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Old 07-22-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
Nathan Holmes
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Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

So I was trying to better myself as a coach and came across the Journal of Exercise Physiology online. The most recent edition, June, had this article: "Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness in Humans: A Review of Acute Physiological Responses and Chronic Physiological Adaptations". I thought it was an interesting read and certainly had implications for Crossfit. Would anybody else care to read it and discuss?

Here is the link:

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Old 07-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

I didn't read it closely; it's not my field.

The science looks reasonably solid, but I'm skeptical of the conclusions. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that people who do primarily resistance training are not particularly fit in cardiovascular terms.

On the other hand, the authors emphasize the difference between trained and untrained populations, and that's an important distinction. For untrained people, it does make sense that doing *anything* will improve overall fitness, including CV fitness. The question then is at what point do "untrained" people become "trained," at least to the extent that they won't see further CV gains from resistance training alone.

Crossfit metcons combine both resistance and aerobic training, so it's hard to apply this study directly. It's possible, though, that the combination of the two might enhance novice gains, thereby explaining the fairly fast improvements that new CFers see.

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Old 07-24-2012, 08:08 AM   #3
Larry Bruce
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Re: Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

I didn't read every word either however it seems that the main adaptations are in the "vascular" portion of the cardiovascular system. In fact the authors state "Chronic adaptations appear to reside predominantly at the peripheral muscular and vascular level.". Meaning it will affect the limbs but not the heart as much. Your limbs will become develop greater aerobic capacity which is a good thing of course.

As far as the heart goes, chronic resistance training (RT) does typically affect the heart by thickening the left ventricle walls, but not by increasing chamber size. There is a risk to thickening the wall (though it depends upon how much) by increasing stiffness and decreasing the ability of the heart to pump effectively. On the other hand, pure endurance training increases the size of the chamber, increases the amount of blood pumped per beat (stroke volume) lowers aortic blood pressure and decreases vascular resistance, and also improves aerobic capacity of the limbs. A lot of this happens because during endurance training the heart has to deal with moving around an increased blood volume, which it does not do during typical RT.

The two are not the same. It's good to do both. Working out in a circuit fashion will also confer aspects of both though not as much as either on its own, as Crossfit would I suspect.

Last edited by Larry Bruce : 07-24-2012 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

This is a duh...

Anyone who has done resistance training knows it improves their cardiovascular fitness, and running performance although not to the extent of doing cardiovascular fitness.

Strength training improves performance in intermediate, advanced, and elite middle and long distance runners too.

Obviously, if you're trying to optimize health you want to be doing both.
Posts are NOT medical, training, nutrition info
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