Cardio WITH strength improvemnts - what works for you?

geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
I was doing a lot of cardio when at a deficit, but toned down the running, now going to a 'lean bulk'.

Vaguely planning to do a 12k obstacle/mud run in a couple of weeks. If so, really should get some running practice in.

Did a quick 5k with some other stuff thrown in and my lifts really seemed to suffer the next day. (Modified starting strength.)

What have you found works best as far as improving cardio and not letting that too negatively affect strength gains?

I'm thinking it might actually work out better to do the weights earlier, then a rest, then the cardio on the same day and leave the next day purely for recovery.

(Edit - title makes less sense as had to shorten it - I'm looking to get both strength improvements while pepping up my running performance too.)


  • Bobble96
    Bobble96 Posts: 2
    I am no expert but I can tell you what works for me. For cardio with strength and the post, I assume that muscle endurance is the main thing. Personally, I find that doing a long bike or row on a hill setting or similar works, followed by some high rep weights on a low weight. Start on a low level and build your way up. Shouldn't put on too much muscle mass, whilst getting stronger and fitter. Hope I have been of a help. Doing this every other day seems to work, but low rest period seems to work for me.

    P.S sorry, these suggestions are only of use if you are a member at a gym
  • PJPrimrose
    PJPrimrose Posts: 916 Member
    If you want to build muscle correctly you'll need a program. My sport is cardio heavy. I wanted to add muscle. They recommended "Starting Strength" on this forum. It's working so far.
  • DavidMartinez2
    DavidMartinez2 Posts: 840 Member
    I used to do several of the p90x workouts a couple of times a week in conjunction with running; I also had some good success with some cross-fit workouts. Those were good for maintaining the muscle I already have, if you want to add muscle you will have to move to weight room.
  • KMasz
    KMasz Posts: 2,459 Member
    For the past couple of months, I've been following new rules of lifting for women. I run during the day at work and then lift after work on the same day, three times a week. That also leaves room for a run on the weekends, or hiking cuz I like to hike. It works for me because my muscles won't get sore from running in that time span, so I'm not sure if it would work for you or not.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,655 Member
    In my experience, SS and lots of cardio do not mix well at all. When I did SS and trying to keep up my cardio I had the same problem...just couldn't recover. Ultimately I just had to prioritize and at that time I made lifting my primary focus because I really wanted those linear strength gains...with just enough cardio to maintain a decent base...which meant basically no more than a 3 mile run a couple of days per week or nice slowish bike ride to flush out my legs and a lot of walking.

    Ultimately I moved to Wendler's 5/3/1 program...all of the squatting and dead-lifting with SS was definitely getting me strong, but pretty much leaving me wasted to do anything else, even as minimal as I was already doing those things...really, I decided I just needed a more balanced fitness regimen at that point and Wendler's program provided that.

    I still use his program now and I pretty much cycle every 3 months or so between a bigger emphasis on the weight room and a bigger emphasis on my cardiovascular fitness...namely my bike. I've pretty much made it coincide with the seasons at this point...

    June, July, & August I hit the weight room hard where I can be in the A/C and then I just do a little swimming here and there and early morning sunrise walks with my dog...and a 20 mile ride a couple times per week in the early AM before it's hot...I usually do those on lifting days but I have all day to recover as I lift in the evening.

    Sept, Oct, & Nov I only lift 2x weekly and do 1x weekly of hard conditioning and spend more time out on the cyclocross track...hopefully this year I'll not be injured and actually be able to get into some races.

    Dec, Jan, & Feb my *kitten* is inside lifting because it's frackin' cold out. March, April, and May I'm usually working on my cycling endurance and putting in a good 80 - 100 miles per week during those few months. Then I'm back to summer and hitting the weight room again.

    To that end though, I'm not really trying to bulk on mass...most people I know who are really trying to bulk don't do much in the way of cardio...they have to eat too much and it makes it difficult to do an effective bulk.
  • stuffinmuffin
    stuffinmuffin Posts: 986 Member
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Cheers for the thoughts all.

    A little background - from 1st december for 20 weeks I averaged a 2lb/week loss. I decided to do more cardio at this time as I knew the 3.5x starting strength based workouts I did a week would only lead to maintaing strength at best. (Actually, I peaked 5RMs at about weak 3 of my deficit!)
    Did a fair bit of running moderate pace 10ks or so - when I was looiking after a friend's dog I averaged 9k a night for 11 days at one point. Also did a 32 mile trail ultra marathon on the spur of the moment sort of thing.
    Now that I'm moving to my 'lean bulk' (aiming for .5lb / week gain with as little fat as possible, of course), I was going to generally drop the cardio down. BUT, been meaning to do a mud/obstacle race and there happens to be one ideally located halfway to my mum's house from me in two weeks and I've been promising to go and do some work there anyway.

    In order:
    Bobble: Sorry, my edit made of the title made it a little confusing.
    At the moment my main goal is body composition via weights, but short term goal is to get some practice in for this event.

    Primrose: Yep, as noted in the OP, doing a modified starting strength (3 day routine with pull ups and dips - for rock climbing, but also appropriate for this event, I'd say!)

    David: As above, I do weights regularly - have my own Olympic weights setup, despite that I'm currently living out of a campervan on a campsite while contracting at the other end of the country!

    Masz: See below for what I've noted before.

    wolfman:some interesting stuff there.
    I've wondered about moving to something like that, though should have some more to go on my current routine - not even at my proper surplus yet as slowly building in to it.
    I consider 'eating too much' a significant positive :). I ate just under 4000 calories on Saturday and that was my 1000 calorie down non-workout day!

    For myself when on a deficit, it's often seemed that cardio earlier in the day with a good gap can work quite well - or doing weights earlier and cardio later. Plenty of time to eat and restore energy levels. According to the 'strength standards' website I'm somewhere between 'intermediate' and 'advanced' for my lifts/weight - not that it means much.
    Unfortunately, now that I'm a contractor rather than working for myself with my weights directly to hand, I can't be doing weight at 2pm inbetween getting some work done.
    It did seem to work focusing on cardio more while at a deficit.

    Oh and should anyone come along at a later date and be interested - the ultra marathon knocked about 10% of my squat, which didn't recover until I plateaued on weight loss - one of the reasons I could tell I had was that my lifts were imrpoving!
  • geebusuk
    geebusuk Posts: 3,348 Member
    Saw the lowest figures for a while on the scale this morning (a smidge over 170lb, though knocking it and trying again popped it up to 171.4, which I recorded).

    I started moving to a bulk slightly earlier than intended (had aimed for 168lb, which is 12 stone in brit-money - but my weight loss stopped and my weight lifting was improving.

    I've been upping my calories by 250 a day each 7 days and I think my BMR is catching up now too, maybe - so lower weight, but again lifts weren't great today, despite a fairly relaxed day yesterday. Up another 250 calories tomorrow.

    Did a half hour run with some 'HIIT' style stuff thrown in a few hours after my weights today. Managed to get a decent load of carbs in, at least - 680g or so I think it was. Got two and a half hours cycling tomorrow, which probably isn't going to help - but does mean I get to eat a good bit of food :).