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25.03.2011


Strength training with light weights stiffens arteries, half an hour of cycling works better

Strength training with light weights stiffens arteries, half an hour of cycling works better
Strength training with relatively light weights has just as negative an impact on your arteries as strength training with heavy weights, conclude Japanese researchers in the Journal of Hypertension. What does help is to finish your workout with a cardio session.

Japanese researchers discovered a few years ago that strength training stiffens your arteries and that strength athletes therefore are more at risk of a heart attack, stroke or heart abnormalities. Creatine supplements protect against this, as do stretching exercises and cardio training.

As far as cardio training goes: 2 x 45 minute cardio sessions a week, done on the days that you don't do your weight training, is enough protection. Strength athletes who find this too much can also do 20 minutes of running on a treadmill after finishing their strength training. A short training session like this doesn't work if you do it before pumping iron.

You'd think you could limit the dangerous effects of strength training by using lighter weights, but according to the Japanese study we look at here, this is not the case.

In this study one group of young men, average age 22, did nothing at all. This was the control group.

A second group of men trained 3 times a week for 45 minutes, with weights and machines. They exercised all of the main muscle groups, doing leg-extensions, chest-press, leg-curls, lateral-rows, squats and sit-ups. [MODE] The men in the MODE group used fairly light weights and made sets with 50 percent of the amount with which they could just manage 1 rep.

A third group cycled for 30 minutes immediately after the weight training session. They cycled at 60 percent of their maximal heart rate. [COMBO] The COMBO group trained at 80 percent of their 1RM.

The groups followed the programmes for 4 months. After that the men stopped training. The Japanese examined their subjects before they started the training programme, after they had trained for 4 months and again after 4 months of inactivity. They noticed that the elasticity of the arteries in the COMBO group improved, while the arteries in the MODE group deteriorated.


Strength training with light weights stiffens arteries, half an hour of cycling works better


Strength training with light weights stiffens arteries, half an hour of cycling works better


The researchers think that their research shows that 'taking it easy' is not an option for strength athletes who want to protect their arteries. After all, even "moderate-intensity resistance training produced significant reductions in arterial compliance". What does help is cycling for half an hour after doing weight training.

"In order to negate and prevent the stiffening of carotid arteries caused by resistance training, aerobic training should be performed simultaneously with resistance training", the researchers conclude.

Source:
J Hypertens. 2006 Sep; 24(9): 1753-9.

More:
Stretching vs. artery stiffening 09.03.2011
Cardio session after strength workout keeps arteries supple 08.03.2011
Creatine keeps strength athlete's arteries supple 07.03.2011