T Nation

Weight Training and Aerobic Capacity


I thought somebody might find this interesting. I have been doing a ton of walking the past 6 months handing out fliers for my budding computer repair business which amounts to a lot of low intensity cardio. Because of this I haven't done any actual cardio at all during that time, except for warmups.

This morning for the hell of it I jumped on my stationery bike just to see where I was at. To my mild surprise I wound up doing 30 minutes on the same resistance at the same speed I used to only my heart rate was 20-25 bpm lower and I literally barely broke a sweat. During this time I've been doing very tough workouts which DO get my heart rate up to say the least.

My point is directed at people who may believe that hard weight training does not significantly improve aerobic capacity. I'm not saying I'm ready for a marathon or the Tour De France, but clearly my aerobic capacity improved noticeably. This wasn't Earth shattering news to me, but I was little surprised at how much.


In my opinion I think you are under estimating the impact the walking has had. I have found that a lot of walking even at a moderate or low level of intensity can improve VO2 max significantly over time. I am not saying that your other workouts don't count or didn't have an effect but constant regular walking does make a difference in the VO2 maxes in the 40-50ish range.


I have to agree with this. I use to run, at a decent pace, for up to an hour but stopped when i realised it was unnecessary and keeping me skinny.

Dropped back to weights and 1-2 sessions of HIIT. Now entering bball preseason, coach decides on a long run, which I find easy and was able to run at a pace faster than before.


Yeah huh? I wouldn't have thought the walking would make too much of an impact, but I don't know everything. I ride the bike at 85-90 rpm with some magnetic resistance. It's quite a bit more intensive than walking. I would've thought hard breathing sweaty weight training would have more of an effect, but I could be wrong.


Hard wieght training does not significantly increase your VO2 max; however, with all the low cardio you are doing; that would have an impact. There are numerous studies that indicate even circuit training will not significantly increase VO2 max. If you want to increase your VO2 max, your bet is to combine the two (cardio and lifting) which you are doing. Not to say that lifting wont increase endurance though as anyone who has done 20 squats or deadlifts can attest; it just wont raise your VO2 max that much (running does a better job).

Where most people make there mistake; is trying to combine the two using "high intensity" long aerobic sessions with long high intensity lifting. The two do not go together in this case as strengh will be compromised (though endurance will not). however, if your aerobic sessions are shorter and of reasonable intensity or really low intensity such as you are doing; the two do work together.


I could be wrong as well. However, I believe you have been around for a while and I would assume you have been lifting hard for a while so I would think that your VO2 max would already be pretty decent from lifting (basically as good as it was going to get) unless you radically changed your weight training workouts.

I know when I walked a ton to lose weight my VO2 max shot up. If you have lost weight as well that is a double whammy. Just something to consider. You will find out for sure if/when you stop walking as I will assume you won't stop lifting.