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cardio/strength training-- when to cool down?

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CHERIMOOSE's Photo Posts: 370
6/2/13 4:52 P

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It's a good idea to warm-up & cool-down before any exercise. Before strength training, move the joints & muscles you plan on using. The best way to do this is with light sets of the exercises you're about to do. The elliptical machine and rowing machine are also good before full-body workouts, since they move all your joints.

I agree with M@L - it's difficult to do strength training safely and with the proper effort level if you're fatigued from doing cardio first. So i would do cardio after weights.. or, ideally, a different time of day, or a different day.

KCLARK89's Photo SparkPoints: (22,273)
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6/2/13 10:02 A

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I have dvd's for both cardio and ST and there is a warm up and cool down for both, so I just make sure that I go through both videos completely.

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CBLENS's Photo SparkPoints: (47,255)
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6/2/13 7:03 A

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I usually do a good 30 min cardio with a 5 min cool down then do strength training followed by stretching.

Your encouragement is greatly appreciated!

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6/2/13 6:43 A

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It depends on the intensity of your cardio, but I wouldn't recommend cooling down before strength training, because you're meant to warm up before strength training anyway. So if you're doing very intense cardio you may want to cool down a little before strength training, but only to the level you'd be at if you'd warmed up immediately before strength training. Then cool down fully and stretch after strength training.

That said, if you're doing intense cardio you're probably better off doing it after strength training, as, like a PP said, you need to have good form for strength training, and that's harder when you're tired from cardio.

MOTIVATED@LAST's Photo Posts: 13,661
6/1/13 10:12 P

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Whichever of cardio and strength you do second is going to suffer.

Personally, I think that if you are going to do cardio and strength back-to-back, you are better off doing ST first, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the general consensus is that you rest your muscles for 48 hours between ST sessions, which implies just 2-3 ST sessions per week. If you are always doing ST second, you never get in a good ST workout. But if you do cardio second, you still have the opportunity to get in a good quality cardio workout on your non-ST days.

Secondly, good form is essential for ST, both for effectiveness and to reduce your risk of injury. And it's hard to maintain good form when your muscles are already fatigued from cardio. A fatigued ST workout risks injury, while a fatigued cardio workout just means you can't go as intensely.

If you must do cardio and ST together, my advice would be to do the warm up phase of the DVD, hit pause, do your ST, then pick up the DVD again from where you left off.


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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SPARK_COACH_JEN's Photo Posts: 54,107
6/1/13 1:26 P

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Your order is a good one. You want to cool down after cardio because it keeps blood from pooling in your extremities, which can make you lightheaded. Then stretching after your all finished is a good idea.

Coach Jen

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." Mary Pickford

ERINTFG's Photo SparkPoints: (33,935)
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6/1/13 12:35 P

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I have been doing regular cardio (usually via DVD) since January and have decided to get serious about strength training. The DVDs all have a cool down at the end, of course. SparkPeople tells me to warm up and cool down whenever I do strength training as well.

So I guess what I'm wondering is, when do I do the cool down? Today I did warm up, cardio, cool down, strength training, and then a brief stretch. Would it be better to do the strength training before the cool down? Or some other order?

Am I overthinking this? LOL



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