Strength vs Cardio: What’s the Difference?

So you are going to the gym to workout: the hardest part is getting yourself there, right? Or does the work really begin when you have to decide what the best workout to do is? There are benefits to both strength training and cardio workouts, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve! Here’s a breakdown of what the best workout can be for you depending on your health and fitness goals!

 

Strength Training

The purpose of strength training is to build and tone muscle. This can be done in a variety of different ways, and the top two best ways to do this are by heavy lifting or circuit training. Heavy lifting can be classified as back squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press, and pull/ chin ups. All of these different movements are designed to help you build muscle onto your body and can be done in 3 sets of 8 repetitions. So if you are looking to add muscle, heavy lifting strength training would be the best option for you. However, if you are looking to tone muscle you already have, circuit training would be a better option. Circuit training consists of combining different movements such as bicep curls, tricep dips, goblet squats (squatting with a dumbbell), dumbbell press, or single arm dumbbell pull, and then doing these different movements in a quick, time-oriented manner. Other types of circuits you could do are ab circuits, which could consist of planks, crunches, bicycles, reverse crunches, Russian twists, and side planks, and are still defined as strength training because you are enhancing the core of your body.

 

 

Cardio Training

The purpose of cardio training is to burn calories and boost your metabolism. Two different ways to do a cardio workout are high-intensity interval training and steady state cardio. High-intensity interval training would be used to achieve long-lasting calorie burn that would improve your overall metabolism, whereas steady state cardio would be used to instantly burn calories. Interval training is shorter, more intense, and mentally easier to achieve if you are not a cardio-type girl. Workouts would consist of sprinting for 30 seconds, taking a 20-second break, and then sprinting again for however long a period you desire ( a mile or two is usually a good benchmark). If you are a cardio-type girl, then steady state cardio may be a better option! These workouts would consist of 3-5 mile runs (or longer) and help you burn calories at a steady pace while achieving those well-deserved runners high.

 

Overall, neither strength or cardio training is better than the other, it all just depends on what you’re trying to achieve! Now go out and achieve your well-deserved health and fitness goals!

 

I am a Freshmen at UW Madison studying English for pre- secondary education! I am obsessed with the TV show Friends and my favorite part of campus is the Capital!

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