1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Financial Stress

Readers Respond: When Do You Do Your Cardio?

Responses: 27


Updated April 17, 2009

Aerobic training or cardio is generally accepted as an integral part of fitness training, although some individuals in the weight training community don't agree that cardio like running, jogging or cycling is necessary. Can weights do it all?

When do you do your cardio -- before or after weights at the gym, or perhaps on a separate day?

Cardio after if you do HEAVY lifting

If you are doing the type of weight lifting where your face muscles do not flinch and you do not feel compelled to scream in agony sometimes, it does not matter when you do cardio. But truly heavy lifting requires focus and as much energy as you can give the muscle in order to stimulate more muscle growth. You are more likely to get injured lifting heavy if you do cardio first, or so says Frank Zane, 3 time Mr. Olympia. I warm up my muscles with lower weight sets and stretching, so no need for cardio to warm up. This way I have more glycogen ready for the weight lifting, thus get more stimulus for my muscle, thus grow more muscle which in turn keeps burning fat for me 24/7. The cardio after a weight lifting session helps me burn even more fat. Using this method, I go to the gym twice a week for about 1.5 hours total and maintain 9% body fat at a weight of 178 to 180 and a height of 5'11".
—Guest Rey

Cardio After Weights

For fat burning, you need to get your heart rate into the correct elevated zone. This is really easy to do after weight lifting, so I say its best to do cardio immediately after weight lifting as it gives you more bang for your buck.
—Guest TheGooch

Weights, Then Cardio

It is the only correct way to maximize muscle and burn fat. A former associate of mine, Sean C. Rider, and his life partner, Mark Shelton, fiercely resisted this truth for a while. But once they saw the light, they both improved.
—Guest Epic Swoleness

Cardio before weights

I have become more lean and cut performing cardio before weight lifting. At the same time, I bumped up the weight I used for each exercise and lowered reps to sets of 8-10 instead of 10-12.
—Guest Bridget


I do 1.5 minutes of cardio (aerodyne bike) averaging about 20 mph and then a set of 10-15 rep weight and repeat until the weight routine is done, about 24-30 sets. Exhausting, but my lung capacity and endurance have increased dramatically. Weight dropped significantly to start and the leveled off. Muscle mass showed appreciable increases. Hope I'm not overdoing it!
—Guest Dave


Depends how intense the cardio is. If it's 30 minutes low intensity (40 mins really low) then before or after really doesn't matter. But I agree with the article that more than 65-70% max HR work should be done before.
—Guest jimbo

Cardio then weights then cardio

I reckon 5-10 minutes cardio is very good to warm up your body. Then proper weight training and then finally cardio again to loose weight /fat for atleast 30minutes Try this: eat two bananas almost 30 minustes before your weight training. its like a super shot fo carbs. then as mentioned above -> cardio - weights-cardio. You will realise a massive boost in your weight lifting capacity. Cheers
—Guest Varun

Science says after For better at loss

If your trying to lose weight but want to keep as much muscle as possible, you should do card after your intense weight trainin session since after you train with weighs, your body has used up your energy sources therefore if you do card after you have burnt you energy source from lifting wieghts, you will be targeting fat. Other goals may require card at different times. But all in all if your not trying to lose and keel muscle on then it shouldn't really matter when. But of course if you do intense card before lifting wieghts it's only normal that scientifically you won't be able to lift as much or for as long.
—Guest Tripleace

cardio inbetween weight sets

I do cardio in between my weight sets. Moderate exertion for the cardio portion. I have seen great loss in measurements ie fat loss. Fantastic gains in strength. Doubled my weight lifted using a range of 8-10 reps stopping just before failure. The cardio before or after myth is just to keep you paying your gym fees in the busy gym.
—Guest Elizabeth

Cardio before or after weight training

I would say any heavy cardio that is to be done should be done AFTER weight training. Very light and short cardio (five to 10 minutes on a stepper or treadmill), is sufficient as a warm up prior to your weight training workout. Heavy cardio, however, is best after a workout.
—Guest Bryan

Cardio first enhances weight lifting

I do 45 minutes of cardio (up to 85% of my max heart rate) before lifting. I find that I can lift 15% more weight if I use this sequence (as compared to no cardio first. I think this has to do with getting my blood flowing and muscles very warm.
—Guest Bruce

When Do I Do My Cardio

Every week is diffrent but I have 2 days in the week set for cardio only, Tuesdays a 6.2km run and 45min spinning class and on Thursaday a 6.2 km run. The rest of the days i mix cardio and weights, on one day i'll do the circuit with either a quick run around the track or running lunges in between weights.Or i would do lunges around the track whilst doing bicep curls, that way i keep my heartrate up at the same time pumping up the bicep.On other days especially on days when i do bench presses i will do a 20 minutes of calisthenics to start with then weights then i'll finish off with a few laps around the track or 5 minutes of rowing.I find i have more energy this way and my body works better this way.
—Guest Kez


for great weight loss cardio weight combination do 5-6 sets of weight followed by 5-7 min. of intense cardio. repeat sequence for 45min-1hr workouts.
—Guest fitbody

Cardio vs. Weight Lifting

I understand what people are saying regarding cardio before or after, and I really think it depends on the person. I prefer cardio before-hand because I have found I have much more energy for weight lifting. I am a runner and have been for a long time, so instead of feeling weighed down, I get pumped-up for weights. I ultimately have a better weight session that way.
—Guest jenna

Cardio AFTER weights

Now, everyone has a different opinion... but I was under the impression that for maximum fat burning you should do cardio after weight training because your insulin levels are low... which is also why morning cardio is good. This is what I've consistently done and have had great results... I just don't do cardio on leg days.
—Guest Bex
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Weight Training
  4. Benefits of Weight and Strength Training
  5. Techniques and Strategies
  6. Cardio Before or After Weight Training - When Do You Do Cardio Before or After Weight Training

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.