If you like to power through Olympic lifts and get your gears grinding with cardio—all in the same workout—you've probably wondered: 'Am I threatening my strength gains if I pound out a few miles on the treadmill first? Or, will I hurt the quality of my sprint workout by preceding it with heavy lifting?' The short answer to whether you should be doing one before the other is yes. But the order all depends on your fitness goals.
In general, any athlete will benefit from a well-rounded strength and conditioning program says Mike Krajewski, CSCS, owner of MK Fitness in Nashville, TN. The amount and frequency at which you include anaerobic (quick, high-intensity activity work) and aerobic training (moderate-intensity cardio that gets your heart rate up, but can be sustained during your workout) varies depending on your intention for the workout and your long-term goals.
"The scientific evidence on the efficacy of performing cardio exercise before or after strength training remains inconclusive, but you can use common sense." In short, if you want improved strength, then evidence supports resistance training followed by sprints; if you're an endurance athlete, run first before you hit the weights. That's the gist, but for further explanation and suggested routines, go to page 2 if you're goal is to maximize muscle and strength, and page 3 if you're an endurance athlete or training for a long-distance race.