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Will performing cardio prior to training affect muscle gains?

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  • Will performing cardio prior to training affect muscle gains?

    The basics of exercise selection, structure and sequence need to be understood to maximize a programís potential. Studies have shown that the order exercises are executed significantly affects strength performance. If strength and muscle growth is the goal, large multiple-joint movements should be performed early in the training session, when fatigue is minimal. The sequencing of exercises might not be as important for endurance training since fatigue is a necessary component. For that reason, building muscular endurance allows more freedom in scheduling workout variations than strength-building programs.

    Warm up but donít burn

    Warming up prior to training can improve performance. However, there is a threshold to respect; a point when performance is negatively impacted. Increases in body temperature speed up chemical reactions. Based on biochemical research, 50-degree Fahrenheit increases in tissue temperatures can double the speed of bodily processes. Obviously, an elevation of this nature would not be possible in a human body, since the organism could not survive such a high internal temperature.

    A moderate increase in body temperature is best for improving muscular contractions and related metabolic reactions. A study dated back to 1945 demonstrated that anaerobic exercise performance improves by roughly five percent for each degree the muscleís temperature is increased. In contrast, excessive elevation of the core temperature impairs performance, primarily related to changes in the central nervous system that result in central fatigue. Hyperthermia can also impair cardiovascular function, causing reduced arterial oxygen delivery and limited efficiency of the aerobic energy systems.

    Several studies indicate that a peak internal temperature exists where a person will stop voluntarily exercising. This effect is tightly connected to core temperature and not local muscle temperature. A core temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a normal active state but may impair performance over long durations.

    In March 2008, Lars Nybo published a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology to examine the effects of hyperthermia and fatigue. In his research, exercise on a bicycle was maintained for an hour at core temperatures of 100 degrees, without exhaustion. On the other hand, when core temperature stabilized at 104 degrees, fatigue resulted within 50 minutes. Researchers noted that untrained individuals will fatigue sooner than trained athletes. Competitive events can also delay fatigue due to the heightened motivation. Certain dietary supplements, such as caffeine and ephedrine, can also counteract feelings of fatigue at high core temperatures. Cases of hyperthermia, which can become life threatening, are often reported while training in a hot environment.

    Based on current research, it seems evident that muscles must be warm for maximum performance but core temperatures must remain less than 104 degrees during activity. As core and brain temperatures eventually reach and exceed 100 degrees, central fatigue proceeds with a decrease in oxygen delivery to exercising muscles. Highly elevated brain temperatures can negatively affect neuromuscular function. Cardiac output declines and muscle blood flow decreases to a point that increased oxygen extraction cannot be made up by the limited oxygen delivery.

    In well-trained strength athletes, intense exercise is associated with high rates of heat production in the muscles. Itís possible to increase core temperature to 104 degrees in less than 10 minutes in a warm environment. Allowing some passive recovery and staying well hydrated will support the bodyís cooling mechanisms. Itís important to warm up before exercise, but overdoing it can disable any possible ergogenic effects.

    Thomas Kurz, author of Science of Sports Training: How to Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance, explains correct exercise sequences for daily training cycles. His theories serve to minimize overtraining probability. In a single workout, Kurz suggests technique before speed drills, but both before strength or endurance training. Speed or strength exercises should be performed before endurance efforts. Training otherwise will extend your recovery time to double or triple that of a properly sequenced workout.

    High intensity anaerobic training (speed or strength exercises) after fatiguing aerobic efforts (endurance) produces more lactic acid than the reverse order. Excessive lactic acid taxes the bodyís ability to restore proper pH balance. Sodium is taken from body fluids and phosphorous from bones, causing demineralization and loss of calcium, required for optimal muscle contractions. Short-term fatigue from depletion of substrates, accumulation of metabolites and dehydration will limit the bodyís ability to exert itself at optimal intensities or durations.

    Itís important to understand that each athlete is an individual with personal capabilities for physical output and adaptation. A training program that drives one athlete into severe overtraining syndrome may generate record-breaking performance in another.
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  • #2
    Short, sweet and informative. Well done. And, thank-you.
    Your bicycle has rusty fenders


    • #3
      Properly managing fatigue is the real issue here.

      Fatigue is required in endurance training, where as accumulative fatigue is the enemy for a progressive resistance training program. If cardio is performed prior to strength training, it must not fatigue a trainee to the point of exhaustion... just warm their core temperature.
      Ramblings and gear: : 500-word winners in 2008

      Muscular Development Forum Rules :.


      • #4
        I can't do cardio before I work out.....It takes all my steam......
        "Make Pain a Friend, and you will have a Friend for Life"


        • #5
          So explain why i could barely move my calves when i got out of bed this morning. I went running last night on the roads for about 45 mins after already having sore calves from training the day before, now im trying to stretch them but it is excruciating
          Training Log. I train like a manbearpig.


          • #6
            Originally posted by CATABOLIC1 View Post
            So explain why i could barely move my calves when i got out of bed this morning. I went running last night on the roads for about 45 mins after already having sore calves from training the day before, now im trying to stretch them but it is excruciating
            Running on roads?

            You are more likely suffering from shinsplits my friend.

            Also if you are heavy than the calves will get a beating from running if you cut it would be different.
            Biotivia Supported Athlete/Biotivia Rep


            • #7
              I use H I T before going to use weights ,the High Intensity training imv gives you more bang for your buck on a 20 secs train 10 secs rest and 30 secs train 30 secs rest ect .

              I use a 20 min work out then into warm up sets of dead lifts 10 x 8 reps follow with 8 sets of leg raise 6 inches of the ground 15 secs up 15 secs down then iam good to go with my work out for the day be it ,chest,back ect.

              After my training i do 15 min cardio on a bike this helps with ripping fat from the body as sugar levels are low at this point from training plus the intake of water is important through out the training to gain muscle volume,plus the H I T training helps your muscle stamina overall.


              • #8
                Very informative. I've always wondered when I should do cardio and in what order.
                "I can accept failure... But I can't accept not trying." - Michael Jordan


                • #9
                  great article, lots of info on warming up
                  Check out before getting ripped off!


                  • #10
                    very good. i do medium intensity cardio (5mph) for about 20 minutes before every workout. good for the heart, cuts calories and warms you up. nothing wrong with it.


                    • #11
                      very informative. Thanks for posting.
                      Try not to let hurdles hold you down because they will always be there.


                      • #12
                        I don't think "cardio" is something that should be done prior training. It is all goal dependent though. If the goal is to put on mass, I believe cardio should be put on hold until afte weight training.

                        Cardio done post workout will use more fat than prior. Weight training burns through your glycogen stores, and when they are gone, the fat is then shuttled to you blood for energy. So you will be burning fat doing post workout. This is what I've read, and learned working with Phil H
                        Use discount code: RICHIEREP10 to save an extra 10% at Ergopep


                        • #13
                          If I run before weight training then hit the weights, my heart rate races and I fatigue really Quick. If I do it after I can't run as far but I loose my pump. So I try and run in the morning and then take a hour break and then work out. Just my personal experience.


                          • #14
                            Great information thank you. It's hard to know who to believe when you hear some people say one thing and the other the opposite. Much better to take advice from people that actually research this stuff.


                            • #15
                              I agree with everyone on here! One thing I always tell my clients who are either preppeing for a show or just looking to lose body fat is to embrace you glycogen stores for weight training. If you hop on cardio for 30 minutes to an hour before you train you will deplete those glycogen stores slightly and have less benefit from weight training.

                              I have always seen fantastic results with my clients and myself training first and immediately after training performing my cardio. Another side note is the utilization of super sets to keep you heart rate up during training to maximize fat burning. As soon as I began training with supersets i noticed a huge difference with my conditioning both on and off season!