Is it Better to do Cardio Before or After Weight Training?

As a trainee, or qualified FITPRO, planning a safe and effective client session should be high on your priority list, and this includes whether you should do cardio before or after weight training.

It is key to consider exercise order as part of designing the best session to achieve your client’s goals. There is a lot of different opinions, as to whether you should do Cardio or Resistance training first, but this is usually based on OPINION not on what is best for your client.

So today we will apply science to give you an understanding of what is best for EACH client, without creating confusion and overwhelm in your planning.

Watch the 10-minute video to reveal the 7 considerations for programming a session with cardio before or after weight training. Then test your knowledge with three mock questions.

Is it Better to do Cardio Before or After Weight Training?

Is it better to do Cardio Before or After Weight Training?

The 7 considerations for programming

Let’s explore the considerations – is it better to do cardio before or after weight training?

Consideration 1: Client Goals

The first place to start is to consider if your client has a Cardio or Resistance Training biased goal. Logically you would then put the biases first in the session.

Consideration 2: Session Objectives

Each session has a different objective. The objective relates to the goal and the overall progression that has been periodized. You also may have a specific requirement for your client to practice being pre-fatigued.

For example, doing Resistance training before Cardiovascular training would pre-fatigue the muscles. This would be appropriate if the training session objectives are to mimic fatigue in the latter stages of a running race.

Consideration 3: Preferences

It is key to note that your client;’s preferences are much more important than your own. Make sure your own biases, preferences, and values don’t prevent you from programming the best order for your client. Also, consider whether they dislike cardio or resistance training. In which case it may be beneficial to do it FIRST, this means that excuses that crop up late in the session as they fatigue won’t interfere with the overall plan.

Consideration 4: Number of sessions

This is straightforward to plan. If your client can do many sessions in a week you can split up cardio and resistance sessions to avoid any potential interference of training variables.

Consideration 5: Anaerobic depletion

Some believe that the danger of doing cardiovascular first is that it causes anaerobic depletion which will affect resistance training performance later. However, the anaerobic energy system resynthesis very quickly, and the Creatine phosphate needs no further fueling in order to replenish.

The bigger danger is that depletion of glucose and glycogen stores actually impacts much greater. This is because the only way to restock this fuel is via a re-feed.

Consideration 6: A long session needs fuel

If you are planning to include Cardiovascular and resistance training in one session, it is likely that it will extend beyond 60 minutes. This means that greater consideration is required for hydration and nutritional needs before, during, and after the session.

Any session longer than 60 minutes will need a nutritional re-feed partway through the session.

Consideration 7: Variables of training

Regardless of the order of exercise and whether you have programmed Cardio before or after weight training, you should make sure that the variables.

This means that cardiovascular training and resistance training will target the same energy systems, same muscle fibre types, and same intensity levels. If the variables are conflicting, variables it can cause confusion to the neurological system, and deteriorate the amount of physiological adaptation that occurs.

Test your knowledge with today’s planning mock questions:

[NOTE: The answers are below the 3rd questions]

Q1: Which of the following goals would require training that is Cardiovascular biased??

A. to complete their first Marathon run event
B. to participate in a bodybuilding stage contest
C. to improve 1 Rep Max score for deadlift
D. to increase muscle mass

Q2: After which duration would a client require additional nutrition and more specific hydration, in their exercise session?

A. Less than 60 minutes
B. Over 60 minutes
C. Over 20 minutes
D. Over 10 minutes

Q3: What would NOT be a factor that influences the order of exercises in a client session?
A. Client goal
B. Client likes and dislikes
C. Session objectives
D. The FITPROs personal preference

Answers to the mock questions are :

Question 1= A, Question 2 = B, Question 3 = D

If you want more mock questions like this, then you can download more Free Mock Questions: DOWNLOAD NOW

Need more help with your Periodisation?

This blog explored a simple version of one periodisation model, there are many different periodisation models, each allows you to apply the science behind your client planning. Our FIT-Progressions online programme breaks down each of these periodisation models in detail with clear protocol to follow for each one.

Plus you learn how to periodise your planning and achieve logical progressive overload so your client can get their goal every time.

>>>> Join us for FIT-Progressions here

Become a knowledgeable and confident FITPRO, with a clear strategy to get results with your clients every time.

There’s no more self-doubt. There’s no more guessing what to plan or how to get client results. FIT-Progressions has 8 modules and 18 video tutorials that guide you through every stage of your Level 3 Personal Trainer case study, and how to work with clients effectively.

This is for you if you’re…

  • struggling to complete your coursework for PT, Yoga, or Pilates
  • a newly qualified FITPRO that feels stuck or overwhelmed
  • unsure where to start when planning a client session
  • worrying about applying your course knowledge with a real client
  • doubting you could get results and lack structure to client packages
  • anxious and confused about how to get found and get busy

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Dedicated to More

Hayley “Cardio Before or After Weight Training” Bergman

Parallel Coaching

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