Workout Tips – Cardio Or Weights First?

Whether you workout at home or at a gym, there is always the question if you should do your cardio first or weights. There are a lot of different opinions on the subject, with some even contesting that you should stick to only cardio or only weights.

Here at Treadmill Reviews, we find that engaging in both strength training and cardio exercise helps people to develop greater lifelong fitness and avoid common overuse injuries. Since we want you to do both cardio and weights, we want to help answer the questions concerning which you should be doing first.

Why Opt For Cardio After Weights

There is a strong argument for putting strength training before you do any cardio. Even if you do a moderate cardio workout, such as taking a 30-minute run, much of your energy stores can be used up by your aerobic exercise. With most of your stored energy depleted, the weight lifting part of your workout will not be as high-quality, and if you don’t have the energy to push yourself, it will be difficult to improve your strength.

A number of exercise scientists have studied the effects of cardio before strength training. One group of researchers looked at how a high-intensity aerobic workout on an exercise bike or treadmill would affect strength performance afterward. The participants they tested had their strength performance significantly affected by engaging in cardio beforehand. The participants weren’t able to achieve the lifts they had performed to give the researchers their strength baseline to test.

Argument For Cardio Before Weights

While the defense for weights before cardio is clear, there is also an obvious counter-argument for why you should choose cardio before weights. If you do a full weight lifting session prior to starting in on your cardio training, you will have far less to give to your aerobic workout. This lack of energy is especially true if you lift heavy, rather than endurance lifting. Also, the sore muscles that are developed during weight lifting exercises can make it very difficult to push during your cardio.

Another group of researchers tested to see how lifting weights before cardio affected performance. They found that overall cardio endurance was significantly impaired by strength training beforehand, and recommended that if you were going to do high-intensity endurance training—such as going on a long training run—that you do not do any strength training before you go running.

Which Workout Option Is Right For You

As you can see, there are arguments for doing cardio or weight lifting first. Which one is right for you will highly depending on what fitness and health goals you want to achieve. If you aren’t sure, you can use our list below to help you determine which type of workout first is best for you.

  • If you want to sculpt your shape – Targeted muscle building with weight lifting should be done first over cardio. While cardio helps overall, strength training is when you can affect your body shape.
  • If you want to lose weight quickly – Cardio exercise is key to losing weight. There is no such thing as targeted weight loss, and cardio causes you to lose weight overall. So, for those aiming for weight loss, start with cardio.
  • If you are focused on strength – Clearly, if strength training is your goal, weight lifting should be done first. However, it is best if you don’t neglect cardio, as it can improve your lifts by providing you with greater endurance.
  • If you want to improve your speed – For those who are focused on improving their speed, cardio workouts need to come first. You will need it to push your cardio workouts further, though weight lifting can support your goal and help prevent injuries.
  • If you want to improve your fitness overall – If you are looking for just general fitness, either of these exercises can be first. You can even alternate which you do first, just to ensure that both your cardio and strength receive equal attention.

No matter if you choose to do cardio or weights first, you should be sure that you have the right treadmill to reach your cardio goals. If you don’t have a treadmill or your current one isn’t meeting your needs, be sure to look at the best treadmills of 2019 to find your next treadmill.

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