What Comes First, Cardio or Weight Lifting?

How do your muscles respond to the order in which you exercise?

Mixing up your fitness routine is one of the best ways to target multiple muscles, burn fat, and improve your body’s cardiovascular system. From dumbbells, body weight, kettlebells, spinning, treadmills, or ellipticals, a common concern is over which type of exercise to perform first: cardio vs. weightlifting. Cardio after weightlifting has been the general rule for many fitness junkies, since weight lifting requires more exertion of energy from our bodies and most fat burning comes from the building of muscle, while performing cardio first may deplete our energy sources.

New research suggests that it makes no difference which routine you begin with. In a recent study, volunteers rode a stationary bicycle with only one leg initially. Once they were done they did resistance training using both legs. The results showed that both legs had grown equally stronger. A 2012 study showed that both riding a stationary bike and resistance training cause distinct muscle responses when done separately. However, when both were done together, both muscle responses were present regardless of which form of exercise was done first.

As long as you are exerting energy and force, your muscles will respond. In boot camp classes, there are variations between cardio routines and swapping in resistance exercises. The end result provides you with an intense workout. The most important thing to consider when performing both cardio and resistance is to listen to your body.

Source: New York Times

Looking for some cardio and weight training routine to mix together? Try some of our favorite routine in both areas:
H.I.I.T the Treadmill
Ya Gotta Tabata On The Treadmill!
Fabulous Arms in Five Moves
Get Lean and Toned Legs with This Workout

Make sure that you subscribe to our newsletter, so that you don’t miss out on all things Skinny Ms.

For more tasty recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, and whole body workouts, check out our Facebook page and follow us on Pinterest.

We’d love to hear what you think of this post, or what you’d like to see on our site. Leave us a comment in the comments section below.

This post may include affiliate links.

Create a FREE account for quick & easy access


The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

More by Skinny

1 Comment

  1. If you are trying to optimize fat loss, studies suggest that strength training before a cardio session will burn the most fat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *