Aerobic Capacity May Protect Against Muscle Damage
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Aerobic Capacity May Protect Against Muscle Damage

Aerobic Capacity May Protect Against Muscle Damage

By: Robbie Durand

For years, there has been negative associations about cardio being evil for lifters. You most common rant I hear lifters say:

– “Cardio Kills Muscle Gains.”

– “Cardio Destroys Testosterone.”

Despite all the negative things people are saying about cardio, a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that a person’s cardiovascular capacity may protect against muscle and liver injury. The study titled, “AEROBIC CONDITIONING MIGHT PROTECT AGAINST LIVER AND MUSCLE INJURY CAUSED BY SHORT-TERM MILITARY TRAINING” reported that those with the highest cardiovascular capacity had the greatest protection against muscle damage from intense exercise. It is well known that regular aerobic exercise can raise muscle antioxidant levels and provide protective effects against future skeletal muscle damage. Researchers compared biochemical markers of muscle and liver injury and total antioxidant capacity in army cadets after a traditional army physical training program and to correlate these effects with aerobic conditioning.

army cadets were evaluated 12 hours before the start of training, 12 hours after a 30-km march, and 48 hours after military training. Markers of muscle damage and muscle antioxidant capacity were analyzed such as creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine amino- transferase (ALT). Alanine aminotransferase is found mainly in the liver, and in small concentrations in the kidneys, heart, muscles, and pancreas, whereas AST is found in high concentrations in muscles and in low concentrations in the liver and may be released from muscles during exercise. Creatine kinase, mainly found in the brain, smooth muscle, and skeletal and cardiac muscle tissue.

At the end of the study, marching and the traditional army physical training program caused intense muscle injury, similar to the injury found in athletes after intense training. Interestingly, the researchers found that cadets with better physical conditioning had lower liver and muscle injury than cadets with worse physical conditioning. The results indicate that intense military training can cause liver and muscle injury and that aerobic conditioning can be considered as a protective factor for these injuries.

Key Points: Cardio training done on a regular basis may prevent future muscle damage against intense exercise. If you are planning on going into the military, its best to build up your cardiovascular capacity.

Koury JC, Daleprane JB, Pitaluga-Filho MV, de Oliveira CF, Gonçalves MC, Passos MC. Aerobic Conditioning Might Protect Against Liver and Muscle Injury Caused by Short-Term Military Training. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Feb;30(2):454-60.

Banfi, G, Colombini, A, Lombardi, G, and Lubkowska, A. Metabolic markers in sports medicine. Adv Clin Chem 56: 1–54, 2012.

Hammouda, O, Chtourou, H, Chaouachi, A, Chahed, H, Ferchichi, S, Kallel, C, Chamari, K, and Souissi, N. Effect of short-term maximal exercise on biochemical markers of muscle damage, total antioxidant status, and homocysteine levels in football players. Asian J Sports Med 3: 239–246, 2012.

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