All exercise works the heart. And in case you haven't heard, weight training is exercise. Which brings me to my next point. When I was studying to get my certification to be a personal trainer, there was a point where the instructor told the class that weight training will not improve one's cardiovascular condition, to which I just had to say, "excuse me?" "Um, professor. Are you suggesting that if you were to take a previously untrained individual and put him on a weight training regime for six months, that at the end of that time he would show no improvement in cardiovascular ability than from the day he started?" The instructor looked me square in the eye and said..."Yes."
I guess he's never done 20 rep sets of squats.
I'll bet my entire bank account (granted, not a very impressive wager) that high rep weight training will improve cardiac output as well, if not better than low intensity aerobics. Any takers?
The thing is this: The heart is a muscle and although cardiac muscle tissue is different from skeletal muscle tissue, there are similarities. All muscle becomes stronger through use. There is no evidence that the usage from an extended moderate activity increase is superior to the anaerobic version that weight training provides. Even the terms anaerobic and aerobic are misleading. They're essentially "made up" terminology which exercise practitioners have used and repeated throughout the years. Anaerobic means "without oxygen." Well, all exercise requires oxygen. Come to think of it, last I heard, everything outside of death requires oxygen.
Along the same lines one must realize, any activity will burn calories and induce weight loss, especially if the trainee is new to an exercise program. But even in the case of previously untrained subjects, aerobics are the least effective of all forms of exercise for fat loss. When it comes to calling on its energy resources, the body doesn't know if it's lifting a barbell or running on a treadmill. It's expending effort, burning calories and stressing the nervous system with both activities. Of course, cardio training is of a lower intensity and longer duration. That's exactly what makes it less effective. If low intensity, long duration burns fat (which it does) then all activity, short of being in a coma, will burn fat -- which it does -- just not enough to make a difference. Of course, keeping the rest period in between sets brief is the best fat burning tactic there is, yet people ignore it to ride a bike that doesn't go anywhere. Go figure.
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