If you’ve been trying to convince a pal or significant other (or yourself, for that matter) to cut that umbilical cord attached to the treadmill and start pounding more iron, then this new research may do the trick.

(Warning: Extreme cardio freaks may want to cover their eyes for this.)

In a new study at the University of British Columbia (UBC), three groups of subjects—non-exercisers, regular exercisers, and people with diabetes—were put through sessions of both interval resistance training and interval cardio training. For the weight work, they did leg presses, leg extensions, and leg lifts; for the aerobic portion, they rode a spin bike. Both workouts took 20 minutes and included a 7-minute warm-up followed by seven 1-minute high-intensity rounds separated by 1-minute rest periods.

The finding: The interval weight training improved blood vessel function more than the interval cardio. You read that right: Interval weightlifting boosted blood flow not “less than,” not “the same as,” but more than interval cardio.

Can’t think of reasons why you’d want your blood vessels to work better? Try these on for size: 

  • A stronger heart. 
  • A longer life.
  • Better erections. (Yeah, that one got our attention, too.)

“This study shows that resistance-based interval training exercise is a time-efficient and effective [workout] method, with immediate effects,” said study co-author Monique Francois.

And for people with Type 2 diabetes, the benefit is even greater.

“All exercisers showed greater blood vessel function improvement after the resistance-based interval training,” said Francois. “However, this was most prominent in the Type 2 diabetes group, who saw an average of a 2.4% increase in blood flow.”

So what are you waiting for? Check out one of our excellent beginner routines, or for more experienced lifters, try out our advanced "Transition" plan to switch from a cutting routine to a bulking-focused routine.