How Much Should You Run if You're Lifting?

Running is a great supplement to weightlifting as it exercises your heart.
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Weightlifting does not train your cardiovascular system as running does. However, for total fitness, aerobic exercise is necessary. Running is a great aerobic supplement to a weightlifting program and it exercises the most important muscle in your body, the heart. How much you should run depends on your weightlifting and fitness goals.


If you are lifting weights for bodybuilding, running is initially not going to be an activity on which you spend much time. Bodybuilders go through a cycle of weight gain that is followed by weight loss. In the "bulking" phase, you workout with very heavy weights and eat excess amounts of food to stimulate muscle growth. Running is not typically associated with this type of lifting regimen.

However, once you have have bulked, you may next go through a "cutting" phase. The purpose of this phase is to lose excess body fat to attain leanness. After this is successfully accomplished, you will get a "ripped" look. Running during the cutting phase is an effective way to shred extra body fat. You have several running methods from which to choose. Despite common beliefs, you can still run and add muscle mass. You just have to find a balance where your goal is not being frustrated by too much running.

Strength Training

Lifting weights for strength training does not require the cycling that bodybuilding does. It is also an effective way of losing weight. While you may gain muscle through strength training, accumulating large amounts of muscle is not typically the goal. Thus, there is no reason not to run as much as you like.

Strength training is an effective way to lose weight because, pound for pound, muscle burns more calories than fat stores. So, by adding small amounts of lean muscle, you will burn more calories even when doing nothing. When muscles are used in running, they burn even more calories.

If you are strength training, you may run as much as you want. In fact, it is possible to train for a marathon while regularly lifting weights. Thus, you can run 30 miles per week or more. By correctly using a combination of strength training, proper diet and running, you will create a lean body.

Running Methods

There are different methods of running depending on your goal. The slower you run, the more fat you burn. However, the total number of calories burned may be low. Long, slow distance running burns a constant stream of fat but it should be done for at least 45 minutes.

Short, high intensity running burns a higher ratio of carbohydrates compared to fat. High intensity interval training (HIIT) requires running at close to top speed for one minute, followed by two minutes of light jogging, up to eight times. HIIT workouts can be completed in 25 minutes or less.

Both of these methods work and stress your cardiovascular system differently and they are both beneficial.


Depending on your fitness goals, you may find one or both of these methods appealing. For overall cardiovascular health, do them regularly as they have distinctly positive health benefits. A great way to do this is to work several high intensity intervals into a distance run.

How far or much you run depends on your weightlifting and fitness goals.

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