Burn fat and improve cardiovascular health while retaining lean muscle mass by swapping steady-state cardio for high-volume, low-weight lifting, says Layne Norton
Dr Layne Norton is a physique coach and natural pro bodybuilder and powerlifter, who holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. He is based in Tampa, Florida.
One new technique I’ve been trying out with my clients is lifting weights for cardio. My friend Professor Mike Zourdos at Florida Atlantic University has been looking at, instead of doing intervals or low-intensity cardio, actually lifting for cardio by doing more volume with a lower amount of weight.
There is some evidence that may actually be better for fat loss and muscle retention. I’ve started implementing this protocol with a couple of my clients, and while I don’t have enough evidence yet to give a conclusive answer, they are getting stronger, that’s for sure.
That’s another tick in the column that volume has a very strong effect on muscle strength and hypertrophy, which is counter-intuitive to what many other fitness mags will tell you.
How to try it
It’s still too early to know the exact best way to implement this protocol but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it out and experiment for yourself.
I’d recommend using 30-50% of your one-rep max on an exercise, then lifting for between 15 and 20 seconds, performing each rep as quickly as you can while still maintaining good and safe form.
Rest for around 60 to 90 seconds then repeat for between six to 12 total sets, depending upon your cardio requirements and fat-loss target.
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