Cardio Before or After Weights: Which One You Should Do First?

Should I do cardio before or after weights? Having the wrong answer can seriously undermine your training efforts. You may also find yourself cutting your workout short because of this.

When going to the gym, many people have trouble deciding whether to do cardio before or after weights. The short answer to this question is that deciding when to do cardio depends largely on the goal you want to reach.

For example, if you are training to participate in a marathon or any long-distance race. It is best to do cardio exercises of any kind before weights. So that you can focus on performing cardio exercises. If your goal is to build muscles, you may want to do weights first, then do cardio.

If you do not have a specific goal and just want to exercise in order to improve your overall fitness. Then it is important to combine cardio and weights appropriately so as not to strain the same muscle groups.

Doing cardio and weights in a row does not provide your body with enough time to recover. Thus, this can lead to fatigue and poor performance, and an increased risk of injury. So you should think carefully about the type of exercise you do.

What Weight lifting Exercise?

Cardio Before or After Weights

Weight lifting Exercise is a group of physical activities designed to improve muscular fitness. The basic principle of these exercises is to apply load on the muscles using free weights, weight machines, or the body weight itself. The practice of resistance exercises regularly helps prevent the natural loss of lean muscle mass that comes with aging.

These exercises are an important part of general fitness for all age groups. Especially people who have health problems such as obesity, arthritis, and heart disease.

When Should You Lift Weights Before Doing Cardio?

cardio before or after weights

If your goal is to increase strength, you should definitely do weight training before cardio. The reason for this is that your muscles are like a rubber bands. As they should be tight enough to hold the thing wrapped around it.

But if you take the rubber band and pull it repeatedly, it becomes unable To carry things together. Your muscles work the same way, doing cardio first reduces the ability of your muscles to contract effectively. Making you unable to lift weights as hard as you can right after you do cardio.

  • Science and studies support this, as the Journal of Strength and Endurance Research conducted in 2016 an experiment on 11 healthy and fit men. In which they examined their performance in major weight-lifting exercises such as (squat bench press _ and deadlift). After performing cardio exercises for a period of 120 to 40 minutes, they found Their performance in these exercises has decreased very significantly, especially in the squat exercise.

Another study experimented on 30 men with two different exercise types. Doing cardio before weight lifting and doing weight lifting before cardio. The results showed that performing cardio exercises before lifting weights leads to poor performance while lifting weights.

The study also found that lifting weights with maximum effort and with the largest weight for one set is much better when not doing cardio before lifting weights

When Should You Do Cardio Before Weights?


As mentioned earlier, if you are training to run a marathon or race. Then you should use your energy to do cardio first. There are some cases in which doing cardio before lifting weights is beneficial.

Doing light cardio exercises for 10 minutes ensures that you warm up your body well before entering into a weightlifting exercise that requires intense effort. Warming up well before lifting weights will help you carry more weight during your workout.

If your goal is to lose weight, it doesn’t matter to do cardio or lift weights first. But most people focus on doing more cardio when they’re trying to lose weight. Because it burns more calories, it’s best to do weight-lifting exercises two or three times a week.

Lifting weights enables you to maintain and increase muscle mass that burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate.

How to Efficiently Combine Cardio and Weights


Regardless of whether you are doing cardio or weightlifting first. There is a useful word to describe the exercise that combines cardio and weight lifting in one session and that is synchronized training. For people who are interested in using exercise to maintain healthy body weight. Synchronized training can be effective in burning calories and building muscle without any real risks.

A study tested 23 female college students. In which they performed an eight-week exercise program that includes two programs of doing cardio before or after lifting weights. 12 Several researchers found significant improvements in performance, strength, and muscle mass regardless of the order of exercise.

In order to design a good synchronized exercise, you must do what suits your lifestyle and schedule. It is possible to do cardio exercises before lifting weights in the first week. Then switch the order in the second week. This method works to challenge your body and increase your level of fitness by changing the routine. So that your body does not adapt to a certain routine.

And to make sure that you do not strain the same muscle group. For example, do high-intensity cardio exercises on the days when you do weight lifting exercises for the upper body. And when doing weight lifting exercises for the lower body, mix them with low-intensity cardio exercises. So you will avoid the same stress muscle groups.


Finally, after knowing all this information, one thing that’s very clear is that doing both is beneficial. Studies show that a combination of the two is best for overall health, Increases muscle, and reduces body fat.

If you want to do cardio and weight exercises with 100% effort. You can try to do them on separate days. Allowing your body to recover in between. And if you prefer doing both at once, see what works best for you.

The information in this article is not medical advice. So consult your doctor or your fitness coach with any questions about a specific medical condition or health goal.