Circuit training with light weights causes just as much fat loss as classic cardio training
A circuit training with relatively light weights in which you train the most important muscle groups with six basal exercises produces as much fat loss as a traditional cardio workout in which you cycle continuously. Sports scientists at the University of Chile discovered this.
The researchers divided 44 women aged 52-61 into two groups. One group cycled 40 minutes 3 times a week with an intensity of 60-65 percent of the maximum rate of oxygen consumption, the other did 40 minutes of circuit training 3 times a week.
The circuit training consisted of 6 exercises for the pectorales, the latissimi dorsi, the biceps, the triceps, the quadriceps and the gastrocnemius. The women made 3 sets of each exercise, using 30 percent of the weight with which just 1 rep was possible.
All women tried to follow a diet that provided 80 percent of the amount of calories they burnt daily.
The effects of both training sessions were virtually identical to each other. Both types of training reduced the blood pressure and the concentration of triglycerides in the blood. That means that the cardiovascular health of the women improved.
The amount of fat in the abdomen also decreased in both groups.
Both the circuit training and the classic cardio training reduced body weight and total fat mass. However, none of the training types increased lean body mass.
None of the training types improved insulin sensitivity. This may be due to a large intra-individual variation, or perhaps to a lack of motivation to exercise. In both training groups the compliance was somewhere between 45 and 49 percent.
"Noteworthy is that classical aerobic training and low-load circuit resistance training had the same effect of body fat", the researchers concluded. "This is a novel finding and should help in decision making about exercise interventions for sedentary women."
"In [...] highly sedentary populations, any type of exercise is useful insofar as it changes lifestyles. Therefore, exercise interventions should be planned based on the available resources and equipment and every effort must be made to maintain an adequate compliance with training sessions."
J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Nov;31(11):2955-64.
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