Should You Do Cardio Before Weights? Understanding the Pros and Cons

Should You Do Cardio Before Weights? Understanding the Pros and Cons

Should you hit the treadmill before lifting those weights, or vice versa? Some folks believe starting with cardio gets your heart pumping and help you work out harder. But others think that starting off with cardio might sap your strength for weightlifting and could even up your chances of getting hurt.

Image of a woman training on a treadmill inside a gym. Image source: Pexels
Image of a woman training on a treadmill inside a gym. Image source: Pexels

So, let’s clear the air around this hot debate. We’ll dig into the good and bad sides of doing your cardio before weightlifting. We’ll look at things like how efficient your workout can be, warming up your muscles, and whether cardio affects how well you can lift those weights. By understanding the pros and cons of doing cardio before weight training, you’ll be in a great place to decide what works best for your own fitness journey.

What are the benefits of doing cardio before weights?

Performing cardio before weights has several benefits. A study mentioned in the New York Times found that running or riding before lifting weights could amplify the effects of the lifting. Furthermore, doing cardio before weight training can be beneficial for weight loss as lifting weights helps promote weight loss by increasing muscle mass and metabolism.

Another study revealed that doing cardio after weight training burned more fat during the first 15 minutes of the cardio workout compared to starting with cardio and then lifting.

What are the drawbacks?

Despite the benefits, there are some drawbacks to doing cardio before weights. One of the main drawbacks is that cardio can be time-consuming, which might limit the time available for weight training. This query appears to be different from the information found in the provided sources, which discuss walking barefoot and AI implementation, respectively, and are not directly related to the drawbacks of walking or cardio before weightlifting.

Weighing In on Cardio Pre-Workout

When considering whether to do cardio before weights, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks. Doing cardio before weights can help warm up your muscles, increase your heart rate, and prepare your body for the challenge ahead. A 2021 study published in Scientific Reports found that doing cardio before weightlifting may even help boost muscle growth.

However, a study cited by showed that 1-rep maximum performance was much better during strength training alone and during strength training before endurance than in the reverse order. It’s essential to consider your individual goals and preferences when deciding whether to do cardio before or after weights.

Image of a man running on a treadmill. Image source: Pexels
Image of a man running on a treadmill. Image source: Pexels

Tune Up Your Workouts – The Verdict!

Tuning up your workouts can be an effective way to enhance your performance and prepare for specific race goals.

Here are a few tune-up workout suggestions from different sources:

  1. For a 10K race, a warm-up consisting of a 10-15 minute easy jog followed by drills and dynamic stretches is recommended. The main workout includes 5x1km at goal race pace with a 2-minute jog in between each interval. Finish with a 10-15 minute cool-down jog.
  2. A workout with intervals that start out longer and slower and gradually get shorter and faster is also recommended. The goal is to run these quickly, but not to push too hard.
  3. A pre-5K race tune-up workout with a warm-up of a 10-15 minute easy jog followed by drills and dynamic stretches is good. The main workout includes a couple of intervals at goal race pace and then finishes with shorter, faster intervals to feel sharp and fast.
  4. For runners preparing for half and full marathons, a Tempo Tune-Up consisting of a one-mile warm-up, followed by 10 minutes at goal race pace, alternating between faster and slower intervals is recommended.

Remember that the purpose of tune-up workouts is to prime your body and mind for race day without overly taxing your system. Incorporate these workouts into your training regimen to help you feel more prepared and confident on race day.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Is it better to perform cardio before weights for weight loss purposes?
For individuals focusing on weight loss, performing cardio before weights can be advantageous. Cardiovascular exercise helps to burn calories and increase heart rate, creating an environment conducive to fat burning during subsequent weightlifting exercises.

How can doing cardio before weights impact my strength training performance?
Doing cardio before weights can negatively affect strength training performance, as it can cause fatigue and reduce available energy for weightlifting. This may result in decreased strength, power, and overall effectiveness during resistance training.

Final Word

Have you considered the pros and cons of cardio before weights for your own fitness routine? If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips on optimizing your workout routine.


Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.