Weight training also effective aerobic conditioning?

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  • #9030

    With four months of weight training with no additional intentional cardio aerobic training, I was curious how much this weight training alone might also be enhancing my cardio. I’d been checking my heart rate between sets to determine when I’d rested enough to begin the next set (<130 bpm) and seeing that elevated HR pace I’d suspected I was getting a serious cardio workout, too.

    So, I got a Polar HR monitor and have for the last month recorded my, twice a week, 2+ hour long workouts. These workouts are not steady, but more like intervals, with high intensity sets followed by couple minutes of rest in between, often essential just to catch my breath, too.

    The monitor history typically shows a maximum HR (two dozen spikes) for the sessions of just over 180 bpm and an average for the whole two plus hours of around 145 bpm. My morning resting HR is in the mid 50’s, BP 105/60, and I’m 63 yrs old.

    My question is, do these numbers sound like I’m already onto a very solid cardio workout program just via the pace and intensity of my strength training regimen alone, without a need for also adding a cycle or running component? Hopefully, it’s a viable cardio strategy as it is now, cause I’m not eager to risk over taxing my recovery piling on even more cardio.

    Also, any clue what zone I’m probably training in now when averaging 145 bpm for two plus hours at my age?

    Thanks for any insights.
    – Shane

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #9048


    How much of an aerobic training effect you get from your gym weight lifting sessions depends on your fitness level. If you are fairly unfit then any stimulus to the aerobic system will be positive. A well trained endurance athlete will get much less benefit to his sport (unless it is gym weight lifting) from this type of training. This accounts for the hype surrounding the fitness fads of high intensity interval training done in a gym setting using weights. They are sold to an unsuspecting public as accomplishing the same thing as basic, tradition long duration low intensity workouts but in much less time. THEY DON’T.

    What you are doing is called Muscular Endurance training which has been a staple of endurance training for decades. But it is used in conjunction with and as a supplement to, long duration low to moderate intensity aerobic base training……Not as a replacement for this base training.

    You can see gains for sure this way. One way to tell how much aerobic benefit it is having is to do a time trial at the start of such a program of HIIT and then repeat the TT 8-12 weeks later. If you see a gain in performance then you have your answer. Chances are good you will see a gain over the short term. However you will never maximize your endurance potential longer term with this approach. We have written a book about this this called Training for the New Alpinism and you might want to read the physiology chapter. You also might want to watch this video lecture I did last November. https://www.facebook.com/uphillathlete/videos/1207164636050638/

    I hope this helps.

    shane on #9054

    Scott, Thank you for the response, will check out the link and book.

    – Shane

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