that really depends on what you want to accomplish in a workout.
Since we generally recommend a warm-up, a complete cardio session is certainly an option. If the subsequent resistance training is mainly stabilization and strength endurance, it may fit quite nicely. If the weight workout is with heavier weights, then pre-fatiguing the body may not be a wise choice, and the cardio should be just a few minutes or should be any other form of dynamic warm-up.
Time is another consideration. Some clients want to get is all ‘done and over with’ at one point in time and chalk up cardio and weight in one session. Other want to split it.
There is no right or wrong here.
I, too, have each and every one of my clients do approximately 10 minutes of warm-up prior to stretching and then we hit the weights.
As far as cardio goes, I advocate doing cardio on a different day or at least at a different time, if it is necessary to do it on the same day. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you want to utilize all of your stored muscle glycogen to fuel your workout. It will enable you to have a stronger workout. If you have expended it all doing cardio, you will feel kind of shot during your lifts. Secondly, I like to have my clients use cardio as a conditioning tool. That being said, I will have them do HIIT cardio on one day and steady state on another. Both of these require maximal physical output and you need the fuel you have stored to perform proficiently.
There is another reason for having clients do cardio and resistance training at different times. That is to maximize the amount of body fat they can burn during each particular type of exercise. During resistance training, you are firing up your metabolic rate substantially. It will be on “afterburn” for hours after you are done. You will burn body fat during your cardio sessions, as well, but within a short time after finishing, your metabolism will return to normal. Splitting up your sessions will allow you to get the greatest benefit and fat burned from both types of exercise, without ever starting to burn muscle.
To me, it definitely depends on training goals. I always recommend at least a 5-10 minute warm up of some type of aerobic activity before strength training for everyone – regardless of goals & training levels. I don’t see a problem with doing 20-25 minutes of cardio before moderate strength training – in fact, I encourage it. They might as well extend the warm up another 10-15 minutes and knock it out. However, if gaining strength & muscle mass is the primary goal, I would suggest doing the cardio workout after hitting the weights and/or during off days. That way, you won’t be too fatigued when training with heavier weights.
There is no right or wrong answer.
It depends on your goals, and what your workout for the day is.
Yes, some light and/or easy cardio is recommended to “prime” the muscles for a workout session.
Besides for just giving my clients a good solid workout, I also try and educate them and give them the understanding in how to build a good workout.
From the warm-up, all the way through the cool-down.