How Much Should You Run If You’re a Bodybuilder?

Bodybuilder running and folding arms

A healthy mind in a healthy body makes the life worth living. Bodybuilding is not only about the body, muscles, and training, it is about a strong willpower and an amazing ability to overcome all obstacles. Many men hit the gym to do neck training, Arnold press, biceps and triceps training, backward quadriceps training, a giant set, etc. But often they lack enough courage to complete the repetition once they’ve entered the squat rack. The thing here is not in the work capacity, it is in the mind.

A true bodybuilder is a winner, who enters the gym with only one thought – to work on all muscle tissues until he can’t hold it anymore.

Many bodybuilders choose exercises for certain muscle groups, but sometimes they neglect cardio training (running, jumping rope, walking, and cycling), which is aimed at training the heart muscle. They avoid running like the plague as sincerely believe that it is a waste of time because it doesn’t help to gain weight.

Probably, if you ask about how running affects the bodybuilder, you’ll get five different answers. For someone, it is a serious asset or an absolute gains killer. But, it is a fact that running trains the cardiovascular system, whereas weightlifting doesn’t do it.

Therefore, in this article, we will briefly explain some myths about running, its benefits for bodybuilders, running and body types and some recommendations for those, who are involved in cardio training.

Myths About Running

A bodybuilding guru presumes that running isn’t a top priority for serious bodybuilders. If they run, then it happens only before the contest when men are in the cutting phase.

Usually, they don’t include running into their daily training plan. So, what are the misconceptions about running?

The thing here is not in the work capacity, it is in the mind. That’s why you should also take a look at’s sturdy Under Armour running shoes.

  • If you run, you’ll lose weight and shape

Actually, scientists have investigated that certain types of running (steady-state and interval-style) are extremely effective in burning fat. For this, an athlete needs to run only twenty – thirty minutes a few times a week.

But, at the same time, if it is properly implemented, it can only complement a hard-core weight training in the event that you get a caloric overload.

For instance, John Christy, a trainer, and owner of Total Fitness, Inc., put an emphasis on the fact that running only helps bodybuilders in their training due to the several factors:

  • It can increase the level of recovery between your workouts.
  • Aerobics is able to limit the amount of fat you gain and it doesn’t affect the definition and shape.
  • This activity keeps your cardiac muscle in shape.
  • Running affects the size of muscles

Franco Columbu, a multi – Mr. Olympia, supports the idea that running is one of the important activities for bodybuilders. Some sportsmen mistakenly suppose that if you run regularly – you’ll be as thin as a marathon runner and you won’t add bulk muscle mass. It is unlikely to happen.

On the contrary, running can even prevent the loss of useful muscle mass. If you do several sessions per week (both jogging, sprinting and shuttle run), it’ll only be a plus. Since running speeds up metabolism, the fat is burnt off faster and the training becomes easier and more effective.

  • Running hinders recovery after training

This is an absolute nonsense. If you run on rest days, then it will help to restore the body after heavy power training. But if you are fond of high-intensity interval training, it can disrupt the recovery.

Top 10 Benefits of Running For Bodybuilders

Scientists from the University of Iowa have proven that running at least 7 minutes a day reduces the risk of premature death from any disease by 30 percent. And the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases is reduced by 45 percent.

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Hence, running has many advantages unless it is excessive. There are some of them:

  • Positively affects all body functions

James Fries, M.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine states that “Aerobic exercise improves most body functions including joint health.” In particular, running strengthens the ligaments, makes joints more stable, and it keeps the cartilage healthy.

On top of that, its role in losing weight and burning calories can’t be overrated, especially when the task is to get definition fast.

The research, conducted by The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) shows that ninety percent of people, who’ve managed to lose weight and keep it off for at least one year, were engaged in exercises, particularly, they ran regularly.

  • Strong heart

Power exercises are important for bodybuilders, but when they perform them, the heart is under tremendous strain as the blood pressure rises.

It has been scientifically proved that running strengthens the cardiovascular system. Therefore, for the effective muscle training, you need good endurance of the heart.

  • Faster recovery

Adrian Kneeshaw, Editor of Body Building Monthly, reckons that the key benefit of running is that it enhances recovery.

In fact, an effective cardio enables the organism to transport nutrients more efficiently. Thus, a quicker recuperation contributes to the more efficient workout.

  • Sturdy legs

Running is a perfect tool for making legs tremendously stronger. The calves and quadriceps work hard when you run, ankles flex more. When you run, small muscles are also involved, while during strength training, mostly large muscles work.

So, muscles become more prominent and strong legs help you to be more stable during the weight lifting.

  • Tones up the muscles

This exercise tones up the muscular system and as a result muscles become more flexible, which improves training. While running you work out fine muscle fibers, and that is why exercises with weights give the best result.

  • Promotes muscle growth

Sprinting increases the anabolic effect, because all muscle groups are involved. It’s a good way to get the muscle back on the upswing.

  • Lowers estrogen levels

Running reduces the level of estrogen, since if it is elevated, then it is a serious hurdle. The man can’t lose weight, he gains fat, doesn’t have the energy to exercise and the muscle tone deteriorates. It happens when there is a lack of sleep, necessary nutrients, and vitamins. Running normalizes the level of hormones and reduces fat.

  • Good sleep

It improves sleep, which is important because during the sleep the majority of testosterone is produced. The research, conducted by the Feinberg School of Medicine, shows that running improves the quality of sleep. So, it promotes a testosterone boost, which affects the muscle growth.

  • Mental health

It helps you to train your mind. Running builds up your mental power develops your willpower, discipline, and self-control. Eventually, it helps not only in bodybuilding but in the entire life.

  • Increases blood flow

Running makes your heart beat faster, and the circulation of blood is enhanced. Therefore, oxygenation and nutrient delivery are boosted.

Running and Body Types

Running is extremely useful for the body, but its effectiveness depends on certain body types. Each type has its peculiarities and not for all of them running is paramount.


If you have a lean physique, it does not mean that running can not be useful for you. If you combine running with strength exercises in the gym, then you can build muscle mass throughout the body quite quickly. How to do it? During the training with weights, fast muscle fibers, slow fibers, and fibers of an intermediate type are involved. These fibers of the intermediate type and slow fibers work during running.

Thus, run, however, build your training program on heavy basic exercises, you can do it in the form of a split. Do not mix running with other exercises in one day. In this case, muscle tissue won’t have time to recover.

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If your body type is mesomorph, then focus on running, but don’t overdo it. Also, do not forget about training with weights, diversify your exercises. If you want to build muscle quickly, then remember that the alternation of exercises and their varieties will lead to success.

Besides, for this type running in a single rhythm without acceleration is recommended.


This type quickly gains muscle mass, but it is hard for him to get rid of fatty deposits. So, he must necessarily include running into his training system as well as the deadlift.

Running should be with local acceleration, it was proven that the metabolic rate, in this case, is increased by 7 percent. Also, it is necessary to run after exercises in the gym. Because during exercises with weights the entire stock of glycogen is burnt. So, the only source of energy during the running is fat.

Run three times per week, and it is advisable to run for one hour in the morning. Because exactly at this time body fat is burnt best.

Recommendations For Bodybuilders, Who Run Regularly

If you support the idea that running should be included in the training program on a par with other exercises, then you should know some rules. They will help you to make this activity the most effective for your body.

On top of that, if you stick to some tips, then you’ll avoid injuries and gain muscle mass. Here they are:

  1. Steer clear of long-distance endurance running, it won’t help you to recruit fast-twitch muscles. It can provoke the process of catabolism in the body. Make running a complementary exercise as your focus should be to develop a defined musculature.
  2. Add running slowly to your workout, especially if you have an exhausting lifting schedule. Start with sessions with low intensity and the duration should be 10-15 minutes. Remember that only a gradual increase in the exercises will lead to a good result, and the training will be safe for health.
  3. Determine your goal. If you concentrate on the improving stamina, then the session should be short (15-20 minutes), but severe.
  4. Always keep an eye on your pulse during exercise if you are prone to high blood pressure or have some problems with the cardiovascular system.
  5. Run on an empty stomach, it’ll help you to get a definition faster. Besides, the best time for running is morning and evening.
  6. Do not make your running sessions consecutive. The body needs time to recover, so make a break every two days and have a rest.
  7. Be cautious during the session as you can get injured. To prevent it, remember three things:
  • Choose your shoes carefully, you’ll need a pair of shoes with elastic soles, which are designed only for running.
  • Opt a good surface, too soft or too hard ground may dangerous.
  • Do not increase the speed. You should enjoy what you are doing, you don’t have to run a marathon or set running records. Besides, if you run too fast, you won’t be able to relax your neck, back, and the chest and let your leg muscles work.

Thereby, running is an extremely useful and important activity. It can boost up your metabolism, immunity and the nervous system. It promotes the muscle growth and tones muscles up. Also, the heart becomes stronger, the lung capacity is increased. It has a positive effect on power and strength training and helps to maintain the muscle relief.

So, if you want to be in a perfect shape and be the beast in the gym, consider running as a supplementary exercise. You won’t regret!

Written by Helen Rogers

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