Cardio or Weights First? How to Best Structure Your Workout Routine

If you love to work out, you’ve probably wondered the best way to structure your workout. Should you start with cardio or weights? If this is your current predicament, read on to find out.

Weight lifting is quite demanding. It requires you to be in the best form possible. Usually, if you start your workout routine with cardio, fatigue sets in earlier. And by the time you are moving on to weight lifting, your form is compromised. As such, you lack enough energy to lift the weights and fail to execute your technique effectively. Therefore, you increase the chances of injuring yourself.

Starting your workout routine with weight lifting

Most fitness experts argue that weight training should come before cardio. The body should have enough glycogen before you embark in any strenuous exercise. If you begin with cardio, you will undoubtedly deplete the glycogen in your body. And this will leave you with no fuel for strength training. So, if your goal is to build muscles, your workout routine structures should look as follows:

  •     Warm-up
  •     Form-rolling
  •     Weights
  •     Cardio
  •     Cool down
  •     Stretching

The dynamic warm-up is essential for your work out. It prepares the body for strenuous exercise in various ways. For example, it warms your muscles, and warm muscles are more receptive to the pressure exerted by weights. It improves your muscle flexibility as well as elasticity. This also reduces the chances of injury due to overstretching a particular muscle.

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Starting with cardio before weight training

Some people like to start with cardio before weight training for various reasons, such as developing pliability. And there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are things you need to do in between the weight lifting sessions for the best gains. Cardio should play the role of a warm-up. But as you start to lift, you need to take breaks and stretch. The stretching conditions your muscles and prevents them from shortening due to the heavy lifting. If you must start with cardio, the following routine will work to your advantage:

  •     Warm-up (easy to moderate cardio)
  •     Resistance and weight training
  •     Gentle stretching
  •     Resistance and weight training
  •     Balance training
  •     Resistance training

There many ways to combine cardio with weight training, but the ultimate objective is to get the best out of your routine. Like we said earlier, you don’t want to run out of gas before you even complete your first round of weight lifting. You want your body to have adequate levels of glycogen before you test it with weights. Remember, if you start with cardio before weight training, you will be burning fat. And this is likely to be what you ate earlier, and not the fat stored in your body. Imagine doing heavy squats after running on a treadmill for 40 minutes. Chances are that you will barely complete the first set.

With the expert tips we have offered in this article, you should get the maximum gains from your workout regardless of how you approach it. However, you could seek your trainer’s advice on the best approach that will work for you and your goals.



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