Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Strength training with light weights stiffens arteries, half an hour of cycling works better
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 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.