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22.05.2016


Cardio training boosts the effect of strength training on muscle growth, sometimes

Under some conditions athletes can build up more muscle mass by combining strength training with cardio training, than by doing strength training alone. Swedish sports scientists demonstrated this in a small human study, published in PLoS One.

Strength training and cardio training
If your total training volume gets too high, strength and cardio training can start to work against each other. The better trainers and sports scientists have known this for years, and meta-studies have now shown about how much cardio training strength athletes can add to their workouts without compromising their overall training results. A 20-minute cardio session three times a week should be no problem for strength athletes.

There are even a couple of studies that show that a moderate combination of strength and cardio training can help build up more lean body mass than doing strength training alone. [J Appl Physiol. 1998 Aug;85(2):695-700.] And yes: it sounds strange. But according to the human study that the Swedish sports scientists published in PLoS One, it is possible.

Study
The researchers got sixteen healthy young men, who had never done weight training before, to work out three times a week. Over a period of seven weeks seven men did resistance training [R], while nine men did both cardio and resistance training [ER].

The strength training consisted of leg extensions only. [Yes, we agree, you can hardly call that resistance training]. The workout schedule for both groups is shown below.


Cardio training boosts the effect of strength training on muscle growth, sometimes



The cardio schedule is shown below. The ER group did the cardio training before they started on their resistance workout. [A no doubt unnecessary warning: for most men and women who do serious resistance training, this cardio training schedule may be too much.]


Cardio training boosts the effect of strength training on muscle growth, sometimes



Twenty minutes after completing the workout the subjects drank a shake containing 20 g whey. The ER group also got maltodextrin in their shake, to compensate for the calories burnt.

Results
The amount of the type II muscle fibres in the vastus lateralis leg muscle of the men in the ER group increased by more than it did in the men in the R group.


Cardio training boosts the effect of strength training on muscle growth, sometimes



Mechanism
The combination of cardio and resistance training resulted in a stronger anabolic stimulus than that given by resistance training alone.


Cardio training boosts the effect of strength training on muscle growth, sometimes



Conclusion
"The current investigation provides additional evidence that endurance exercise does not compromise the anabolic stimulus provided by subsequent strength training", the Swedes concluded.

Source:
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2): e0149082.

More:
False alarm about combining interval training and strength training 28.04.2016
Combination training speeds up weight loss 30.11.2012
Modest cardio speeds up post-weight training recovery 22.11.2012

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