Cardio or Strength Training: Which Should Be First?
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TreadOrFloor

Those high speed sprints on the treadmill are nothing compared to the sprints to the Barry’s website to nab a coveted treadmill the instant the classes become available for reservations. But there are several reasons you might want to “weight” a few minutes first. In the debate between starting your sweat sesh with weights or cardio, fitness experts contend that starting with strength training first helps builds a leaner, stronger body. Here’s why.

You’ll Burn More Calories

According to exercise physiologist Marta Montenegro, CSCS, SFN, NSCA-CPT from Women’s Health in article by K. Aleisha Fetters:

“’When you start your workout with weights, by the time you get to the treadmill or bike, your anaerobic energy systems will already be tapped out, meaning your body will have to resort to burning fat to keep your aerobic system going strong,’ Montenegro says. ‘That means more calories burned, not just in the gym, but after your cool-down, too.'”

Less Risk of Injury

“Doing cardio first will induce fatigue that may compromise technique and possibly increase risk of injury,” explains Fabio Comana, director of Continuing Education for the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Your EPOC isn’t as EPIC

Your body continues to burn calories 48 hours after your workout, which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This afterburn effect occurs at a higher rate after an intense weight lifting session than cardio. If you’re exhausted after an intense sprint, you might be too pooped to pop up those heavy dumbbells. A less effective weight training session = a less epic EPOC.

However, scientific studies aren’t conclusive enough to override personal preferences. Many people rush the treadmills because they prefer to get the cardio part over with while others feel that a run gets them warmed up for the heavy lifting to come. But starting on the floor not only has all the advantages mentioned above, you don’t have to throw an elbow or push anybody out of the way to get a spot.

Sources:
Women’s Health: “Should I do Cardio or Weights First?”

“Cardio or Weights First? Exercise Order Sometimes Matters.”