The short answer: Yes!
It’s a common belief that strength is built entirely from weight training, and to a certain degree this is correct; weight training is a great method of getting stronger. However, low intensity cardio (long duration) and high intensity cardio based training (We call them SWEAT sessions here at 360) certainly has it’s place in a strength building journey.
Both styles of cardio training are an excellent supplement to your strength workouts.
- Cardio fitness and health
Both high and low intensity cardio based training is a great method of building up your cardiovascular fitness. When done consistently, cardio based fitness is key for helping improve risk factors for heart disease, lowering blood pressure and strengthening the heart – helping you to live a longer and healthier life.
- Speed up recovery
Aerobic (cardio) based training is also a great tool to help speed up recovery. If you’ve had tough sessions lifting heavy over the past few days and you’re possibly a little sore, cardio will allow your body to recover from the resistance training. It will help to pump blood and oxygen around the body and increase the ability of waste products in the body to be removed and enabling nutrients to speed up muscle recovery.
- Work capacity/endurance
Improving your body’s aerobic system using both low and high intensity cardio will help your body to handle greater work capacity in all areas of your training.
To put it simply, having a stronger aerobic fitness will enable you to maintain better control of your heart rate and breathing, be able to withstand longer duration workouts and handle greater workout volume. This will complement your strength based workouts helping you to recover faster between sets ensuring you perform better and get the most from each session. Moreover, improving the flow of blood to your muscles that are regularly activated under heavy load, can help to maintain and improve flexibility.
So if your goal is to build some muscle and get stronger, aerobic workouts won’t damage your progress, they’ll in fact improve your strength training and help you to get stronger, healthier and fitter!