What’s Better For You: Strength or Cardio?

What’s Better For You: Strength or Cardio?

It’s the age old debate for fitness. Should you focus more on strength or cardio for your fitness?

Strength training is notorious for building muscle that helps you perform better, run faster and prevent injuries. Because the lack of impact movements, it’s safer to train this way if you have a history of knee or back pain too.

A comprehensive plan would include movements like squats and deadlifts for the lower body. For the upper body, include rows, bench press (or push-ups), overhead press, core and pull-ups. Doing at least 3-4 sets of each movement once or twice a week will help you be strong and ready for anything that life throws at you. 

What about cardio?

Cardiovascular training is essential to improving endurance, fitness and heart health. Some of the recommended forms include running, sprints, and circuits such as high intensity interval training (HIIT). There’s benefits to performing intervals over endurance such as a higher rate of muscle retention and more stored fat being lost or kept off. But an optimal fitness program includes both. 

So back to the original question: which is best for you: cardio or strength?


Far too often people focus too much time on one area of fitness without taking a well balanced approach.

At Faster Fitness we say there’s three components to fitness: Strength, Endurance and Mobility, which is having good posture and range of motion at all muscles and joints throughout the body.

If you lack in any of these categories it will affect the other. Here’s a few examples: 

By adding more interval training to your program it will minimize your need for rest between sets of strength training. Now you can challenge your muscles harder and add more volume (sets and exercises) to take your fitness even higher. 

On the flip side, if you have excellent endurance but don’t do strength training, you’ll probably be fairly weak in the upper body and lacking power in the lower body. This can effect your running speed, but will also show up in sand volleyball, hiking trips and other activities. A lack of strength can also lead to the dreaded “skinny fat” that everyone wants to avoid.

Finally, if your posture or mobility is poor then you won’t be able to perform strength movements properly, negating much of the benefits. By focusing on foam rolling and stretching you can improve this and get the most out of every session.

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Quad Stretch

So ask yourself this question:

Between strength, endurance and mobility, what area do you need to focus on the most?

Make that be your priority for the next 4-8 weeks and watch how it impacts the rest of your training and life.

If you’d like to have a coach help you determine where you have room for improvement, click “request more information” below. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.