Top Gym Tips

Should You Do Cardio Or Weights First?


This question is one that I get asked a lot and it simply comes down to what your preferences are. If hypertrophy (muscle growth) is your goal, then doing cardio first will have a detrimental effect on the amount of training volume you can handle, with volume being key for hypertrophy (Schoenfeld et al. 2014)

This makes sense, as although cardio (especially low intensity steady-state) will rely on mostly lipid oxidation for fuel, some evidence points to roughly 30% of substrate metabolism during cardio as being muscle glycogen. With most resistance training being anaerobic lactic (glycolytic) i.e reliant upon glycogen for fuel, we quickly see how this can negatively affect force production

On the contrary, if improving muscular endurance is your primary goal, then performing cardio first will augment the fatigue felt when cardio is performed after resistance training. Ultimately, if you find that you can adhere easier to a programme that puts cardio first, stick to it. If adherence is compromised the science doesn’t really hold much authority. That being said, if you find it easy to adhere to both and hypertrophy is your goal, perhaps trying to lift before cardio would be a wise option