Jordan Shallow Answers: What Is Cardio’s Place In Men’s Open Bodybuilding?

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Jordan Shallow comments on different cardio tactics in Men’s Open Bodybuilding.

Bodybuilders hate cardio. At least, that’s the stereotype you often see within the sport. And this makes sense. Men’s Open competitors weigh in at around 250+ pounds. That’s a lot of weight, muscle or not, to move around with aerobic movement. That being said, all serious bodybuilders understand that cardio is a necessary part of training – whether they like it or not. The question is – how much cardio is too much? And how much is too little? What is the proper tactic for cardio in mass monster categories like Men’s Open bodybuilding? In our latest GI Exclusive, Jordan Shallow shares his advice on how to properly utilize cardio in a Men’s Open training program.

The biggest fear bodybuilders have about cardio is that it could burn away some of that hard earned muscle. Muscle, of course, is the key factor in sculpting a perfect physique and the lifeblood of a competitive bodybuilder’s career. However, a bodybuilder also needs to go through a cutting phase during contest prep to be as conditioned and shredded as possible on game day. Cardio is a part of that equation. On top of this, cardio has universal health benefits for your heart and lungs that should not be ignored.

So what’s the right answer here? We’ve heard of some successful pro bodybuilders who do zero cardio and others who do two hours of cardio during contest prep each day. What is the truly best tactic for including cardio into a Men’s Open bodybuilding program? The Muscle Doc Jordan Shallow gives his take on this very topic in our latest interview segment.

How to properly use cardio in a Men’s Open bodybuilding training program

Jordan Shallow believes that the days of a Men’s Open bodybuilder doing two hours of cardio during contest prep are over. The reason? Because more athletes are understanding that cardio during the offseason is not taboo but in fact vital towards building the proper core for contest prep later.

Shallow believes that a part of this shift is happening because competitors are wising up to the health risks of modern bodybuilding. Unfortunately, we had a tragic year of bodybuilding deaths in 2021 that has continued to bleed into the beginning of 2022. While we cannot directly correlate this to any specific aspect of the bodybuilding lifestyle – athletes are becoming more self aware of their health.

Jordan Shallow believes that doing three days of light cardio per week during the offseason is a huge benefit for a competitive athlete. It helps manage physical stress and also helps manage the emotional stress that comes with the competitive bodybuilding lifestyle.

Over time of building that simple cardio base during the offseason, a bodybuilder will require much less cardio during contest prep. If you combine this with thoughtful and tactical weight training that has cardio elements – you have a much more balanced training program and run less of a risk that you will burn muscle away.

Jordan Shallow points out Milos Sarcev’s giant sets as an example. Here’s what Shallow had to say in this example:

“YOU DO A MILOS GIANT SET, THAT’S CARDIO. YOU’RE RUNNING A MARATHON WITH YOUR LATS. YOU’RE RUNNING A MILOS LAT MARATHON. BUT IF YOU HAVE A STRONG AEROBIC BASE YOU’LL BE ABLE TO DERIVE A MORE MUSCLE BUILDING BENEFIT IN THE ACTUAL DURATION OF THE SET AS WELL AS HAVE A GREATER TOOLBOX TO PULL FROM TO RECOVER FROM THAT STIMULUS.”

Wrap Up

While Jordan Shallow is not a Men’s Open bodybuilder himself, he sees these kinds of changes happening on the inside of the industry. He believes that the taboo behind cardio is starting to lose its grip – which is beneficial for all in both terms of overall health and better contest prep.

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