Cardio vs Resistance training in warm weather

dubai fitness training

Dubai, UAE: As the temperature starts rising in Dubai, UPANDRUNNING’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Phil Elder weighs in on the pros and cons of cardio vs resistance training in warm weather.

“This is completely dependent on the athlete’s goal or the type of competition they are training for”

There are very few conclusive studies that have looked at the physiological benefits of resistance training in the heat as a carry over to increased performance. On the other hand, the literature is fairly comprehensive concerning cardiovascular exercise in hot conditions. Therefore we can only conclusively say that endurance activities will give us benefits in hot conditions. Again we have to consider what it is we are training for (again this is unfounded and up for debate)

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Cardiovascular activity in hot environments may not benefit certain demographics of fitness such as Body Builders or High-Intensity athletes. Therefore for the athletes that primarily resistance train, precaution should be taken when training in hot conditions (cooler environment should be utilized where possible).

Resistance training is often performed at >70% of maximum effort in order to make a progressive change in our strength and power. This amount of intensity puts a larger strain on the nervous and cardiovascular system and therefore will fatigue the athlete much quicker than low-intensity chronic movement. The higher the intensity the more strain is put on the body and the longer recovery is needed. Add a hot environment to resistance training and the body is going to fatigue very quickly (compared to a cool environment) at the same given intensity (again this is unfounded and up for debate)

To manage resistance training in hot conditions athletes can consider the following; appropriate clothing (hats, light moisture wicking materials), plenty of cool water and electrolytes, use shaded areas if possible, use areas that have airflow/breeze, take longer rest periods between sets and schedule exercise for cooler times of the day.

Sign up for group strength and conditioning classes with

Coach Phil! Call 04 518 5400

To summarize cardiovascular exercise will produce better results when measured by overall performance. The first exercise session in the heat may last as little as 10-15mins, but exercise duration can be increased gradually to its usual length. Most healthy people will become fully acclimatized to the heat in 10-14 days. Resistance training can also progress to its usual length although safety should be a priority and carefully monitor progress to ensure heat-related illnesses stay at bay. It may be more beneficial to consider a maintenance plan while resistance training in hot conditions rather than pushing for gains in strength and power (again this is unfounded and up for debate)

Want more advice on improving the results of your training programme? You can reach out to Coach Phil at or call 04 518 5400 to schedule a session.

Discuss your goals with your trainer and they will craft a routine that’s in line with your ambitions.
Phil Elder, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Lead Sport Scientist

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