Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Weightlifting: Best before or after an aerobic workout?

Is it better to do weightlifting before or after an aerobic workout?

Updated: 08-12-2011

Answer

Whether you do weightlifting before or after an aerobic workout is up to you. Research hasn't definitively shown that one way is better than another.

Consider the factors that fuel the debate about when to do weightlifting:

  • Weightlifting can deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles. Glycogen stores provide you with energy for short-duration intense activity and longer duration endurance activity. If you do weightlifting first, you may find that you're too tired to complete a more intense aerobic workout.
  • An aerobic workout can be a good warm-up for weightlifting. If you do your aerobic workout first, make sure that you're not too tired to lift weights with proper form, as poor weight training technique could increase the risk of injury.

The bottom line about weightlifting first or second? If you want to include both weightlifting and aerobic exercise in the same workout, experiment to find what works best for you. For instance, you could make either your aerobic workout or your weightlifting workout less intense. Or could consider doing your weightlifting and aerobic workouts on different days.

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