Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Cardio session after strength workout keeps arteries supple

Cardio session after strength workout keeps arteries supple
A short session of cardio after a strength workout prevents the arteries from becoming stiffer, write researchers from Osaka University in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Cardio sessions done before weight training don't protect the arteries.

Strength training & arteries
Strength training makes the arteries stiffer, according to some studies. In theory this means that strength athletes are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. If this is the case, then creatine supplementation may help, according to an American study. We came up with another strategy to overcome the potentially negative cardiovascular effects of strength training after reading a Japanese study that was published in 2007.


The Japanese did an experiment on 11 men and 22 women, all of whom were healthy but not sports fanatics, average age 18.

Of the 33 test subjects, 22 of them did strength training for 8 weeks. Twice a week they trained their most important muscle groups doing the following basic exercises: chest press, curls, seated rows, shoulder press, leg curls, leg press and sit ups. The subjects trained at 80 percent of their 1 RM, an intensity at which they could just manage 7-8 reps.

Eleven of the subjects ran for 20 minutes on a treadmill at 60 percent of their maximal heart rate before they started the strength training [BRT]. The other eleven did their running after they'd finished the strength training [ART].

The last 11 did nothing at all [SED]. This was the control group.

Just before the training programme started, just after it finished, and once again after 4 weeks of detraining, the researchers measured the stiffness [baPwV] and the elasticity [FMD] of the subjects' arteries.

Triangles = control group; circles = cardio before strength training; squares = cardio after strength training.

Cardio session after strength workout keeps arteries supple

As you can see, a short cardio session after the strength workout cancels out the negative effect of the strength workout. The arteries of the test subjects even seem to be a bit healthier as a result of doing cardio after the strength workout.

Now many strength athletes can't stand doing cardio. But a 20-minute session, at an intensity where you can still chat to your neighbour, is not much to ask. Is it?

There's also another way that strength athletes can keep their arteries healthy. Watch this space.

J Appl Physiol. 2007 Nov; 103(5): 1655-61.

Creatine keeps strength athlete's arteries supple 07.03.2011
Strength training stiffens arteries 06.03.2011