The Truth on Fitness: Strength = Cardio

C  mfottler My Documents My Pictures Blog InstituteLogo resized 600Two general types of exercise predominate the fitness environment; strength training and cardiovascular exercise.  In fact, most people treat these as two completely distinct categories, and gyms typically keep strength and cardio equipment well separated.

Interestingly enough, strength training has a cardiovascular benefit too.  Consider, for a moment, that the heart, as a muscle, is responsible for delivering blood and oxygen to the working muscles.  Those muscles are obviously working while we exercise on cardiovascular devices, such as treadmills and bikes, but they also work when we’re performing strength exercises.

The difference is that cardio exercise lasts for at least 20 minutes, while strength exercises typically end after 30 seconds.  The intensity may be high enough to stimulate heart rate changes, but the duration may be too short to have real cardio benefits.  One way to combine the effects is to treat a strength exercise more like a cardio exercise. Instead of performing three sets of ten repetitions, try doing one, sixty-second set.  Your heart rate is sure to elevate, and your strength will increase too.

If you want to read more about the similarities between strength and cardio exercise, check out the full article at CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science.

Paul M. Juris, Ed.D.
Executive Director, CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science 

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Dr. Juris earned his Doctorate in Motor Learning from Columbia University in 1993, followed by a variety of positions in higher education, rehabilitative medicine, professional sports, and fitness. Paul Juris, Ed.D. was named Executive Director of the CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science in January of 2007.


Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a pre-existing medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.

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