Should I do weights or cardio first? This is a really common question I come across in my work and most often the answer is – it depends!
It depends on a number of factors really including: what your primary goals are, whether you prefer doing cardio or weights and how much energy (physical and mental) you have at the time.
If your goal is to improve your running, it would make sense that you work on that early in your session while you have the most energy. If your goal is to improve your strength and/or technique with your weights, it would be wise to do your resistance training first.
Exercise should be fun (or at least most of the time) so it’s important to take your preferences into account when deciding which to do first. Would you prefer to do the type of training you find most enjoyable at the beginning of the session while you’re feeling good or would you prefer to finish up on a high and do your preferred type of training at the end of the session?
Your energy levels are also something to take into consideration, particularly in relation to potential injury. There are more possibilities for you to injury yourself lifting heavy weights and moving in different planes. If you’ve had a hard day (mentally or physically), it’s often a good idea to do your weights first (after a little warm up) while you’re at you’re freshest, strongest and most focused. Then follow up with the cardio. As you progress through your workout, you will fatigue and become more likely to become distracted of complacent when performing complex movements.
What do I do? When I’m in ‘normal’ training mode, I tend to do a short cardio warm up, get stuck into the weights and then finish up with a longer stint of cardio after I’ve finished with the weights. Why? I do this because I personally prefer strength training over cardio, I am typically working toward goals that are strength related. I prefer to get the strength work out of the way when I am feeling strongest which is at the beginning on my workout.
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