Is it better to do cardio before or after lifting weights?

What your preference should be is dependant on your goals. Are you wanting to build muscle mass or cardio endurance? Are you training for an event, or wanting to lose body fat as well as build muscle?

I’m going to write out a particular study that was published in September 2017 within the International Journal of Sports Medicine. This study had 51 male subjects divided into two groups. Two groups trained in the morning (between 6.30 am to 10 am); one did cardio first thing and another did strength training first. the other two groups trained in the evening between (4.30 pm and 8 pm); one did cardio first and another did strength training first. so, not only did this study look at which was better, doing cardio or strength training firs, but also what time of the day was best to develop the specific quality of physical fitness.

Let’s look at the types of exercise they did. The resistance training program used simple exercises such as leg press. The load was altered every four weeks.

The cardio group, did interval training (850100% of max heart rate) were alternated with steady-state cardio aerobic training (65%0=-80% of max heart rate), For both the resistance training and cardio groups, the training volume was increased by 25% during the second 3-month period.

Now, the interesting thing is that regardless of the time the individuals trained (either in the morning or evening), lifting weights first produced superior results in strength and muscle mass. The same was true with the cardio group. Performing cardio first produced superior aerobic fitness. It was also noted that for developing aerobic fitness, strength and muscle mass, the researchers found that training in the evening was far more beneficial than the morning. Now, I am aware most of us can’t do this due to work commitments, but the research concludes with the preference of which to do first, should be based on your own individual goal.

In summary, if you want to train for strength and build muscle mass, train with weights in the evenings, and do light cardio in the mornings (although that’s not really essential) This is actually an old bodybuilding regime that works wonders. I have done this myself with fantastic results. But, if you want to train for endurance, then perhaps weights in the morning and cardio at night. This could obviously lead to muscle soreness, therefore you must gauge what kind of specific training is programmed on any particular day.

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