Cardioacceleration: Fat-Burning Phenom

fat burning with cardioacceleration
Get shredded with no additional cardio time using this revolutionary high-intensity technique.

Most of you who know that my stance on cardio is that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is definitely the way to go. For the many reasons why this form of cardio is far superior than long (and boring) steady state cardio such as walking, jogging or using an elliptical machine for 30 minutes straight (or even longer), read my article on the science of HIIT.

But you may notice that I talk and write a lot about a form of cardio I call CARDIOACCELERATION. Many of you are confused about whether or not I now prefer cardioacceleration and have abandoned HIIT. Before I answer that question, let me first explain what cardioacceleration is.

Accelerated Gains

Cardioacceleration refers to doing intervals of cardio (usually 30-60 seconds) in between sets of resistance exercise. So for example, on chest day, you would do one set of the bench press. Then instead of sitting on your butt for a full 2-3 minutes doing nothing, you perform 30-60 seconds of cardio. This allows your chest to fully recover while you are performing some mode of cardio that typically involves the legs.

So you've eventually completed 30-60 seconds of cardio while you would have normally been just sitting there counting minutes or jawing with your buddies. And you can multiply those 30-60 seconds of cardio by the number of sets you complete in each workout. If you train chest, triceps and abs, and do 12 sets for chest, 9 sets for triceps, and 9 sets for abs, and completed 60 seconds of cardio, then you just completed 30 minutes of cardio DURING your chest, triceps, and abs workout. And now you don't have to spend extra time doing cardio after the weight workout is over. You can go home knowing you've done your weight training AND your cardio, all in one fell swoop.

You can see cardioacceleration in action in many of my training programs, including Micro Muscle and my Cardioacceleration Band Workout. But these are only the tip of the iceberg as far as my recommendations on this great fat-burning technique. I advise doing cardioacceleration on most of my training programs for those looking to maximize fat loss. Just one example of this is my Super-Man 2 program. I didn't actually write cardioacceleration into the workouts, but in the overview I recommend it as an option.

Strength Drain? Not At All!

A question I get a lot about doing the cardioacceleration is whether or not it will zap your strength on the resistance exercises. As I already mentioned, while you are doing the cardio, your target muscle group is resting. In fact one study from the University of California Santa Cruz suggests that doing cardioacceleration can actually enhance recovery. It may even help you grow bigger! The UC Santa Cruz researchers found that subjects doing cardioacceleration between sets of free-weight exercises had far less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) than those just resting in between sets.

Now, you may not care much about DOMS. But the point here is why cardio-acceleration reduces DOMS. The researchers suggested that the cardioaccelration increased blood flow to the working muscles, which delivered more nutrients like glucose and amino acids, as well as oxygen, to the muscles to help them recover better. Coincidently, delivering more nutrients, especially amino acids, to the muscles during workouts can help them grow bigger. So the answer is no, doing cardioacceleration will not zap your strength; in fact, it may actually enhance your recovery as well as your muscle growth and strength gains. Personally, I've noticed that I'm bigger, stronger and leaner than I've ever been since I started using cardioacceleration.


So back to the question of whether or not I've abandoned HIIT in favor of cardioacceleration. The answer is no. Cardioacceleration IS HIIT! Remember, you're doing 30-60 second intervals of cardio. And then moving on to something else. And then coming back to the cardio. Those are intervals. And because those intervals only last 30-60 seconds, you can do them at a high intensity. Since cardioaccleration involves intervals of cardio done at a high intensity, cardioacceleration is essentially HIIT. It's just another form of HIIT that you can do. Plus, on days that I don't hit the weights I still do my power cardio workouts. If you are not familiar with my power cardio routine, click on the link below to read all about it in my Power HIIT article.

Regardless of the training program you're currently following, I suggest that you give cardioacceleration a try. Since I started using it, I can tell you that I will rarely ever do a weight workout without using cardioacceleration. When I sit around in between sets doing nothing, I feel like I am wasting time and even impeding my recovery and the results I am getting. I assure you that once you have adopted to this style of training you too will find it difficult to every go back.

To watch my quick video on cardioacceleration, check out this

Exercise Rx

One worry that most people have regarding cardioacceleration is that it's difficult to swap from the weight exercise to the cardio exercise in a crowded gym. But this is not true: as long as you are creative with your cardioacceleration exercise choices. Many people think that cardioacceleration means you have to jump on the treadmill or stationary bike, or elliptical in between sets. Yes, you can use these cardio machines, but you don't have to. One of my favorite cardioacceleration exercises is simply running in place (trying to keep it intense by keeping the pace fast and my knees high) in between sets. I can do this right next to the bench or machine I am using and not lose my station.

Here's a list of many exercises that you can use for cardioacceleration. I suggest that you alternate frequently for variety. I also suggest you think outside the box to come up with some versions that work for you.



Davis, W. J., et al. Elimination of delayed-onset muscle soreness by pre-resistance cardioacceleration before each set. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jan;22(1):212-25.


More Articles