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Does Cardio Hinder Muscle Gain?

April 18, 2013 - By Mathieu Rousseau

Temps de lecture 2 minutes

Cardio training and muscular training stimulate the body in completely different ways. In the case of cardiovascular training, the effort is continuous and spread over a long period of time, which requires the body to consume large quantities of oxygen. As for muscle gain, the effort is performed using heavy loads intermittently.

It was long believed that stimulating the body in two opposite manners would prevent us from getting the benefits of each type of training. This belief, stating that cardio hinders muscle growth, has even become widespread in fitness centers.

A good cardiorespiratory capacity could even help perform better during muscular training sessions.

However, recent studies have proven that cardiovascular exercise does not hinder muscle gain in any way. When subjected to two types of exercise, the body responds by improving the volume, strength and power of muscles, as well as cardiorespiratory capacity.

A good cardiorespiratory capacity could even help perform better during muscular training sessions. Indeed, cardiovascular training improves blood circulation in muscles. They in turn become more efficient during effort and recover more easily, while the body renews its energy reserves (creatine phosphate) faster.

Necessary conditions for optimal muscle mass gain:

  1. Perform cardio training after muscular training. Do not train cardio and muscles on the same day if both sessions are high-intensity.
  2. Follow general advice about muscle mass gain concerning training and nutrition.
  3. Eat a snack after each session to replenish your energy reserves and promote recovery.


  • Lundberg TR et al. (2012). Aerobic exercise does not compromise muscle hypertrophy response to short-term resistance training. J Appl Physiol. Oct 25.
  • Donges CE et al. (2012). Concurrent resistance and aerobic exercise stimulates both myofibrillar and mitochondrial protein synthesis in sedentary middle-aged men. J Appl Physiol.112(12):1992-2001.
  • Kraemer WJ et al. (2004). Effects of concurrent resistance and aerobic training on load-bearing performance and the Army physical fitness test. Mil Med. 169(12):994-9.
  • Tomlin DL et Wenger HA (2001). The relationship between aerobic fitness and recovery from high intensity intermittent exercise. Sports Med. 31(1):1-11.

Does Cardio Hinder Muscle Gain? is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2013

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