You might also want to include swimming and HIIT into your cardio workouts. But it is best to perform these moderately.
Keep the following tips in mind:
Ideally, you want to lift weights on different days and do cardio on non-lifting days. This is especially applicable if your primary goal is to build muscles. However, if you do cardio workouts on the same day you lift weights, your best bet would be to separate aerobics as far away from when you lift weight as possible. For example, if you do cardio exercises in the morning, move resistance or weight lifting to the evening. This will spare your muscle tissues from fatigue and severe damage.
Consider alternating your training routine. Mixing things up every once in a while is a great way to challenge your body in a new way. For example, you can stick to only cardio or weights for an entire week and then switch to either doing strength or cardio first for another week.
It is a good practice to pair your exercises in such a way that they won’t over-fatigue one muscle group. Here’s an example. Consider doing lower-intensity steady-state cardio on days when you plan to focus on lower-body strength workouts.
If you intend to do upper-body workouts, consider pairing your exercises with HIIT cardio.
By pairing your workouts this way, you won’t over-strain one muscle group with intense endurance training before or after resistance training on the same day.
Should You Do Cardio Before or After Weights: Does Order Matter?
To figure out whether or not exercise sequence really matters when combining cardio and strength training, here is a research-based explanation.
In 2014, a group of researchers from Rutgers University, New Jersey, conducted a study where 23 inactive participants took part in an 8-week workout program.
The exercises included either performing resistance training before endurance or vice versa.
The resistance training involved doing 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps of a handful of strength exercises. On the other hand, the cardio included moderate-intensity workouts performed for 30 minutes.
At the end of the 8 weeks, participants showed significant improvements in lean body mass, strength, and overall performance.
But most interestingly, the outcome wasn’t affected by the exercise order.
Bottom line: you shouldn’t split hairs on your workout sequence. A better approach would be to prioritize your workout routine to suit your goals.
That being said, below are some general suggestions about the ideal workout sequence if you really want to get the most out of your concurrent training.
When To Lift Weights Before Cardio
Start your workout session by lifting weight if you have a strength-specific goal like getting stronger.
Think about it this way:
Your muscles work in a similar way to rubber bands. Rubber bands will become too loose and can’t hold things together if you repeatedly pull them.
That’s exactly how the repetitive movements in cardio can affect your muscles. If you have a strength-specific goal, doing cardio first can hinder effective muscle contraction.
In a nutshell, head straight to the weight room when you hit the gym if you are lifting for maximal effort and strength training.
Lifting weights before performing cardio can also be beneficial in terms of the type of fuel your body produces and uses.
Glycogen (the stored form of glucose) is the fuel your body uses during strength training exercises.
This means when you lift weights first, your body produces enough glycogen as fuel. Interestingly, glycogen fuels muscular contraction.
That means your body will have enough glycogen to help you perform well in your low-intensity cardio after strength training.
Another good time to lift weight first before cardio is on lower-body strength training days.
When To Do Cardio Before Lifting Weights
Generally, it is best to use your energy for cardio exercises first before lifting weights if you are training for a marathon or any endurance event.
However, you don’t necessarily need an endurance-specific goal to do cardio first. You might benefit from doing some quick cardio before certain strength training exercises.
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