Cardio. The bane of the bodybuilding world. The only thing hated more than leg day. Unfortunately though, like hangovers, cardio is a necessary evil to be dealt with. In this post we explain why and review the best shoes for the job.
Wait what?! Did you just say the “C” word?
Yeah bro, unfortunately we did. We don’t like it but cardio is an essential part of building a skinny yoked physique. There are multiple benefits of working in cardio to your regular routine and honestly, if you’re not doing ANY cardio, you’re holding back on your gains because of it.
The Benefits of Cardio For Bodybuilders
Cardio oh cardio.. how it feels like such a waste of time. But that can be said for a lot of things right? Planning out your workout mentally beforehand can feel like a waste of time, even though it leads to a more efficient workout.
Stretching seems like a waste of time, but also results in better quality workouts and a lower injury frequency rate.
Even ab work can feel like a waste of time, but after incorporating it for a couple months can really pay big aesthetic dividends. Ultimately, cardio is like all of the above but even more important.
Why is cardio so important to me if I’m just trying to add mass? Simple: cardio works in two ways to help your body create more muscle.
Bringing Your Muscles “Online”
First, it warms you up before your workout. Doing 14-20 minutes of cardio before working out turns on your brain, activates your central nervous system, and pumps blood throughout your entire body, priming it for the strenuous task of weight lifting that lays ahead.
Builds a Strong Blood Pumper
It also makes me sweaty, which puts me in the “workout zone”.. in fact, starting a workout without any sweat now feels just weird..
Another added benefit of cardio is how it strengthens the heart itself. The heart isn’t the biggest muscle in your body, and it’s obviously not aesthetic.. nobody says “damn check out his heart tho..”.
Having a strong heart though is like having a reliable fuel pump for an engine, it is critical in pumping life blood throughout the muscles doing the work. Without this pump, or with a weak pump you are restricting the capabilities of the motor or your body.
Having a human fuel pump that is operating at 110% efficiency will ensure the rest of your body is able to operate with equal efficiency.
Plus, despite what many forum bros say, big IFBB bodybuilders also do cardio.. they just aren’t filmed by FLEX magazine doing it because it’s boring.. that and they like to keep their routines secret as they are kind of like a secret sauce in their workouts, helping them stay lean and shredded in their appearance.
Here’s a great bit with Kai Greene and Marc Lobliner discussing cardio’s role in serious bodybuilding:
Ok, so now you know how important cardio is and you’re willing to give a try working it into your weekly routine. The problem is though you lift in a pair of relatively flat bottomed shoes like Converse, Adidas Superstars (the old version), powerlifting designed Adidas Powerlift shoe or the wicked looking Ryderwear Stingray as sported by Kai Greene.
These shoes are designed to provide a hard stable platform for moving serious weight.
All of these shoes make horrible cardio footwear and will cause more damage than gain if you try using them for cardio exercises.
For cardio you need something light, durable, and cushioned.. essentially the opposite of a weightlifting shoe. It also should look motherf*cking bad*ass.
Behold the Illest Looking Running Shoe In the World
These puppy’s are the Adidas Solar Boost M in black and you’ll definitely want it in this black/white combo because it’s like, all murdered out but still has that cool white foam-replica material heal that just pops out and grabs attention.
“But there’s hundreds of different running shoes out there, why is this the best one?”
That’s a very valid question. Skinny Yoked has come to the conclusion that this is the best shoe because we’ve spent approximately 4 months researching running shoes before finally choosing this one.
The features that make this shoe awesome are:
- The look. Nothing out here is so evil yet so clean at the same time.
- The fit. They aren’t too wide or too narrow, aren’t too arched or too flat, they are (subjectively) just perfect
- They are breathable. The whole foot/toe part is a breathable strong mesh.
- “Mesh”? That doesn’t sound durable. You’re right, it usually isn’t, but this is some strong woven like sponge mesh. It’s not your normal mesh and we expect these to last a while.
- They are literally the MOST comfortable running shoe we’ve ever worn. Period. Feels like walking around in super thick socks woven specifically for your own foot.
Because these shoes are so light and comfortable they’re perfect for whatever cardio routine you have planned, whether it be jogging, walking, stair-stepping, you can go for hours if you like without a problem. Then, because they look so damn hot you can hit up the grocery store and Chipotle after your gym session and still look fly as f*ck.
The fit is absolutely perfect. Of course if you have weird Hobbit feet maybe they won’t be perfect for you, but using a mesh for the upper part of the shoe (Techfit) allows the top half of the shoe to kind of embrace your foot by distributing pressure equally vs just a few spots.
This is a huge advantage of using a mesh type material. Some shoes use an elastic but as everyone knows, elastics can lose their form quite quickly. This Techfit mesh isn’t elastic and wraps with it’s weave, so presumably it will hold it’s form longer.
The shoe is far from lose though. The three stripes rubber flaps on the side secure the shoe laces and when tied up pull the whole package firmly around the foot in just the right location (the center of the foot). The result is a shoe that fits like a glove. (Yeah, worst analogy in history we know).
They’re also super highly reviewed on Amazon from over 100 buyers. That’s usually a pretty good democratic indicator of a products quality.
The patented “Boost” technology from Adidas is comfy as f*ck and can be found in all of their athletic performance range of shoes for casual running to hardcore jogging shoes. It makes for an incredibly comfortable shoe that actually makes you want to run.. and as a bodybuilder, that is a very rare thing indeed…I NEVER usually want to run.
We’ve been using our Boosts for our cardio days which consist of stair stepping and light jogging or uphill walking and they look as good as the day we took them out of the box.
- boost's energy-returning properties keep every step charged with an endless supply of light, fast energy
We also wear them around the city because they look great with some bodybuilding shorts and a tank top, definitely get looks and even a few questions because the three stripe branding isn’t that clear.
If you’re looking to up your cardio game, you’re on the right track, you’ll make more gains and benefit from an active cardiovascular system. Give yourself the right tools for the job and cardio can stop being a negative word and start being the highlight of your week!
Last update on 2023-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What shoes would you recommend for doing cardio and bodybuilding?
Adidas boost are nice, although not good if you are squatting or deadlifting. Honestly, for bodybuilding I’d look for something with a flat sole like Adidas Superstars/Foundation or Converse or even Vans.
Would you recommend the Adipower or the Nick Romaleo 3’s from Nike?
Both have excellent user reviews, both on Amazon and Reddit and I see about a 50/50 split in popularity in my gym, so can’t go wrong with either, think a lot comes down to styling. Personally I’d rather save $100 and just get some basic Converse of Vans with flat soles.
Great post, nice to see someone mentioning sub $300 options that regular people can actually afford!
What about the Leistung 2?
Heard that shoe is insanely high quality, but haven’t tested myself. Best order from a site with free returns so you can test it out and send it back if you have to.
Lot of guys in my gym lift barefoot. What is your opinion on lifting without shoes?
I think it’s gross.. peoples sweaty feet all over the floor, it’s almost as gross as the TSA line in airports where you’re forced to walk barefoot in everyone else’s foot sweat. Also don’t see how that extra half inch really helps with bodybuilding goals.. powerlifting maybe if 1RM is all you care about but bodybuilding.. meh I think it’s just gross.
When you updating this?
When new models come out or people like you ask specific questions.
I got the Adipower from Adidas and they are awesome. No going back to regular shoes for me!
Why doesn’t anyone talk about the Reebok Legacy Lifter?
I don’t know, I’ve heard great things and they have solid reviews on bodybuilding.com and reddit. Sweet color combos too and fair price points.. I’d probably go for these if I had to buy a new pair today… will wear my Adidas Superstar out first thought 😉
I have two pair of Legacy Lifters and previously had the Leistung. Honestly love them both. Didn’t like the fit of the Adipower personally, just my opinion.