Cardio and strength training: We know both are awesome for your health and longevity, no matter what your age. Ideally, you'll have BOTH in your weekly training routine to achieve more balance in your overall health and fitness.
Each style of exercise offers specific benefits (e.g., increased aerobic capacity vs. increased muscle strength and power) as well as mutual benefits that enhance each other (e.g., improved mood, energy, and fat loss).
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Why Strength Training & Cardio
Can Be an Unstoppable Duo
The question is, which of them should come first?
We'll concede that there are a few conflicting ideas out there. In general, we recommend:
- Performing your strength training first followed by cardio, if it's a day when you want to do both in the same session,
- Performing strength training and cardio sessions on different days (or at different times in the day, if you're one of those go-getting two-a-day folks), or
- Sticking with basic bodyweight movements done with shorter rest periods if you want to mix cardio and strength training (e.g., circuit style)
There are two main reasons why we recommend the above templates. For one thing, we want to make sure your muscles aren't too fatigued to be able to safely lift heavy weights—especially those small stabilizing muscles around your joint that support the larger muscle groups doing the bulk of the work. For this reason, hitting a cardio session right before your quality time with a barbell may increase your risk for injury.
Additionally, you want your muscles to be able to exert maximal levels of power and force to get stronger. But you enter a strength training session having already tapped your muscles through some sort cardio exercise; then you may not be able to contract your muscle fibers as forcefully and therefore may fail to get the most out of your lifting.
Got more questions about how to incorporate strength training and cardio into your fitness routine? Contact us to connect with one of our super knowledgeable personal trainers!