This is a question that could generate a number of opinions because it really comes down to stamina and personal preference. Let me break down the pros and cons of each.
Weight Training Before Cardio
• You have the most energy at the beginning of your workout; therefore you’ll likely be able to maintain better form.
• You can simply relax and unwind toward the end of your workout without having to count reps/sets and concentrate as heavily on what you’re doing.
• You may be too tired to do the cardio portion of your program after resistance training.
• If you find cardiovascular activities boring, you may be more tempted to skip it altogether if you save it to the end of your program.
Cardio Before Weight Training
• You can use the cardio portion of your program as a way to begin warming up your muscles for strength training.
• You may take the opportunity to mentally plan out the exercises you wish to engage in while you’re performing your cardiovascular programming.
• Maintaining good form may be an issue due to fatigue after cardiovascular exercise.
• Fatigue brings with it the increased risk of injury during weight training.
An interesting study in Japan looked at the physiological differences of the order at which exercises are performed and found that there may be some vascular benefits by saving your cardio exercises to the end of the program (Okamoto, 2007). More research is needed however to explore these findings and potentially discover other benefits for either scenario. For now, your best bet may be to do the exercises based on your personal energy level and order of preference to ensure you’ll likely complete both entities.
Okamoto, T., (2007). Combined aerobic and resistance training and vascular function: effect of aerobic exercise before and after resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103(5), pp. 1655-1661.