Strength Training vs Cardio: What’s better?

It’s your first day at the gym, you are prepared to sweat it out, but where do you start? The age old dilemma hits newcomers the first — what’s better: cardio or strength training exercises? Well, the answer is both.

There have been a lot of debates and discussions regarding this, but the important thing to keep in mind is how each one works on your body. If you ask me, I’d say maintaining balance between the two is the most important thing to keep in mind.

What is the difference between Strength Training and Cardio?

Cardio is associated with running and other types of aerobic exercises, but the simplest way to understand it is — it is any exercise that increases your heart rate. They are usually perceived as the kind of workouts that burn the most amount of fat, so some people make the mistake of thinking of it as a shortcut to lose weight quickly.

In doing so, if you’re going to neglect the muscles in your body, it’s really a very lop-sided approach. In the longer run, it is strength training that gives you multiple benefits — it improves your overall toughness of bone and muscles.

I’m sure these terms sound a tad bit too overwhelming, but it is really important to learn about them properly so that you can divide your fitness schedule according to the benefits of each type of exercise. Let’s take a look at what cardio and strength training exercises are all about.

Strength Training Exercises

Triceps Working

Strength Training is all about challenging your muscles to tone and sculpt them. It also includes getting stronger in your everyday routine: lifting groceries and carrying bags becomes a whole lot easier.

In these types of exercises, muscular force is supposed to be used against resistance. For that, you can lift any object around you that has enough mass — dumbbells, logs or even rocks. Weight lifting can be used as a wider term to describe these exercises, but some of them also include the usage of bands and other machines. Overall, it will help your upper body i.e. shoulders, chest, and back region strong and muscular. As we get older, our skeletal muscles start to reduce. Weight lifting can help you halt that process or even reverse it completely.

Because it works on muscles, there is a general myth that it makes women bulky. I’ve come across hundreds of women who shy away from lifting up weights or who only use lighter weights, for the fear of developing a physique like Hulk. But it must be noted that it is testosterone that is responsible for muscle growth. Men have almost 15 to 20 times more testosterone than women; so it’ll take a lot of hard work, food intake and effort even if your actual goal is to become more bulky.

Also, while opting for lifting weights, be warned about your bodily limits and only pick the ones that you are comfortable with. Over a period of time, you should be moving onto to the heavier ones to challenge yourself, but a quick jump is not at all advisable. Strength exercises should be taken up by everyone according to their capacity, but anyone looking to get some abs and biceps, definitely has to primarily focus on them.Most of them focus on abs workout thinking that’s the only way to get flat belly.

Overall benefits

  • Makes you stronger
  • Enhances your muscle mass and endurance capacity
  • Improves bone density
  • Improves toughness in ligament, tendon, bone and muscles
  • Accelerates metabolism during recovery
  • Tones the muscles and helps in inch loss
  • Improves the mind-body balance
  • Improves focus and concentration

Cardio Exercises


Cardio exercises focus on making your heart beat faster, so it includes all activities like walking, running, stair climbing, cycling and others. First, these exercises burn out the glycogen in your liver, then fat. It is a sure shot way of making sure your heart is up and pumping, and that it works more efficiently.

Just like with strength training exercise, it is important to start small with cardio exercises, and increase the intensity only over a period of time. Brisk walking or slow jogging, whatever fits your comfort, begin there.

Overall benefits

  • Helps in burning fat and weight reduction
  • Reduce Blood Pressure and cholesterol
  • Increase bone density
  • Improves immunity
  • Strengthens lungs
  • Reduces the risk of heart diseases

Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of these exercises, make sure you include both in your routine, according to your fitness needs. And don’t forget to stay motivated!