If in one gym session, I want to run (30-40 mins) and lift weights, is it better to run first or do the weights first. I have done a bunch of googling and keep reading conflicting answers so wanted to get some thoughts from folks on this forum.

  • 1
    You'll probably get conflicting answers here too. My best advice, although it isn't answering the question, is not to lift weights and run in the same session, as the suggestions on which to do first always hinge on which you want to get the benefits from - so whichever you choose, you're only benefitting from one of them.
    – Robin Ashe
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 7:00
  • For me, any type of cardio/metabolic workout comes after strength training, but I'm focused on strength gains. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 15:49
  • What is your goal?
    – user3085
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 17:49

3 Answers 3


You need to answer that question yourself, the way to get to it is, what is your goal? (this question to your question is taken from the great Dan John: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/figuring_out_your_life_and_lifting_goals)

Are you more focused on cardio? or strength? What are you trying to achieve? Based on your response, you can determine which to do first - the first thing to do is what is most important to achieving your goals....where you focus your most energy.

  • it seems t-nation is just the answer to every question posted on this forum! imagine if we had an administrator from their forums check these answers. You'd see backlinks all day every day. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 16:48

Yes, it is a question that can be complicated.

On one side, if you are practising for a running event, you should probably focus on the running first and do some complementary weight lifting.

On the other side, if you practise for general well being and have a limited time available for training, you could start with the weights and skip the running. My own experiments with measuring training effect with pulse meters shows me that you get a good cardio effect when you lift weights, especially when you do exercises that involve large muscle groups (deadlift, squats, etc).

  • what are you measuring? heartbeats?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 18:29
  • No, I have measured training effect, see firstbeat.fi/physiology/white-papers Both with apulse meter (R-R) and manually (when swimming)
    – FredrikD
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 6:43

Because I'm pretty busy, I usually do weights both before and after cardio. The point of this is that the cardio functions as a rest period between sets, so I'm not just sitting around. I also feel like weights help warm me up for cardio and get to the target heart rate a bit faster.

  • Interesting solution. Have you tracked your progress in both, or do you do that for fitness maintenance purposes?
    – Robin Ashe
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 20:40
  • I informally track progress in terms of weight I can bench, resistance setting on the exercise bike I can maintain, etc. but not writing stuff down or measuring weight or anything. I am gradually improving. Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 20:42

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