It’s a question many gym goers ask: should you do cardio before or after weight training? Follow American College of Sports Medicine (opens in a new tab) It’s important to combine both cardio and strength training so you don’t overdo it with small muscle groups and have time to recover. But in what order should you do them? And will the results be seen?
Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training are two very different things. On the one hand, cardiovascular activity, such as walking or running on one of the best treadmill (opens in a new tab) Known for strengthening the respiratory system, promoting energy expenditure and fat utilization.
On the other hand, endurance training, such as lifting your own body weight or pumping weights in the gym, is known to increase strength, muscle mass, endurance, and strength. Both have different properties and both can be very beneficial for your overall health.
To help determine the pros and cons of combining these types of exercise and whether you should do cardio before or after weight training, we asked Keith Baar, (opens in a new tab) Professor of Molecular Exercise Physiology at the University of California Davis and member of American Physiological Society (opens in a new tab) for your thoughts on this topic.
Keith Baar, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of California Davis and a member of the American Physiological Society. His research explores the molecular factors that determine skeletal muscle growth and the role exercise plays in improving health and performance.
Is a combination of cardio and weights a good idea?
According to Barr, a combination of cardio and weights can be a good idea. But it depends on your fitness level, your age, the intensity of your training and the results you are trying to achieve.
“For the average person who exercises less than six times per week, with limited high-intensity exercise, [combining cardio and weights] is great for health outcomes like improved heart function,” says Baar.
“For athletes who train more than nine times a week, the answer is more complicated,” Baar told us. “We usually split these sessions out to add a few percentage points in body performance.”
According to a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology (opens in a new tab), combining cardio and weights offers a powerful combination for successful weight loss. Researchers found that for overweight adults, resistance training can help increase lean mass. Aerobic exercise is the ‘optimal mode of exercise’ for reducing fat mass and body mass.
A systematic review published in Sports medicine (opens in a new tab) also confirmed that the combination of aerobic and strength training had ‘no effect on muscle hypertrophy and maximal strength development’ for those looking to gain muscle.
But the researchers found that an increase in explosive power (which is the maximum amount of force you can generate in a minimum amount of time) can be ‘decreased’, especially when both forms of exercise are used. Exercise is done in the same training session.
The researchers concluded: “Practitioners [such as athletes] Those who prioritize explosive strength may benefit from separating strength and aerobic training for optimal adaptation. ”
Should you do cardio before or after weight training?
There is no one size fits all. But if you’re looking to boost your overall fitness level, it’s best to do cardio before weight training.
“If the goal is to maximize both endurance and strength, then we’ll split up the workouts and do endurance in the morning and endurance in the afternoon, usually right before dinner when we’re going to have dinner.” add amino acids to the equation from dinner,” explains Baar. “Dinner right after strength training can support muscle growth.”
If your goal is to gain strength without gaining muscle, then you should do weight training before cardio. “This may limit muscle growth, but will increase the signal for endurance,” says Baar.
What is the best type of cardio to combine with weights?
Any type of cardio is beneficial. 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, then you will find a way to combine what we call locomotor endurance (cycling) with your endurance training,” says Baar. If the goal is to maximize cardiac function, then we will use total-body endurance exercise (eg swimming or cross-country skiing) and high-intensity intervals to increase muscle endurance. as much as you can and then lift your whole body up afterwards. “
A study published in Sports medicine (opens in a new tab) in 2017 looked at the effects of high-intensity interval training and found that cardio exercises like HIIT reduced each type of fat mass, including belly fat and visceral fat.
The researchers concluded: “High-intensity exercise (above 90% of peak heart rate) was more successful in reducing overall body fat, while lower intensity had a greater impact on changes in mass. belly and visceral fat.”
The same study also found that running was more effective than cycling at reducing total and visceral fat mass. However, as with any form of exercise, it’s best to find a form of cardiovascular exercise that you love because you’ll have a better chance of maintaining it.
How often should you exercise?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (opens in a new tab)All adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular activity each week.
This may sound like a lot, but if you break this down into 30-minute chunks, it means you should exercise about 5 to 6 times per week. The CDC also recommends that adults do strength training two or more days per week to ensure all major muscle groups in the body are working.
Bara agrees. “It’s best to get a little exercise every day,” he says. “As we age, the stimulation from each exercise lasts for a shorter period of time. Therefore, to maintain our muscle size and strength, we should actually exercise more as we age.
“The problem is that we are more prone to injury from unaccustomed exercise. So doing an exercise routine to hit all the major muscle groups every few days is really important for strength.
“For endurance, it’s really important to go faster than we want to. Just exercising at a comfortable pace is fine, but going faster is better for heart and brain function. Therefore, the goal is about six days a week. “