Exercise can lead to knee injury or hip pain if done so with poor technique. This is commonly seen with weight lifting and shoulder pain. It is common for the recreational gym enthusiast to ponder whether to lift and then bike or vice versa. Recent research indicates that lifting weights before or after engaging in cardio exercise can be beneficial, according to a New York Times “Well” blog.
The evidence is contrary to the advice many people have received. It is widely believed that workouts involving both types of exercise are not as effective as doing cardio and resistance training separately.
A study the Journal of Applied Physiology published in March involved people riding stationary bicycles with one leg, then doing resistance exercises with both legs. Some of the participants performed the two kinds of workouts in the opposite order.
Researchers looked for differences between the leg that did both exercises and the limb that only lifted weights. They found that, after five weeks, both legs had gained similar amounts of muscle and strength. Cycling before lifting weights did not adversely affect the benefits of the resistance workouts. The same results were reported for participants who did resistance training before cycling.
Biopsies were performed on the subjects before and after weight training to assess the size of the vastus lateralis and quadriceps muscles in both legs. The researchers took muscle samples to assess citrate synthase activity and glycogen concentration. Muscle size increased at a greater rate in participants who performed both types of exercise, compared with those who did only resistance work.
Another study, conducted in 2012, showed that inactive, middle-aged men had good results combining cardio or aerobic exercise with weight lifting. The research failed to show that one type of exercise diminishes the value of the other kind.
The lead researcher was kinesiology professor Stuart Phillips of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He reported positive changes in myofibrillar and mitochondrial protein fractional synthesis rates, and other indicators, for the eight men involved in the study.
The participants did leg-extension repetitions, followed by riding stationary bicycles. Biopsy analysis suggested no “interference effect on muscle protein subfractional synthesis rates, protein signaling or mRNA expression,” the researchers wrote.
While the medical terminology is complicated, the message is clear: Combining cardio with weight training does not reduce the effectiveness of either workout. The research indicates that doing both can produce positive outcomes, regardless the order in which the exercises are performed.
If you have sustained an injury while lifting weights or during a cardio workout, contact our top notch orthopedists at San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Clinic.