CrossFit Research: Alternating workouts, endurance and resistance

Which is better?  Should you do endurance exercise first and then resistance?  Or resistance training and then endurance?  It looks like alternating your routine gives the best results in terms of performance.  New research published this month reports on the effectiveness of mixed exercise routines in women.  Groups of untrained women were asked to do one of the following:
1. Run on a treadmill for 30 minutes, then do resistance training
2. Do resistance training, then run on a treadmill for 30 minutes
3. Spent 10 minutes on a treadmill then do a set of resistance exercises.  Repeat 3 times so the total endurance exercise was 30 minutes, and 3 sets of weights were done.Women in the third group put out greater energy expenditure, greater oxygen consumption, greater rate of ventilation and exhaled less oxygen than women in groups 1 and 2.  The results might hold true for men.  Will will assume they do until someone reports otherwise.  This would mean running before weight training, and then switching to weight training followed by running (or swimming, cycling, etc).  People ask about this a lot.  For most people doing endurance before lifting feels more natural. That is probably because it is easier.This does sound like a CrossFit study.  And it also sounds like a CrossFit approach to fitness is really harder (and more effective) than other approaches.  The new study also reports that women perceive their level of exertion as greater when they lifted before running.  Exertion is often uncomfortable and most people will try to minimize the discomfort they feel during exercise.  However, if you trying to improve your overall fitness (as CrossFit does) you would do well to vary your routine (Di Blasio et al. 2012.)  This is something Cross Fit advocates as a general principle.  You will get better at what you work at.  If you only work at one thing, you will only be trained for one thing.

CrossFit South Central athletes prepare for the games at CrossFit Seven.

Looking for a way to reduce horrible feeling you get when pushing through a challenging workout? Try caffeine. Caffeine may help blunt sensations of pain and allow to do more reps or go harder and faster (Green et al. 2007.) Stop if you feel you have injured yourself or are feeling pain in the chest or along the arm. Dealing with burn is one thing. Being foolish is another.

Di Blasio A, Gemello E, Di Iorio A, Di Giacinto G, Celso T, Di Renzo D, Sablone A, Ripari P. 2012. Order effects of concurrent endurance and resistance training on post-exercise response of non-trained women. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 11: 393-399.

Green JM, Wickwire PJ, McLester JR, Gendle S, Hudson G, Pritchett RC, & Laurent CM (2007). Effects of caffeine on repetitions to failure and ratings of perceived exertion during resistance training. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 2 (3), 250-9 PMID: 19168925

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