Not only to train endurance or strength, but to combine both is basically the right way to go. But does it make a difference for the training success in which order the training sessions are completed?
Should the endurance session take place immediately before or after the strength training session – or neither? So much in advance: This depends entirely on the training goal – depending on whether the focus is on muscle building or on improving endurance.
We’ll run through this for you using four different athletic goals and tell you how you can make your training more efficient by choosing the right sequence.
Goal #1: improve overall fitness
If you want to improve your fitness in general, the order doesn’t really matter: Both types of training improve basic endurance and strengthen the cardiovascular system. For this fitness goal, circuit or interval training that combines strength and endurance is recommended.
Goal #2: Build muscle
Strength training on the Taurus B900 weight bench
In principle, every training session should be preceded by a short warm-up program in order to prepare the body for the upcoming load. Before strength training, a short warm-up of 5-10 minutes is quite sufficient, for example on the treadmill or ergometer.
An intensive endurance unit in combination with strength training, on the other hand, would be detrimental to muscle building: If the endurance training precedes the strength training, the muscles are already tired by the second unit and can no longer be optimally stressed.
Tired muscles also can’t stabilize as well, making the body more susceptible to training injuries. Also the coordination is then no longer at its peak. Intensive endurance training is also not recommended directly after strength training because it can negatively affect the muscle-building processes.
Our Tip: Intensive endurance training should not take place immediately before or after strength training. Give your body a recovery break first after intense strength training and schedule the endurance session for another day.
Goal #3: improve endurance
Endurance training on the cardiostrong crosstrainer EX40
If the focus is on endurance, the same applies as for strength training: the muscles should be fresh and fully capable for the intensive training session. Tired muscles have a negative effect on the running technique and the muscles can be overloaded.
Our Tip: The endurance run should take place before the strength training in any case. However, there is nothing to be said against a short run at light intensity to improve the basic endurance after strength training.
Goal #4: Lose weight
Those who want to lose weight often hear the tip to add a cardio session right after strength training, saying it’s especially beneficial for weight loss. Namely, the theory is that glycogen stores are depleted after strength training and the body needs to get energy mainly from fats during the subsequent running session.
However, this brings two problems with it: Firstly, the body can hardly withstand a longer lasting load with empty glycogen stores. Secondly, although the fat burning is then higher in percentage terms, the calorie consumption is lower due to the low training intensity that the body can then only cope with.
And that is exactly what is crucial in losing weight. If you burn more calories than you eat every day, you will lose weight in the long run (keyword negative energy balance).
Our tip: Here, too, schedule the strength and endurance units on different days. Then you can train each unit intensively and burn calories accordingly. In addition, regeneration after each workout is a very important part of the training plan, for example, with a fascia roller.
Endurance sports: before or after weight training? Conclusion
Whether the endurance session is completed before or after the strength training depends very much on the training goal. As a rule, you can remember that the training goal – after a short warm-up phase – should always be trained first. This way, the body is at full capacity and not susceptible to injury. Basically, you do well to put both units on different days. Then you give your body enough time to regenerate.