New Study: Is Cardio Bad For Muscle Gains?

So, this is going to be a quick but informative video, covering fresh research that provides a hard answer to a popular question.

Should you do your cardio before or after lifting? Or on a different day altogether?

When is the best time to incorporate cardio so as not to hinder gains?

Well, this past March a paper was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that set out to answer just that!

Fifty-eight uninjured amateur rugby players, aged 21-28, were randomly assigned to a control group (10 people), a strength training and cardio group (38 people total), or just a strength training group (10 people). The control group did not engage in any activity for the duration. The strength-training and cardio group was further divided into 15 individuals who performed cardio along with a lifting session, 11 individuals who performed cardio 6 hours apart from lifting, and 12 individuals who performed cardio 24 hours apart from lifting.

For strength training, 3-4 sets of 3-10 reps were used on lifts such as the bench press, the squat and the leg press. For cardio, a 6-minute high-intensity interval system was used with 15 seconds spent running, and 15 seconds spent resting.

The study duration was 7 weeks.

Now, let’s cut to the results!

Strength gains on ALL lifts were lower in those who performed cardio along side their lifting session, when compared to those who performed cardio 6 and 24 hours apart from lifting, and those who only performed lifting without doing any cardio. Of the cardio and strength groups, those who performed cardio 24 hours apart from lifting had the best results.

But, it gets more interesting! It wasn’t just strength gains that experienced setbacks due to concurrent cardio!

Aerobic improvements were higher in 24 hour group, than in those who performed cardio with lifting, AND those who performed cardio 6 hours apart from lifting.

So, what can we take away from this?

You should avoid scheduling cardio and strength training in a single gym session. The two activities clearly contradict one another, and negatively impact the results of each other.

For optimal results, I’d recommend you schedule your cardio on rest days from the gym. And, yes, you should do cardio — if just for basic health, not even athletism or fat loss.

Perhaps arrange your lifting and cardio something along the lines of a full-body or upper-lower routine.

And both methods leave you with 3-4 days off lifting where you can schedule cardio.

So, you can have your cake and eat it too! Make gains, while also protecting your heart.

Because a joint study conducted by the Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi recently released some scary, but unfortunately not very shocking findings! That only 2.7% of US adults engage in 4 healthy life-style habits: a healthy diet, regular exercise, low body fat levels, and avoidance of smoking. And only 16% of US adults engaged in at least THREE of those!

Take care of yourselves, people! Hopefully I am preaching to the choir here.

REFERENCES:

Specific Training Effects of Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Exercises Depend on Recovery Duration. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25546450

U.S. adults get failing grade in healthy lifestyle behavior http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2016/mar/us-adults-get-failing-grade-healthy-lifestyle-behavior

Leave a Comment:

24 comments
Add Your Reply