Mix Fitness's Blog

Cardio or Weights – Which First?

Posted in Uncategorized by mixfitness on July 28, 2009
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“Should I do cardio or weights first?”  This is a question I often get.  Usually, my answer is “it depends.”  Today’s blog will help you identify which comes first if you plan to do both in one workout.

Cardio First

The reason I say “it depends” is because your training goal is a factor in determining which comes first.  Let’s say you are training for a running event.  Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, your focus is (at least) to complete the race.  Your energy during training should be devoted to accomplishing your planned mileage.  Train yourself in an environment that is as close to the reality of race day as you can make it.  Think of it this way, you wouldn’t lift weights before heading out to the starting line!  Of course, the likelihood of lifting weights after a race is slim to none as well.  But, if you don’t have the time to schedule a separate weight workout, it’s best to train the cardio aspect first.

Weights First

If you have a particularly heavy weight day planned – like if you increased the number of sets or increased weight – it’s a good idea to dedicate your energy towards the resistance portion first.  Also, if your weight training goal is develop strength and power, your body will need to be fresh in order to be effectively trained.

What About the Warm-Up?

Many people hop on a treadmill to get warmed up prior to a resistance workout.  There is nothing wrong with that.  However, there is another way to warm up before your lift.  I like to do a cardio warm up before a cardio workout and a weighted warm up before a weighted workout.  A weighted warm up can be the same exercises you are going to do without the weight.  Consider the squat or lunge.  Both work the majority of muscles in your lower body and can be performed without holding extra weight.  Doing several reps with only your body weight as resistance is a good way to warm up.

Whether your goal is to be more fit or to compete, there is an appropriate workout order for everyone.  Start with the purpose of the workout and go from there.