most of your days and not the half marathons. Who has time for cardio anyway? Don’t
you think it gonna chew your hard-earned muscle gain? Yes and no… it will only
depend on how you do it.
one thing it never does is to burn muscles. And this is not in the sense of a
regular boxing and/or running sessions. To say, ultra-marathons and extreme
endurance sports move along their own leagues and uniqueness. And in fact, your
habitual cardio might bless you with a dozen of pros if you are a lifter. For
example, your insulin sensitivity will increase, you will have a nicer blood
flow and may be you will have developed stamina as a result of enhanced
endurance and performance.
- Better blood flow
Cardio increases the
capillaries number of your body. This essentially means that you will be
developing a more efficient blood flow system. And the effect of these extra
capillaries are to facilitate a further transportation of nutrients and oxygen.
This way, minerals will access more organs where they are needed for a main
role.In addition, cardio also
improves recovery and DOMs simply by guiding blood to the needy and specific
muscles. For example, you have just hopped off that finishing set of squats and
are now engaged on some stretches. Then it turns out that it would have been
better to take a steady walk on the cross-trainer firstly. If you have more
power for your legs, your heart will have to make sure that it pumps the oxygenated
blood to your legs. This pumped nutrient dense blood will aid your damaged
muscles with a quick recovery, and result to less DOMs.
- Increased performance
You always have to encounter
and deal with increased performance. The cardiovascular training will equip you
with efficiency and therefore you can better handle endurance activities and
lead you to stamina boosts. With your aerobic and anaerobic base growing, you
will also be improving the workload to muster.Therefore, whenever you want to
rep out on any long and deep sets, then you are able to handle it. If you lack
this fitness base that’s built with cardio, then fifteen reps might be a quick
and much of a burn. The same also applies to the anaerobic athletes who basically
ought to recover in between bouts of extreme exertion, for example football
players, CrossFit fanatics and boxers.
- Lower insulin sensitivity
A slightly regular cardio is
also associated with improvement in blood sugar. Recent research found that the
physical activities (inclusive of cardio) helps to reduce the insulin
resistance, the type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. And what does it mean
for your muscles? It means improvement in insulin sensitivity which allows your
body to process carbohydrates better.In addition, improved insulin
sensitivity aids your muscles in absorption of nutrients in much easier way.
Therefore, your body can translate these improvements to count in for overall recovery,
performance, and growth.Is cardio a muscle builder?Yes. It is very possible to
build muscle with cardio – it’s legit. There are many studies out here to prove
you this.One conspicuous study published in the 2014 issue of Exercise Sports Science Review had Konopka et al verifying that they and others had demonstrated that aerobics exercise attributed to acute and chronical alteration of protein metabolism, and that induces hypertrophy of the skeletal muscle. Or, cardio influenced the size gains in short.The researchers proved also
that for an effective aerobic exercise, for purposes of muscle building, you
will need to do a required effort. The growth magic number laid ranges between
70 and 80% – a high intensity. It gets obvious thinking about high-intensity
and hypertrophy, right? Do you know any sprinter? Pay a look at his or her
legs. They are jacked, right?Cardio enhances muscle buildingA Mid Sweden University research notes that striding out to the track may also attribute to your size gains. Their study had ten men of age range, 25-30, who went on a 5-week training protocol. With their objective being ‘to understand how cardio affected muscle growth’, these men did 45-minutes of cycling with a single leg before performing seven reps knee extensions. It was strictly the other leg used for knee extensions, and not the cycling leg.Then, the research team took an MRI scan of each leg after it was all done, that is, the 5-week plan. They found out that both legs depicted an increase in size gains. However, the cycling leg had increased in volume by 14-17% while the non-cycling leg had only grown by 8-9%.The official statement stated
that the results had suggested that the increased aerobic capacity by AE+RE was
associated with a more robust increase in muscle size as compared with RE,
where RE meant resistance exercise – better gains.Can you do too much cardio?Before going and tanking on the
treadmill for 3 straight hours, we will need to backtrack. Yes, you can do too
much cardio and it’s easy to do it. Many people’s perception linger on more
performance and the better you get. So, they will either keep performing
further every session of an exercise or retire earlier to a dormant life and
end regretting. Or they might also topple over to overuse and succumb to injury.
One of the studies confirmed this through examining body composition of
ultra-marathon runners after a race.Impact of endurance races on
muscle massOne study found out that at the
end of a certain controlled race, athletes had lost 50% of visceral body fat averagely.
And on top of that, they had also reduced in the lean mass of their legs by 7%.The RSI and InjuryYet another muscle-wrecking risk
accompanying cardio, injuries have dominated much athlete’s performance. The
injuries are in form of repetitive strain injury (RSI) that commonly occur in
joints (ones experiencing the excessive repetitive movement).What about overtraining the
cardio way?Exerting too much of cardio
into the mix makes your body be in a constant fight of recovery. Before it
comes to a full circle, it will be back in the race to catch up with your every
day’s run. Overtraining sabotages your gains severely. The signs that indicates
an overtraining include strength loss, constant fatigue, lack of sleep, mass
muscle loss, mood swings and maybe a tanked testosterone.To what extent can you go with
cardio without risks and yet gain muscles?Cardio is greatly beneficial to
you and your gains. You just need a better or smart approach. Toning down your
cardio to 2 or 3 sessions per week can maintain your peak condition. Again, if
you hop between training sessions going for 20 to 40 minutes, it is also more
than enough. And one smart way to deal with this fear factor is by seeing
cardio as something new. It will programming and planning of your workouts much
easier.Try setting different days for cardio
and strengthIt is very smart to set your
cardio days different from strength days. For some aligning reasons, you will
find most gym goers hitting the air-dyne bike either before or after their
weight training days or sessions. However, this concurrent type of training is
not always constructive. It should only be done by weight-losing athletes, and
for short periods. The reason is because they run the risk of chronic
interference, especially when the body is overloaded by the needs of cardio and
resistance training.ConclusionIf you go out amongst the gym
goers and ask if cardio burns muscle, they will tell you it does. We are always
in two camps of either a cardio crusade or a barbell brigade. However, one get stereotypically
yoked while the other is supposedly weak and stringy. If both helps, why can’t
we do both of them? Science acknowledges this, but why can’t we embrace it? Evidently,
if we adopt a sensible amount of cardio, it is very efficient for our gains.
Who doesn’t want great pecs? Just as in every
muscle’s case some exercises are better than others. So let’s check each one
Biceps and chest
These muscles are naturally small and need
time to grow. Pecs are stronger than the biceps but both take a lot of work to
And even though women are not interested in
build pecs they must understand that this type of training is beneficial for
them as well. So let’s start from the beginning with the anatomy of the chest
The most important muscle from this part of
the body is known as pec major and has as main function the upper arm’s
There are multiple exercises that you can do
such as the flat and decline bench press which will emphasize the larger
sternocostal head of the pecs, but we will talk about them a little later.
The chest also has a pec minor that a small
muscle attaches the top of the shoulder to your the ribs. You can find it below
pec major and it has as main purpose the job to pull the shoulder blade forward
and toward the middle of your chest.
Now that you know more about the anatomy of
your chest let’s see what you should not do regarding this part of the body
1. Do the wrong chest exercises
It appears that most people focus way too much
on isolation exercises and machines. All these pieces of training are good to
activate the chest muscles but not as good as actually developing the chest.
And the activation is not the same thing as muscle growth.
Regarding the isolation exercises, they also
can activate the chest muscles just as much as compound exercises.
However, the thing you should remember is that
isolation exercises for the chest are better for gaining strength than the
bench press. Also, you should remember that the growth of the triceps is not in
direct correlation with the pecs growth. So don’t expect them to grow in the
same rhythm. Want bigger triceps? Work them separately.
2. Don’t just focus on high-rep
This will have a bad effect on a small muscle
group such as the pecs. This is possible because one of the best ways to build
pecs is using heavier weights
When you get close to your genetic limit for
building muscles, gaining strength should become the priority. More so, to
build a bigger amount of muscle with higher reps you need to make each set
closer to the point of muscular failure, but you might consider this way too
Luckily this is not a must. You can just train
with heavier weights. You will have the same result.
3. Don’t neglect the progressive
If you want to get bigger you need to overload
your muscles in a progressive way. Don’t do this and you will always be in a
loop struggling to develop your chest.
If you will overload in a progressive way to
you will improve the tension in your muscles. The best secret for building both
muscles and strength is to put your muscles to work harder by training with
heavier and heavier weights.
The science behind the chest
When you hear the word science you
automatically of hard to understand information, but in this case, it is not so
1. Target the “upper” and “lower”
parts of your chest.
So you know that you should work on both the
upper and lower parts of your chest in your training program. The good part is
that this doesn’t mean you have to do some fancy workout techniques. The best
way to do this is to add close-reverse-grip bench press in your chess.
2. Do compound exercises and lift
If you are a weightlifter your goal is or it
should be to increase the whole-body strength. So the secret for when your
growth stagnates is to continue gaining strength. This happens because heavy,
compound resistance training is the most effective way to get stronger.
This rule doesn’t apply only for the chest. It
is for all muscle groups. This being said, the stronger you are, the toner you
3. Do one to three chest workouts
The basic rule for all muscles is to train
them at least two or three times per week. This way you will maximize the
growth. However, this only partially true. It appears that success is given not
by how often you train but of the number of hard sets.
There isn’t a magic number but you should
experience and see where your body responds. So this being said, let’s see
which are the best chest exercises
The 10 Best Chest Exercises
Just as in all muscle cases, there are some
exercises that prove to work better than others.
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press
This is a foundation exercise that comes with
some other variations. This exercise will help you build the upper chest but
also the middle of your shoulders. It is even better than the flat or decline
The inclination of the bench for this exercise
should be 30 to 45 degrees.
2. Flat Barbell Bench Press
The bench press is probably in the top 3 best
all-around upper body exercises. This is because you can train the pectorals,
lats, shoulders, triceps, and even the legs to a slight degree.
This is because it activates your muscles at a
very high level and this leads to muscle and strength gains
However, in order not to injure yourself, you
need to learn how to properly use the bench press. The main steps are
- The setup. Just lie down on the
bench and just yourself so your eyes are under the bar. When you are in a good
position raise your chest up and tuck your shoulder blades down and squeeze
them together. You need to do this so you will produce tightness in your upper
back. Grab the bar, but don’t do a too narrow grip because you’ll shift the
emphasis to the triceps. And this is not what you want. With the bar gripped,
inspire, push your knees apart, and
squeeze the bar.
- The descent. What you need to take
extra precautions is how you tuck your elbows.
The most common mistake that you can do is to flare them out and injure
yourself. Be sure your elbows are at a 30 to 60-degree angle relative to your
torso throughout the entire movement. The bar has to move in a straight line
down and not toward your face or belly button.
- The ascent. So you are the point
when you are pushing your torso away from the bar. The thing you need to do is
to keep your shoulder blades down and pinched,
your lower back slightly arched, and your feet on the floor. From this
position, you have to push against the bar to get it off your chest. Be sure
you lock the elbows at the top of the exercise.
3. Reverse-Grip Barbell Bench
This exercise requires you to grip the bar so
your palms face you. Even though you may feel weird at the beginning it appears
that people who get used to this type they will be able to lift more weight
than they normally would with the normal grip.
This training type is great for the upper body
because it helps you exercise your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
5. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
This exercise is similar to the one done with
the barbell bench press. The exception is that you have to press one dumbbell
in each hand and not hold a barbell with both.
The advantages that the dumbbell bench press
- a larger range of motion
- it’s easier on your joints.
- you can use any writs position
But it also has some disadvantages:
- you can’t use as much weight as
you can with the barbell bench press because you need more balance;
- it will consume a great amount of
energy to get heavy dumbbells into position
So the recommendation is that you should do
the dumbbell bench press after your heavier barbell work.
6. Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
This is an exercise that is great for the pecs
but also is very effective for your triceps.
This is mostly just as a regular bench press.
The difference is in the grip. For the close-grip bench, you will need a
It’s also particularly effective at activating
the upper chest, which makes it one of the more well-rounded upper body
exercises you can do.
If you will place your hands very close you
will maximize the effect on the triceps but the risk of injury is increased.
7. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
This is almost the same as the flat dumbbell
bench press. The difference is the inclination. It is performed on a 30 to 45
It offers many advantages such as the ones
given by the incline and dumbbell bench press.
This is maybe the oldest and also popular
training for the upper body part. The beauty of it is that you don’t need any
equipment, so you can do it everywhere. To make it harder you can wear a
backpack or a weight vet. Also, you can bring your hands closer to your hips.
The only problem with this exercise is that is
very hard to make a progressive overload.
9. Low Cable Chest Fly
Many people consider the chest fly an amazing
chest exercise, but it is not as great actually. However, it is a good
isolation exercise so you should add into the chest training sessions.
10. Dumbbell Chest Fly
It is similar to the chest fly but it is
performed lying on a bench and using dumbbells.
The bad part of this is that is hard to
perform correctly once you start using heavier weights