Cardio or Strength First?

posted 6 months ago in Fitness
  • poll: Which do you do first?



  • Post # 2
    1250 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    I wouldn’t typically do both on the same day, but I think if I did I would do strength first. I lift weights a lot, so it’s important to me to have enough energy to make sure I’m not being sloppy and using proper form while lifting heavy weights so I don’t hurt myself. But that’s just me and my own preference.


    Back before the gym closed I would lift Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri. I would run Weds and Sat and that was a really good routine for me

    Post # 3
    1565 posts
    Bumble bee

    I do Crossfit and my workouts are generally set up with a strength component first, and then a metcon (metabolic conditioning, aka cardio, maybe with some weights thrown in) after.

    Post # 4
    1205 posts
    Bumble bee

    I do 5-10 min of cardio to warm up, then an hour of strength training. I do cardio only on days I’m not strength training. The theory is if you do too much cardio on the same day as strength training, your muscles won’t grow as quickly as strength training alone, because you’ll inhibit the recovery process. If you do cardio beforehand, your muscles deplete valuable energy stores that could have been applied to your strength training session. Cardio after strength training inhibits recovery, because after heavy lifting, your muscles should be allowed to start recovery. Your muscles will continue to burn fat as they start the recovery process, whereas cardio alone burns calories only while ecxercising. Cardio on “rest days” is ideal. Your goal should be to allow muscles to recover as quickly as possible to avoid delays in strength training. Muscle burns fat, even during rest and recovery, and you tax your cardiovascular system while performing heavy strength training anyway, so you get the best of both worlds by focusing on strength training, and making it a priority. Cardio on off days is a good way to help burn off lactic acid within the muscle, which is part of the reason you feel sore after lifting. 

    Post # 5
    587 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    They say to do whichever is your number one priority first. If your priority is to build strength/muscle then you should do weights first so you can give it your all. If your priority is to improve your cardiovascular system then you should run first.

    Post # 7
    148 posts
    Blushing bee

    It depends on what you want to maximize. Running first if your focus is endurance. Strength training first if you want to build muscle. 
    Since you are focused on half marathons, definitely stick with running first. Like PP, strength is first so you don’t deplete that energy – if strength is your focus. 

    Post # 8
    1205 posts
    Bumble bee

    View original reply
    hikingbride :  Then it depends on your personal goals. Mine is bodybuilding. You can strength train, but you’ll also burn a lot of muscle training for marathons. You’ll maintain lean muscle as opposed to bulking up. 

    Post # 9
    48 posts

    Althought Ilove cardio, I also enjoy feeling strong even MORE!

    Post # 10
    386 posts
    Helper bee

    View original reply
    hikingbride :  I have multiple degrees and certifications in this area, so this is my true, professional opinion:

    It’s more effective to do strength first, then follow it with cardio. The body primarily runs on two energy systems: stored energy and energy produced during activity. Stored energy is used the quickest because it’s readily available, then your body starts producing energy.

    If you do aerobic activity prior to doing strength training, you’ll get an excess build up of lactic acidosis, as it’s a bi-product of the way the body produces energy during steady state aerobic exercise. That excess lactic acid will hang around and the body isn’t as effective at storing energy in its presence, so it’s less available.

    It’s best to do strength first because muscle strength runs off anerobic energy systems, so your stored energy. You’ll see better results this way and feel better in the long run.

    Post # 11
    10 posts
    • Wedding: September 2014

    Personally I prefer only cardio!

    Post # 12
    520 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

    It depends on what your fitness goals are.


    “A recent study, aiming to determine whether the amount of recovery between a strength and an aerobic workout influenced the response to the training program, concluded that fitness coaches should avoid scheduling two contradictory qualities (like running and weightlifting, or swimming and powerlifting) with less than a six-hour recovery period between them if the goal is to obtain full adaptive responses to each workout.  The researchers who performed this study also stated that daily training without a recovery period between sessions (or training twice a day) is not optimal for neuromuscular and aerobic improvements. So ideally, if you want to get stronger, you should separate your cardio and strength workouts by more than six hours.”  (

    <h2>”Should You Combine Weights and Cardio?</h2>

    When you are trying to get or stay fit, it can help to do a combination of endurance and resistance training—but that is not always optimal for your fitness goals. And choosing which you should do first is often a matter of determining what those goals are. For example Lindsey, who kicked off this entire topic, whose goal is to run better, we know that she can combine her strength work with some short cardio without jeopardizing her performance, as long as she is getting dedicated run training done on her non-lifting days.

    Choosing which you should do first is often a matter of determining what your goals are.

    If your focus is not to burn fat but to build strength, stick to doing your resistance training as a separate workout. If you’re training for endurance, focus on a high-quality cardio workout that isn’t interrupted by strength training. If your focus is pure fat loss, then you should strongly consider combining your weight lifting and cardio in one workout.

    But without splitting too many hairs, if you simply don’t have time to do a separate strength and a separate cardio workout, then just do it all in one big workout—I mean, come on. How many of us are actually hoping to compete in the Olympics after all? As we saw in the study on the inactive college females, no matter what order they did the workouts in, they all saw improvements in VO2max, strength, and lean body mass and for the most part, isn’t that what we are all hoping for?”


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