Cardio for gaining muscle mass: pros and cons

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Cardio for gaining muscle mass: pros and cons
Cardio for gaining muscle mass: pros and cons

Often athletes are interested in whether cardio is beneficial for gaining mass. Learn about the pros and cons of aerobic exercise for weight gain and draw conclusions. Aerobic workouts are primarily aimed at fighting excess weight, they also allow you to keep fit and strengthen the cardiovascular system. Of course, proper strength training also improves heart function, but resistance training alone is not enough to strengthen the heart muscle. For this reason, you have to resort to cardio training.

The main goal of bodybuilding is to gain quality mass, which implies the use of mainly strength exercises. Very often, athletes do not have time to do cardio. The main reason for this is unwillingness to lose weight. Here athletes are interested in all the pros and cons of cardio when gaining muscle mass. It is safe to say that aerobic exercise is necessary, since a healthy heart is much more important than muscles, but everything must be done according to the rules, which will be discussed now.

Aerobic load during mass gain

The athlete stands near the barbell

Perhaps someone does not know what is called aerobic exercise. Before moving on to the use of cardio in bodybuilding, you should figure out what it is. Cardio is a prolonged exercise that uses oxygen as a fuel source to keep the body active. Simply put, during the performance of the main loads, which last for 10-30 seconds, the sources of energy are glucose, ATP and other substances that support the athlete's body.

During this period, reactions of the splitting of all kinds of substances take place without the participation of oxygen. This load is called anaerobic. But the load, the duration of exposure to the body exceeds one minute, say, running or other cardio exercise that uses oxygen, is called aerobic exercise.

The need for cardio in bodybuilding

People exercise on ellipsoids in the hall

When the body is exposed to long-term loads, for example, the same running, then the processes of fat burning are significantly accelerated, metabolism is accelerated, the heart acquires additional volume. This helps to improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system, reduces the risk of developing diabetes and all heart diseases. Of course, cardio exercises have a lot of positive aspects, but one of them is worth highlighting.

It has already been said above that the main goal of bodybuilding is to increase muscle mass. For this reason, the volume of blood also increases, because the tissues become larger and need to be nourished. As an example, let's take an athlete who has a fairly long training history. For example, for the entire time he visited the gym, he was able to increase his weight from 75 kilograms to 110, but there was no place for cardio loads in his training program. Since the body weight has increased quite strongly, the amount of blood has also increased.

However, at the same time, his heart has the same volume as it was with 70 kilograms of weight. So imagine what load will now be on the heart to pump a new amount of blood. Of course, this will entail serious problems with the cardiovascular system. To avoid these problems, cardio training is essential. That is, if we talk about all the pros and cons of cardio when gaining muscle mass, then, of course, there will be more positive aspects from this type of load.

Cardio and weight gain

The athlete performs a row of the front block

It doesn't matter if your training is about gaining mass or losing weight, but cardio is essential.Another thing is how much time you need to set aside for aerobic training, and what intensity to do them. If you are losing weight at this stage, then everything is very simple: you need to pay more attention to cardio and increase its intensity. You can even set aside an entire day for jogging.

At the same time, when gaining mass, it is necessary to reduce the intensity of cardio training and its duration. During this period, it will be quite enough at the beginning of the training session to spend from 5 to 15 minutes on the treadmill for warm-up and the same time at the end of the training for the cool-down.

You should also be aware that there is also an interval aerobic exercise, which also contributes to an increase in muscle mass. In this case, special attention should be paid to your nutrition program.

It is worth noting that interval cardio exercises are very effective in burning fat cells. At the same time, if you combine interval aerobic exercise with strength training in one training program, you can milk good results while gaining a clean mass devoid of fat. When performing cardio exercises, the main focus should be on the heart rate. It is at a certain heart rate that an aerobic load can have a different effect. For example, with a heart rate of 50 to 60 percent of the maximum, you can burn the most calories, practically without causing damage to the mass of muscle tissue. This load is considered moderate.

For weight loss, the load is more suitable, the heart rate is from 80 to 90 percent of the maximum. Simply put, with an increase in the intensity of aerobic loads, the rate of fat burning processes increases. To gain weight, you should use a load with an intensity of 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate for the time indicated above.

Cardio load and body types

Man and woman exercising on a stationary bike

When determining the intensity of cardio loads, you should also pay attention to your body type. As many people know, there are three types: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. They are completely different from each other.

  1. Ectomorphs by nature have a lean physique, have long limbs and most often not the best genetics. For such athletes, cardio loads for 10 minutes are enough as a warm-up.
  2. Endomorphs have persistent overweight problems. For such athletes, cardio training should be more intense and special attention should be paid to the nutritional program.
  3. Mesomorphs are ideal bodybuilding athletes. They can equally easily gain muscle mass and lose excess weight.

To summarize, when considering all the pros and cons of cardio when gaining muscle mass, it can be argued that aerobic exercise should be included in the training program.

You can learn more about the pros and cons of cardio while gaining muscle mass in this video:

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