Clarence Bass wrote:Aerobics, Do You Need It?
Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week
Arthur Jones asserted decades ago that proper strength training makes aerobic exercise unnecessary. “Six weeks of proper strength training can improve one’s cardiovascular fitness to a degree that is impossible with any number of years of aerobics,” he told HIT proponent Drew Baye in 1998 (http://www.baye.com). Mike Mentzer, Ellington Darden, PhD, and others agreed. No one, however, has argued the point more effectively than Doug McGuff, MD, and John Little in their book, Body by Science (McGraw-Hill, 2009). (Dr. McGuff, an emergency medicine specialist, owns a personal training facility and lectures on exercise science all over the world. Little is a columnist for fitness magazines, operates his own fitness center, and has written 12 books on exercise.)
I would like to summarize their impressive case—I agree with most of it—along with a new study which found aerobic exercise and strength training equally effective in a key area. Finally, I will tell you where and why I part company with McGuff and Little. I hope you’ll stay tuned, because we now know more about this important topic than ever before.
Let’s start with companion studies from McMaster University (Canada) showing the effectiveness of high intensity intervals. This research, in large part, provides the cornerstone of the McGuff-Little case. (For convenience, I’ll refer only to McGuff.)
Sprint Results Set the Stage
The 2005 studies, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, showed that three to seven all-out sprints on a stationary bicycle (250% of VO2 max), 30-seconds each, with four-minute rest periods, six times over two weeks, are as effective as 90 to 120 minutes of cycling at moderate intensity (65% of VO2 max) six times over two weeks. Both workouts improved endurance capacity by almost 100%, increasing time to fatigue at 80% effort from 26 minutes to 51 minutes. In short, about 15 minutes of hard sprints spread over two weeks produced the same results as nine to 12 hours of moderate intensity effort.
Both the sprinters and the traditional riders showed a substantial increase in citrate synthase, a mitochondrial enzyme that indicates the power to use oxygen, along with increased glycogen (muscle sugar) content. Neither group, however, showed a change in maximum oxygen uptake or anaerobic work capacity.
Talk about bang for the buck or results for effort. WOW!