For some people, cardio is just not in the cards. But if you’re strength training and your workout is achieving the goals you want, is it enough for your heart health?
Turns out, yes, if you’re doing it right. Strength training absolutely increases your heart rate, and it is possible to boost your aerobic fitness with it, especially with high-intensity resistance training. Research has shown that lifting heavy weights vigorously can improve your heart-rate recovery (how long it takes for your heart to slow back down—another measure of fitness), decrease your blood pressure, and enhance blood vessel and artery function. (The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)
Make sure when you’re lifting that it feels more difficult than activities in your daily life, that you rest less than one minute between exercises or sets, and that the whole session lasts at least 30 minutes. Performing two or more moves one after another with minimal or no rest—and doing full-body circuits—improves blood flow and heart-rate recovery the most.