rest day cardio workout

If you lift weights often and have a goal of building muscle, it may be useful to do cardio on your rest days. Follow our rest day cardio workout for an effective cardio workout that won’t affect your bodybuilding results.

Can I do cardio on rest days?

The short and simple answer to this is yes, you can do cardio on rest days. It is a commonly held belief that if you do cardio, you will ‘kill your gains’, meaning you will break down the muscle you have worked so hard to build. However, if you are smart with your training this won’t happen.

If your primary goal is to build a lot of muscle and you don’t mind being bulky, you do not need to do cardio on your rest days. However, if you want to stay as lean as possible, you may well need to incorporate rest day cardio workouts into your weekly routine. If you think you might be at risk of over-training, it is important to take a complete rest day so that your body can recover properly

Should I do cardio on rest day?

The question of ‘should’ I do cardio on rest days is quite different, and this depends entirely on your goals. If you are a keen bodybuilder or powerlifter, cardio may be a scary concept to you. You don’t want to break down any of your precious muscle and you just want to lift as much as possible. However, if you find you are getting out of breath walking up the stairs, your cardiovascular system could be suffering, and it’s important to stay as healthy as possible, no matter what competition you have coming up.

In this instance, you probably should be doing at least a 30-minute LISS cardio session on your rest days from lifting. You can keep your heart rate fairly low, therefore minimising the amount of muscle you will break down, and it could help you stay healthier.

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Rest Day Cardio Workout

Follow this cardio workout to achieve optimum results and to supplement your lifting schedule.

Warm Up

As with all training sessions, it’s important to warm up properly, even if it is only a low intensity workout.

Holding a wall or bar for support, swing your left leg in front and behind you 10 times, then repeat on the right leg.

Next, swing each leg from side to side 10 times. This will help to warm up your hips and groin, areas that can easily get injured if they’re tight.

Next, perform 10 calf raises to warm up your ankles and 10 torso twists to warm up your core. You’re ready to go!

Main Set

On a treadmill, start by walking for 10 minutes at a 1% gradient at 5km/h.

Next, increase the gradient to 5% and increase your walking speed to 6km/h for 10 minutes.

Next, decrease the speed back to 5km/h and increase the gradient to the treadmill’s max, this is usually 15% on a standard treadmill. Walk like this for 5 minutes.

Finally, decrease the gradient back to 1% and increase the speed to 6km/h and walk it off for a final 5 minutes.

You have now completed a good 30-minute cardio session which was low impact and yet would still have worked your cardiovascular system well.  

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