I lift M-W-F. On A days I would do back squats, bench presses, power cleans, and push ups. On B days I would do back squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, and pull ups.

This is all fine but if I want to be aerobically fit as well I want to incorporate some form of cardiovascular exercise. I need some help incorporating this in to my workout routine.

I definitely do not want to do any form of cardio before my lifts because I do not want to gimp my lifts or form. Afterwards is a possibility but I cannot exercise for too long or I could risk my body going in to a catabolic state. Also, I'm usually pretty tired after my lifts. I don't really want to do cardio on off days either because my muscles should be resting on those days. Also, I could lose a lot of motivation having to work out five or six times a week.

When should I perform cardio while under a M-W-F barbell program? What forms of cardio are recommended? Does anyone have any insight in to HIIT or any other varying cardio workouts? If overall fitness, strength, and health is my goal then how should I handle this problem? Thanks!

  • What are your goals of your routine? It sounds like you are doing a variation of Starting Strength, which has the main goal of increasing muscle mass and strength. Extensive cardio will work against that goal. Supersetting is a possibility Apr 15, 2011 at 18:30

3 Answers 3


The way you asked your question leads me to believe that you're working in a home gym. I will assume you don't have access to normal cardio equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills.

If you want to do HIIT then you'll have to get outside. If you live in a hilly area, you can ride up bike up (the high intensity part) and down (the interval part) the hills for a good workout. If you're like me and the land around is flat then I would suggest running. Run for a minute (the interval), then sprint for 30 seconds (the high intensity), then run, then sprint, etc. If you are able to run after squats, then it may actually help Prevent or treat delayed onset muscle soreness.

If none of those appeal to you, and they don't me, then consider joining a martial arts program. Good exercise.


My big question back is why? Why do you want to do cardio? What are your goals and how does cardio fit into those? It sounds like you have a good program in place and if you're seeing the results you want, there's no reason to change it. The program you described probably (guessing) takes 45 minutes or so depending on warm up and rest periods..and with being tired at the end, the real possibility of adding a HIIT program doesn't exist.

If you want to add some 'cardio' to your current program, try reducing the rest periods between sets, but be-aware that reduced rest periods will result in reduced # of reps and/or weight used (strength vs. endurance)....

You 'may' want to consider some perioidization program where you switch from a strength focused workout (heavier weights, fewer reps and longer rest periods) to endurance (lighter weights, more reps and shorter rest periods) every 6 to 8 weeks.

  • I want to do some sort of cardio because I have very little endurance and weight training doesn't seem to be fixing that.
    – user799
    Apr 15, 2011 at 16:42
  • @Robert - can you provide the specifics of your A/B split (set/reps/weight - rest period). I still think a reduced rest period could be the answer Apr 15, 2011 at 17:55

My answer to this for me was the warm-up. My warm-up is a 5 mile bike sprint from home to the gym. On the way home, I dog it as part of my cool down.

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