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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Which Comes First: Cardio or Weights?

Last week a client asked the question, "Should I run or lift weights first?".  Honestly, I didn't have a great answer for her so I did some research.

So what do you think?  When you want/have to combine both types of exercise in one gym session which should come first?  Cardio then weights or weights before cardio?

The short answer is- It depends on your goals.  That's it.  That's the answer.

Generally speaking, experts suggest hitting the weights before the treadmill may produce a better outcome due to factors such as glycogen expenditures, hormonal and blood pH changes as well as energy levels but recent studies have shown little difference in benefits regardless of which order your workout is performed.

Science aside, common sense tells us that you should put your priorities first.  If you're working out to get bigger, stronger, more powerful then head to the weight room first.  If you are training for endurance or a race then I encourage you to put your cardio at the top of the list.

As always safety should come first.  Performing any exercise when already fatigued puts you at high risk for injury.  If you have a heavy lift or a long run planned it may be a good idea to perform these activities on separate days or even split them into am and pm workouts to avoid this dilemma.  Or just avoid cardio all together like I do.  I'm kidding.  Kind of.

While I'm not sure which hurts more- squatting after sprints or sprints after squatting, I am of the opinion that any exercise is good exercise.  If you're more excited or less intimidated by one or the other then by all means put that exercise first!  And God knows sometimes you show up at the gym only to find your favorite machine/squat rack is already in use.  Don't stress about it, just get moving!

Your turn: Do you split your workouts up or do you perform 
cardio and weights on the same day?



  1. I usually do my running on a separate day. But I'll combine my cross training with my weights on the same day.

  2. I usually do weights on opposite days as my running but when I have to do both, I prefer to run before lift.