Thursday, January 10, 2008

Question and Answer Time - Cardio Before Weights or the other way around?

Friday just posted a question in the comments area of my last post which goes like this : "is there any particular reason that you do your run before your leg weights?", which I've interpreted as a variation of the age old question "cardio before weights or weights before cardio"?

My answer is - depends on what you're doing and aiming to achieve. You should always train "the most important thing" first when you're rested and "fresh". In other words, if you are training to gain muscle or strength, then prioritise accordingly - have a light warm up and do your weights first.

The lower body training I've been doing with Mike takes a lot of effort and there is a high energy cost involved, particularly as exercises such as deadlifts and squats use more than just the lower body. The weights are heavy and the reps are low. There is also a high neural (nervous system) cost involved as well.

For me, it's usually weights first.

Over the past few weeks though, I have had a change in focus to improving my aerobic power (how much work I can output given a certain heart rate), so yesterday's workout was a test to see where my endurance is right now. I need to maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness to be able to teach classes such as RPM Hi Performance. In terms of how much muscle I own, I can definitely get away without trying for more growth in my legs these days. I love my cyclist's quads and my Bodystep calves! The leg workout was more about technique than heavy iron :)

Which leads to the question, "is training for strength and cardiovascular fitness mutually exclusive?" Most people benefit from doing both, however as you progress (depending on what your goals are), excessive amounts of both become counterproductive. For example you won't see many athletes who train for strength and power doing lots of long slow cardio and vice versa - you won't see many endurance athletes performing cleans in the gym.

Today's training: Elliptical Steady State 30mins (warm up)
Upper Body Specific Warm up and preparation:
Strength training: Chest/biceps (taking a more bodybuilderish approach for 3-4 weeks) 10-12 rep (cardio! ouch!) range
Treadmill: 30/30 Intervals x 10 (triple ouch)


Friday said...

Hi Liz
You interpreted correct. Thank you. Awesome post, i appreciate it. I am still a little confused about the whole thing. Gaaaaaah... which way around? I normally do cardio after weights so as not to drop a dumbbell on my head, no other reason than that. Méh i guess it goes along with exercise before or after breakfast?? Jury is till out on that one also.
Thanks again Liz.
: )

Antigone said...

Great post hun :)
Looks like you are still carving it up in the gym, fantastic :)
Have a greata weekend hun :)

Java said...

I agree, in my Gym days I always recommended to clients to do Cardio after weights, esp as you say if you want to lift heavy you don't wanna exhaust yourself before hand.
Good luck with the cardio.

jeweljasmine said...

hey liz looks like u are going great guns
i have one 2007 metamorphosis jewel
and now this one
its just on training
im also on facebook:)
under jewel jasmine

Splice said...

Great post Liz!
I prefer to do weights before cardio to use up the glycogen, however, if i do a leg session I try not to do cardio afterwards as not to interfere in the recovery process.