Lift Before Cardio - Or After?

295_weightlifting-for-fat-loss_flashOne of the most frequently asked and most often debated fitness questions is whether it’s better to lift before or after cardio. And now, a recent study is shedding new light on the discourse.

First things first, we know that it’s important to do both cardio and strength training. Both types of exercise offer unique and complementary benefits. They work hand in hand to help you reach your fitness goals and facilitate improved health and wellness.

But should exercisers lift first or do cardio first? Which order yields the best overall results? That’s the big question.

The Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland studied nearly 200 men ages 18 - 40 over 24 weeks. The men were broken into two groups of either cardio first or strength training first. Each week, the men performed 2 - 3 workouts.

For the cardio first group, initial findings showed a slower recovery period with reduced levels of testosterone. But this difference dissipated over the course of the study. After 24 weeks, researchers found similar increases in both performance and muscle growth in the two groups.

Based on these findings, researchers concluded that it really doesn’t matter whether you lift before or after cardio. It’s simply a matter of preference.

However, it’s worth noting that the men in this study exercised 2 - 3 times per week. For people that exercise more or less frequently, it’s unclear whether the findings can be extrapolated.

Personally, I find that I have the most energy when I first arrive at the gym. As such, I perform cardio first - as its benefits are more important to me than strength training. If the benefits of strength training are more important to you, then it may make more sense to lift first.

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  1. If fat burning is one of your cardio goals, then it’s better to lift first. During your strength workout you use up your stored glycogen, resulting in more fat metabolism for energy during cardio.

    Less scientifically, it is also very unpleasant for other people when someone all sweaty from cardio is on the equipment. So if you do cardio first, change your shirt.

  2. Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. So it is helpful to make your muscle stronger, because cardio exercise use large muscle movement at the time of exercise. But I am confused to lift it first or not. So thanks Mr. Davey for clearing my doubt.

  3. It really depends on what your main goal is but if you want both, I’d say build up on your cardio first because you don’t wanna see yourself gasping for air when you do the more demanding workouts.

  4. This is a great site with some great information