Choose Your Own Workout

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Wondering whether it’s better to do lifting or cardio first in your workout? A study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research says either way is fine. Two groups of college students enrolled in an eight-week program of four weekly workouts; one group did resistance training followed by aerobic exercises in each workout, and the other did the opposite. The lifting portion consisted of three sets of eight to 12 reps of five to six different exercises, and the cardio sessions were 30 minutes in duration at a 70 to 80 percent heart rate. Post-study results showed that performance and fitness markers didn’t differ significantly between the two groups, and researchers suggest basing your decision on which to do first off personal preference. Our advice is to choose the order that best suits your goals: If maximizing strength and/or muscle size is top priority, do your lifting first. If you’re training for an endurance event like a road race or triathlon, lead off with cardio.