When it comes to the gym, most of us easily get stuck in our habits.
Maybe you’ll run for half an hour, cycle for 20 minutes, then head to the weights area.
But according to one fitness instructor, for some people, the order in which you do the exercises makes a difference to your overall results.
Some studies have shown that doing resistance training first — like lifting weights, squatting, and planking — can increase muscle strength in certain areas, as well as improve mental health.
Meanwhile, other research has shown that elite athletes benefit from starting with strengthening exercises, because cardio can prevent muscles from growing in the first place.
Muscles adapt to cardio exercise, which inhibits their ability to grow and strengthen immediately after resistance training sessions, experts say.
According to Randal Claytor, associate professor of kinesiology, nutrition and health at the University of Miami, doing weight training before running can lead to a “slight increase in lower body muscle strength,” compared to an opposite routine. .
This order does not “compromise all other health-related fitness improvements.”
He goes on to explain, in an article written for The Conversation, that the body quickly adapts to the type of exercise it does. During cardio, such as running or cycling, muscles play a crucial role in producing enough energy to keep you going.
Resistance exercises include weightlifting, squats, and planks, and have been proven to provide many health benefits.
When you stop doing this and start lifting weights, it takes a little time for the muscles to return to normal. Therefore, the process of building new proteins is not as efficient.
This is what experts call the “interference effect.”
“If your exercise goals are to stay generally healthy and enjoy the mental benefits of moving your body, resistance training might give you a little boost first,” wrote Professor Claytor .
Professor Claytor points to evidence from studies involving elite athletes.
“Given the research findings on concurrent training (doing weights and cardio simultaneously) for elite athletes, it makes sense to do resistance exercises first,” he says.
Or, he adds: “Train first the type of exercise that is most important to your performance goals.” »
But the most important thing, says Professor Claytor, is to practice both types of exercise. This has many benefits for cardiovascular health – and is more convenient for those who have little time in their day to exercise.
Resistance exercises improve muscle strength, endurance, power and size. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces blood sugar spikes.
Aerobic exercise, or cardio, is linked to a reduced risk of several diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
Professor Claytor adds that those who exercise competitively should leave at least three hours between sessions of different types of activity to reduce the impact of the interference effect.
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