As much as I love weights training, I have actually really enjoyed adding cardio back into my training.
I went through a long period of time when I was pretty much only weight’s training and as much as I managed to significantly increase my muscle mass and strength; I was just feeling quite unfit.
My Training goals have now changed and I am training for triathlons. This means that my training is predominantly cardio, quite the contrast, I know.
I am actually still in a transition stage at the moment as I don’t want to jump too fast into significant amounts of cardio and end up injuring myself. And plus I will not stop doing weights, as they can be very beneficial for triathletes, helping in injury prevention and increasing power for training and competition. Also because I love training weights!
Since starting triathlon training, I have altered my weights training. Before I was focusing on increasing strength so performing multiple sets of low repetition, heavy weight sets. Now I am focusing on multiple sets of high repetition using lighter weights. This has been quite difficult to get back into because firstly I love lifting heavy weights (close to my 1 rep Max). Secondly, its more cardio based and I have shorter rest periods (I haven’t been used to this kind of training in a while…).So my body is still adapting.
I guess in hindsight, I should have incorporated more cardio into my program when I was strength training.
Cardio doesn’t kill gains, it can actually help build more muscle over time… How?
…….if it is combined with proper lifting and the right frequency
- It can help increase capillaries to the muscles
- With an increase in capillaries, your muscle tissue has a greater capacity to perform at a higher level, because they can receive more oxygen and nutrients.
- Your muscle tissue can then recover quicker because it is also able to clear metabolites and waste products faster.
- Your heart becomes more efficient with aerobic cardio and so your stroke volume improves (the volume of blood pumped from the left ventricle per beat). Therefore it’s an advantage because your heart can deliver more blood with less work.
If your endurance has improved, you could be capable of increasing muscle mass simply because you can, for example, perform 8 high-quality sets instead of just 6 high quality (acquiring more volume) within the same period of time, this is going to be beneficial to build more size and strength.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that you need to be doing the same amount of cardio as a long distance runner or endurance based athlete, but carefully structuring in 3x 30min aerobic cardio sessions into your weekly lifting program, you could reap the benefits I’ve mentioned above.