I'm an ectomorph and because of lots of reasons, I cannot (or chose not to) do weights. But I can work on cardio (run, swim etc.)

Is this a good idea (only cardio but no weights)?

  1. My diet is fairly good. I eat my veggies/meat/fruits, don't skip meals and eat sizeable proportions and stuff.

  2. I enjoy an occasional beer or wine. I'm afraid of the beer gut/beer belly but am also interested in staying fit for the reason of staying fit.

Ideally, I'm looking for anything (a regime, advice, reference whatever) to keep me fit while avoiding weights WITH consideration to my body structure.

EDIT: The reason I am against doing weights is because my work is highly demanding when it comes to the use of hands and in the past, even a slight workout leaves me numb and sore (I know I can tone it down and stuff but I really don't want to risk it).

  • If you can't do weights, how does the answer to this question affect you?
    – user3085
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 1:45
  • Maybe someone can recommend a regime wherein I can avoid weights but not do something stupid or tell me that it's impossible or something else
    – user2759
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 2:32
  • 2
    Are body weight exercises doable for you? These are things like pushups, hip airplanes, planks, and knee bends. These are weight bearing exercises that can reduce/prevent osteoporosis. Is Tai Chi or karate out of the question? Also do "weights" include light dumbbells, wrist weights, resistance bands etc. The Harvard Med School white papers for the lay public are pretty clear that you have to work your aerobic systems or in danger of all sorts of stuff. The more details you are willing to give the better we can answer.
    – medmal
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 7:14
  • 3
    Can't do weights? But a 2 pound weight is a weight nonetheless. You can lift a pack of milk right? That means you have the ability to start somewhere! Don't talk yourself down, just because you don't have the shoulders of a body builder
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 7:29
  • 4
    There is no proper answer to this question other than a simple unsatisfactory "no." Without some type of weight-bearing exercise, over the years you will inexorably lose bone density, muscle tone, and functionality. As Ivo Flipse alludes, a much more productive question for this site might describe your personal issues with heavy weight lifting, and suggest alternate ways that you can still get the best fitness.
    – J. Win.
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 9:11

2 Answers 2


The benefits of anarobic work aside, doing cardio only is certainly better than doing nothing at all, if you're dead set against lifting weights. Have you thought about swimming? That would be a cardio exercise that would engage your upper body.

But I'd recommend the you post a specific question about the problems that lifting weights is causing your hands, people here may be able to talk you through some of the issues you have. A surprising number of issues can be worked around, and the people on this site are fairly I knowledgable.

FWIW, I know a couple dental hygentists, one orthopedic surgeon, and one carpenter that are avid rock climbers and Crossfiters. People that use their hands can still have active hobbies.


No, only cardio is a bad method to achieve a good-looking/healthy body. The optimal way is doing weight-lifting + healthy diet.

Diet is the way to lose the extra fat. You are following this part.

Building muscle is achieved by straining your muscle. You don't really do that with cardio.

  • 3
    That, I think, is an extremely subjective answer. Please define "good-looking"... In my book the muscular body, you can get from weight-lifting isn't all that "good-looking". :-) Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 18:05
  • 1
    Quite the opposite. May be you are referring to the look of professional body-builders in their competitive period? Why would an extreme athlete in their peak form be the example that you think I had in mind?
    – Boris
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 18:48
  • The fact is that the average guy has way too much fat, and too small muscles which he does not realize, because the fat is giving him the impression he has more. In my experience people trying to lose all fat, up to 6-pack, realize they become too thin, just because they thought they have more muscles underneath.
    – Boris
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 18:50
  • Personally I don't do any weight-lifting - likely because I run to keep fit and to keep my weight down (pun intended), not to look good (which would probably never happen anyway)... For me, cardio is perfect as it makes me sweat and feel alive :-) Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 18:55

Your Answer

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