Whether you love or hate cardio, it undoubtedly has incredible benefits for our overall health and fitness.
But if you’ve started shifting your focus to strength training and using weights, that 20-30 minute warmup on the treadmill before your squat session isn’t really going to do you any good.
Qualified personal trainer and mentor for gym newbies Emily Robinson regularly shares fitness advice about her Instagram account and recently revealed that doing cardio before weights is “not an effective warm-up.”
Instead, Robinson says it’s important to focus on warming up the muscle groups you’ll actually use during your strength training.
“Try one of these instead,” she shared in the caption of a video posted to her account.
“Do a few warm-up sets on the first exercise for each muscle group you’re working (50-65 percent of the weight you’ll be using for your work sets).
“Dynamic stretching – a movement-based type of stretching that moves the muscle through a full range of motion.
“If you’re not sure about dynamic stretches for the muscle groups you’re training, just go to YouTube and enter ‘dynamic stretches X muscle group’ and the internet will bless you.”
Another reason has everything to do with your overall energy.
Like Robinson, most fitness experts will advise you to do cardio after strength training because doing cardio first uses up a lot of the energy source for your anaerobic work (strength training) and fatigues the muscles before they need it most. strenuous activity.
“[Then] our lift will not be as effective as it would have been if you had full energy supplies available,” she added.
“You want to leave the most energy in the tank for strength training because it gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to getting good results, whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle.”
And science backs this up.
When researchers compared three different training protocols (strength training only, running followed by strength, and cycling followed by strength). They found that running or cycling prior to strength training limited the number of weightlifting reps participants could perform, compared to strength training without cardio beforehand. The results have been published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR).
Another study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that muscle strength decreased when lifting weights after treadmill running, while heart rate and the rate of perceived exertion, or how hard the workout felt, increased.
And Research published in Medicine and science in sport and exercise found that doing cardio after strength training burned more fat during the first 15 minutes of that cardio workout than starting with cardio and then lifting.
Of course if you like doing cardio first, maybe because it gives you a boost, then go for it, maybe you might make it a shorter session.
This advice is also very dependent on your individual fitness goal.
As reported by Women’s health the American Council on Exercise recommends the following:
- If your goal is better endurance, do cardio before weights.
- If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, do cardio after weights.
- If you want to get stronger, do cardio after weights.
- On strength training days for the upper body you can or first.
- Do cardio on lower body strength training days after weights.
- If your goal is just general fitness, do that either firstbut maybe start with the one you like less.
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