Cardio and Strength Training or Do Them Together

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These days, we all have tight schedules with little time to squeeze in a workout, let alone two strength training sessions per week plus a minimum or 150 minutes of low-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, which are the physical activity guidelines for American adults suggested by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). One solution is to perform these two types of workouts in tandem, but is it better to split up or combine cardio and strength training when it comes to getting the most out of each?

Experts In This Article

“The honest truth is, your best workout schedule depends on your goals,” says personal trainer Matthew Scarfo, CPT, resident training expert at Lift Valut. “If you’re really interested in building muscles or strength, it’s best to split up your strength and cardiovascular exercises on different days, since you want your body to focus on building muscle after each workout,” he says. “Splitting up strength and cardio will help your body use all of its available resources, such as rest and fuel, to build muscle, which is a priority for many people.”

On the other hand, “mixing strength and cardio together can help you lose weight at a faster rate,” Scarfo says.

HIIT workouts like this video typically combine strength and cardio exercises for max efficiency and energy output: 

Of course, lifestyle matters and sometimes dictates what you’re able to do. “If you only have three days to workout based on school or work schedules, it’s totally fine to combine your workouts so you get the best impact for your time,” Scarfo says. This is especially true if you’re just looking to maintain your strength and weight. Just keep in mind that with both styles of exercise, working out consistently is what really makes all the difference.

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