I have heard it is better to always do your cardio after weights, unless you're able to workout two separate times during the day. The reason has been that you will burn more muscle or something along that line. I personally like to do my cardio before because afterward, I don't have the energy/interest to do it. Is this okay? What are the risks and/or benefits? Second, in the past, I have also heard from some people that it's okay to stretch the muscle being worked in between sets, and others have told me never to stretch in between sets. Again, can you tell me the risks and benefits?
Your question has been put forth many times. Is it "better" to do your cardiovascular training before OR after resistance work? Well, the first answer is, whichever order you will actually do them! In the average gym, many people have a routine of aerobic conditioning before weight training. They have done this routine since the beginning of time and are not happy when that routine is broken. If that turns someone on so that they will train, then so be it. However, if we talk about training research-based stuff, then there may be a difference.
Simultaneous training for strength and endurance (S&E) is an interesting area. Most people trying to stay fit (i.e., police, fire and military personnel) train for both S&E simultaneously. There are several fitness competitions that require both S&E. It is difficult to improve your capacity in both areas at once without overtraining. In fact, some research suggests that simultaneous training for S&E is not as beneficial as targeting just strength or endurance training alone, and I believe them. However, the populations they are referring to are athletes in a singular sport (i.e., 100 meter sprint, football, marathoner). These people are not as diverse as the average guy or gal trying to stay fit. I believe their research, and if I am training a 7'6"+ high jumper, it is unlikely he will be going for a 10 mile run for training. His training is specific and designed for high jumping.
But when we talk about people that require both S&E, then both areas need to be trained. How can this be accomplished? Trying to maximize your training protocols is important and can provide excellent results in both areas. Some research indicates that strength work should precede endurance training. If this is not done, you can lose 10 to 12 percent of your potential strength ability. That may not sound like much, but if you are trying to squeeze out everything you have, 10 percent can mean a lot. And if you train for several periods (three to six months), it can add up to a substantial difference in performance. Performing strength work before endurance does not seem to effect the aerobic potential.The trick is in the program design.
If you follow your resistance work with some aerobic training, you will want to cycle your efforts. What this means is if your resistance work is hard, then your aerobic work is light to medium and vice versa. It is a little more involved than that, but you get the picture. Resistance training has also been useful in improving endurance athletes' power capabilities without depleting their endurance levels.
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