What are the benefits of strength training with cardio exercise?

May 16, 2019

To ensure a well-balanced workout plan, it’s important to incorporate strength training with cardiovascular exercise to establish a better aerobic workout.

Molly Tatum, DO, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon that works with the Sports Medicine team at Kettering Health Network, explains the benefits:

Bone and joint health

Strength training creates healthier joints by making the ligaments and tendons responsible for supporting the joint stronger. Regular strength training also lubricates the joint, creating healthier cartilage. Bone health is improved because strength training applies a therapeutic amount of stress on bones, which results in stronger, more dense bones, decreasing your risk of osteoporosis.


Strength training helps us maintain mobility as we age. It improves balance, stability, and coordination by strengthening core muscle groups that help us do everyday activities.

Increased calorie burn

Strength training increases calorie burn and can potentially help you lose weight.

How much weight should I use?

“The amount of weight you use for strength training is not important. You can use only your body weight and still build strength,” says Dr. Tatum. “Exercises like squats, lunges, and even holding your arms out in space for an extended period of time can build strength.”

Dr. Tatum recommends using what you have at home. “You don’t need a gym membership or fancy weight training equipment. You can use jars, canned goods, or anything that has some weight to it,” says Dr. Tatum.

How do I get started?

Dr. Tatum recommends strength training each muscle group at least three nonconsecutive days per week. Target all the large muscle groups—hips, thighs, legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and abdomen.

If you’re concerned about bulking up, Dr. Tatum assures that it takes a lot of effort to build bulky muscle. “If you’re looking to just tone your muscles, use a lower weight and perform more repetitions. Bulky muscle is built through more weight and fewer repetitions.”

If you’re unsure of where to start, talk to your physician, physical therapist, or a certified strength trainer to get ideas on how to begin and to ensure proper form. If something hurts while doing an exercise, you may not be performing it correctly. “To prevent injury, you should not push through pain. Mild soreness can be normal when starting a new exercise program, but pain can mean your form is incorrect or something else is wrong,” says Dr. Tatum. “Muscle soreness is expected for a couple of days. If you have any pain lasting more than 48-72 hours that isn’t improving each day, it is a cause for concern, and there might be an injury.”

If you’ve been cautioned on other exercise programs in the past, talk to your doctor before beginning any physical exercise regimen. If you’re recovering from an injury, be sure to check with your doctor about what exercises you can do and what to avoid.

To view a list of Kettering Health Network Sports Medicine programs and locations, visit ketteringhealth.org/sportsmed