Cardio Workouts vs. Muscle Training

In the world of exercise, there are two main categories that often differ opinions.

Cardio and weight training.

Are they two pieces that fit together to complete the weight loss puzzle, or does focussing on one have a negative effect on the other?

Both are types of exercise, and both are great when involved in a body transformation, but which one will be best for you?

To find that out, let’s start at the beginning.

What are They?

 

Cardio Workouts

There is a wide range of cardio workouts available to do at the gym, at home, or in the great outdoors.

Cardio workouts often last longer than muscle ones, sometimes lasting over an hour. Some of the more popular cardio workouts are running, cycling and swimming.

Not all cardio workouts are as intense as this though. Simple things such as walking the dog on a night can be classed as cardio as long as you pick up the pace and increase your heart rate.

Muscle Workouts

Muscle workouts are different.

Firstly, they’re a lot quicker. Whereas cardio is a drawn-out exercise in which the longer you go, the more you benefit, muscle workouts are often in short bursts of strain on the muscles.

If you’re in the gym, this could be doing things such as bench-pressing, deadlifting weights or using the leg press. If you’re at home, you can also do muscle exercises in things such as press-ups, sit-ups, and squats.

Muscle workouts need to be targeted a lot more than cardio. So, picking certain areas to work on with each workout and making sure all muscles are getting worked on is vital to make sure your exercise is having an effect on the whole body.

The Benefits of Cardio

When going through a body transformation, most people want to lose weight whilst simultaneously building muscle.

Performing cardio exercises is a great way to shed the pounds, with calories potentially being burnt at a rapid speed depending on the intensity of your workout.

It is a great workout for the body and the mind. With proven links to reducing anxiety and depression, the positives for taking a run or going on a bike ride are vast and varied.

It is also a great workout for many of the major organs. Lung strength and capacity increase which in turn means that you can do longer exercises and go further, as well as strengthening the heart and the immune system.

Just as muscle workouts increase the strain on specific muscles, aerobic exercises put a strain on the body (internal and external) and the mind, and getting through these exercises only makes the pressured parts stronger.

The Benefits of Strength Training

If you’re doing muscle training, the main benefit of this is an increase in muscle mass.

But this isn’t the only positive of this form of exercise. As your muscles get bigger, they also get stronger, both in terms of what you can lift and how quickly you can recover.

It is a workout that involves you moving your body and putting areas under strain that don’t often get put under such pressure, and this has a huge effect on the range of movement and power your body can provide.

And it’s not just your muscle that gets stronger, your bones are put under strain as well, and studies have shown this to have a positive effect on bone strength as they grow to be more accustomed to lifting heavy weights.

Like cardio exercises, it isn’t just the body that gets put through a workout but also the mind.

Muscle-building exercises are also known to have a positive effect on a human’s mindset and are also often linked to an increase in confidence and a reduction in anxiety and depression.

So, the two different types of exercise certainly come with many different benefits each, but do they help each other?

Does Cardio Build Muscle?

Cardio is often seen as the enemy of muscle growth. Instead of building muscle, there is an idea that doing aerobic exercises actually reduces muscle mass by using some of your muscles as fuel.

This isn’t necessarily true. Of course, everyone’s body is different, but on the whole, doing cardio shouldn’t affect your muscle mass.

But, it can put a pause on your training.

Cardio can be exhausting, and if you are spending a lot of your time on a bicycle, and not much time in the gym doing other exercises, you aren’t going to be building muscle.

Your muscles need time to recover and getting through 100 quick laps in a swimming pool doesn’t give them that time.

Cardio can help to build up aerobic strength and make your body tough and ready for action, but it doesn’t build muscle strength at the rate of weight training.

It is inevitable though that running five miles will increase some muscle in the legs, just like swimming 50 laps of front crawl will definitely increase core strength in the long run.

Does Weight Training Help You Lose Weight?

If you’re looking to lose weight, then performing cardio exercises is undoubtedly the best option. But that doesn’t mean you should count out muscle training altogether.

Weight training does burn calories. If you did an hour-long strength workout, you would maybe burn 200-300 calories. You can expect to burn double this and more if you were performing cardio, but it isn’t a wasted session in your weight loss journey to be pumping out reps in the gym.

There are other ways muscle training helps you to lose weight. After a muscle workout, studies found a male resting metabolism to rise by 9%, and a female by 4%.

While this isn’t going to have you shopping for smaller trousers in a week, over time it will show an improvement.

Burning calories is about increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat, and weight training will do this, just not to the huge effect of cardio exercises.

Friends, not Foes

What we have here are two forms of exercise that both specialise in one thing.

Cardio is great for losing weight. Strength training is great for building muscle mass.

Together, they can help you achieve goals, but if you want a successful body transformation, you need to think of these as partners, not enemies.

Spreading workouts over the two categories is a great way of shedding weight and also building muscle.

If you can intersperse aerobic exercises with weight training, you will achieve the best of both worlds. You will also find both help each other out. Your running will improve with stronger leg muscles. Your rep count will improve with higher aerobic strength.

Cardio and muscle workouts shouldn’t be looked upon as foes, but friends, and to achieve the body you desire, you must make sure you are doing a bit of both.

Summary

When working out, it is vital you leave your body time to rest. Muscles grow while in recovery, and if you overload your body with stress, you are putting yourself at risk of injury.

Devising a plan to spread your workouts out and share them between the two categories listed above, is the ideal way of taking your body to the next level.

Not sure how to do this? Ask the professionals at The Cut Gym.

From 6-month changes to a 12-week body transformation, we can create a plan to suit your needs.

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2022 TRAINING PACKAGES

Pull Ups

Ensure you can reach the pull up bar without jumping. If you’re unable to place a step underneath the pull up bar.

Grab the pull up bar with approximately 1.5x shoulder width.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Pull yourself towards the bar, once you’ve reached a position when you can pull no further, this is your end range.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start/end position.

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Y Raise

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Face Pull

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cable Lateral raise

Set the cable to its lowest setting using a D handle attachment, then choose the appropriate weight.

 Stand beside the cable station with an extended arm, feet close to the base whilst leaning away from the machine.

 This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Initiating the movement with your shoulders, pull the D handle from beside your leg diagonally to a position which is parallel with the floor.

 Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Dumbbell Lateral raise

Place your dumbbells at the end of the bench, before taking a seat.

Grab your dumbbells with your thumb facing the same direction as your biceps, sit nice and tall.

 This is your start and end position of every repetition.

 Keep your arm in a fixed flexed position throughout the set.

 Initiating the movement with your shoulders, bring the dumbbells to a position which is parallel with the floor.

 Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Set your bench at 90* (or 75* if you struggle to press vertically).

 Sit on the edge of the bench, feet approximately shoulder-width with the dumbbells resting on your thighs, bring the dumbbell in line with your shoulders and elbows facing the floor.  

 This is your start and end position of every repetition.

 Press towards the ceiling, aiming to bring your elbows towards one another without the dumbbells hitting.

 Pause for a moment whilst your arms are fully extended, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Single arm row

Your dumbbell should be roughly a step-in front of you.

Place one knee on the bench, then take a lateral step to create a wide base (approximately shoulder width).

Whichever knee is on the bench, place its corresponding arm on the bench which will place your torso parallel to the floor.

Pick up the dumbbell with your free hand, the dumbbell should be directly below your shoulder.

This is your start and end position of every repletion.

Initiating the movement with your middle back, pull the dumbbell towards your hip.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Cardio Workouts vs. Muscle Training

Place your dumbbell vertically in the head position of your bench.

Grab the dumbbell at the handle with your hands overlapping one another, then create a hinge joint with your shoulder blades and the bench.

Extend your arms so the dumbbell is in line with your head.

Keeping your arms slightly flex (5-10*), allow the dumbbell to move overhead and towards the ground, stopping at a point in which the dumbbell can move no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start/end position.

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Straight arm pull down

 

Set the cable to its highest setting, then attach 2 ropes.

Grab the end of the ropes, then take 2 steps back away from the cable station.

Maintaining a neutral spine, push your hips back and pull your chest forward to create a 45* angle with the floor.

Keep your arms fully extended, pull the ropes towards your waist to a point in which you can’t pull back no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start/end position.

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Chest Supported Row

Set your bench at approximately a 30* angle, then place your dumbbells at the head of your bench.

Pull your chest into the bench, then grab each of your dumbbells.

This is your start and end position for each repetition.

Initiating the movement with your middle back, pull the dumbbells in a diagonal manner towards your waist till you can’t move no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start/end position.

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Leg Extension

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Seated Row

 

Sitting on the machine, make sure your feet are supported.

Reach forward and grip your cable attachment with your palms facing one another.

This would be your start and end position of every repetition.

Keep your torso upright, initiating the movement with your middle back pull your elbows back till you can’t move no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start/end position.

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Lat Pull Down

Set your thigh padding to a position that ensures the sole of your foot doesn’t move, whilst standing grab your attachment and secure yourself under the thigh padding.

This is your start and end position for every repetition.

Leaning back slightly and pull the attachment vertically towards your torso.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to your start/end position.

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Push ups

Starting in a prone position, set your hand just outside shoulder width at a 45 degree angle relative to your torso.

Bring your knees and your hips off the ground, so that your body is in neutral (this is your start and end position for every rep).

Press into the ground until your arms are fully extended, then lower your body in a controlled manner towards the floor.

*Your body should be moving in a synchronised manner.

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Cable Press

Pick the handles and take a seat on your bench, your arms should be in a neutral position.

Extend your arms, so your fist is approximately the same height as your armpit but now rotate so that you’re in a pronated grip (this is your start and end position for every rep).

In a slow controlled manner, you’re going to move your upper arm towards the bench. The upper arm should be in approximately a 45 degree relative to your torso. When you’ve reached a point when your upper arm can move no further, press the handles in the opposite direction of the bench until your arm are fully extended.

*Your bench should be central of the cable station.

*Your handles should be should height

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Cable Fly

Pick the handles and take a seat on your bench, your arms should be in a neutral position.

Extend your arms, so your fist is approximately the same height as your armpit. Your elbow should also be slightly bent (this is your start and end position for every rep).

In a slow controlled manner, you’re going to move your upper arm in a circular movement towards the pulley, before returning to your start/end position.

*Your bench should be central of the cable station.

*Your handles should be shoulder height

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Incline Machine

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Dumbbell Chest Press

Sit on the edge of the bench, feet approximately shoulder-width with the dumbbells resting on your thighs then lie back so that you’re in a supine position on your bench.

Your dumbbells should be above your elbows, whilst your upper arm should be approximately 45 degrees to your torso (this is your start and end position for every rep), palms in the same direction of your feet.

Press the dumbbells towards the ceiling, until your arms are fully extended then lower the dumbbells in a slow controlled manner to your start position.

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Change This to exorcise title

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BarBell Chest Press

Sit on the edge of the bench, feet approximately shoulder-width, lie back so you’re in a supine position. Your eyes should be directly underneath the barbell.

Place your hands on the barbell with an overhand grip, approximately 1.5x shoulder width.

Extend your arms to un rack the bar, slowly set the bar to a position perpendicular of your shoulders (this is your start and end position for every rep).

Lower the barbell in a controlled manner towards your chest, your arms should be approximately 45 degrees to your torso. When you’ve reached a point when the barbell can get no lower press the barbell towards the ceiling, until your arms fully extended.

*If you’re training in a facility where you can set the hooks to your preferred height, choose a height in which when you’re un-racking the bar you’re not protracting/over extending to remove the bar.

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Rfe split squat

Find yourself in a staggered stance approximately in front of a step which should be no greater than 6” high, place your toes on the step and your front foot should be flat. This would be your start and end position for every repetition.

You’re going to allow your rear knee to move towards the floor, whilst your front knee is moving in a motion forward towards your toes.

When your rear knee is close to touching the ground, pause then push through both legs to reverse the motion to the start position.

*If your front heel comes off the ground during your repetitions, adjust your stance.

Starting with bodyweight is appropriate for many on a RFE, or holding on to a squat stand to aid balance.

Repeat for the stated reps in your program before switching sides.

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Split squat

Find yourself in a staggered stance approximately a step forward/back difference, the front foot should be flat and the rear foot should be on the toes (mobility permitting). This would be your start and end position for every repetition.

You’re going to allow your rear knee to move towards the floor, whilst your front knee is moving in a motion forward towards your toes.

When your rear knee is close to touching the ground, pause then push through both legs to reverse the motion to the start position.

Repeat for the stated reps in your program before switching sides.

*If your front heel comes off the ground during your repetitions, adjust your stance.

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Cable crossover

Set the pulley station to above shoulder height on each side, removing any cable attachments.

Grab the left pulley with your right hand, right pulley with your left hand creating a X with the cables.

Retract your shoulder blades, keep your arms in a fixed position then extend your arms to a point they can’t extend no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Seated DB curl

Pick up your dumbbells and sit at the edge of your bench.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your bicep facing the same direction as your knees and toes.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the dumbbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Cable Extension

Set the pulley station to its highest setting, attaching two rope attachments.

Hold the ropes with a neutral grip, in a flexed position.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arms in a fixed position, extending your arm to a point they can’t extend no further.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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DUMBBELL TRICEP EXTENSION

Pick up your dumbbells with a neutral grips, sitting on the edge of the bench.

Lie back, and extending your arm so that its directly in line with your shoulder.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arms in a fixed position, flex your arm allowing the dumbbells to travel towards the side of your head.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Reverse Curl

Load your barbell in your training area.

Pick up your barbell with a shoulder width grip, and palms facing your body.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your bicep facing the same direction as your knees and toes.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the barbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Zotttman Curl

Pick up your dumbbells and sit at the edge of your bench.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your bicep facing the same direction as your knees and toes.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the dumbbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, then rotating your forearm so that your thumbs are facing one another and reverse the movement to the start position.

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Hammer Curl

 

Pick up your dumbbells and sit at the edge of your bench.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your bicep facing the same direction as your knees and toes.

Rotate your forearm so that your thumbs are facing forward.

This is your start and end position of every repetition.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the dumbbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Cable Curl

Set the pulley station to the lowest setting, attaching a cambered bar.

Hold the cambered bar with your palms facing you, then take 3 steps back.

This is your start and end position for each repetition.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your biceps facing forward.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the bar until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Preacher Curl

Place a dumbbell at the head of your bench, then set your bench at approximately 75* angle.

Pick up your dumbbell then place your upper arm-armpit at the head of the bench, with your palm facing you.

This is your start and end position for each repetition.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the dumbbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Spider curl

Place your dumbbells at the head of your bench, then set your bench at approximately a 30* angle

Pull your chest into the bench, then grab each of your dumbbells.

This is your start and end positon for each repetition.

Pull your shoulder blades together, with your biceps facing forward.

Keeping your upper arm in a fixed position, curl the dumbbell until you get to the point in which you’re unable to curl no more.

Pause for a moment, before reversing the movement to the start position.

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Ham curl

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back Squat

Have the bar behind your neck, resting on your shoulders.

Your feet should be approximately shoulder width apart. This will be your start and end position for every repetition.

Start the movement by allowing your knees to move in the same direction of your toes, whilst your hip is moving towards the platform in a synchronised manner. Once you’ve reach the bottom, pause then push through your legs to return to your starting position.

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Step Ups

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glute bridge

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Hip Bridge

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45 Back Extension

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RDL

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Trap bar deadlift

Stand in the middle of the hex/trap bar with your feet in approximately a shoulder width stance.

Maintaining a neutral spine, in a synchronised manner bring your hips towards your calves, whilst also allowing your knees to move in the same direction as your toes. You should be able to grab the handles of the bar, if you’re unable to, raise the bar by placing blocks underneath the plates. This is your start and end position

Take a tight grip of the handles and stand, reverse the movement by allowing your knees to move forward and hips down.

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Alternating lunges

With the dumbbell in your hands and to your sides, find yourself in a position where feet are approximately hip width apart

You’re going to take approximately a dynamic step forward, allowing your front knee to move forward whilst the rear knee moves towards the floor. Without pausing in the bottom position, push through the ground to return to a standing position. This is the start and end of every repetition.

Repeat for the stated reps in your program before switching sides.

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Goblet squat

Hold the Dumbbell in a vertical manner just below your chin, your feet should be approximately shoulder width apart. This will be your start and end position for every repetition.

Start the movement by allowing your knees to move in the same direction of your toes, whilst your hip is moving towards the platform in a synchronised manner. Once you’ve reach the bottom, pause then push through your legs to return to your starting position.

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Hack Squat

Load the weight plates on to the machine, then place your shoulders underneath the pads whilst setting your feet on the platform approximately shoulder-width apart (this is your start and end position for every rep).

Your feet should be a in position which allows you to push through the centre of your feet.

Extend your knees, and take the hack squat off the lock setting. Start the movement by allowing your knees to move in the same direction of your toes, whilst your hip is moving towards the platform in a synchronised manner. Once you’ve reached the bottom, pause then press through the platform to return to your starting/end position.

Repeat for the stated reps in your program before switching sides.

*Focus on keeping your lower back on the back pad, if your back comes of the pad you’ve reached your end range-of-motion.

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