Aerobic weight training typically involves lifting light weights at higher speeds. By definition, aerobic exercise is continuous and elevates heart rate and blood pressure. Conventional weight lifting may not offer aerobic benefits, but the aerobic type, like circuit training, does.
Circuit training may be the most popular form of aerobic weight training. Such programs are created to use several machines, or stations, and lighter weights. Users move from one station to the next, lifting weights repeatedly for a given length of time. In the United States, Curves® is one type of gym that focuses on circuit workouts.
Classic weight lifting exercises usually involve heavy weights and short times spent lifting. Each time a lifting session is complete, it is often referred to as a set. Rest periods of one to two minutes between sets are common. These breaks negate the effect of aerobic or circuit programs, in most cases. New research, however, may change how this type of weight training is performed.
Recent clinical studies have found brief periods of intense exercise, followed by rest periods, may have equal or better cardiovascular benefits for the body. According to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, interval training burns more fat than traditional exercise. The study showed increased fat burn when participants exercised at 90% effort for four minutes, followed by a two-minute rest period. These intervals were repeated 10 times.
Aerobic weight training has often been associated with women's fitness. In recent years, however, men have taken notice of the aerobic benefits of circuit and interval training. Bodybuilding.com, a weight-training website dedicated increasing muscle, recognizes aerobic training as a part of a successful fat-loss program.
Contrary to the name, this type of training may not involve use of weights. Some methods of circuit training utilize resistance instead of weights. Resistance can provide both positive and negative muscle burn. Positive muscle burn occurs when muscles are used to push away resistance. Negative burn results when that same resistance is held back on the return movement.
Experts suggest using aerobic weight training two to three times a week as part of a cardiovascular and weight lifting regime. If weight loss is the sole reason for working out, this routine can be performed at home or in a gym. As long as resistance exercises like squats, push-ups, or sit-ups are repeated for four-minute intervals, effects are typically the same as gym-based circuit-training sets.