Combining high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight training is a common practice for individuals looking to build muscle, increase fitness, and enhance endurance. Training them together, either on the same day or the same training session can be beneficial, but it also can inhibit performance if not programmed correctly.
So, should you train HIIT and weight training on the same day? Yes, you can do both weight training and HIIT on the same day. Most individuals who do so perform two separate training sessions on the same day to allow for recovery between sessions. If you choose to perform both in the same session, whichever is trained may not be trained to the same level of intensity.
When looking to train both with weights and perform HIIT in the same session, it is important to determine which of the two is the main emphasis for that day. Often, you can vary the order of the two to place greater emphasis on one over the other based on your needs as a lifter/individual.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of training both HIIT and weight training in the same program, how to train both in the same day or same sesion, and offer a sample training schedule for more advanced individuals looking to maximize performance and train both.
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Benefits of Combining HIIT and Weight Training on the Same Day
Below are three (3) benefits of combining HIIT and weight raining on the same day:
1. FAST-TRACK FITNESS AND RESULTS
Training HIIT and weight training in the same day, can often lead to faster results simply due to the fact you are training both at a higher frequency throughout the training cycle.
This of course also depends on the quality of those training sessions.
For example, if you train both consistently, but those sessions are low in quality or do not allow you to recover and progres week to week, you may in fact inhibit performance despite training more.
Related Article: 30 Minute Full Body HIIT Workout: Total Body Resistance And Cardio
2. INCREASE MULTIPLE FACETS OF FITNESS AT ONCE
While it is often suggested that you try not to prioritize every single aspect of training at once (increase strength, endurance, anaerobic capacity, optical power, etc), you can sometimes address a few of these in a well-thought out training program if you account for recovery, and understand how training one can affect the other.
3. CAN MAKE TRAINING MORE FUN AND CHALLENGING
Training one partially way for prolonged periods of time can get mundane at times.
While that is no excuse to not do a program or add things “fun things” for the sake of boredom, adding in multiple training sessions can allow you to throw in some more variability.
This is ideal for individuals who have additional skill work or low intensity/low volume training they need to work on.
Related Article: Cardio vs Weights: Which One Helps You Lose Weight Quicker?
Structuring HIIT and Weight Training on the Same Day
You most certainly can train both HIIT and weight training on the same day. This is a common practice among high level lifters and athletes in most sports and function fitness.
Training them on the same day allows you to devote more time and energy to those aspects of your overall fitness and can lead to quicker results and athletic success when done properly.
Generally speaking, if you are able to split your training sessions up into two different ones throughout the day, you will often have better results across both areas of training (HIIT and weight training) than if you were to perform them back to back in the same session.
By splitting sessions up in the same day, you allow the body, mind, and nervous system to recover between sessions, while also taking the time to refuel and rehydrate the body after the initial session.
When performing HIIT and weight training in the same day, via split sessions, it is recommended that you allow for at least 4-6 hours between sessions. You can vary whichever training goal (weight training vs HIIT) you train first in the day based on your needs, and/or what feels best for you.
If you need to train both HIIT and weight training back to back, or following a very short rest period, be sure to read the section below.
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Issues With Doing HIIT and Weight Training Together
When you train both HIIT and weight training in the same workout, fatigue often becomes an issue, even more so with more advanced individuals who are able to lift heavy and train at high intensities. That fatigue often means decreased performance (compared to their peak abilities) and overuse injuries.
If you have to train both in the same sessions, I find it best to place greater emphasis on one over the other on that day.
For example, attack weights hard and work to get stronger. Afterwards, perform moderate intensity intervals with low impact movements to work foundational endurance and stamina without adding additional stress and strain to the body. This might also mean that HIIT session is shorter in duration than normal to allow you to recover before your next training session.
If you are on a time crunch, and only have 60 minutes to train, I find it best to rotate training emphasis every other session, or even spending a few months emphasising strength and maintaining endurance/HIIT abilities, then switching that based on your overall goals and timeliness.
If you are a beginner however, you will most likely be able to train both in the same session and have good results doing so, simply because you are either (1) not able to fully tap into your full training potential and output, or (2) the loads and intensities at which you are lifting/moving at are still high enough to cause long-term fatigue and stress.
It is for those reasons that more advanced athletes and stronger lifers could benefit greatly from performing HIIT and weight training in two separate sessions in the same day, as laid out in the sample training schedule below.
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How Often Should You Do HIIT and Weights on the Same Day?
Training both with weights and HIIT on the same day, whether in the same session or split sessions, is asking a lot of your body and nervous system if you are performing at high intensities and loading.
Beginners can have more flexibility and frequency when training both in the same day for reasons mentioned above, and can aim to train 2-3 times a week in this manner. Recovery will often dictate their ability to do so.
As they progress, they will come to recognize areas of weakness that they can isolate in additional training sessions that do not induce all forms of training (weights training, technique work, mobility, HIIT) in the same session.
More advanced lifters and athletes, due to their greater capacity for lifting and performing at higher intensities, need to be more aware of their recovery, technique, and overall performance over time.
If they find they are training more frequently but not having improved performance over time or are feeling more run down, they need to drop frequency of training sessions in the same day to allow for greater recovery.
If, however, they are able to achieve results, increase performance, and stay injury free, so be it! That said, it is recommended that most athletes train both HIIT and weights in the same day either in the same session or split sessions anywhere from 1-3 times per week.
Related Article: HIIT Upper Body Workout: Workouts With & Without Weights
SAMPLE Training Schedule for HIIT and Weight Training on the Same Day
The below training schedule is developed for someone who wants to devote enough time to develop both strength and muscle gain in the gym, but also spend enough time performing high intensity interval training to increase muscle endurance and aerobic capacity.
Both training goals are trained three times per week, with an additional option to train on the weekend attacking whichever aspect you are most deficient in (weight training or HIIT).
It is important to note that by splitting sessions up, rather than performing them back to back, you greatly reduce the overall time spent training in one session (performing two, 30-45 minute sessions versus one, 60-90 minute session) and also drastically improve your ability to perform high quality, hard effect training for both.
Related Article: Who Can Benefit From Interval Training (Is It Good For Everyone?)
Workout 1 – Weight Training (morning)
Workout 2 – HIIT (mid-afternoon/evening)
Workout 1 – Weight Training (whenever possible)
Workout 1 – HIIT (whenever possible)
Rest/Light Recovery Day
Workout 1 – Weight Training (morning)
Workout 2 – HIIT (mid-afternoon/evening)
Workout 1 – Weight Training or HIIT (whenever possible)
Rest/Light Recovery Day
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When looking to maximize your training outcomes as efficiently as possible, it may be helpful to train both HIIT and weight training on the same day.
With that said, training them back to back, without a prolonged rest period (such as 4+ hours) can have its limitations if programming does not prioritize the most important aspect of performance development.
For individuals looking to get stronger and gain muscle, training with weight in the first session or earlier in the workout makes the most sense to allow them to be maximally prepared for hard training.
If they are concerned more with developing aerobic capacity and endurance, training HIIT prior to weights can help them do so without having too much muscular and neural fatigue going into the main area of need.
Understanding the pros and cons of training HIIT and weight training in the same sessions or in the same day (multiple sessions a day) is important for fatigue management and optimal success.
About The Author
Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.
Mike has published over 500+ articles on premiere online media outlets like BarBend, BreakingMuscle, Men’s Health, and FitBob, covering his expertise of strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, fitness, and sports nutrition. In Mike’s spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, traveling the world, coaching, whiskey and craft beer, and spending time with his family and friends.