At the moment, I'm working out in 3 splits:

  1. Split: Leg + Shoulder, Tuesday.
  2. Split: Chest + Biceps, Thursday.
  3. Split: Back + Triceps, Saturday.

This is just for building up muscles, but now I want to add a bit of cardio training (20-30min) to my workout. Should I do the cardio training on my training days or on my rest days? What are the pro's and con's? Would appreciate any help.

  • 1
    I personally like to do JUST LEG on leg day, and IDK how convenient is to do chest+bicep, back+triceps, I'd recommend chest+triceps, back+bicep, then add shoulder to any of those. As for the cardio I was told is good cause you burn some energy reserves while doing the lifting, so by the time you get to cardio the only energy reserves left are fatty ones. I was told, do not take it for a fact
    – Just Do It
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 18:46
  • What are your goals?
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 0:28
  • Are you building muscle for aesthetic or strength?
    – John
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:59

3 Answers 3


There’s no right or wrong methodology for determining when to introduce cardio training in your fitness program. It pretty much depends on your personal goal. For example, if you’re a competitive bodybuilder, you’ll want to do more cardio. Typically that means on the same day you train usually at the end of your routine.

From the phrasing of your question, it would seem like you’d like to balance the gains you’ve made against losing some fat. If that’s the case, I would add cardio work gradually, keeping in mind there’s no “rule” as to how many times per week you need to perform it. Performing a minimum of 20 minutes per session with the goal of steadily increasing the intensity should get you started. You can do that by adding more cardio sessions, or, increasing the amount of time you do cardio. Either way, you’ll need to pay close attention to your caloric and sleep requirements to insure you are still fueling your training and muscle growth.

As for pros and cons, adding cardio will require more time at the gym. Increasing your training volume by doing cardio on the same day you train may require more recovery time than just doing the weights. You could add more training days if you do cardio on the “off” days. But, that would require more of your time. For my goals, I’d prefer to do cardio on the same day as my training. But, that’s not to say that I don’t occasionally switch the cardio to an “off” day. And, as I stated above, you’ll need to pay closer attention to your nutrition to avoid a calorie deficit. On the plus side, balancing cardio with your weight training, will provide you with the opportunity to reveal the muscle tissue you’ve worked hard to attain. And, adding cardio will certainly benefit your overall health as well.


Training for cardio on weight-lifting days is fine, as long as you stick to 30 min. and are not doing more than 45 min. a day, or 5 hrs. per week, you should be fine, usually, if you are not a beginner. Either way it shouldn't effect gains in mass; beginners should generally ease into their exercise routine though. The only problem with doing them on work days, leg day, for example, is that your muscles may ache after squatting and getting on a bike may not be desirable. Also, another problem may be you could be craving rest and all sweaty and not wish to get anymore sweaty and tired. Chest/Biceps and Back/Triceps are completely opposite muscle groups by the way just for the record, usually it would be Chest/Triceps and Back/Biceps. Also, many exercises that isolate so you just use the triceps can lead to elbow tendinitis; something that isn't desirable. Bench press works both chest+triceps and isn't usually associated with this problem, but working too hard on the bench may cause a shoulder injury.

  • Any references - or just something you state from your gut?
    – user8264
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 9:52

Yes you can do both on the same day but make sure to do your cardio after your weights session because when you lift, you are in a way doing cardio also if you lift heavy (ie you are panting or breathing heavy after your set), and the other way around is not true. You want to maximize your energy expenditure lifting weights, then finish off with cardio.

Rest days are indeed rest days. :)

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