Combination training speeds up weight loss
If you train because you want to lose weight, you're best off doing combination training. The combination of cardio training and strength training helps weight loss more than cardio training on its own and more than strength training alone write researchers at Curtin University of Technology, Australia, in BMC Public Health.
The researchers did an experiment with a group of just under eighty overweight men and women aged 40 to 66. At the start of the experiment the test subjects had an average BMI of over 33, which means a number of them were obese. None of the subjects did any sports.
The researchers got their subjects, apart from a control group [Control], to train for 12 weeks consecutively. The subjects had to exercise for 30 minutes in the gym five times a week.
The researchers deliberately kept the training volume low: they wanted to remain within the limits of the standard advice of 30 minutes of exercise daily.
A first experimental group ran on a treadmill at a level of exertion whereby the heart rate rose to 60 percent of the maximum [Aerobic]. That doesn't require a particularly intensive effort - you can keep it up for hours.
A second group did half an hour of strength training each workout [Resistance]. The subjects did basic exercises including the leg-press, leg-curl, leg-extension, bench-press, rowing, biceps-curls, lunges, dumbbell-raise, calf-lift and triceps-extension. They used 75 percent of the weight at which they could just manage 1 rep.
A third group ran for 15 minutes on the treadmill and did 15 minutes of weight training each workout [Combination].
After 12 weeks the subjects in the Combination group had lost 1.5 kg - about twice as much as the subjects in the Aerobic group. The weight they lost was all fat.
The maximal oxygen uptake – the most important factor when it comes to determining your endurance capacity and cardiovascular health – also increased most in the Combination group. So for overweight people who want to lose weight, the combination of strength and cardio training is not only more effective than either strength or cardio training alone, it's also healthier.
"Currently, there are no specific recommendations for the type of exercise the overweight and obese should engage in", the researchers write. "From our observations, combination exercise gave greater benefits for weight loss, fat loss and cardio-respiratory fitness than aerobic and resistance training modalities."
BMC Public Health. 2012 Aug 28; 12(1): 704. [Epub ahead of print].
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