T Nation

circulation and training

This may be kind of a silly question, but my health-interests demand that I pose it to the forum:

What training is most effective in improving circulation to areas of the body? I’ve chronically had very poor circulation in my lower body and I’m not sure why that is, but I imagine that focusing upon that would be beneficial in a wide variety of manners.
My current training consists of fairly intense resistance training (rest pause), dumbell swings, and 15 minutes of stretching before and after each workout, plus holding bridges for 1-3 minutes every day, 3 times a day.
I’m almost inclined to start doing some running/sprinting a couple times a week just to see if that might help things.

Supplementation is another consideration - but whenever i can avoid taking another pill or capsule, i prefer to do so.

Yes, cardio would definitely help with circulation; I know it did for me. (I naturally have poor circulation in my hands) I actually find that Ginkgo Biloba improved my circulation quite a bit while I was taking it. It’s herbal, so you should give it a shot if you haven’t already. Try taking 200mg 2x a day.

Aerobic training will have the largest impact on circulation as the constant metabolic demands of the exercise increase circulation needs and force our cardiovascular system to adapt. Also, this leads to enhanced muscle capillarization in the muscle and improved blood flow. Resistance training leads to no change or a decrease in muscle capillarization.

aerobic/cardio work at appropriate intensities(usually <60% max) will result in increased capillarization and # and size of mitochondria. This, along with training induced improvements in cardiac output, will ultimately lead to improved blood, O2, and nutrient delivery to tissues. Body composition will also play a significant role. It takes something crazy…like 1 million feet… of capillaries to innervate/supply each pound of fat. Thats a lot of blood and wasted work by the heart. If improved circulation is the primary goal i would incorporate some aerobic work with higher rep/lower rest time training inside the greater goal of decreasing body fat. As far as supplementation, things that will increase nitric oxcide levels and cause vasodilation will improve circulation. Arginine has some anecdotal evidence supporting it for this purpose…or you could just take viagra…it was invented for the sole purpose of increasing blood flow/circulation to the extremities…third legs and all.

Thanks for the responses guys. Its going to be very useful in planning my training next semester. Quick question - what qualifies as ‘aerobic’ work? Would sledgehammer GPP count? What about swings or high-rep snatches?

Check out Chad Waterbury’s 100 reps / day program. I think that high-rep concentrics lead to increased hyperplasmia.