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    Includes Expert Content
    Justifying Cardio
    Tomato05 posted:
    There is a guy at my gym who doesn't do any cardio. He does lots of weight-training - intense level, 4 times a week, 2 hours at a time. He is in terrific shape - lean, muscular, with an enviable 6-pack. He could probably enter a bodybuilding competition and do well.

    He looks upon our cardio sessions with disdain, and says one doesn't need that. He says his weight-lifting keeps him fit and strong.

    I pointed to the heart health benefits of cardio, as well as the fitness and endurance that come with it. It also protects against disease, as it lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and helps blood sugar control.

    Still, he says weight-lifting does the same for him.

    What other arguments can I use in defence of cardio?! Or is he maybe right, and intense weight-lifting could replace cardio?
    Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
    There is evidence that resistance exercise can lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, lower LDL (but it doesn't seem to affect other lipids, but aerobic exercise doesn't always either), can make the heart stronger (although heavy lifting can make arteries stiffer unlike aerobic which has the opposite effect), and increases metabolic rate (more than aerobic exercise). Will his heart get as conditioned for aerobic activities like road races if he doesn't do cardio? No. But it doesn't sound like that's what he's looking for. And if he's doing any of his lifting where he keeps his heart rate elevated (like circuit training), then he's getting an aerobic conditioning effect. What you guys could do is have a sub-maximal aerobic test ona bicycle o see who has higher oxygen consumption. That would be a way to test aerobic fitness. Your gym manager might know how to do that. You could do a 3-minute step test as well, which would be simple to do (you can look that up online for the protocol).
    KennyCrox responded:

    From what you've posted, it appears this guy is getting his cardio

    One of the most effective method of cardio training is interval training, as you know. Most bodybuilding programs fall more into this area, high intensity work with short rest periods between sets.

    Definition Interval Training

    Interval Training--Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work. This high intensity work is alternated with periods of rest or low activity training&sa=X&ei=izrETJbkBcWAlAekkfAE&ved=0CB8QkAE

    A weight training program can be written as an Interval Training Program. In doing so, it is a strength-cardovascular program.

    Body For Life, P90X, Circuit Training are forms of interval weight training.

    Super Squats

    Decades ago, I did Super Squats/Breathing Squats to gain weight. Super Squats is one set of squats X 20 repetitions with 1.5 X your body weight.

    Super Squats in conjuction with increasing your caloric intake are great for gaining weight.

    The Cardivascular Benefit

    Another benefit of Super Squats is their cardiovascular benefit.

    While peforming Super Squats, I had to go in for a physical. My lung capacity was measured by blowing into a device, Spirometry.

    Afterward, the physical wanted to know if I was a runner, biker, etc?

    I informed him that all I did was lift weights, no cardio. He was puzzled said from that I had the lungs of a runner. That confused me, as well.

    A few days later, I realized that it was the Super Squats were the reason.

    An all out set of 20 non-stop reps is a cardiovascular workout. After 10 reps there is no air in the building and your heart is pounding.

    Tabata Protocol

    Super Squats fall more into the catatory of "The Tabata Protcol". An ultra intense program.

    "The Tabata Protocol" has demonstrated dramatic increases in aerobic capacity, as well as one anerobic system.

    Kenny Croxdale, BA, CSCS
    jkbond replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
    >>although heavy lifting can make arteries stiffer <<

    Wouldn't this be a powerful argument against heavy duty weight training? I would think that no one would want to encourage stiffened (hardened?) arteries. Have any studies been done to see whether weight lifters have a greater propensity for strokes than the general population?
    nishant1981; replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
    This was very useful. Thanks Rich!
    Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to jkbond's response:
    It's a good question. The good news is that when combined with moderate aerobic exercise the effect is attenuated, and once you stop lifting heavy the problem resolves. I am not aware of any studies that show that weightlifters who lift heavy have a greater propensity for stroke. To the contrary, they seem to have some protection as per reductions in blood pressure, and of course, since they are so strong, any activity where heavy lifting is involved shouldn't challenge the heart or vasculature the way it would for someone deconditioned. This research on decreased arterial compliance and stiffness opens up a can of worms that has not been thoroughly investigated. I don't advise against weightlifting, and doubt I ever would, but based on the literature on this topic, it seems prudent to combine it with aerobic exercise.
    Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to nishant1981;'s response:
    You're very welcome.
    Tomato05 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
    Thank you very much for the info. I'll capitulate and stop inviting the guy to try a few brisk walking sessions on the treadmill!

    Still, for me nothing beats the stress relief and that feel-good feeling after a cardio workout. Plus, I have far more energy when doing pure cardio workouts consistently. I still think it is more balanced to do both strength training and cardio activities.
    jambajuice responded:

    An adult male orangutan weighs about 200 lbs...

    It's estimated they are 5-7 times stronger than man...

    In other words, they could crush your friends skull like a pea with one arm tied behind its back (If you could locate volunteers with rope!). :)

    ...They do not lift barbells for 2 hrs each day, either...

    My point?

    If we were meant to be 7 times stronger (and swing in trees) or however strong your friend is, we would be.

    No gym, no trainer, no spotters, necessary...

    One more thing...

    Look at an orangutans legs and compare them to ours...

    Usain (Lightning) Bolt could easily beat them in the 100m...running backwards...

    What does that mean to you (and your cardio work)?
    Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Tomato05's response:
    You're welcome.

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