Utilizing Cardio Effectively & Sustainably in a Weight Training Program

June 8th, 2022
Train with us!
Train with us!

By: Reilly Harris, ACSM

How to Implement with Your Clients:

  • Start small and assign a cardio warm-up Activity before their weight training session.
  • Discuss their target H.R. zone and use the Apple Health integration to stay on pace.
  • Track their progress in Strava and set cardio P.R.s to make things interesting!

Do you have a client who constantly nails their workouts in the weight room, but can't quite seem to bring themself to do cardio? I'll admit, I myself will always pick lifting over a run or bike ride if I've got the choice.

Or maybe there's a client who's got lots of gym experience but is entirely new to cardio. Whatever the case may be, cardio is an essential complement to weight training in a holistic fitness plan. Here are a few strategies to help incorporate cardio effectively and sustainably into a weight training program:

Assign Cardio as Part of a Warm-Up Routine

Someone who is reluctant or new to cardio may see a separate cardio workout as "replacing" their preferred weightlifting session, leading to reduced adherence. But if you assign cardio training as part of their warm-up for a lifting day, they're less likely to skip out on it.

Start Small

Not everybody wants to become an endurance athlete. Start off with a short session (e.g., fifteen minutes on the bike, one mile of jogging at their own pace, a 10-minute bodyweight H.I.I.T. session) to program a realistic and beneficial quantity of cardio training without being off-putting. You can always build up from there.

Use Target H.R. Zones to Set Intensity Goals

Establish the proper intensity level for your client's specific goal, and educate them on how to check in on it! Should they use a talk test while biking? Can they glance at their heart rate on their Apple Watch during a run to see if they need to pick up the pace? We can see target heart rate data in the Trainer app, but if a client doesn't know that's even a metric we use, they'll be flying blind.

Gamify It!

If your client is motivated by unlocking new skill achievements, have them aim for cardio P.R.s. Beat their previous time on a mile, go for more distance on the bike in 15 minutes, and try to rank on leaderboards for specific routes in Strava. This will give their cardio training a sense of direction.

Train with us!Train with us!