Steady state cardio is any form of exercise that involves continuous exertion over a long period of time. That means running long distances for example, swimming, or even using machines like the cross trainer.

Conventionally, most people try to avoid using steady-state cardio as part of their muscle building programs with the reasoning being that it can end up breaking down muscle. If you train using steady-state cardio, then you will be putting your body in a catabolic state to burn more calories and even break down muscle.

But while steady state cardio might burn muscle potentially in the short-term, in the long-run it can actually contribute to much more muscle growth. Read on to discover why this is and why you really need to incorporate it into your weight lifting routines.

Lowering Your Resting Heartrate.

When you train using steady state cardio, this helps you to train your heart and specifically, to increase the size of the left ventricle. This is something that you can’t do with HIIT. When you increase the size of the left ventricle, this in turn means that you can pump more blood around the body with each beat. This then means that you can actually maintain a much lower heartrate when resting, simply by using cardiovascular training.

And what that means is that you will become instantly much more anabolic. When your heartrate is slower, this sends signals to the body that allow it to be more relaxed and less catabolic and stressed. In turn, this means that you will produce less cortisol and more anabolic hormones that encourage muscle growth.

What’s more, is that this kind of training will help to remove fat stores – thus revealing more muscle definition – and it will let you train with more energy in the gym thanks to your improved energy systems.

How to Train.

So how much cardio should you start doing? The answer is that anything around 4-6 miles, once a week, will be more than enough to help you start seeing improvements in your VO2 Max and resting heartrate. In turn, this will then help you to sleep better and feel more restored, while also building much more muscle.

Don’t do more than this, or you may risk burning more muscle than you intend. What you can do though is to combine this form of CV with short post-workout ‘finishers’ using HIIT.