Strength Training vs HIIT: Which One Is Better and More Effective?

hiit vs strength training

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) became the most popular approach to train in the fitness industry at the beginning of the last decade. 

It was quick, tough, effective, and seductive all at once. It was the go-to for exercises, and for many of us, it was the only way to train. 

Strength training, on the other hand, got lost in the shuffle, and we were made to believe that lifting a few weights during a HIIT session would suffice. 

Because many of us sought the sense of complete exhaustion that comes with a good HIIT workout, we thought the more we felt like it, the better the workout would be.

Today, we’ll go over the fundamental differences between HIIT vs strength training, so you can learn how to train smarter and stay more focused on your objectives.

High-Intensity Training (HIIT)

HIIT is a training method that alternates between high-intensity anaerobic activity and brief rest periods. 

The training approach can be done in a variety of ways, and its efficiency is determined by a phenomenon known as after burn or EPOC (Exercise-induced Post Oxygen Consumption). 

HIIT training has been rated as the more effective approach to training since it produces more EPOC (and thus greater calorie burn) than steady-state cardio. 

Moreover, HIIT workouts are cardio-focused, which means they are good for your heart and circulatory system. 

HIIT has a number of advantages over regular cardio workouts conducted at a consistent effort level and heart rate:

  • Both aerobic and anaerobic fitness is improved.
  • Improves glucose tolerance and lowers insulin resistance.
  • Calories are burned.
  • As a result, considerable fat loss occurs.

Strength Training

Strength training is one of the most effective strategies to improve your body composition permanently. 

Simply put, it’s a sort of exercise that emphasizes resistance training to increase strength and lean muscle mass. If you want to achieve the latter, picking the correct rep range, rest duration, and weight to use is crucial.

Strength training offers its own set of advantages, many of which overlap with those of HIIT. 

  • Enhances muscle mass 
  • Prevents the loss of muscle mass that comes with aging
  • It improves bone density and joint flexibility
  • It reduces injuries.

Strength training, when compared to steady-state exercise, is also a powerful strategy to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and lose fat, according to research.

HIIT vs Strength Training: Similarities

#1. Muscle Build-Up

Many of you might have pondered, does HIIT build muscle. Both forms of workouts will aid in the development of muscular mass.

Strength training with progressive overload results in massive muscular build and HIIT workout, by changing the tempo, results in a more lean and toned body. 

#2. Performance 

Strength training improves your ability to do weight-bearing activities while also strengthening the upper and lower body’s interworking linkages.

HIIT improves agility, mobility, and endurance, which leads to faster timings and better results.

HIIT vs Strength Training: Differences

#1. Focus

HIIT workouts are more effective at fat burning, cardiovascular health, and mobility than weight training. HIIT also causes an increase in excess post-oxygen consumption.

#2. Time consumption

A regular weight training routine takes around an hour to complete; however, you can complete a HIIT workout in as little as 20 minutes.

HIIT Or Strength Training First?

Strength training first, HIIT later. 

Do your HIIT after you’ve finished lifting weights to burn fat at a faster and more efficient rate. 

Returning to glycogen, when you train with weights first, you deplete those glycogen stores by using them as energy.

What this means for your body is that once you finish lifting weights and start doing cardio, your body’s glycogen stores depletes, leaving only fat stores to burn for energy.

Is Combining HIIT and Strength Training a Good Idea?

You may mix high-intensity interval training with strength training, and evidence suggests there are certain benefits to doing so. 

In a study, participants improved their strength significantly in more of the ten exercises employed in the study. Some of the exercises demonstrated no improvement in the medium-intensity group, while all of the exercises improved in the HIIT group. 

Both groups lost a lot of weight. 

If you’re doing both on the same day, keep the HIIT workout solely cardio-based to avoid overworking your muscles.

Functional Strength Training vs. HIIT: Which is Better?

Your workouts should ideally consist of a mix of strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You can switch up your workouts from day to day, or stick to a regular strength training regimen and use HIIT as your cardio day routine.

Bottom Line

So, this was all about the specifics of HIIT and strength training and which one is better between HIIT vs. strength training

However, you can also ask for a proper routine from your trainer or guide or from your close ones to help you build one.

By Mike Harris

Mike Harris is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and owner of the Sweat Guy. He is also award-winning health, wellness, and nutrition writer based in the USA. Armed with many training certifications and an exercise science teaching degree, Mike has been working for over 6 years now, helping others achieve optimum health.

Leave a comment