The Importance of Aerobics in Building Muscle Definition

I frequently get asked about how I was able to develop sculpted muscles with such extreme definition.  What I learned through experimentation – especially when training for the Mr. Olympia competitions – is that the right amount of aerobic activity at the right time will support you in developing more muscle definition over time. It is extremely important to include aerobic activity in a weight training program.  To be aerobic, an activity needs to get your pulse up to target rate and keep it there for at least 11 minutes. Your target heart rate is found by subtracting your age from the number 220, and then taking 70 percent of that number. For a person 40 years old this figures out to be 220 minus 40 equals 180, 180 multiplied by 0.7 equals 126 beats per minute. I try to get one to two hours of total aerobic time every week from riding a stationary bike and walking. Balancing aerobics with weight training is essential for good overall results combining strength and endurance. Too much aerobic activity will increase definition but will not enhance overall muscle growth.  

When you elevate your pulse to target level and keep it there long enough you enter a very special zone. Aerobics performed at the right times and in the right amounts allow the body to burn its own fat for energy. What are the best times for aerobic activity? There are several windows during the day that work very well. First thing in the morning before you eat is very good. On training days, at the end of your workout is best to burn fat because your blood sugar is lower at this time. After an hour of weights the pump burns blood sugar so there’s only fat left to burn.

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3 replies
  1. Dan Toole
    Dan Toole says:

    As usual, Frank addresses something many of us wonder about; how much cardio work to combine with the great bodybuilding workouts he provides. This advice has proved invaluable in my training. I now have a stationary bike to ride after some workouts as well as walking the track or treadmill at our local YMCA several times per week. Thanks, Frank! I am an avid reader of your blog entries. Please keep them coming!

  2. Lane Heaton
    Lane Heaton says:

    Thank you Mr. Zane you are one of the elite bodybuilder of the golden era, you guys plus Mr. Reeves looked great!

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