Sussex Performance Centre

Is it best to do conditioning or resistance exercises at the beginning of your training session?

A new study has finally given us the answer to a question many people have asked us over the years at SPC.

Should you do your conditioning or cardio work before or after you start your resistance portion of the training session? Many say to do it before because it acts as a warm-up. Others say it interferes with the best bang for your buck exercises, which are found in resistance training methods.

Who’s right? Turns out, those who said to do it AFTER resistance training were correct. Completing aerobic endurance exercise before resistance training will negatively impact your ability to perform at your highest potential during the resistance part of your session.

The Facts

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that when healthy, resistance-trained men performed aerobic endurance exercise before a resistance training session:

  • Fewer reps were completed
  • Average power and velocity of lifts were significantly reduced
  • Ratings of perceived exertion were greater
  • Heart rates were higher when compared to the control group

There were 4 different training groups within the study. Researchers found that there were differing degrees of the drop in performance measures across the groups, with the high intensity interval group experiencing the greatest reduction in performance.

See how SPC Client Jan found a love of resistance training at the age of 70 to see changes to her body that she never expected

Take Home Message

If you’re going to complete aerobic endurance exercise in the same workout as resistance training, do the resistance training first. End of discussion.

Enjoy learning about health & fitness? Check out SPC’s latest podcast release

Ratamess, Nicholas A. et al. (October 2016). Acute Resistance Exercise Performance Is Negatively Impacted by Prior Aerobic Endurance Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 30 (10).


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