The Never-Ending Debate: Cardio v. Strength Training

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The Never-Ending Debate: Cardio v. Strength Training


One of the most common questions in the fitness world is which type of training is best for getting leaner? Cardio or Strength Training?

At Power Health and Performance, we get asked this question all the time. Our answer? You NEED to do BOTH!

Functional movement focused strength training is the foundation for our physical performance. As humans there are 7 main movement patterns we must be able to execute properly in order to keep our muscles and joints healthy and safely perform strength AND cardiovascular training.

These movement patterns are:

  • Hip Hinging
  • Squatting
  • Lunging
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Rotating
  • Gait (Walking & Running)

These patterns are the foundation to any good strength training program and when they are challenged appropriately they will lead to improved muscle mass, strength, and fat loss which all help us to develop that ideal body shape we desire. Not only that, they will equip us with the movement skill to take part in athletic activities and sports (which are great, fun ways to burn calories) without having to worry about injury.

Before engaging in a lot of dynamic activity/cardio training like running, jumping, and playing sports it is essential to first build a good foundation of fundamental mobility, stability, balance and strength throughout the body at each joint. If this foundation is not first built there is a higher risk of developing chronic injuries like, shin splints, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and even back pain. While building this movement foundation you can still do cardio but instead opt for low impact options like rowing, biking, medicine ball training, and battling ropes.

Cardio training is typically performed in two ways, interval training or steady state “aerobic” training. Interval training helps us utilize a lot of calories because of its higher intensity as well as increasing our caloric burn after the session as we move about our day. Of course, this is very valuable because we do need to create a caloric deficit (take in less calories than we use) for fat loss. An example would be, sprinting for 20 seconds as hard as you can followed by resting for 30 seconds and repeating this cycle 8-15 times.

Steady State Cardio can help condition our metabolism to use fat more effectively for fuel because of its lower intensity which is exactly what we want when training or going through our day. Though it typically won’t burn as many calories as high intensity interval training, in combination with the right nutrition plan it can definitely help us lose fat. An example here is, running for 30-60 minutes at an easy pace.

So remember, BOTH cardio and strength training must be used together for us to optimize our health and fitness and achieve our ideal physique. Make sure you choose the right type of cardio and strength training FOR YOU based on your individual needs.


You can check out some of our other blogs where we delve into HOW to approach your cardio and strength training.

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