The current research on alternating strength training and cardio in the same workout as is done by JM and numerous misnamed boot camp workouts degrades both activities when evaluated in a controlled study.
As some one who has run marathons, coached distance runners, cross country skiers and road runners I have always had my athletes do their strength training first. I have never had a report that it degraded their cardio/endurance training to follow this sequence.
I think it depends on goals. For someone who wants to focus more on strength and/or building more muscle mass, weights first. Often those do little to no cardio anyways. If you are doing something sport specific or for endurance (marathon runners, etc), you do your cardio first because that is the most important for your goals (cardiovascular improvement/speed/endurance). Others do weights and cardio on different days, others do not have time do such a thing so they do them both together. Circuit workouts and those classes you see at the gym with weights mixed with cardio help combine both so you get the best of both worlds or you can do half of your time doing one activity and half doing the other. You can even do them same day but two different times of the day (ex: weights AM and cardio in the PM). Again it will depend on your goals, the amount of time you have and what works for you vs what doesn't (not every schedule works for everyone).
I work out 7 days a week. 3-4 days of weights (full body) and 3-4 days of cardio (mix of long 90+ min runs with sprint work lasting 20-25min). Sometimes I don't have the time and combine them in one day and do whichever one I want to focus on since I know my capacity to be 100% for the second activity probably will be low.
First I will weigh in with an opinion, since cardio is the least important element in the formula for fat loss (the ranked order is nutrition (diet), strength training and then cardio) If they do them both the same day the strength training comes first.
Cardio is not a good warm up for strength training since it does not activate or warm up the muscles you will use for the strength training. Being all sweaty and having an elevated heart rate does not prepare you to do strength training. To warm up for strength training do five minutes of body weight exercises or replicate the strength exercises you are going to do with very light weights.
I have my clients do strength training three alternate days a week and cardio on the non strength training days.
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From what I've been reading if you are doing an intense cardio session and weights on the the same day, you should do the cardio first. There was some science behind it and I was impressed with all the big words so I believe that is what I will be doing with my work outs. Most of the time I do cardo intermittently throughout the day, then a cardio session before a big weights/core session.
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Warm up with cardio, even if it's just 5 minutes before weights
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Cardio first. The lactic acid from weight lifting will cause cramping, sore muscles, and inefficient cardio. If you can't have the correct form while lifting after cardio, you are using too heavy weights. After cardio, your metabolism is going at a higher rate so it will make your lifting more effecient. That's what my strength and conditioning coach in college always taught. Here is a link from SP's experts' opinions.
for all the great info. I think I will try weights first. I have never done that before. I need to mix things up. And I am so excited. I have had a headache for months and I finally decided I need to take care of this... exercise at 3:00 and hour massage at 4:30!
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I never do both on the same day, but if I did, weights first, because you can do cardio when slightly fatigued, but your form will suffer if you are fatigued for the ST.
FWIW though, back in the day when I did used to do both on the same day, I did cardio first, because I had a thing about wanting to look sweaty when I hit the weight room (weird, I know) but back then I didn't know how to choose the proper weight so I used 5 pound weights and had very little chance of hurting myself.
Edited by: ZORBS13 at: 11/15/2012 (05:33)
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My trainer says to always start with weights first, then cardio for the same reasons others have mentioned.
I participate in the S.L.E.D. program which is a set program of exercises combined with cardio. We only do the exercises every other day as muscles need time to rest, recover and tone. On S.L.E.D. days, I do my exercises first, then follow up with 30-60 minutes of cardio. On off days, I just do the cardio.
M@L is spot on. You're much less likely to injure yourself if you're doing cardio while tired from weights. You're much MORE likely to injure yourself (and badly) if you're doing weights while worn out from cardio. Always do weights first.
Good form is important for strength training, both in terms of effectiveness and safety. And it is hard to maintain good form when your muscles are already fatigued out from cardio.
So from this perspective, it is probably better to do ST first.
Also, you should ST just 2-3 times per week, so you can still get in a quality cardio workout on non ST days. Whereas if your ST is compromised by doing it second, well, you never get to do a good quality ST workout.
Cardio is best. On a lot of days I only do cardio. Fast walks up steep hills sort of makes it interval training. Just starting to do weight training, but my preference is to do cardio first. Gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing.
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