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Does cardio exercise increase muscle?

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Cardio includes many different exercises, bringing unexpected health benefits. However, few people know all the benefits of cardio exercises. Therefore, whether doing cardio increases muscle mass is also a question many people have before practicing this subject. To find the answer, please refer to the following article by California Fitness & Yoga.

1. Does cardio help gain muscle?

Does cardio exercise increase muscle? (Source: Internet)

Cardio is known as exercises that help control heart rate, improve cardiovascular health, and stimulate blood circulation. In addition, Cardio is also known as an exercise that helps burn excess fat extremely effectively and accelerates the weight loss process. Therefore, if you want to have a toned body and clearly reveal attractive muscles such as abdominal muscles, cardio exercise is the indispensable first step in this muscle building process.

Therefore, if you practice cardio combined with a healthy, scientific diet, it will help you gain muscle effectively and quickly have a balanced, healthy physique.

  • Cardio exercise will help more oxygen transport to the muscles, stimulate protein synthesis, regenerate new muscles and increase muscle growth better.
  • Hidden muscles are often located underneath a layer of fat, so the body accumulates too much fat and will inhibit muscle growth. When doing cardio, excess fat will be removed and the muscle layer hidden under the fat will also be exposed.
  • Some high-intensity cardio exercises require the body to move continuously, creating pressure for the muscles to develop. Furthermore, cardio exercises also coordinate whole-body movements, thereby helping muscles develop evenly.

2. Cardio training helps strengthen which muscle groups?

Cardio exercises affect many different muscle groups (Source: Internet)

Does cardio exercise increase muscle? The answer is yes. More specifically, cardio exercise will help strengthen the following muscle groups:

  • Lower body muscles include thighs and calves: Cardio exercises such as running, jumping, cycling,… require continuous movement of the legs. Muscles such as thighs and calves also have to work a lot, helping to increase muscle strength and firmness.
  •  Upper body muscles include back, shoulders, biceps: Exercises such as badminton, basketball, sexy dance are all cardio exercises. When performing these exercises, the upper body will have to work a lot, helping to increase muscle and reduce fat effectively.

However, you should remember that the main effect of cardio exercise is still fat loss. Therefore, the muscle gain effect will not be obvious in some muscle groups, especially the buttocks and abdominal muscles. To gain better muscle mass and comprehensively develop muscle groups, you should combine cardio exercises with muscle exercises.

3. Cardio intensity helps increase muscle effectively

To gain muscle, you need to practice Cardio with high intensity (Source: Internet)

Endurance training and aerobics are equally effective for both men and women. If you maintain regular exercise, it will promote reactions such as muscle protein response, amino acid distribution, increased anabolism, reduced inflammation, and reduced protein and DNA damage. To promote muscle gain, during exercise, you should maintain cardio intensity with a heart rate of at least 80%.

Some people who work in offices and the elderly are often very sedentary and exercise less intensely. For these people, the body’s muscle mass will decrease and they often experience diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. To improve cardiovascular health as well as overall health, increase physical fitness, gain muscle and reduce fat, exercise is always a necessary requirement.

4. Some things to note when doing cardio to avoid muscle loss

Once you know whether cardio helps you gain muscle, you should also note that doing cardio incorrectly can lead to catabolism and muscle loss. Here are ways to practice cardio to avoid muscle loss that you should keep in mind:

4.1 Practice combining many exercises

Cardio exercises are very diverse, including walking, jogging, cycling, mountain climbing, aerobic dancing, soccer, badminton, basketball, table tennis, etc. In order for your muscles to develop evenly, you should Combine exercises together but need to alternate exercise types. Each exercise should only be repeated 2-3 times/week. For example, if you only run, you will only develop the thigh and calf muscles while the upper body muscle groups will not be affected. On the contrary, if you combine it with badminton, other muscle groups such as shoulders, back, and front arms will also be stimulated to develop. Thanks to that, your physique as well as muscle groups will develop balance. Furthermore, the combination of exercises will also avoid boredom during exercise.

4.2 Don’t exercise when you’re hungry

Doing cardio on an empty stomach will stimulate the body to burn excess fat faster because the body needs to use energy from excess fat to meet exercise needs. In the long term, muscles will also be broken down to create energy for the body, causing muscle loss. Therefore, to lose weight, maintain muscle or gain muscle, you need to eat lightly about 30 – 60 minutes before exercising. Your snacks should be boiled eggs, protein bars, smoothies, oatmeal,… and you should only eat in moderate amounts, not too full and cause bloating.

You should eat lightly before doing Cardio to avoid muscle loss (Source: Internet)

4.3 There needs to be a change in exercise intensity

Each person’s body always has the ability to adapt. Therefore, if you practice cardio at an intense level, your muscles will not be exerted enough force to grow. At this time, the body will lose fat but cannot gain muscle.

Once you know whether cardio increases muscle mass , you can apply cardio exercises to your training plan. However, no matter what exercise you do, you should increase the speed and difficulty to stimulate muscle growth.

  • With jogging, you should alternate long-distance endurance running with sprinting. Depending on your fitness, you can increase the running time.
  • With cycling, you should pedal faster and longer to increase the effectiveness of muscle gain and fat burning.
  • If you practice lifting weights, you can try heavier weights and higher technical requirements.
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