What kind of cardio training (biking, running etc) gives least Soreness, DOMS and similar problems? (Related to results and time spent).

I am mostly interested in Gym individual training, home training and Yoga derived training.

(AFAIK aerobic endurance also sits in the muscle, but I think in my present state just rising heart rate should be good)


2 Answers 2


L.I.S.S. Cardio (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio)

While this type of cardio isn’t the only type that might fit your criteria, I would argue that it imparts the least amount of soreness. Keep in mind that this is called “low intensity” cardio and not “no intensity” cardio. This type of cardio is typically marked by doing the same thing for an extended period, say 30-60 minutes or perhaps longer.

When it comes to determining the intensity of your cardio work, something known as the “talk test” can be useful. Low intensity cardio is marked by the capacity to speak sentences while performing the activity. Moderate intensity cardio is marked by the capacity to speak sentences, but with difficulty (having to briefly pause every few words). High intensity cardio is marked by an inability to speak sentences, even individual words will often be difficult.

LISS cardio can be used to burn additional calories and promote bloodflow through your muscles which helps recovery. It will offer minimal cardiovascular benefits however (unless you are in especially poor shape).

Examples of LISS include 30-60 minutes of the following...

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Jogging (depends on fitness level)
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Rowing

... and more!

  • I was more thinking of running vs biking, swimming etc....(Question edited)
    – Olav
    Mar 8, 2020 at 19:52
  • 2
    @Olav - That’s not what you asked though, and now I feel that you’ve wasted my time. If you have a specific question, ask it specifically. Mar 8, 2020 at 19:56
  • I also think there are other factors than intensity that are important. Like if its eccentric, regressive and how much of your body you are using.
    – Olav
    Mar 8, 2020 at 19:56

Another question I can answer with my favourite Dan John quote, ready?

It depends.

DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) generally occurs when you do something that you're body isn't used to, be it a new movement in the gym, a movement you know but with more weight or reps, or an activity for a longer duration than you're used to.

Your body is great at adapting to specific demands placed upon it (the SAID principle), so for me, I can boulder or climb all day long (and regularly do) and feel absolutely fine the next day, for someone who's never done it before, a 1 hour induction session leaves them sore for a couple of days afterwards.

If you're not used to it, walking for a couple of miles can leave you sore.

So, if you're used to running, then running will leave you less sore. If you're used to rowing, rowing will leave you less sore, if you're used to the exercise bike, then that will leave you less sore.

So, it depends.

  • It is also related to eccentric work. This factor and high impactness varies greatly between exercises. (Many people will always get sore from running, and its not clear the Repeated Bout Effect is very important)
    – Olav
    Mar 9, 2020 at 13:21

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