In an unhelpful turn of events, experts are split on what to do first during a combined workout of cardio and resistance training.
The main factors impacting the debate are: the potential energy used for exercise, muscle fatigue, and risk of injury. When exercise is performed with sufficient amounts of energy, it is more intense and focused. But after fatigue sets in, form can suffer leading to a higher risk of injury. Your best bet is deciding on your fitness goals and tailoring your exercise regimen around them.
The general rule is whatever your fitness goal – do that first. For example, if building muscle is your objective, lift before cardio.
One Way To Solve the Order Problem
If you don’t want to have to deal with the problem of choosing an order, you can do weight training and cardio on different days. Or, you can do circuit and interval training combining the two for a full-body workout. In the case that alternate days are not an option, choose which exercise to do first based on your goals.
If your intention is to maintain general health, the order doesn’t make much of a difference although a study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests beginning exercisers can benefit from doing cardio first. You may want to try out both orders to see what works for you best, taking note of muscle fatigue and energy levels with each one.