running and weights
November 14, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Is it best to weight train before or after a run?

I would like to add weight training to my fitness regimen. Since I only have one period during the day on weekdays that is available for me to exercise in, the weight training will have to either be immediately before or immediately after my run. Does the timing matter? Is one more beneficial than the other?
posted by honeyx to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The common thought is that you should lift weights before doing cardio as often people will not have the energy to lift weights after a hard cardio session. This is especially true for people just beginning a fitness regimen.

Personally I like a short warmup (5-10 minutes) on an elliptical or bike. I'd then lift weights before doing a 30+ minute run.
posted by Octoparrot at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have always heard you get better results before. I usually lift after, tho.
posted by konolia at 12:31 PM on November 14, 2007

What I've generally heard is do whichever is more important to you first. If you want to improve your lifts, lift when you're fresh.

(Or do some crazy Crossfit-style crosstraining - I just started that and it's been fun and HARD.)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:38 PM on November 14, 2007

Another reason to lift before: You are more prone to injury when trying to lift while tired, than trying to do (most) cardio when tired.
posted by googly at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2007

I've always lifted after. You get stronger by tearing up your muscles and then your body rebuilds them stronger to deal with the added demands you are putting on them. Your muscules are rebuilt by blood flowing to the area and bringing nutrients to the area. If you run after lifting, your blood will go to your legs and your cardiovascular system to power your body for running. Less is then sent to the muscles for rebuilding.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:50 PM on November 14, 2007

I lift after. I just prefer it that way. From all the reading that I've done, it doesn't really matter all that much: You can lift first (but you should warm up with a stretch and 5 minutes on the treadmill or something, just to get the blood flowing) - if you lift first, you'll probably have less energy for your cardio, and vice versa.

I always do my cardio first because it seems more efficient. I stretch, do my cardio, and then head over to weights, and I've both warmed up and done cardio in one step.
posted by pazazygeek at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2007

I've always done after. I can't remember if there was ever a concrete reason I decided to do cardio before weight training, but it just feels "right" to me.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:59 PM on November 14, 2007

I forget where I read this but I was researching the same question and read about how lifting before an extended exercise swimming/running/biking etc. will release more of the chemical from the body to increase fat burn for the duration of the entire workout, compared to a long run followed by lifting.
posted by Mardigan at 1:01 PM on November 14, 2007

I had a coach who advised not running after lifting heavy weights, but I guess this all depends on how far you're thinking of running and how heavy the weights are. I usually run before (less than 30 mins) as my legs are too heavy afterwards.
posted by poissonrouge at 1:17 PM on November 14, 2007

My trainer, as well as the book "Weight Training for Dummies" both suggest lifting after cardio, because you're warmed up and it's better to lift on warmed-up muscles.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: Here's an article from Sparkpeople where a couple of different personal trainers weigh in. This article says that if you feel low on energy, do cardio first. And this one says that it depends on what your primary focus is.
posted by amarynth at 1:34 PM on November 14, 2007

To enjoy optimal benefits from lifting you want to be warmed up but not fatigued.

Running before hand prefatigues some muscle groups (without actually causing much microtrauma). So when you lift after, the muscles have a significantly decreased ability to lift an amount that will actually benefit growth or strength.

You want to get warmed up first (probably no more than 10 minutes for most athletes, probably 5 or so for non-athletes) before lifting, but you do not want to do your "cardio workout", regardless of what feels right.

If your cardio workout -is- 5-10 minutes then you aren't actually doing cardio, you are just warming up. Sure, do it first.

If your "cardio workout" is more than that, warm up first, then lift, then do cardio.

Even better, if you workout with substantial frequency, dedicate a day to one or the other and forget about the conflict altogether.
posted by milqman at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: An ongoing interest of mine, I've looked into this quite a bit. I have found no informed-consensus (in the form of peer-reviewed studies or similar) as to which is better. I am not surprised by the differing anecdotal responses given in this thread.

What various studies do suggest is that the structure of your long-term training cycle has a much bigger impact than the structure of each individual training session. I'd focus more on practicing good seasonal periodization training than worry about lifting first vs. cardio first.
posted by randomstriker at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

I always separated my running and my weight training. Run one day, lift the next.

If I lifted before I ran or ran before I lifted it would negatively impact my performance of the second exercise. It also automatically worked in a rest day for each exercise.
posted by 517 at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I do 10-15 minutes cardio 1 hour resistance and 20-45 minutes cardio.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:03 PM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone so much for your answers. It seems the opinion about it is split, so I think I will just experiment and see what feels best for me. My main goal is increasing my overall fitness level, not gaining muscle mass, which suggests I should prioritize my cardio rather than the weight training. I will give both a try, and keep your answers in mind. Thanks again!
posted by honeyx at 9:30 AM on November 15, 2007

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