Should You Do Cardio or Weights First?

cardio or weights

It’s a question as old as Jazzercise and, depending on whom you ask, one with wildly different answers. So let’s break it down: Should you do cardio or weights first? 

This assumes several points: that you should do both cardio and strength-training exercises (you absolutely should, no matter your age, gender or goals), and that you’re going to try to do both in the same gym session. (If you have enough time to split your visits to Max between cardio and weights, maybe with two-a-day workouts, then go do that, and more power to ya.)

The short answer for most people is that you should do strength training first. For effective weightlifting, you need to push your muscles to their max. But it’s hard to do that if you’ve already exhausted them on the elliptical. Hit the strength room first and work to fatigue; then use your cardio workout to push healing oxygenated blood to those tired muscles and prevent stiffening and soreness.

But as this excellent article from the highly respected American Council on Exercise explains, there are times when you might want to do cardio first (runners training for a race) or, on rare occasions, not at all. Your goals still factor into the decision.

So read it through and determine into which category you fall. Most important is the fact that you’ve given it some thought and realize that cardio or weights first makes a difference. And that you need both!

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