It’s a question many gym-goers ask: Should you do cardio before or after weights? according to American College of Sports Medicine (Opens in a new tab) It’s important to combine cardio and strength exercises so you don’t overwork small muscle groups and allow time to recover. But in what order should you do them? And what will the results show?
Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training are two completely different things. On the other hand, cardio activity, such as walking or running on one The best grinders (Opens in a new tab) Known for its ability to increase cardio and respiratory fitness, boost energy intake and fat consumption.
On the other hand, resistance training, such as lifting your own body weight or lifting weights in the gym, is known to increase strength, muscle mass, stamina, and strength. They both have different traits, and both can be very beneficial for your overall health.
To help determine the pros and cons of combining these types of fitness and whether you should do cardio before or after weights, we asked Keith Bar, (Opens in a new tab) Professor of Molecular Exercise Physiology at UC Davis and member of American Physiological Society (Opens in a new tab) for his thoughts on the subject.
Keith Barr, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of California Davis and a member of the American Physiological Society. His research explores the molecular determinants of musculoskeletal development and the role of exercise in improving health and performance.
Is it a good idea to combine cardio and weights?
According to Barr, a combination of cardio and weights can be a good idea. But it depends on your fitness levels, age, intensity of your training and the result you are trying to achieve.
“For the average person who exercises less than 6 times a week, with intense and limited training, [combining cardio and weights] Barr says it’s great for health outcomes like improved heart function.
“For athletes who exercise more than nine times a week, the answer is more complex,” Barr tells us. “We usually separate these training sessions to squeeze a few extra percentage points into our bodies’ performance.”
According to a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology (Opens in a new tab)The combination of cardio and weight training provides a powerful combination for successful weight loss. Researchers have found that for adults who are overweight, resistance exercise can help increase lean mass. Aerobic training is the “optimal mode” of exercise to reduce fat mass and body mass.
Systematic review published in sports medicine (Opens in a new tab) He also emphasized that the combination of aerobic training and strength training “does not harm muscle hypertrophy and maximum strength development” for those looking to make gains.
But researchers have found that explosive strength gains (the maximum amount of strength you can produce in the least amount of time) can be ‘weakened’, especially when both forms of fitness are performed in the same session.
The researchers concluded: “Practice [such as athletes] Those who prioritize explosive strength may benefit from a class of aerobic and strength training to achieve optimal adaptations.”
Should you do cardio before or after weights?
There is no one size fits all. But if you’re looking to boost your overall fitness levels, it’s best to do cardio before weights.
“If the goal is to maximize endurance and strength, we’ll separate the workouts and do endurance in the morning and strength in the evening, usually right before dinner when we’re adding the amino acids into the equation from dinner,” Barr explains. “Eating dinner shortly after strength training can support muscle growth.”
If your goal is to increase your strength without gaining muscle mass, then you should work out with weights before cardio. “This may limit muscle growth, but it will increase endurance signals,” Barr says.
What is the best type of cardio to combine with weights?
Any kind of cardio will have benefits. But when it comes to finding the best type to combine with weights, it will depend on your fitness goals, intensity and duration.
“If the goal is to increase leg muscle mass, you should combine what we call kinetic endurance exercise (cycling) with strength training,” says Barr. “If the goal is to maximize cardio function, we will use full-body endurance exercise (such as swimming or skiing). cross country on snow) and high intensity intervals to recruit as much muscle as possible into our stamina and then lift the whole body afterwards.”
A study was published in sports medicine (Opens in a new tab) In 2017, he studied the effect of high-intensity interval training and found that cardio exercises like HIIT reduce every type of fat mass, including abdominal and visceral fat.
The researchers concluded that: “High-intensity training (above 90% of heart rate) was more successful in reducing whole-body obesity, while lower intensity had a greater effect on changes in abdominal and visceral fat mass.”
The same study also found that running was more effective than cycling in reducing total and visceral fat mass. But, as with any form of fitness, it’s best to find a type of cardio that you enjoy because there’s more chance of it continuing.
How often should you train?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (Opens in a new tab)All adults should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio each week.
This might sound like a lot, but if you break that into 30-minute chunks, that means you should exercise about five to six times each week. The CDC also recommends adults strength training two or more days per week to ensure all major muscle groups in the body get a workout.
Bar agrees. “It’s best to do some exercise every day,” he says. “As we get older, the stimulation from each bout of exercise lasts for a shorter period of time. As a result, to maintain our muscle size and strength, we must actually do more exercise as we age.
The problem is that we get injured more easily because of the unusual exercises. Therefore, doing a routine exercise that hits all the large muscle groups every two days is really important for strength.
“For endurance, it’s really important to go faster than we want to. It’s OK to only exercise at a comfortable pace, but faster exercise is better for heart and brain function. So, the goal is about six days a week.”