Strength Training Vs. HIIT: Which Workout Is Best For You?

Finding your fitness match: Unraveling the benefits of strength training and HIIT workouts.

Are you new to fitness? Want to start a workout program but keep getting stuck on the benefits of strength training vs. HIIT (high-intensity interval training)?

Both strength training and HIIT have their unique benefits, but one type of workout might be better suited for you, depending on your fitness goals. Let’s review the differences and similarities between strength training and HIIT to help you choose the best option.


There’s no argument that strength training and HIIT are excellent for your fitness levels, but they have some differences that may sway you to one or the other.

Focus: While strength training does support fat burning, cardiovascular health, and mobility, HIIT workouts are better at it. HIIT also triggers higher levels of excess post-oxygen consumption or EPOC, the afterburn effect that keeps burning calories for hours after you finish the workout. And while HIIT does help with muscle building, strength training is far better if you want serious size.

Equipment: Strength training requires a few equipment, most notably a bench, barbell, and dumbbells. For most HIIT workouts, you only need your body weight and enough space to perform a push-up. This makes HIIT workouts far more convenient than strength training.

Time: A typical strength training workout will take around an hour to complete, while a HIIT workout can be wrapped up in around 20 minutes or less. The time it takes to perform individual exercises is also different. For example, with strength training, you have to focus on a prescribed tempo for lifting and lowering the weight, usually expressed in seconds as 2:0:2 (two seconds up, two seconds down). HIIT workouts are fast-paced, and exercises are performed in rapid succession without much time to rest.


Despite needing different equipment, time, and location to perform each type of workout, strength training and HIIT have similarities that will benefit your health.

Build Muscle: Both workouts will help you build muscle mass. 

Hypertrophy occurs due to subjecting the muscle tissue to an appropriate stress level, leading to micro tears forming. These microtears are subsequently repaired, resulting in muscle growth and increased strength. Using progressive overload, strength training gives you the benefit of using more than 100% of your one-repetition maximum, resulting in huge leaps and bounds in muscle size. You can change the tempo during a HIIT workout to increase difficulty, resulting in more lean tissue. You won’t get huge with HIIT, but you will look lean and muscular.

Burn Fat: Physical activity burns calories, contributing to fat burning. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn while at rest. Both strength training and HIIT support fat burning, but HIIT does so to a greater degree. Since you’re rapidly performing exercises without much rest, you’ll have e a higher heart rate, burn more calories during the workout, and experience a greater level of afterburn or EPOC. HIIT workouts are also a great way to spot and reduce fat.

To increase fat burning during strength training, use a shred belt.

Increase Performance: Strength training increases your ability to perform weight-bearing activities while it creates strong interworking relationships between the upper and lower body. HIIT helps improve agility, mobility, and endurance, resulting in faster times and better performance.

Overall Health and Wellness: Both of these exercise forms benefit your cardiovascular health and overall wellness. Strength training and HIIT have been shown to support brain health, improve mood, and increase longevity.


The short answer is both.

Your workouts should be based on a combination of strength training exercises and HIIT exercises. You can alternate the type of training from day to day or follow a traditional strength training program and use HIIT as your cardio day workout.


Consider the following workout schedule to maximize lean muscle, endurance, and results:

  • Monday: Strength Training: Upper Body
  • Tuesday: HIIT Workout
  • Wednesday: REST
  • Thursday: Strength Training: Lower Body
  • Friday: HIIT Workout
  • Saturday: REST
  • Sunday: REST

In conclusion, both strength training and HIIT offer unique benefits that can greatly contribute to your overall fitness and health. Strength training is excellent for building serious muscle size and supporting fat burning, while HIIT workouts are more efficient in burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and triggering the afterburn effect. Both forms of exercise promote muscle growth, fat burning, and overall wellness.

For the best results, it's recommended to incorporate strength training and HIIT exercises into your workout routine. You can alternate between the two types of training on different days or follow a structured program that combines both elements. This approach will help you maximize lean muscle, boost endurance, and achieve your fitness goals effectively.

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