Cardio then weights? Or...

…the other way around? I’ve been working out for the past month or so, primarily on building a good cardio base, and have recently branched out to working with weights. I’m not trying to build bulk, but rather to build muscle tone, increase balance and improve joint health.

So the question is, is it better to do the treadmill type stuff first, then hit the weight machines, or vice-versa? Or does it matter? My intuition (which is usually wrong), is that it’s better to get warmed up with cardio first and to stretch a bit before taking on the weights. Help a geezer out.

I can’t say for 100% certainty, but all the training regimens I’ve come across have had weights first, then cardio. Personally, I just alternate days, doing weights MWF, cardio on TuThuSat.

That’s a roger on the warmup, chefguy - v good idea prior to lifting. Stretching, not so much. There was a recent thread on the questionable benefit of static stretches prior to exercise.

So you have to warm up. But that aside, the order you should do things depends on your priorities. I find lifting to be significantly more mentally taxing then cardio, so would never do a serious cardio session beforehand. OTOH, if you’re focussed on your cardio performance / numbers, and just want to throw some weights about on the machines it might be more appropriate to put the mental intensity into the cardio. If you don’t care either way then just mix it up - but warm up before weights!

I do weights in the morning, cardio late afternoon/evening. I prefer to keep them separate so I can really put in a good effort on both. Obviously, not everyone has a schedule that this would fit.

People can and will argue about this long after the cows come home, but the bottom line is that unless you’re an elite athlete it’s not going to make much difference. Do it in whichever order you prefer.

I like to mix lifting with cardio. For example Leg presses, then run a ¼ mile then the Leg extensions, run some more, ect ect. Your heart rate will be higher over the whole course of the workout. It is also a bit more interesting as you are constantly shifting activities.

I’m not going to remember where I read this, and it was a while back, so it might be outdated now. It said that in order to make the best use of cardio, as in calorie burning, that you should lift first.

It doesn’t make a difference generally unless, as Cisco said, you’re an elite athlete. But if burning calories is your goal, the minor percentage increase you get might make a difference to you. Myself, I alternate days. I lift at least a couple days a week, and do cardio the other days. Unless I lift three days. Every day, no matter what else I do, I warm up first, then do some serious stretching. I’ve torn ligaments all over my legs, and recently had a bulging disc. Neither of those are things I care to repeat and both are more easily avoided when the muscles in the areas are limber.

Whichever one is more important to you should be done first, so that you’re fresher for it. If you’re trying to burn maximal calories, weight training is more important.

I’ve been doing weight training about 25 years and have tried a bunch of different things. I used to do cardio first as a warm-up but I ended up running out of gas before I finished my weight sets. Now I do weights first, and don’t really miss the warm-up. Then I do light cardio afterwards if time allows, 20-30 minutes with my heart rate at 120 (I’m 51).

But I lift slowly and controlled, lessening the chance of injury (I also lift heavier weights than what it sounds like you want to get into). (I see guys doing the “throw and drop” method of lifting :rolleyes: and the “lift the weight three inches” method :rolleyes: and the “10 reps as fast as possible” method :rolleyes: but it’s *so *impolite to offer unsolicited advice.)

As I mentioned, at this point I’m still building my cardio base, so that takes priority. I’m doing both low-level cardio (30 minutes of hard walking, with increasing levels of speed and incline) and weights three days a week. Eventually, I want to be at five days a week for the cardio and keep the weights to 2-3 times a week. From the responses so far, I guess I can keep doing what I’m doing as long as I’m not hurting myself.

I would honestly recommend you change it up at least once a week, one thing with any kind of activity like this is that its easy to get bored, even doing things backwards or all mixed up once a week goes along way to avoid that, and its a sort of wake up to your body when it gets hit differently once in a while

This excellent thread (Advice: Strength training for weight loss) has a ton of great advice. It’s started primarily asking for gender-specific advice, but it branches out (and touches on the cardio/weight first question) with a lot of information and links. Strongly (heh) suggest giving it a read-through.

Personally I’m pretty exhausted after cardio. I doubt I could do weights second.