The Best Combined Anaerobic & Aerobic Workout

Woman exercising outdoors

Instead of separating your workout sessions into two types, cardiovascular and strength training, combine the two in a circuit training workout for the quickest and most effective workout. If you find yourself struggling to spend an hour on your aerobic exercise, plus another 20 to 30 minutes strength training, a circuit workout that alternates both types of exercises may be the solution. Using circuits, your body alternates between the use of two energy systems for the best health benefits in one exercise. Also, you can do circuits indoors or outdoors, with or without equipment. The best workout for you also depends on the amount of energy you put into it.


Aerobic exercise is also known as cardiovascular exercise. These types of movements are full-body, continuous, endurance-type activities; for example, stair climbing, walking, jogging, marching in place, jumping rope, treadmills, bicycles, ellipticals, dancing, kickboxing and jumping jacks. Your heart and breathing rates elevate as you breathe in oxygen to fuel your aerobic activity.


Anaerobic exercise doesn't rely on oxygen for fuel; your heart rate elevates quickly and you are unable to sustain this type of activity for long. Strength-training types of anaerobic exercises include weight training with dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells, plus calisthenic exercises such as pushups, situps, planks, squats and lunges. Other anaerobic activities include those in which you use short bursts of energy such as sprinting, tennis and soccer.

Circuit Training

Circuit training alternates an aerobic activity with an anaerobic exercise. You determine your exercises, or stations, prior to your workout. Most circuits contain eight to 10 stations, at which you will spend between 30 seconds and three minutes. An example of a circuit training workout includes one minute of these exercises in order: pushups, march in place, situps, jumping jacks, arm curls, stair climbing, arm extensions, kickboxing, shoulder press and run on treadmill. Repeat the circuit for a at least 20 to 30 minutes to see aerobic benefits.


A high number of calories used is one benefit of circuit training. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 150-pound person burns approximately 308 calories for one hour of moderate-intensity circuit training. Other benefits include improving your cardiovascular and muscular systems, flexibility, speed, motor coordination, balance and agility. One of the best benefits to you may be the time you save when you combine both workouts into one.