According to The American Council on Exercise the order that you do things in the gym is just as important as getting up and going to the gym. They recently did some research, and figured out what structure that your workout shoud follow. The order is important so that you can get the most out of your workout while you are at the gym.
The Study took 24 men and women between 18 and 39 years. They had them take part in 24 exercise sessions that included every possible workout order. The sessions combined cardio training, resistance exercise, neuromotor (agility, speed, and balance) exercises, and also had them performa flexibility component.
The results showed that cardio should be performed first (interestingly it’s the opposite from what I do myself). They then say this should be followed by resistance training and then flexibility and neuromotor exercises in either order. It was found that when participants of the study performed cardio in the beginning that their average heart rate increased less than when it was performed last. Why is that good? The author’s Lance Dalleck, Ph.D., says that is a good thing because too-vigorous exercise can lead to injury and increased risk of cardiac issues. And, doing resistance training second maximizes its effectiveness without making it feel too hard (score!). I myself do a light cardio warmup but I do my longer intervals or steady state cardio first. It was unspecified how long the cardio actually was from what I can find to date. Maybe it was just a short warmup.
It should also be noted that researchers did note that these results are not set in stone. “The order determined by this research stems from purely physiological findings, and it’s essential to know, for example, how sequencing affects cardiorespiratory performance and can account for that effect in the workout design,” says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., ACE’s Chief Science Officer. And, Dr. Dalleck added, not every workout needs to include all four aspects. He goes on to say that, you should take your own personal preferences into account before changing your personal routine.
Therefore in my opinion if you want to maximize your workout, according to this research cardio should come first. However don’t feel like you need to change your routine if it is already working for you just fine. Continue to #trainitright