Any comprehensive fitness program includes cardiovascular exercises and exercises for weight gain. But in what order should these exercises be performed during training and how much does this affect their effectiveness?
The short answer is: it depends on your goals . And when fitness goals have to do with improving fitness, we are essentially talking about muscle strengthening and endurance (or cardiovascular health). With this holistic view, the order in which you train cardio or weights depends on your goals: building strength or endurance.
Therefore, if your main goal is to increase your endurance and lose weight, aerobic exercises should be performed before strength training . So, if your main goal is to increase your muscle strength, then you should first do weights and complete your exercises with cardio.
Experts also suggest considering cardio and weights on different days. On the other hand, high-intensity interval training, which includes strength training and cardio, can be great for those who have little time and provide an opportunity to build muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance at the same time.
Weights before cardiovascular exercises
If you do exercises with weights at the beginning of the workout, you will have more energy to concentrate on the correct execution and avoid possible injuries. In addition, relevant research shows that weights at the beginning of a workout can increase the time until you feel exhausted . Experts also say that a light to moderate cardio session after strength training promotes blood circulation . Something that can reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
Experts also advise to refrain from strength training first if your main goal is to increase endurance. Something that happens, as we have seen, because strength training exercises of medium to high intensity at the beginning of a workout can tire you and decrease your performance in the cardio part of the workout.
Cardio before weights
Low-intensity aerobic exercise is a great way to warm up before a higher-intensity workout or strength training. By doing cardio first, you are essentially protecting your muscles from injury , preparing your body for complex exercises, and at the same time your heart is pumping more blood.
Another reason why you might want to do the cardio part of a workout is if you want to improve your endurance . Aerobic exercises allow you to maximize your energy and focus on better performance.
On the other hand, if your goal is to build muscle, aerobic exercise before lifting weights may not be a good idea, as it can affect your performance. During aerobic exercise, we burn glycogen, the main fuel source of our body, which is stored in our muscles. Therefore, the following training often becomes more difficult, less efficient and more dangerous, because you are more prone to injury when lifting weights.