Uncover the surprising health benefits of cardio after weights lifting, including improved heart health, weight loss, and endurance.
Cardio and weight training are two of the essential components of a comprehensive fitness routine. While each type of exercise offers its own unique benefits, many people wonder about the most effective order in which to perform them.
You may improve cardiovascular endurance, increase calorie burn, and improve muscle definition by doing cardio after lifting weights. However, the complete picture is more complicated, with a variety of circumstances that can influence the benefits you receive.
Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of doing cardio after weight training and how to incorporate it into your fitness routine.
Is It Good to Do Weights After Cardio?
Many personal trainers and gym instructors recommend cardio after weight training to increase cardiovascular endurance and burn more calories. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, subjects who performed cardio after weight training burned significantly more calories during their workout compared to those who served cardio before weight training.
In addition, performing cardio after weight training can help to increase oxygen delivery to the muscles, improve recovery, and reduce the risk of injury. While the benefits of doing weights after cardio are clear, it’s important to keep in mind individual factors.
Why Is It Better To Do Cardio After Weights?
There is a growing body of research that suggests that performing cardio after weight training can provide a range of health benefits. Here are some of the key advantages of doing cardio after weights:
1. Increased calorie burn:
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, subjects who performed cardio after weight training burned significantly more calories during their workout compared to those who performed cardio before weight training.
2. Improved cardiovascular endurance:
Doing cardio after weight training can help to increase oxygen delivery to the muscles and improve overall cardiovascular endurance.
3. Enhanced muscle definition:
You can increase blood flow to the muscles, which can enhance overall muscle definition and tone by performing cardio after weight training.
4. Reduced risk of injury:
Doing cardio after weight training can help to reduce the risk of injury by warming up the muscles and increasing flexibility. Individuals who performed cardio after weight training had lower levels of muscle soreness and improved flexibility compared to those who performed cardio before weight training.
5. Improved recovery:
By performing cardio after weight training, you can increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles, which can improve recovery time and reduce the risk of injury.
Benefits of Cardio after Weights?
The order of performing cardio and weight training exercises can have a significant impact on fitness outcomes, and the optimal order depends on the individual’s fitness goals. Here is a summary of the most commonly cited research findings, based on specific fitness goals, with numerical data:
For muscle growth:
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that when participants performed weight training before cardio, they were able to lift heavier weights and perform more reps.
In particular, participants who performed weight exercise first increased their 1-rep max strength by an average of 4.5%, compared to a 2.1% increase when they performed cardio before weight training.
A study found that when participants performed cardio before weight training, they burned an average of 15% more fat during the exercise session compared to when they performed weight training before cardio.
This was attributed to the depletion of glycogen stores, forcing the body to burn more fat for fuel during the weight training session.
For cardiovascular endurance:
There is limited evidence on the impact of the order of exercise on cardiovascular endurance, but one study found that participants who performed cardio before weight training had a 4% increase in cardiovascular endurance, compared to a 2% increase when they performed weight training before cardio.
For muscle growth, the optimal order of exercise is cardio after weights.
Science Backs Up: The Weights-Before Cardio Plan
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research conducted a study involving 11 healthy and fit men. The study aimed to examine the men’s strength performance 10 minutes after a vigorous aerobic endurance workout.
The men ran on a treadmill for 20-45 minutes at moderate to maximal intensity. The resistance exercises performed included squats, bench presses, deadlifts, push presses, and high pulls, with 3 sets of 6-10 reps at 70-80% of their one-rep max. The men’s performance on the strength exercises was significantly reduced after the aerobic workouts.
Glycogen, a fuel for muscular contractions, is stored in muscle cells and is produced by the body through the breakdown of carbohydrates.
When glycogen is converted into energy, it becomes ATP and produces by-products that can be recycled back into ATP and used as energy. During higher-intensity exercises like lifting weights, the body uses glycogen as fuel and creates by-products that can be used as fuel for lower-intensity activities like steady-state cardio.
Drawbacks Of Doing Cardio Straight After Weights
Doing cardio immediately after weight training can have some drawbacks, including decreased performance, increased risk of injury, reduced recovery, and increased risk of burnout.
The muscles may already be fatigued from the weight training session, reducing the quality of the cardio workout. Additionally, the combined stress of weight training and cardio can increase the risk of injury and slow down recovery. Over time, this consistent pattern can lead to burnout.
It is important to note that these drawbacks may vary depending on the intensity and duration of both weightlifting and cardio exercises, as well as individual factors such as fitness level and training history.
To minimize these risks, it is recommended to allow for adequate recovery time between weightlifting and cardio.
How Much Cardio After Weights?
The amount and frequency of cardio after lifting for people can vary depending on individual goals and fitness levels. Generally, it is recommended to allow for at least a 30-minute rest period between weightlifting and cardio to prevent fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
For people on a cut, a common approach is to perform moderate to high-intensity cardio for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. The frequency and intensity of the cardio sessions should be adjusted based on the individual’s goals, fitness level, and ability to recover.
Some people may do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio, such as steady-state cycling or jogging, 2-3 times a week.
Is cardio after weights good for weight loss?
Doing cardio after weights can be an effective strategy for weight loss. The reasoning behind this is that weight training can help increase your muscle mass, which can increase your metabolism.
By doing cardio after weight training, you can take advantage of this elevated metabolism to burn more calories and increase weight loss. Doing cardio after weights can help to increase your overall calorie burn for the day as your body continues to use energy to recover from the weight training workout.
Do bodybuilders do cardio after weights?
Yes, many bodybuilders do perform cardio after weight training. This approach can increase overall calorie burn and improve cardiovascular health, as well as aid in recovery from weight training.
The specific approach to cardio and weight training may vary among bodybuilders, depending on their individual goals and needs. Some may perform only light cardio or no cardio at all, while others may perform more intense cardio sessions.
Should I do cardio every day after weights?
There’s no hard and fast rule on whether you should do cardio every day after weight training. If your goal is to improve cardiovascular fitness, adding daily cardio after weight training can be an effective strategy.
It’s important to find the right balance between weight training and cardio that works for you, taking into account your goals, schedule, and ability to recover.
How long should you do cardio after weights?
The ideal length of a cardio session after weight training depends on several factors, such as your fitness level, goals, and overall health. A general guideline for healthy individuals is to perform cardio for up to 40 minutes after weight training at a moderate intensity.
This is enough time to get the cardiovascular benefits of the exercise while also allowing for adequate recovery and rest.
Unleash the full potential of your workout by adding cardio after weights! Enjoy the numerous benefits, including increased calorie burn, improved cardiovascular endurance, enhanced muscle definition, and reduced injury risk.
Embrace the power of two workouts in one and achieve your fitness goals faster with cardio after weights!