Cardio or weights first? A kinesiologist explains how to optimize the order of your exercise routine| Trending Viral hub


When you enter the gym, where should you go first? Do you hit the treadmills and spin studio to work up a sweat with a cardio session? Or turn to free weights and strength training machines to do some resistance training?

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests doing both types of exercise to take advantage of its unique benefits to improve health and daily functioning and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. But what is the optimal sequence to obtain the best results?

The answer to this question is… it depends. I am an exercise physiologist. Recently, in my laboratory we have been studying the effects of combinations of aerobic and resistance training to improve health-related fitness, particularly aerobic capacity and muscle strength.

Research suggests that when designing your exercise program, there are a few factors you should take into account, including your age, your fitness level, and your exercise history and goals. You’ll also want to consider the volume of your exercise routine (i.e., its duration and intensity) and how you’ll schedule your workout throughout the day.

Benefits of exercise

First of all, virtually any exercise will be better for you than doing nothing.

Aerobic exercise It is a rhythmic activity that makes the heart beat. Some examples are walking, running, swimming, cycling, and using a cardiovascular machine such as an elliptical trainer.

Aerobic exercise can improve cardiorespiratory function: Over time, the heart and lungs improve their ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles to produce energy for continued muscle contractions. Aerobic exercise can also reduce several risk factors for chronic diseases, increase the amount of energy your body uses and the amount of fat you burn, and improve physical and cognitive function.

Endurance training It involves strengthening muscles by lifting, pushing or pulling against resistance. This type of exercise can be performed using free weight bars, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight machines, or even elastic bands.

resistance exercise improves muscle strength, endurance, and muscle power and size, what exercise physiologists call muscle hypertrophy. Studies show that resistance training also has health-related benefits, especially for people who You have or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.. It can improve blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and the ability of muscles to use glucose for energy, and helps maintain lean body mass and bone health.

(Credit: kali9/E+ via Getty Images) Many people exercise with the primary goal of staying healthy.

Training for health benefits.

With a limited amount of time to devote to exercise, many people include cardio and weights in the same workout. This simultaneous training carries many health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular and metabolic risks.

In fact, do both forms of exercise together It is better, especially for people with risk factors for chronic diseases, to exercise for the same amount of time but limit yourself to only aerobic or resistance exercise.

Concurrent training studies suggest a generalized training effect: similar improvements in aerobic capacity and muscle strength, regardless of the order of aerobic and resistance exercises in a session. These The benefits apply to a wide variety of people.including those who are initially inactive, those engaged in recreational activities, young people, and older women and men.

Resistance exercise performed before aerobic exercise produces a small increase in uncompromising lower body muscle strength all other improvements in health-related physical fitness.

So if your exercise goals are to stay healthy in general and enjoy the Mental benefits of moving the body., resistance training first might provide a little boost. However, research suggests that, in general, you don’t need to worry too much about which order to focus on: cardio versus weights.

Training with performance goals in mind

On the other hand, you may want to put more thought into the order of your training if you are a performance-oriented athlete training to improve in a particular sport or prepare for a competition.

(Credit: Lighthouse Films/DigitalVision via Getty Images) Training toward specific performance goals can change the calculus about the order of your training.

Research suggests that for these athletes, concurrent training may slightly inhibit improvement in aerobic capacity. Most likely, it can hinder increased muscle strength and power development and, to a lesser extent, muscle growth. This phenomenon is called “interference effect.” It appears more in well-trained athletes who perform High volumes of aerobic and resistance exercises. exercise.

Researchers are still investigating what happens at the cellular level to cause the interference effect. Aerobic and resistance training unleashed Competitive influences at the molecular level. that affect genetic signaling and protein synthesis. At the beginning of an exercise program, the body’s adaptations are more widespread. But with more training, muscle changes become increasingly specific to the type of work being performed, and the likelihood of the interference effect increases.

Of course, many sports require combinations of aerobic and muscular capabilities. Some elite athletes need to improve both. So the question remains: What is the optimal order of the two exercise modes to get the best effects on performance?

Given the findings of the research on Concurrent training for high-level athletes., it makes sense to do resistance exercises first or train first on the type of exercise that is most important to your performance goals. Additionally, if possible, elite athletes should give their bodies a break of at least three hours between resistance and aerobic training sessions.

Don’t worry about the order

In my lab, we are studying what we call “microcycles” of aerobic and resistance exercise. Instead of having to decide which to do first, you weave the two modalities together in much shorter bursts. For example, a series of resistance exercises is immediately followed by three minutes of walking or running; You repeat this cycle as many times as necessary to include all resistance exercises in your routine.

Our preliminary findings suggest that this concurrent training method results in similar gains in aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and lean muscle mass (while also feeling less challenging) compared to the typical concurrent routine where all resistance exercise is followed. for all the aerobic exercise. exercise.

For most people, my current advice is still to choose your exercise order based on your personal preferences and what will get you back to the gym. High-level athletes can avoid any significant interference effects by doing their resistance routine before their aerobic routine or by separating their aerobic and resistance training within a particular day.


Randal Claytor is an associate professor of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Health at the University of Miami. This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons License. Read the Original article.

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