Is Cardiovascular Training a Hinderance to Building Muscle?

Performing cardiovascular exercises has unquestionable health benefits, however a lot of bodybuilders and people who are looking to build muscle tend to avoid doing any cardiovascular exercise for fear that it hinders their ability to make maximum gains in muscle mass. However, there are numerous health benefits to cardiovascular training which is why it’s important that you not avoid it all together.

Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps fles

Some of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise include the following:

  • Strengthens your heart which allows for improved circulation which in turn allows for healthier skin, increased cell growth and organ function among other things
  • Improves overall stamina, allowing you to perform high intensity programs for the muscle
  • Cardio can assist with improving bone density by slowing bone mineral loss
  • Psychological benefits such as better mood, relief from stress and anxiety, improved memory and reduction in fatigue

[box type=”important”]While it is difficult to try to lose body fat while increasing muscle mass, especially for ectomorphs, as you can see from above, it’s important to incorporate cardiovascular exercise to your overall fitness routine.[/box]

To receive the benefits of cardiovascular training while still allowing yourself to build muscle, it’s recommended that you stick to performing some sort of cardio 2 – 3 times a week. It is also a good idea to stick to high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a shorter but more intense program as opposed to aerobic exercises that are longer but less intense.

How to Perform HIIT Training to Build Muscle and Lose Fat:

Typically, when performing HIIT, you will want to look at doing a short 3 – 5 minute warm up, followed by 6 – 10 sprints where you give your maximum effort. Each of these sprints are separated by a recovery period where you are performing at a medium intensity. You will then want to finish with a cool down.

If you are first starting out with HIIT, you will most likely want to keep each of your sprints at 30 seconds followed by a 2 minute recovery where you are moving at a moderate pace. You will want to work your way up to a ratio of 1:2 which means that if you sprint for 30 seconds, you will want to have a recovery period of 1 minute. There are different methods and regimens which discuss optimal sprinting and recovery time. Personally, I find doing a 1 minute sprint, followed by a 2 minute moderate jog has been the most beneficial to me in terms of building up my cardio endurance while still being able to increase my muscle mass.

Ideally when you perform your cardiovascular routine, it will be on a day that is separate from your weight training, however depending on your routine splits and your time to train, this might not be possible. In this case, it is recommended that you perform your cardiovascular session after weight training as opposed to before.

Remember, when following a cardio routine that you will want to make sure that you are in a calorie surplus if you are looking to build muscle. Make sure to eat enough quality food throughout the day, ideally 5 – 6 times, every 2 – 3 hours to ensure that your body has enough nutrients to continue the muscle-building process while allowing you to burn fat.

For additional fitness and nutrition tips, check out YourMuscleBuilding.



I'm extremely passionate about fitness and nutrition. This blog is equipped with routines for beginners as well as an advanced guide for those interested in getting and staying in shape, as well as product reviews and the latest information on competitions and races.

2 thoughts on “Is Cardiovascular Training a Hinderance to Building Muscle?

  • December 26, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Thank you for very informative post. I started going Gym since last six months. I liked your tip to eat enough quality food throughout the day, which I was not following. I will start this from today itself. Thank you so much…

  • December 22, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Thanks for sharing such kind of useful information about Health and Fitness. Your blog is very informative. Please keep such kind of beautiful postings. Regards : Health and Fitness tips Arena


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