What burns more calories lifting or cardio


Exercises are a key component to staying healthy and many people look for information on which type of exercise provides the most beneficial results. When researching different types of exercise, cardio and lifting often come up as two of the most popular activities. So, which burns more calories – lifting or cardio?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as it depends on various factors including your current fitness level, available time and intensity of the workout. Both cardio and weightlifting have their own unique benefits in terms of weight loss, muscle tone, increasing metabolism and overall health benefits. It is important to evaluate the pros and cons of both activities before choosing a workout regime that suits your individual needs.

Cardio workouts involve activities such as running, swimming or cycling for long periods at a time with ample rest between sessions. These exercises are effective at increasing heart rate during higher intensity levels and promoting cardiovascular health. On the other hand, resistance training requires heavier outer weights with fewer reps while aiming to strengthen muscles using gravity or body resistance. This type of exercise may prove to be more difficult depending on an individual’s level of physical fitness yet can be incredibly rewarding in terms of maintaining functional strength within our later years in life.


When it comes to burning calories, cardio has a long-proven track record of success. It’s the most effective way to quickly torch calories, as well as build endurance for muscle growth and stability. Cardio offers a range of health benefits, from improving heart health to building bone density. In addition, it has been shown to burn more calories than lifting weights. Let’s take a closer look at why this is so.

Types of Cardio

Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any exercise that increases your heart rate. Such activities are not limited to activities like running or biking but can also include playing a sports game, participating in cardio classes at the gym, or taking a brisk walk. It’s essential for improving your estimated cardiac output and overall fitness level.

There are various types of cardio exercises that can be tailored to different goals. Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity periods; this form of cardio is typically done in short bursts over brief intervals of about 20 minutes and is often used for performance improvements as well as fat burning. Steady state cardio involves keeping your heart rate up for an extended period, usually 40 minutes or more; this type of activity is beneficial for overall fitness gains and has been linked with better health outcomes.

Any activity that gets you moving and elevates your heart rate can be considered a form of cardio. Variety is key when it comes to getting stronger; thus, it’s important to switch up your routine by trying rowing machines, swimming laps, jumping rope and even taking kickboxing classes at the gym to achieve different goals and keep workouts interesting.

Benefits of Cardio

Cardio is an essential exercise for good health. Not only does it help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also reduce your risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. It can even improve your mental health and reduce stress.

One of the primary benefits of cardio exercise is that it increases your metabolic rate, which means you’ll continue to burn more calories even after the workout has ended. Additionally, since cardio burns so many more calories per session than strength training (up to nine times more), you’ll see results much faster with high-intensity workouts like running or stair-climbing.

Other cardiorespiratory benefits include:

  • Strengthening the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Improving lung function.
  • Lowering blood pressure.
  • Improving arterial health.
  • Reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

Plus, by having a regular conditioning program in place for cardiovascular activities such as running or swimming, you won’t be as susceptible to injury during sports or other strenuous activities that could happen without any warning.

Calories Burned with Cardio

Cardio activities such as running, biking, swimming and step aerobics as well as activities that increase your heart rate like jump rope, raking leaves and speed walking can all help you burn calories quickly. However, how many calories you burn depends on several factors, including the duration and intensity of the activity. For example, a 155-pound person who runs for 30 minutes at 6 miles per hour will burn about 360 calories. That same person who walks for 30 minutes at 3.5 miles per hour will only burn about 154 calories in the same amount of time.

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight then cardio is a good option. High-intensity cardio workouts where your heart rate is elevated are particularly effective because they can help you achieve high levels of calorie burning while still being time efficient.

If you’re wondering what burns more calories lifting or cardio? Cardio typically burns more calories than lifting weights in the same amount of time but don’t forget that both are important components of an effective exercise program and should be combined together to reach your goals.

Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is a great way to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. You can lift heavier weights and use more muscles with weight training, which will result in more calories burned and faster results. Weight lifting also helps to build muscle and improve your overall strength.

Let’s look closer at how weight lifting can help you burn more calories:

Types of Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is a great form of exercise that can be used to help build muscle, strengthen bones, and create overall better physical health. However, it also has great benefits when it comes to calorie burning. Weight lifting can burn more calories than traditional cardio exercises such as running and jogging as the metabolic cost of lifting is higher than that of running due to its nature of resistance-based training.

Weightlifting also helps increase lean body mass which in turn increases the calories you burn during exercise. Different types of weightlifting exercises will offer different results when it comes to calorie burning; for example, compound lifts tend to burn more calories per minute than isolation exercises. As such, it is important to know the different types of weightlifting exercises so you can plan your workouts for maximum calorie burning potential.

Types of weightlifting include:

  • Compound Moves: Exercises that use multiple muscle groups or joints in order to lift the weights such as squats, deadlifts, rows, presses and pull ups.
  • Isolation Exercises: Exercises that target one specific muscle group or joint in order to lift the weights such as curls, tricep extensions and calf raises.
  • Interval Training: A combination of interval cardio paired with strength training moves such as burpees paired with bicep curls or squat jumps paired with lunges for example for a maximum calorie burn effect.
  • Supersets: Combining two different exercises back-to-back without rest between them in order to get an elevated heart rate and larger calorie burn compared with performing the same move alone. Examples include bicep curls followed by tricep extensions or squats coupled with pushups; this form helps keep your muscles under tension longer which increases endorphin release while burning more calories than normal while helping build lean muscle faster too.

Benefits of Weight Lifting

Weight lifting exercises are a great way to improve your overall health and fitness. Lifting weights can enhance your self-confidence, reduce stress, build muscle, strengthen bones and joints, boost metabolism, reduce risk of injury and chronic disease, improve posture and balance. It can also help with improving your cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Weight lifting not only helps you look better but it can help prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes as well.

Weight lifting exercises involve using weights to create external resistance in order to work specific muscle groups. These activities use various motion patterns that are both beneficial to the muscles being worked as well as the joints that those muscles move. When done correctly weight lifting exercises will increase strength, power, muscular endurance and even muscle size if that is desired by an individual seeking such results. Furthermore, muscle growth has been shown to increase strength in tendons which assist with joint stability leading to improved posture and balance along with a reduced risk of injury from everyday activities.

Overall it is clear that weight lifting produces numerous physical benefits when done correctly and consistently. Making sure you understand proper form will further ensure a safe workout experience while maximizing the potential of the lifts you do choose for your routine.

Calories Burned with Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is often seen as a way to build muscle and gain strength. However, when done in a challenging and energetic way, weight lifting can also be an effective form of cardio that burns calories and leads to weight loss. Many people are not aware that lifting weights can be an aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate and metabolism, which can lead to greater fat loss. According to the Harvard Medical School, a vigorous-intensity weightlifting session can burn between 257 to 481 calories for an average 143-pound person.

The amount of calories burned depends on several factors including body type, intensity of the activity and duration. To maximize calorie burn during a weight lifting routine, focus on performing compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses at a higher volume (more repetitions) with shorter rest intervals in between sets. This will keep your heart rate up and create more of an aerobic effect from the exercise, allowing you to burn more calories than traditional balance or isolation exercises. Additionally focusing on quick movements with light weights for 45 minutes or more will increase calorie burn as well as build muscular endurance.

Another way to increase calorie burn is by adding intense cardio bursts such as high knees or burpees in between sets instead of resting completely during the workout, then progressing back into another set with weights again. For example you could perform 60 seconds of high knees then pick up the dumbbells again after resting 30–45 seconds depending on how long each set takes you originally. By doing this you are combining cardiovascular training with strength training resulting in even higher caloric expenditure compared to just conventional cardio alone or just weightlifting alone done separately at separate intervals in one day’s workout session!


Deciding between lifting and cardio can be a difficult decision when you are looking to burn calories and improve your health. Both activities have different benefits, and each one has its own pros and cons. Let’s compare the two and see which one of them burns more calories.

Short-Term Calorie Burn

Calories are units of energy our bodies use to fuel everyday activities like walking and talking. We can measure our calorie burning potential through short-term exercises such as weight training and sprinting.

These short-term exercises require a significant expenditure of energy over a short amount of time and can help to increase your rate of calorie burn both during and after exercising.

  • Weight Training: Weight training is considered an anaerobic exercise because it involves moderate to high intensity muscle contractions without the use of oxygen. Studies show that weight training increases your metabolism for major organs like the heart and muscles, resulting in higher caloric burn for up to 38 hours afterwards. Comparable aerobic activity yields an extra calorie burn for about 12-18 hours following exercise.
  • Sprinting: Sprinting is one of the most popular forms of cardio, especially with athletes looking to build peak conditioning. This type of activity requires strenuous bursts of energy that yield immediate results, boosting your average per-minute caloric burn rate significantly during exercise and staying elevated for up to 48 hours afterwards. Studies also suggest that sprinting leads to increases in lean muscle mass, further contributing to a higher overall metabolic rate over time.

Long-Term Calorie Burn

When considering strategies to lose or maintain weight, it is important to evaluate not only short-term calorie burn but also long-term calorie burn, which involves the amount of calories your body continues to burn even after a period of exercise has ended. The two main types of exercise that contribute to calorie burn are aerobic and anaerobic, and each type leads to different kinds of long-term benefits.

Aerobic exercise is defined as any activity lasting for more than one minute that involves large muscle movement and raised heart rate. Examples of aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and rowing. Because these activities require a higher level of energy expenditure over an extended period of time, they are able to dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you burn more calories over an extended period after you’re done exercising. Overall you can expect roughly 8%-15% increased metabolism for up to 24 hours post-exercise due the the caloric expenditure associated with performing aerobic exercises.

Anaerobic activities involve short bursts of energy such as sprinting or powerlifting weights. Anaerobic activities tend to be highly intense but occur in quick bursts before needing rest; as such, though they do not raise your heart rate at a sustained level requiring oxygen intake unlike with aerobic activity they do quickly create tiny tears in muscle fibers leading them grow stronger and become more efficient at utilizing the fuel (calories) available in your body after workout has ended resulting in elevated caloric expenditure post-exercise lasting up 24 hours depending on how strenuous activity was – allowing for roughly 4%-8% increased metabolism during metabolic recovery process.


When it comes to burning more calories, cardiorespiratory exercise and strength-training are both effective. Studies show that cardio provides the biggest calorie-burning benefit, over strength training alone. That being said, it’s best to mix up your fitness routine with a combination of the two in order to optimize results and weight loss.

It’s also important to remember that exercise is only one part of living a healthy lifestyle. Fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods and getting enough rest are just as important for your long-term health and weight loss plan. So keep at it—no matter what type of workouts you choose to do—your body will thank you for it!