Is Weightlifting Aerobic?

Weightlifting is a great exercise that can be added to anyone’s routine. Almost every Olympic athlete weight trains that includes those sprinters and swimmers just like Michael Phelps. Some people all they do is either lift weights or cardio and you will find out below there is no one size fits all. That is why we went out and gathered information from other fitness enthusiast on this matter. You can see there responses below as well.

So if you are weightlifting are you getting an aerobic workout at the same time? 

Yes and no. Meaning weightlifting is not considered aerobic by most health experts, but is mainly considered anaerobic meaning your body produces energy without air or oxygen. You aren’t normally keeping your heart rate elevated throughout the entire weightlifting exercise making it anaerobic. 

This doesn’t mean you can make a weightlifting program aerobic you have several different options that we will mainly discuss among many other programs out there that use both. You can mix cardio before, during and after your weightlifting session even between sets by doing something like jump roping between sets.

Other options include circuit training where you are constantly moving from machine or exercise to the next one. WOD’s in Crossfit are notorious for this where you do as many rounds in a certain amount of time so you are pretty much moving constantly and definitely keeping that heart rate way up.

Here you can find some great cardio equipment you can take anywhere for performing while you are weight training CLICK HERE!

doing aerobic and weightlifting

Cardio And Weight Training Together

So we took a look at over 187 responses from people on this matter which includes do you really have to do cardio if you lift weights among other questions. We scoured the internet hitting up lots of weightlifting websites, forums and sub reddits as well. This was all curated for your viewing pleasure. The only thing we changed was any spelling or grammar where needed.

Real Weightlifters

1. PaulSingHY98 “Interval is way to go” – Doing cardio for an extended period of time is an aerobic exercise and your body starts to convert stored glycogen into glucose as fuel for your body. If you want to lose weight and cut then that’s the route to go. However if you’re bulking and trying to gain muscle mass do HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. That burns the stored glucose in your muscles that you ingested within the previous 48 hours. Jog for 2 minutes sprint for 20 seconds them jog for 2 minutes again and sprint for 20 seconds again. Repeat and adjust accordingly. 15-20 minutes of this twice or thrice a week should be enough to still gain weight and maintain cardiovascular fitness.

2. FoodAndNapes “Separate cardio and weights” – I have a naturally slim build and when I lift regularly I bulk up nicely because of it. However do to some lifestyle choices I lost a good amount of mass AND definition and gained some fat.

Would cardio in the morning and weight training in the evening help cut down the fat while upping my muscle mass at the same time? I’m not body building, just trying to get in shape.

3. WeightoOne143 “Cardio before” – There is some evidence that cardio before lifting can actually increase hypertrophy, but as a program you are going to follow routinely, most people would recommend you do your cardio after lifting, because being tired is going to affect your lifts, and potentially increase risk of injury.

If you can do cardio in the morning and lift in the evening, or the reverse, with multiple hours of time in between, such that they don’t immediately impact each other, that’s fine as well.

And it almost goes without saying, make sure you have your diet dialed in, and you are eating the right foods in the right macro proportions to aid in recovery after your morning cardio before your evening lifts.

4. Pintita “Keep any cardio short” – Your gains will be impacted by any cardio that you’re doing. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it. You may progress at a slower rate, it’s not like 30 mins of cardio will kill all of your gains. Make sure to eat big.

5. FunkySkunk “Even 10 minutes great” – I had a trainer that told me to do 10 minutes of light cardio after lifting to get blood flowing and energy levels up so that after the gym I wasn’t feeling sluggish. It seems to work vs. when I don’t so I still do 5-10 minutes of light cardio after lifting.

6. Koncept61 “keep it to walking” – i have heard from multiple sources that too much cardio increases lactic(?) acid in the body which without proper nutrition can eat away at built up muscle. your body breaks down your muscle for amino acids to repair the muscles you use while doing cardio.

7. Sev3NdayTheory “HIIT all the way” – If you’re really looking to maximize your results, I would ditch the 30 min steady-state cardio and learn about and implement High Intensity Interval Training. It will take a shorter amount of time and you will without a doubt see better results.

Side note: I assume you are doing crunches to try to rid yourself of the excess belly fat..? Just remember you cannot spot remove fat. So don’t go crazy with the crunches if you’re trying to target that mid-drift section, instead I would definitely recommend HIIT. Good luck

8. ReverendSin “Check your diet” – It really depends on your goals, there are plenty of endurance athletes that manage both, but there are also marathoners who can’t lift their bodyweight and powerlifters who get winded walking across the room. Personally as someone who has been doing combat martial arts most of his life I value a mix of both, and I’ve seen firsthand what overtraining and undereating can lead

9. QuigleyDownUnder “Trial and error” – I run 10 to 20 miles a week (3 runs) and recently started a basic strength workout based on Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”. It includes squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses and I’ve thrown in dumbell stuff for arms.

Since I’ve started the weights I seem to get injured less from running – particularly my quads above the knees don’t get tendonitis anymore. I’m also gaining muscle and the running doesn’t seem to interfere.

The one thing that I would recommend is looking at nutrition. There’s a great book called Nutrient Timing by Ivy and Portman. Summarized: Drink a carb and protein drink within 45 mins after your run or weight workout and throw in an antioxidant. It throws a metablic switch that increases muscle growth and speeds recovery. Also take an antioxidant like Vitamin C after every workout. I mix 50 to 75 grams of pure whey protein with a scoop of cocoa powder, a tablespoon of sugar and milk – and pop 1000mg of vitamin C with the drink. A lot of guys who hate the idea of sugar add a sweetener like xylitol – but excluding the sugar doesn’t boost insulin levels as much.

I limit my runs and weights to 3 days each. I’ve seen a ton of recommendations to alternate weights and running days, but I’ve combined them some days for lack of time with no ill effect.

Most of my runs are long slow distance, so I don’t feel the glycogen and creatine depletion from lifting much. I’d imagine if I was sprinting or doing tempo runs I would feel it.

10. CrankyWoNan “Doing both best” – I’ve seen studies that showed both strength training and cardio helped heart health, and that doing both was best.

Personal experience, I added 2x/week 30-minute weight-vest walks to my strength routine last year. It interfered with leg strength development only slightly, and I feel better.

I catch my breath faster between sets of squats too — was able to reduce my rest times a bit and add more sets.


Overall over 50% are on board with doing both cardio and weights. Just don’t push it and keep your diet in check. High Intensity Interval Training is best.

20 Minutes Of Cardio After Weights

20 minutes of cardio after weights is great and a nice round number that will help you burn excess calories while not depleting your muscles after your workout.

Either 20 minutes of steady state even a brisk walk is better then maybe work your way up to 20 minutes of jogging or on the bike. After that if you want to mix it up throw in some interval training as well.

Can I Just Lift Weights And Not Do Cardio?

You don’t have to do cardio to lose weight especially if you are looking to lose mainly fat. Lifting weights is enough if anything maybe just add in some walks so you are just burning calories and not muscle.

Lifting weights especially compound lifts like Squat, Deadlift or Bench you are going to burn massive calories not while you workout, but while your body recovers.

Does Lifting Weights Burn Belly Fat?

Lifting weights can burn fat while building muscle. Your abs will mostly be ripped from the food and nutrition you put into your body. However, lifting will help you burn those calories as well and not just while you workout. Your body will continue burning more calories while the muscles recover.


Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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