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Trans Fit: The aerobic and resistance training sequence question

When combining the two modalities in the same session, is one sequence better than the other for optimizing "after-burn"?

Combining aerobic exercise and resistance training in the same workout session -- a technique referred to as concurrent training -- can be a time-efficient training method.

Perhaps one of the longest-lasting and most engaging debates for fitness professionals has been with regards to which sequence is better when combining the two modalities. 

When aerobic exercise preceded strength training, any muscle strength impairments were limited to the muscle groups used in the aerobic training.

For example, when an exercise cycle (a lower-body cardiovascular activity) was performed first in the concurrent sequence, it was shown to noticeably impair lower-body resistance training performance.

However, starting the session with an exercise bike, whether it was performed at high or moderate intensity, had no limiting effect on upper-body strength performance.

Another looming question in the discussion of concurrent training has been whether one particular workout sequence elicits a more pronounced post-exercise calorie "after-burn." After-burn is scientifically known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

Briefly, EPOC refers to the calories expended above resting (or pre-exercise) values following an exercise bout.

This caloric expenditure, which has its most prominent effect within the first two hours following the exercise session, represents the oxygen consumption above resting level that the body uses to return to its pre-exercise state.

A recent investigation examined the combined effect of resistance and aerobic exercise and compared the effects of different sequences of these two modalities on EPOC. The study also addressed the question of whether concurrent training sessions have a more meaningful impact on after-burn than sessions of aerobic or resistance exercise alone.

The subjects’ EPOC levels returned to pre-exercise values within 40 minutes of all four exercise sessions, confirming previous research that demonstrated that the prominent effect of exercise after-burn occurs within the first two hours of exercise.

Perhaps the first ten minutes of EPOC reveal the most meaningful data from this well-designed study.

This study answers to at least two questions regarding the effect of concurrent training on EPOC:

    1. The combined run-resistance or resistance-run sequence did not elicit an exaggerated EPOC response compared with the single-modality training.

    2. Resistance-only and run-resistance sessions had the most meaningful effect on EPOC within the first 10 minutes post-exercise. 

Mixing up the exercises and exercise order will assuredly be a convincing formula for long-lasting exercise success.

More about Chris Tina Bruce

Chris Tina Bruce is a male-to-female transgender bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness talent.

She is the founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a grassroots non-profit transgender equality organization. She is also the founder of Discover Health and Fitness, a freelance writer and the proud parent of two amazing children.

She obtained her bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University, and is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.

Chris Tina lives by some very simple rules and affirmations: All of life is a transition; where you are does not have to define who you will be and together
we can cultivate change. Be Bold, Be Proud, Be Yourself.

For more information about Chris, her Fitness Fun Camps, private sessions, nutrition programs or next bodybuilding show, check out her website, check out the Hillcrest Fitness, follow her Facebook page, or on Twitter, or call (972) 989-6076.