Should you perform your cardio before or after your weight training?

Should you perform your cardio before or after your weight training?

Most trainers will recommend keeping your cardio until after your weight training session, and there are good reasons for this – completing your resistance training while your nervous system is fresh and  have higher levels of glycogen to support your session; then completing cardio after weights may promote fat loss because your glycogen has been somewhat depleted and your body may be more primed to tap into fat stores to complete the session.

Some research also suggests that there is an interference between the metabolic processess that promote lean mass synthesis (growing muscle) and aerobic processes which primarily use fat as an energey substrate and concurrent training should be avoided is muscle gain is your goal. But these studies compared strength rather than hypertrophy (Hickson, 1980).

Some more recent research challenges this and has shown support for increases in lean mass with aerobic training (Konopka & Harber, 2014), while others show that there is minimal interference and the order of exercise is not as important when muscle hypertrophy (but not strength) is the goal (Lundberg et al., 2022).

A recent meta-analysis (research that compiles all data into one report to help identify a common pattern), suggests that when performing resistance training and cardio in the one session, the order has no real impact on strength or hypertrophy but may impact the development of power and speed, desribed as explosive training (Jones et al., 2021; Schumann et al., 2022).

What this means is that you can perform your cardio prior to your weights session, however if you are planning on performing ballistic or power type exercises such as the snatch or clean and jerk, you may want to keep your cardio until the end of the session.

For most people, getting some exercise is more important than the order of exercise, so if you prefer to do some cardio prior to lifting weights then go for it – just be mindful about what your main training goal is and keep your best effort to support that activity!

The take home:

  • Make sure you get some exercise completed regardless of modality and order!
  • To optimise strength training, keep your cardio until after your weights or even on a separate day.
  • To ensure you perform your best in the weights room, complete your cardio afterwards.

Want to know how much lean mass you have? The best way is to get a DEXA!



Hickson, R. C. (1980). Interference of strength development by simultaneously training for strength and endurance. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 45(2), 255-263.

Jones, T. W., Eddens, L., Kupusarevic, J., Simoes, D. C. M., Furber, M. J. W., van Someren, K. A., & Howatson, G. (2021). Aerobic exercise intensity does not affect the anabolic signaling following resistance exercise in endurance athletes. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 10785.

Konopka, A. R., & Harber, M. P. (2014). Skeletal muscle hypertrophy after aerobic exercise training. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 42(2), 53-61.

Lundberg, T. R., Feuerbacher, J. F., Sünkeler, M., & Schumann, M. (2022). The Effects of Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Training on Muscle Fiber Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine.

Schumann, M., Feuerbacher, J. F., Sünkeler, M., Freitag, N., Rønnestad, B. R., Doma, K., & Lundberg, T. R. (2022). Compatibility of Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Training for Skeletal Muscle Size and Function: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 52(3), 601-612.

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