Over the years, cardio has become a rather controversial topic within the bodybuilding community. On one hand, since bodybuilders want to achieve extreme muscularity, they are ready to chastise anything that could harm their precious mass gains (many studies have shown that excessive cardio leads to catabolism), but on the other, even the highest level of muscularity is kind of pointless without razor-sharp conditioning. And that’s where cardio comes in.
One of the main arguments against cardio is that by adding extra volume to your training, cardio can make it more difficult to recover from your lifting sessions. Another big objections follows the logic that cardiovascular gains are entirely opposite of those that result from weightlifting, and therefore they are mutually exclusive.
However, it’s still undisputable that certain forms of cardio are the most effective way to burn excess fat. Moderate intensity, long-duration cardio is not one of them – in fact, according to some studies, the longer your cardio sessions, the greater the muscle losses. On the other hand, short-duration & high-intensity activities, such as sprinting, have been shown to cause optimal fat loss without endangering your hard-earned muscle mass. Moreover, adding sprints to your regular training can boost your testosterone production and improve your muscle building rate while keeping the risk of catabolism minimal. Sounds great, right?
Give it a try at your next workout and experience the benefits for yourself.
How often should you sprint for best results?
When it comes to incorporating sprinting into the routine of a bodybuilder who hasn’t had much experience with this type of activity, it’s best to have a methodical approach. For fat loss, try performing 10-30 seconds vigorous sprints for 5-10 reps, beginning at the lower range and slowly working your way up.
First, make sure to warm up muscles properly before you start. Then, rather than going all out at your first session, aim for 50% of your max speed. Once your body gets used to it, start increasing the intensity. For best results, perform your sprinting routine three times per week, but always do it after your weightlifting sessions. A good idea is to make one of them really short and intense, while the others can be of moderate duration and intensity. If you really want to increase the challenge, try 10-second hill sprints. Most importantly, try to separate your sprinting sessions from leg days at the gym by at least 24 hours.
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Good luck and have fun!