Adding Weights to Cardio
I've seen people at my gym holding weights on the elliptical and treadmill. Does this burn more calories?
Submitted by FitnessEditor

Yes, but not enough to make it worthwhile. The added intensity of holding weights while doing cardio does bump your calorie burn slightly, but it can also lead to elbow and shoulder injuries. "The risks outweigh the benefits," says Douglas Brooks, an exercise physiologist in Mammoth Lakes, California. "You'll expend more energy if you increase the weight you carry, but excessive or uncontrolled movements can damage the joints or cause muscle injury."

A better option for blasting extra calories: Increase your speed or resistance level on either the treadmill or the elliptical machine.

Answered by FitnessEditor
Community Answers (6)

Adding weights while on the treadmill can be a good idea. You can do extra exercise, i.e. bicep curls while power walking. A good alternative is interval training. i.e. jog at 50/60% intensity for 40 seconds and sprint at 95% intensity for 30 seconds.
Submitted by support29228

Here are my 2 Cents. At 44 years old and 213lbs I finally decided to get into shape. I started by changing my diet eating steak/eggs/nuts/bacon/salads/yogurt/Koshi Cereal/McDonald's Premium Wraps. Second I started 3 hours of cardio on Tues and Thrusdays. I used a water bottle for resistance to start and now I am up to 8 pounds per hand. I walk 1 mile every night I have lost 26 pounds in 84 days without injury. My pant size dropped from a 44 to a 34 and I was wearing XL and now fit medium.
Submitted by blessingsareus

ABSOLUTELY it is a far better way to burn major calories and gain muscle mass. The added calories burned when combining certain cardio moves with weights is enormous!! Do some research and check the stats because its true! I've been a fitness instructor for 12 years and I find combining moves is far more effective in results and time constraints!! Give it a try!
Submitted by sparklybutterfly14

Well i can see running with free weight would be bad for your joints but what about a weight vest' i found a 20lb weight vest at walmart, an its works great. But it takes getting used to cause your legs arnt used to an extra 20 lb. But if you don want to have all 20lb. they are sand 1lb weights an you can take what you want out an build your legs up'. hopes this helps
Submitted by slickchase1990

I agree with Douglas. I measured the calorie burn using weights with a variety of activities and found that "manageable" 1 lb. weights did not increase calorie burning. It took at least 2-3 pounds in each hand (for women) but, even fit women could not pump them effectively. To burn extra calories use the resistance, incline and /or speed on the machines you enjoy using.
Submitted by CoachDrMichele