Posted on Leave a comment

Cardio and Lifting – Which one first?

So, you decide to do cardio and lifting on the same day, and you ask yourself, “Which one first?” You could get with a W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer or learn more on your own as a fitness enthusiast.

If you’ve done any research on this topic, you’re bound to have heard this advice:

  1. Do the one that fits your goals.
  2. Do the one that you prefer.

Which basically means there is no one set answer for everybody. So let us look at two goals.

Cardio and Lifting

Goal is to increase in strength: Do weightlifting first

Lifting weights involves short bursts of effort, and it requires that your muscles use an energy source other than oxygen to complete the exercise. Your muscles can only tolerate so much of anaerobic training before becoming fatigued. If you’ve depleted your energy stores during the cardio portion of the workout, you won’t have as much leftover for your weights. This could also compromise your form and increase your risk of injury. You might even find yourself mentally fatigued, which can hinder focus and motivation. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the researchers stated, “These results indicate that performing intense AE exercise before RE is not desirable if increases in muscle strength and power are training goals.” Their results showed that individuals who did cardio before lifting weights performed up to 20 percent fewer repetitions of the exercise and at significantly reduced weight.

You could again get with a W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer or a coach who has access to item

Goal is to train for a race or get faster: Do cardio first

In one study, it was found that exercisers who did cardio after weights had a heart rate of 12 beats per minute higher for the same workout with the same intensity and duration as those who performed cardio first. Which means the workout felt more difficult than it actually was. In another study, from James Cook University, they found that a single strength training session may reduce the performance of endurance athletes for several days after. “Physiological stress caused by a typical resistance training bout of 40 to 60 minutes can continue for several days post-exercise, as opposed to a full recovery within 24 hours following a typical endurance training bout.”

If you can split your workouts to different days or even different times of the day, that

will allow more recovery and overall better performance.

As for me, I like to do my cardio first because it helps me get in a great mindset to lift. If I lift first, I’m just not mentally pumped up to give it my all.

In the end, it always comes down to: The best exercise is always the exercise that you’ll do.

Regardless of whether you do cardio or strength training first, it is always important to complete an 8-10-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the stress of the workout.

You can do this by walking briskly or cycling on a stationary bike or dynamic movement.

To dive deeper into some of the topics surrounding health and fitness, check out It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about how to train yourself better and/or start a career as a Certified Personal Trainer


Ratamess, Nicholas A.; Kang, Jie; Porfido, Tara M.; Ismaili, Craig P.; Selamie, Soraya N.; Williams, Briana D.; Kuper, Jeremy D.; Bush, Jill A.; Faigenbaum, Avery D. (2016). Acute Resistance Exercise Performance Is Negatively Impacted by Prior Aerobic Endurance Exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 30(10), 2667–2681, doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001548

4.8/5 (5)

Please rate this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *