Is lifting weights before doing cardio an ideal practice? Or should it be done the other way around?
While lifting weights is effective in building muscles, cardio can help you lose weight. Both methods are fantastic for overall health as they will enable you to keep fit and be in good health.
Therefore, your fitness goals and what you seek to accomplish will determine whether you do cardio before or after weights.
Read on to learn the best exercise order recommendation and why you should do weight lifting before cardio. You’ll also learn the benefits of doing cardio and weightlifting and how your fitness goals affect your workout routine.
Why Should You Do Weightlifting Before Cardio?
To gain focus
After warming up, the result is an increase in your energy levels. With your muscles fueled, you are set to start your workout. You should start with the most complex exercise, which, in this case, is lifting weights.
Weight lifting is the most complicated workout since it involves lots of body movements. Besides, it’s the workout that requires you to use most of your weight. For example, squats, and deadlifts, are complex exercises that demand close attention to evade injury.
On the other hand, cardio exercises usually don’t demand a lot of attention. Rowing, running, biking, and swimming are mostly repetitive exercises. After getting into a pattern with these workouts, they change into being automatic. Therefore, all you need is to concentrate on other activities, such as controlling your breathing.
It would be best if you lifted weights first. This is because lifting weights requires greater attention to the right technique to evade injury. Doing your cardio workouts first will leave you with less energy required in lifting weights. This instance might increase the risk of making a terrible mistake.
To avoid muscle fatigue
Apart from draining your attention, cardio exercises strain your muscles and utilize the valuable fuel. This action renders your muscles partially incapable of fully responding during weight lifting workouts. Thus, you will be more likely to lose balance and/or become more prone to an injury.
Cardio exercises can also prompt you to make up for the weary muscles. For instance, after running: your legs will get tired, and you might try using your back more when lifting weights from the ground.
To achieve quicker results
In addition to avoiding injury, lifting weights before cardio will help maximize your weight lifting exercise. When you do weight lifting, you strain your muscles, making them grow stronger. Therefore, you will need to add sets, weights, or reps.
To manage the strain of your weight lifting exercise, you’ll need enough energy and motivation. But if you perform a cardio exercise first, your energy and motivation will decrease. So, avoid doing cardio before lifting weights to retain enough energy for lifting weights.
Research shows that performing weightlifting before cardio raises your strength when compared to doing it the other way around. Individuals who lift weights before doing cardio increase their strength more. The reason being, cardio workouts reduce your ability to work your fingers to the bone like when you’re performing weight lifting.
To become stronger, you will require to lift as heavyweights as possible during workouts. However, when you perform cardio before lifting weights, you impede yourself from accomplishing this goal.
Prioritizing weight lifting over cardio will enable you to lift more weights, gain more muscle mass and eventually enhance your fat loss capability.
Finishing your exercise
Once you are done with lifting weights, you can proceed to do cardio exercises. These exercises are not any easier as they demand the same amount of focus as doing weight lifting.
Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, involves movements or activities that raise your heart rate. Cardio exercise directly affects your lungs, heart, and other parts of your cardiovascular system.
It improves your heart’s health, supports your overall mobility, brain health, and blood sugar. Because of its extensive benefits, frequent cardio workouts can help you live for a longer time.
While doing cardio workouts, you might realize that your muscles are more worn out than normal due to weightlifting. Starting your cardio exercise with fatigued muscles will make your exercise more complicated.
Fortunately, cardio workouts are not by their very nature risky as weight lifting workouts. For this reason, it’s less risky to do cardio workouts when your muscles are fatigued.
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
Doing cardio or weight lifting first also depends largely on your fitness goals. During your workout routine, you may reach a point of deciding whether to lift weights or do cardio first. You might also ask yourself several questions such as, can weight lifting replace cardio?
When you find yourself in such a situation, it’s always an excellent idea to examine your fitness goals. Determine if you wish to gain muscle tone or lose weight. You may also want to have bigger muscles or enhance your endurance.
1. If your goal is to lose excess body fat
If you are aiming at losing excess weight, you should focus on attaining a negative energy balance. In this case, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. What is important is the total amount of calories you burn during your workout.
Schedule to carry out your exercise in several days. Doing so will enable you to burn plenty of calories by training at high intensity. Concurrently, you will offer your body enough time to recover before the next exercise.
Doing cardio exercises such as running will help in burning calories and will also increase your heart rate. Lifting weights for around 40 minutes will burn fewer calories than doing cardio exercise for the same period.
Taking this into account, you might consider starting your exercise routine with cardio. When you perform this exercise at a constant strength, you will achieve the heart rate range you require to burn fat.
Later, you can change into lifting weights to generate an afterburn that will aid in burning more calories. Note, you don’t have to work your body relentlessly to benefit from cardio workout’s advantages.
When you start with weightlifting, especially lifting heavy weights using your whole body, you will become weary even before making it to your cardio exercise. You will shorten your workout and not reap the full benefits of burning calories through cardio exercise.
Such an instance occurs when you plan to burn many calories in a specified period. To avoid such a case, start with cardio and weightlifting to gain insight into what suits you best.
If you’re doing workouts using light weights, you can increase your heart rate and get yourself ready for cardio activity.
2. If your goal is to increase cardiovascular endurance
If you love to bike or run and wish to improve your endurance, doing cardio first is smart. The reason being, you will be starting these workouts when your body is still fresh. By doing so, you will commence with the most significant exercise for your long-term fitness goals, eventually making progress faster.
Therefore, you must conduct cardiovascular endurance exercise first to establish and maintain endurance. Doing so is important as you will have a lot of energy for great distance exercises.
To increase muscular strength and minimize your hazard of injury, ensure that you add resistance exercises after the endurance workouts. Weight lifting before running is highly discouraged since it increases the risk of injury because of muscle fatigue.
Doing cardio exercises depletes the fuel in your body muscles. Thus, rehydrating and refueling is vital when transitioning from cardio to other body exercises in the same period. Ensure you take some sports drink that will provide your muscles with glycogen required to perform well during weightlifting exercises.
3. If your goal is to increase muscle strength
If you want to improve your muscle size or muscle strength, consider lifting weights first. That way, you will be able to build more muscles and lift heavy items. Avoid exhausting your body by starting with cardio exercises.
You will be able to do more exercise repetitions in the correct form when you’re less worn out. The correct form is vital when conducting strength training workouts safely and efficiently.
Endurance exercise has been known to have an interference effect when increasing muscle strength. It is often recommended that you do weightlifting first when your body’s glycogen is high. Doing a hard cardio exercise before weight lifting depletes glycogen, making it more difficult to lift weights for your muscle gaining goals.
4. If you are aiming at improving specific sport skills
When training for certain sporting activities, you will have to plan your training to suit the game’s requirements. The kind of training you choose will depend on your overall goals, current competency level, and the sport’s needs.
You can do either resistance or endurance training. However, if you’re uncertain of the best kind of training for your sporting activity, you should engage a coach’s proficiency.
5. If your goal is to improve your overall health
If you want to improve your health in general, it doesn’t matter whether you do cardio before or after weights. You can perform both concurrently with the interim training routine. Alternatively, you can interchange lifting weights and cardio days if you want.
Which is the best exercise for your overall health: cardio or weight training?
When assessing cardio vs weight training for overall health, it’s impracticable to conclude that one is more effective than the other. Similar to physical exercise, adaptability is vital and comes with many benefits.
For instance, when looking at weight loss, it would seem that the exercise that utilizes lots of calories is the best. In the end, losing weight is an easy equation of the calories you consume minus burned calories.
For individuals who want to lose weight, they can employ physical exercise to maximize their chances. Therefore, doing some cardio workouts appears like a walk in the park.
However, total calorie intake is not just the current numbers appearing on a cardio machine screen. If you want to slim down, a primary reason to include weightlifting into your weekly exercise routine is; the impact of muscles on energy expenditure.
The benefit of muscles from a weight loss point of view is that it consumes more energy than fat tissue. Therefore, growing your muscles will translate to bigger total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This effect occurs even when you don’t exercise your muscles.
Benefits Of Doing Both Cardio And Weight Lifting
You will gain muscles and lose body fat
By combining cardio and weight lifting exercises, you will be benefiting from both workouts. You will achieve muscle gain and fat loss. It can take a little bit longer to include both workouts. Nonetheless, it will be time well spent for an individual who wants more muscles and less fat.
Your heart health will improve
Most individuals who do a combination of cardio and weightlifting are more likely to improve their heart illness risk factors.
Improved mental health
Research has proven that cardio and weight lifting exercises are good for improving sadness and anxiety.
If you are an endurance athlete and are worried about weightlifting slowing you down: it’s best to consider doing cardio and weightlifting. A single strength exercise per week can significantly benefit and relieve you from your usual sport’s recurrent motion.
In the same way, if you would like to concentrate on weight lifting, incorporate two or three cardio sessions every week.
Apart from frequency, you can vary how you do weight lifting and cardio. You can choose to exercise in a circuit-type manner to get stronger and avoid growing heavy muscles.
Continue moving from one workout to another while reducing each workout’s time to increase your heart rate. That way, you will get your everyday cardio while lifting weights.
When it comes to weight selection as an endurance athlete, bodyweight training is an excellent option.
Doing cardio is a significant part of your attempt to alter your body structure. It is also important for your fitness and overall health. However, doing cardio before or after weights will determine its effectiveness.
If you’re aiming to get stronger and building or maintaining your muscle mass, you should do weight lifting before cardio. That way, you will increase performance and reduce the risk of injury.