Aerobic and Resistance Training

Aerobic and Resistance Training

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Exercise is an invaluable way to build muscle strength, boost metabolism and burn calories, strengthen connective tissues and bones while slowing aging and relieving stress.

However, adding heavy resistance training can yield even greater results, but whether this combination also damages aerobic fitness remains uncertain in scientific literature.

Cardiorespiratory System

The cardiorespiratory system (CRS) is your body's means of transporting oxygen and eliminating carbon dioxide. It consists of your heart, blood vessels and respiratory system (lungs).

Your four-chambered pump helps circulate oxygenated blood throughout your system so cells can function normally; its job is also to transport oxygen from lungs back out to where its needed.

Cardiorespiratory endurance refers to your body's capacity for sustained, strenuous physical activity that exceeds that which would normally be possible without exercising.

As it increases, so will fitness. The more endurance-building exercise your body can manage to engage in, the fitter and healthier you'll become overall.

Your cardiovascular system transports oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, including to muscles.

When exercising, heart rates tend to accelerate while blood pressure rises - both are beneficial in terms of overall health, but may cause discomfort during workouts.

Aerobic training and resistance training both help increase cardiovascular endurance. But research indicates that combined aerobic-resistance training may be even more effective at increasing muscular strength and lower-body composition than either approach alone.

Researchers conducted research with 69 middle-aged adults leading sedentary lifestyles.

They divided them into three groups, an aerobic only group, resistance only group and combined training group; their eight month research period involved body composition assessments at baseline, four months into training and monthly during detraining phase.

Researchers discovered that the combined group demonstrated significant improvements in cardiovascular and pulmonary functions as well as muscular strength.

Furthermore, this group experienced a drop in triglycerides and slight decrease in total cholesterol while minimal changes occurred with fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels.

Overall, these results indicate that combining resistance and aerobic exercise is an efficient method for improving cardiovascular and pulmonary functions in overweight individuals with impaired systolic blood pressure or elevated blood lipids levels; potentially helping them reduce their risk for heart disease.

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Muscle Strength

Aerobic exercise refers to any physical activity that relies on oxygen for movement and lasts at least five minutes, such as walking, cycling and rowing, jumping rope and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Resistance exercises build muscle strength using free weights or weight machines - or simply your bodyweight!

When starting any new resistance exercise program it's wise to begin slowly before increasing intensity gradually in order to prevent injuries while maintaining proper form and form.

If you have health concerns like diabetes, hypertension or heart disease it may be wiser to consult your physician for additional safety measures before beginning resistance exercise exercises.

Muscles become stronger with exercise, and their size increases due to repeated workouts and the formation of new muscle fibres.

But eventually most people reach a point in which their gains in muscle strength plateau out and further improvements become increasingly difficult to attain.

One study revealed that adding aerobic exercise to resistance training promoted greater gains in muscle strength than either form alone.

Results demonstrated that adding aerobic activity enhanced both sex-specific and total leg strength when compared with control groups engaging in traditional muscle hypertrophy training, while at the same time improving lean mass while decreasing body fat.

Researchers also studied changes to blood lipids, glucose and insulin levels as well as apoB48, which measures blood chylomicrons particles.

ApoB48 levels were significantly lower among participants who participated in combined exercise classes than resistance or aerobic only classes; suggesting that including aerobic training with resistance training may improve vascular function.

One possible explanation for the positive outcomes of combining aerobic and resistance training may be its effect in helping prevent exercise fatigue.

Strength training often leaves us feeling fatigued after intense sessions; this could be because your body spends energy repairing muscle fibers and adapting its metabolism accordingly to cope with physical demands of workout.

When combined, aerobic and resistance training could prevent this effect.

Muscle Endurance

Muscular endurance refers to your ability to repeatedly contract muscles against resistance for extended periods, increasing it will allow you to continue exercise for longer periods and can greatly benefit both athletic performance as well as overall health and fitness.

Muscular endurance can be improved through various exercises and training routines.

Endurance exercise can produce adaptive responses within skeletal muscle cells that increase energy supply and delay fatigue during exercise (Brooks 2011).

These adaptations result from mitochondria producing more Adenosine Triphosphate for cell energy use; additionally, changes to capillaries help deliver oxygen directly into muscles to support energy-producing processes during endurance activity.

Addition of resistance training to endurance exercise programs can further increase benefits.

According to one study, adding weight-training components to aerobic endurance programs led to improvements in thigh and chest circumference of physically active adults.

Furthermore, resistance training did not interfere with its beneficial effects on muscle hypertrophy variables - suggesting that cardiorespiratory and resistance exercises work together toward optimizing body composition outcomes.

Muscular endurance is vital to daily tasks like walking up flights of stairs, playing fetch with your dog, or biking around your neighborhood.

Furthermore, it helps seniors remain healthier as they age by decreasing the risk of falls and injuries.

Building muscular endurance doesn't have to be complicated: simply incorporate resistance-based exercises such as weights or bodyweight into your workouts that challenge muscles to contract against resistance for extended periods.

To develop muscular endurance, incorporate two to five sets of eight to 10 repetitions of low-weight resistance exercises into your workouts.

Choose a weight that challenges but allows you to complete all reps with good form without stopping during your session, resting three to five minutes between each set.

Metabolic System

Regular resistance training paired with a reduced-calorie diet has been shown to accelerate body fat loss and lead to greater muscle gains than dieting alone, according to both 2017 research published and 2019 review studies in Frontiers in Physiology.

Regular resistance training may also enhance metabolic control and decrease insulin resistance among diabetic patients according to one 2017 study and review in Frontiers in Physiology.

Researchers conducted this randomized controlled trial to explore the impact of aerobic and resistance training on glycemic control among participants with type 2 diabetes.

A total of 251 adults aged 39-70 years with this condition were randomly divided into one of two groups for 26 weeks of aerobic or resistance training, or no exercise whatsoever during this study period; additionally a 4-week "run-in period" allowed them to adjust to their training program.

Researchers discovered that both aerobic and resistance training enhanced glycemic control for people living with type 2 diabetes; the combination of the two activities proved more effective than either alone.

The effect was particularly pronounced among those who initially had poor blood sugar control at baseline; improvement due to AMPK activation (a protein responsible for many metabolic pathways) which aerobic endurance and resistance training both increase, with resistance training amplifying this effect further.

Aerobic and resistance training groups saw decreases in their hemoglobin A1c values while not in the control group due to having low average baseline hemoglobin A1c values and limited sample sizes that reduced experiment's power to detect differences.

Adverse events were reported in 71 of 188 participants; 4 in the aerobic training group and one in resistance training.

Most common were musculoskeletal injuries or discomfort that required modification to exercise programs or temporary restriction in activity levels; no participant experienced hypoglycemia that necessitated assistance or led to hospitalization - an important finding that suggests that combining resistance training with aerobic exercises may be safe, effective and beneficial in improving glycemic control and body composition among those living with type 2 diabetes.


Strength training offers many advantages, from increased muscle mass and bone density gains to decreased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

While aerobic exercise can improve cardiovascular health and help regulate blood glucose levels, strength and aerobic training combined have proven superior.

One study showed that people who performed three hours of cardio per week combined with at least two days per week of full body weight lifting were 41% less likely to die during the study period.

Researchers continue to struggle with how best to incorporate both aerobic and strength exercises into workouts for maximum physiological benefit and exercise satisfaction.

Some studies suggest concurrent aerobic and strength training interferes with maximal strength development while other research indicates this only happens with an extremely high training volume.

One study sought to investigate the effects of concurrent low-volume aerobic and resistance training on body composition, hypertrophy and exercise satisfaction among physically active adults.

Participants completed either a controlled combined aerobic/strength training program or unsupervised resistance training only sessions under supervision.

After eliminating studies that did not adhere to a uniform research protocol, an analysis was performed on eight studies with 1090 participants who engaged in either aerobic and resistance exercise or control exercises for 30 minutes a week over 12 weeks supervised by either resistance coaches or experts for combined training or control exercises for 12 weeks each week for 12 weeks.

Improvements were noted in lean body mass and VO2max improvement between both training groups; however improvements in combined group were significantly greater than resistance or control group, indicating this type of training may improve maximal strength development when performing at low volumes.

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