To begin with you really cannot compare the two as cardio works on Type 1 muscle fibre which is endurance specific and weight training works on Type II muscle fibre which is strength specific.
So if you are into endurance events like cycling,marathon or triathlon then you would benefit more from cardio vascular training or type 1 induced training but if your goal is to build muscle,increase speed,agility and reflexes then you would benefit more from weight training or type II induced training.
So like i said before you really can’t compare the two as they both work on different muscle fibres.
What we can ask or rephrase the question as – “What burns more calories weight training or cardio” because they both burn calories.
So lets take my example here – my height is 174 CM and my weight is 70 kgs, now if i do 10 minutes of cardio which is light jog to a walk i will burn approximately 70 calories, on the other hand if i do strength training for 10 minutes i will burn 35 calories and this 35 calories is also an exaggeration as i cannot do weight training continuously for 10 minutes (i will take test after every 20 seconds after i finish my set) So from calorie burning perspective when we compare the two, cardio wins hands down.
But here is the benefit of weight training,when you are doing weight training you are not building your muscles but breaking down the muscle and the process of that muscle rebuilding and recuperation takes at least 24 – 48 hours, that means you are burning calories even when you are not working out for next 24 – 48 hours and from that perspective weight training or strength training is a better bet.
In my opinion there is no point comparing the two as they both work on different muscle fibers which have different benefits, cardio works on enhancing endurance which will help increase lung capacity and stamina, weight training will help build strength and also enhance bone density which will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
From a fitness perspective you need to incorporate both forms of training i.e Cardio as well as Weight training
Raghav Pande is India based Fitness Consultant
He is a Certified Fitness Trainer,Sports Nutritionist and the Winner of “You Tube Next Trainer”