I do several times a week strength and cardio training (Thai boxing, to be specific), but also try to mix in extra weight sessions to build up muscle mass.

Is it good or bad to mix these two? I've heard contradictory opinions, none backed by evidence. Which of the following is more "correct"?

  1. Workout every day, alternate the type of training (time sink, recovery is tricky, injuries heal slower).
  2. Do both in the same session (is it too much load for one session? which one should go first?).
  3. You can't have it all, it's a tradeoff: stick to either one or the other.
  • Check out the research on "undulating periodization", which is a generally weekly schedule that includes a day each of strength, metcon, and endurance, progressing each rep range separately. Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 17:06

5 Answers 5


This is a question only you can answer for yourself. Actually, all three of your scenarios are correct. If you train too much you will stop gaining and it will take longer to heal. If you do too much in one session you have a higher risk of injury and you will probably get burnt out.

Personally, I do martial arts on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and weight lift on Monday, Wednesday and one day on the weekend. So far I haven't injured myself or gotten burnt out, but I do take regular breaks from one or the other for a week or more.

If you're working out this much, and especially if you're doing heavy weight lifting, you need to take a break. This is called de-loading and you'll notice that you perform better when you return from a break. Listen to your body. If you hurt, stop. If you find yourself getting sore without recovery, take a break. If you aren't looking forward to your workouts, take a break.


Don't forget that your body needs time to recover. A challenging strength training session will require 48 hours rest for the muscles to be fully recovered--and sometimes longer. However, it is possible to mix cardio and weight training.

I personally follow this format 3x/week:

  • Weight training first
  • Cardio second
  • Katas third (you have to be able to perform tired)

That said, martial arts do require regular practice so that the movements become second nature and you don't have to think about them. If you do cardio every day, what you'll see is:

  • It takes longer for your muscles to recover, martial arts uses your whole body
  • You will stall quicker on your weight training
  • It will take longer to attain your strength goals

Since it sounds like the strength training is supplementary to your martial arts, that's probably OK. You might consider only doing strength training 2x/week but still using progressive loading (increasing by 5lbs each session). I only work out 3x/week, but that is because I'm focusing on the strength training right now.


You can mix those, but in my experience, it will be very difficult at first. I workout everyday, doing weights alternate days, jiu-jitsu five days a week, & thai boxing 2 days a week, plus assorted other exercises.

Getting into a such a routine is not something you can do instantly, but if you slowly ramp up the amount of exercise you do and don't get discouraged and stop when you find yourself utterly exhausted for the first week or two after ramping up, it should be doable.


First of all, as a general matter of fact you suppose to change your workout routine in every 3-4 weeks. Because your body gets use to it and you probably will be hitting a plateau.

About cardio+weight lifting combination the best thing to do is seperating cardio from weight training.

Also lift weights at least for 3-4 days of week and add some cardio. But never workout 7 days of the week. You should take a day off, so your muscles can recover.

For instance workout 2 days, 1 day off, workout 3 days, 1 day off and repeat.

Another way is to split your cardio session and do it during your weight training.

For instance go for chest, do 3x3 sets, hit 10 mins cardio, shoulder exercises, 10 min cardio, abs, 10 min cardio.

This is all up to you tbh and your training intensity.

  • And, as always, working out these regimens with a professional is highly recommended, especially when the training is for something as technical as a martial art. :)
    – tmesser
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 20:43

Your workouts should be geared towards meeting your objective...and most people (including me) don't set SMART objectives (Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-framed)...so we put our bodies through the exercise flavor of the day and wonder why we don't see any gains...when we're not sure what we're trying to gain.......SO, is it ok what you're doing? Ask yourself if you're seeing the results that you wanted

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.