Pedal Away From The Treadmill
One of our recent studies investigated the effects that different types of cardio, their intensity, and the separation of cardio from lifting had on muscle size.6 The goal was to determine exactly which components of cardio are detrimental to resistance training results. For instance, when we compared cycling to running, we found that running caused far greater declines in muscle growth than cycling. This echoed a 2009 study in another lab which found that uphill walking produced greater decrements in strength than cycling.7
There are a couple of explanations for why this is the case. The first is that the range of motion you use when jogging or incline walking is so dissimilar from lifting weights—squatting, for instance—that it impairs strength gains in those lifts. Unlike running, however, cycling has a large range of motion at the knee and hips.
Another theory is that cycling is mainly a concentric movement and causes little muscle damage, whereas running causes a lot of muscle damage from its eccentric and elongation portions.8 This would make it easier to recover from cycling than from running.