Cardio-Vascular training is being hailed as one of the best ways to stop heart disease, and weight training has always been considered a great way to improve one's self, but the great misnomer of each of these is that you can do one without the other. This is just plain wrong; to get the most out of a workout people need to condition as well as strength training. While conditioning can be done alone, strength training must incorporate some form of conditioning in order to be effective. This may sound complex, but another point that most people do not consider is the fact that weight lifting itself actually incorporates some limited cardio-vascular conditioning. While conditioning is essential to weight training, it is also incorporated within it.
Conditioning is a method of requiring the human heart and other organs to become accustomed to conditions that would normally exhaust it. Running for long periods of time, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and almost any other form of exercise that causes the heart rate to stay at an elevated point will accomplish this process. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the molecule that is used to transport and expel energy within any organism. When the body is not able to bring in enough oxygen to support the reactions in the muscle cells, then the body stops producing ATP and starts to produce lactic acid. When lactic acid is produced muscles fatigue and begin to burn and not function; this is called anaerobic respiration. Conditioning will make the human body a more efficient system, in that it will be able to produce enough ATP to keep the body working efficiently, at much higher heart rate. Thus allowing the body to do much more work while feeling as though it were doing the same amount of work as it used to. Conditioning provides the body with the ability to handle more adverse conditions.
Weight training is dependent on a concept called the "Overload Principle." The overload principle is a concept in which a person lifts more weight more times than their body is used to. This destroys the muscle fibers and makes the muscles repair themselves and become stronger. This concept is a direct corollary to the method that conditioning uses; Overload a muscle or a system until it is forced to adapt and become stronger. However, this concept must be put in to use every time that a person lifts or else their system will get used to one level of work and will not be getting any stronger. If the muscle group that is being strengthened is ignored, it will deteriorate because it becomes accustomed to not doing any work and it quickly assumes the muscles are not needed and allows the muscles to shrink. Weight training works along the same principles as conditioning, but works on a different aspect of the human body and it performance.
The last aspect of weight training and conditioning is to combine the two concepts. When a person is lifting, they are calling upon the muscles and the cardio-vascular system. The cardio-vascular system is required to send both oxygen and ATP to the muscles so that they will have enough energy to do the required lifting. The muscles are needed to take the ATP and the oxygen and create movement. If the cardio-vascular system is not in shape, then it will not be able to send ATP and oxygen to the muscles. At which point all of the strength in the world will not move the weight; the muscles will move directly to anaerobic respiration and will not be able to lift the weight. This is an extreme case because when a person lifts weights they are actually causing the cardio-vascular system to become stronger and use to the work. In order to recreate the example stated earlier, a person would need to work himself or herself to exhaustion in some form of conditioning and then go directly to weight training with no recovery time. The concept of putting weight lifting and conditioning may sound complex, but it really is already occurring in every day weight lifting.
Weather together or separately, the concepts of conditioning and weight lifting offer many different ways to exercise. Although weight training alone will reap substantial strength gains, the most effective and all around gains will be the result of combining weight training with some form of cardio-vascular conditioning. This entire situation can be explained by one common math concept: a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square. Weight lifting is conditioning, but conditioning is not always weight lifting.