And I have to start off with a non-committal: it depends. What it depends on is the intention for the entire workout.
I always recommend to warm-up prior to lifting weights but a warm-up may not constitute a complete cardiovascular workout which – if you are healthy and can work out in proper heart rate zones – should leave you a a little fatigued even after a short rest. Cardiovascular workouts usually involve the large muscle groups of the legs. This would not be the best scenario it you went to the gym with the plan to work out the lower body to improve limit strength since you are pre-fatigued.
However, if you plan to work out on strength endurance, the problem of pre-fatigued muscles may not present such a dilemma.
If I look at my workout routine while I still worked in the corporate world, I personally always started with 30 minutes of cardio followed by whatever weight training I wanted to do. It was pretty much with the intention of killing two birds with one stone. My time was limited, and – speaking only for myself – my weight training ambitions were rather moderate. So that worked well for me.
So there is no final answer to your question. It has to be viewed in the context of a person’ life and exercise goals.
Can I play the devil’s advocate? There is a huge difference between strength training and resistance training. People who training for strength want to be able to lift their maximal loads. My Granny can do a bit a resistance training with 3 pound weights. Doesn’t mean she is strength training.
If you were truly strength training, like an Olympic power lifter who is truly strength training, then I would say. Strength train today and give it rest on the cardio.
I prefer to start off with a five minute warm up to get the heart rate up this can include jump rope, jumping jacks, running in place, burpees etc., then a two to five minute stretch (ideally stretching the muscles you will be using during the workout) this is also a way to get focused on the workout ahead. If your doing two to three resistance days every week with split sets (alternating lower body to upper body), then a cardio day in between, you can do just resistance on resistance days. When I say resistance I mean training with resistance devises (bands, weights, kettle bells). If your doing two to three workouts a week with no cardio days in between, then I would suggest breaking the workout into two parts, 1/2 hour resistance training, 1/2 hour cardio training, in that order. In most cases cardio training is easier than resistance training when it comes to form, and form is the most important aspect of the workout to prevent injury. If you spend the first half of your workout on a treadmill and get your heart rate up to 55% – 85% of your max, and keep it up for at least twenty minutes this will fatigue your muscles, making good form during the resistance training harder to maintain. Therefore I like to start with resistance when you have your full energy available, so form stays in tact, then finish with cardio.
And in response to the last blog. Strength training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. Basically, strength training and resistance training are often used interchangeably.